Is Your Consulting Website “Reader Friendly”?

You’ve put countless hours into writing your website. You’ve gone through draft after draft, written and re-written, until – finally! – you have an end product you’re proud of.

However, while you think your website is spot-on, your Google Analytics report is showing something different; site visitors only stay on each page for a couple seconds before moving on.

How could that be, you wonder? The graphics are polished, the content is insightful, and the website is easy to navigate.

But ask yourself this:

Is your website reader friendly? In other words, is it easy to read, easy to understand, and skimmable?

If not, or if you’re not sure, then test it using a readability formula like this Readability Test Tool. Simply plug in your website address for your test results. Red is a low readability score; green is easily readable.

If you’re primarily in the yellow or red zone, then you’ve got some work to do.

While the thought of “dumbing down” your copy might make you cringe, you’re actually making it more useful. When your website is reader friendly, your visitors will better be able to digest the information you present. Why? Because today’s users are busy and don’t want to spend a lot of time reading through a website to get the gist of it – and the studies prove it.

For instance, according to Nielsen Norman Group (NNG), which conducts research in the field of user experience, 79% of the people they’ve tested always scanned any new page they came across; only 16% read word-by-word.

In addition, NNG also found that scanning text is an extremely common behavior for higher-literacy users (i.e. those with above-average intelligence) – that likely includes your clients and prospects!

So if you think your website could use some improvement in the readability department, what can you do about it?

Here are 6 practical tips you can put to use today to get you started:

  1. Be concise in your writing. Don’t use long paragraphs and complex words.
  2. Get to the point quickly in your copy by placing the most important information in the beginning of each page.
  3. Use headings and subheads to break up longer web pages. If a page is particularly extensive, then consider breaking it up into multiple sub-pages, categorized under one primary page.
  4. Wherever possible, use bulleted lists and bolded or italicized type to highlight important points.
  5. Use meaningful visuals to reinforce key points. Make sure each visual – whether an image, chart, or graph – has enough “white space” around it so that it doesn’t appear cramped.
  6. Use an easy-to-read text font and consistent spacing between lines, words, and letters.

 

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