I come across websites occasionally that assault me with what I call “The Wall of Text.”
The entire page is jam-packed with text, usually in a very large type face. My first response when I hit one of these websites is to point my mouse at the back button. There are too many other sites out there that are easy to read.
You only have a few seconds to grab the attention of your visitor. Something as simple as making your page easy to read can have a tremendous impact on the “stickiness” of your visitors. Keep them around longer and they are more likely to buy. On the other hand, if they are put off by your color-scheme, formatting, or poor choice of text, the walls of resistance begin to go up.
Here are some things you can do to help make your page easier to read and, more importantly, keep your visitors hanging around longer.
Keep Your Website Visitors Engaged
Most users don’t spend the time reading each paragraph. Instead, they scan the page for information they find interesting. Subheadings break up the text and make it easier to scan the entire page. They keep your visitors engaged with the text. For your subheadings to be really effective, they need to be well written and compelling.
Catch Their Eye with Keywords
You need to draw attention to important keywords on your page by highlighting them in a bold face font. This has the effect of stopping the reader dead in their tracks. It also has some important effects on search engine placement for those keywords.
Use Bullet Points and Short Lists
Your readers like lists. Lists summarize the information and break it down into easy-to-understand steps. Visitors will slow down and read the lists because they convey a sense of importance. Lists also help with white space on your page. Take a look at your paragraphs and see if you can break down your text into lists.
Use bullet points to make short impacting statement and numbered lists to illustrate steps or sequences.
Writing Well is the Best Technique
Nothing helps make your website copy easier to read than well-written text. When copy is filled with spelling and grammar mistakes or text that doesn’t flow well, the visitor will soon get tired of trying to understand the page.
I can’t believe how many sales letters I receive by email that look like they’ve been written by someone without even a working knowledge of English. If it’s an email, it goes straight into the trash. If it’s a web site, I back out as fast as I can. No matter the delivery method, it it’s that poorly written, I don’t even waste my time trying to find out if the offer is a good one.
Write well. Check you grammar and spelling. Have someone else proofread your text. Use easy words that your audience will understand.
When you write well, your visitors will have more trust in your ability to deliver on your promises.
Short Paragraphs Break Down the Wall
One of the best ways to combat against the wall of text is to break your text into to short paragraphs.
For some reason, many writers like to cram as much text into each paragraph as possible. This is not always the best way to format your text.
White space separates your text and draw attention to important points. It also makes it so much easier to scan the text.
Long paragraphs are harder to read and scan. A side effect of long paragraphs is that they often contain many separate ideas. Separating different thoughts into distinct paragraphs will not only help with readability, it will help your organize your thoughts and create smooth transitions from one idea to the next.
Make These Changes Now
Once you break down the wall of text and begin to write for the web, your text will be much easier to scan and read. Your marketing copy will be much more compelling and your visitors will stick around much longer.