Writing for the Web: 3 Useful Guidelines

First, two quick reasons lists are so popular (you can find a whole slew of lists that explain why lists are so popular) and then one reason why you want to use them as a small business owner.

They’re easy to read and comprehend

You’ve probably heard it by now, if not from me by someone else, that users rarely read word-for-word and rather scan the page. Their eyes search for highlighted keywords, meaningful subheadings, bulleted lists, and will potentially speed-read your introduction or conclusion paragraph if you’re lucky. There are nearly countless accounts outlining this phenomenon from Nielsen to Steve Krugg. This fits nicely into why those Buzzfeed-esque articles are so wildly popular on the Internet today—we love scanning. Take a moment to think, have you taken the time to read the contextual paragraphs underneath the lists or do you just read the headlines and move on?

People enjoy having their suspicions proven

While this reason is a bit more anecdotal, social media seems to prove this point on a daily basis. Surf through your feed on Facebook and Twitter and you’ll undoubtedly come across a shared list from a friend who thinks “reason #4 is eerily accurate.” When one succumbs to lure of these clickbait lists, isn’t it always to see if our preconceived item is on that list and we’re either ecstatic that it aligns with our suspicions or dismiss the credibility of the author and walk away frustrated because it doesn’t align with our bias.

Lists drive people to your site

Without a doubt. Aren’t you here now? Lists are popular in our culture today. We enjoy the quick satisfaction of having our biases affirmed and we love being able to quickly and effectively skim large amounts of information. So, why aren’t you creating your content for easy consumption? No one would encourage you to remove all of your meat and potatoes from your website. That’s bad; however, there is something to be said about this trend (a trend that has been fairly steady throughout the history of the Internet).

1. Use bulleted lists when possible

Eye tracking and usability studies have proven that people who use websites are drawn to bulleted lists. Use them when you can to draw users to important information about your business and services. It will help people scan large sections of information and know whether or not the information is relevant to what they are looking for.

2. Link or bold key words

If you visited the previous Nielsen Norman Group article, you’ll notice that they practice all three of these suggestions. It’s not by accident. They link and bold keywords throughout their articles. This helps scanning and enables users to quickly find relevant bits of information. Rarely will people read the entire article; they will, however, scan it for information they themselves believe is pertinent.

3. Use descriptive and meaningful headings

You should be using headings on all of your pages. Not only does it help readers find what they want to spend time on, but it always lets Google and other search engines know what your page is about. Using proper headings and injecting your keywords will help users find your information organically and through search engine searches.

Good Example of How to Create a Webpage
You’ll notice that they use bulleted lists, bold key words, and use headings to help users find the information they’re searching for.

Your Business Should Take Search Seriously

More than ever consumers are using mobile devices to search for products locally. As a small business owner it’s imperative to have an online presence that quickly and easily directs those consumers to your business by giving them the information they are seeking.

Flat design style modern illustration concept of mobile website interface coding and web application development on smart phone. Isolated on stylish colored backgroundLocal Businesses Need an Online (Mobile) Presence

The Demand Is There

People are constantly searching for places to eat, things to buy, and services to hire. In recent history, searches on mobile devices have grown by 500% and more than 85% of smartphone users have searched for a local business on their phone. When consumers aren’t on their smartphones they’re on their computers relying on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing to help them find this information. There’s a big market. Are you tapping into it?

Era of the Local Search

Those 85% of users using their mobile phones to gather information about local places to buy food, things, and services are doing so through search engines1 that organize their results based on location services. When you use a website like Google (or ask Siri where the closest Mexican restaurant is), it gathers information about where you are and appends that to the search (whether the user explicitly specified a location or not). This makes it massively important for your business to use services like this to your advantage, especially when so many of your competitors are not. Recent research shows that 63% of small businesses don’t have a website. Of the minority of small businesses that do have a website, a fourth of them don’t show up on search2 and a vast majority (60-75%) are missing key information that consumers are looking for3.

Fill a Gap of Service

Since the majority of small businesses do not have an online presence, you have an opportunity to fill a gap of service and discover new customers. Depending on your business, you’ll want to provide certain information quickly and easily. For example, if you’re a restaurant, don’t hide your menu behind four layers of pages with paragraphs of text about how wonderful your service is – make it front and center. With Digital Inflection’s expertise in user experience, we’ll guide you along the process of developing your website that meets the needs of your new customers.

We Can Help

Digital Inflection provides a wide variety of services to get your website up and running quickly.

Web Design and Development

We provide custom web design and web development for small businesses in the West Lafayette and Lafayette, Indiana area while also servicing several student organizations at Purdue University. We can help you bring your service to the online market and those mobile users searching for services in and around the area. We’ll make sure that your site is

  • User friendly
  • Easy to update
  • Mobile friendly
  • Expressive of your brand

Search Engine Optimization

If you don’t already have a website, we’ll work with you to develop content for your website that will draw in customers through search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Not only does our design and development standards encourage Google (and other search engines) to index your page high in the rankings, but we’ll come along side your business to develop content that will drive customers to your page when they use local search.

If you already have a website but aren’t seeing the traffic you’d like, we’re more than happy to consult with you. We can research your market and provide expert reviewed recommendations that will increase your search engine rankings.