Posted on 9/29/2021 in Digital Marketing
By Tim Hawkins
Have you ever been writing, designing, or managing a web page and realized you had more information than you knew what to do with?
“Nobody will read all that,” you might have thought. “It’s too much content!”
But the fact is, long content can be very effective when handled correctly. It sounds counterintuitive in these days of tweets and memes, but people really do want information. They click on your link because they want to know more. In-depth content gives you credibility with your readers. Just as important, search engines favor pages that have deep content. You’re more likely to score high on search results if some of your pages have long copy.
So, instead of trying to make all your pages shorter, try making your long pages friendlier. Here are some tips to help you design and write effective web pages of any length.
Use these design tricks to invite people in
From a design point of view, there’s a lot you can do to invite readers into your story and to keep the page from looking like a solid block of text. Some things to consider are:
Introduce the page with larger-font type. A quick sentence or two at the top of the page in large type not only captures your main message, but gives readers an easy way to start engaging with your content. If it’s easy for them to start reading, it’s more likely they’ll keep reading.
Use background images to create an environment. Add some background images to draw the reader into your environment. You can even use images behind the text, but be very careful that the images do not interfere with readability. You’ll want to use very soft images, or a clearly contrasting typeface. Alternatively, use images beside or in between paragraphs to help break up blocks of text.
Build pages with animations and sliding menus. Visual effects can help tell stories or simply make long content less intimidating. A great way to do this is by animating certain areas of graphics or text, making them come alive. These animated areas can slide in from the left, right, top or bottom, or they can follow the cursor. You can even build and change your pages as the user scrolls through them, creating an immersive experience. There really is no limit to what you can come up with when taking this approach.
Put some content in accordion menus. These menus fold open when you mouse over or click them, revealing additional choices. They’re perfect for when you want information to be easily accessible, but don’t want to overwhelm people with too many menu options.
Remember these basic writing principles
Whether you’re writing, reviewing, or approving web content, I recommend keeping a few basic principles in mind.
Create a theme or “hook” to draw the reader in. There are more competitors than ever in almost every industry, so it’s likely that there are already other articles out there with the same information. What can you say to get people’s attention? For example, is there a way to relate your message to something universally interesting, like music? Can you tell a story? Can you raise interesting questions that people want to find answers to?
Organize information clearly. How well the text is organized is just as important as how well it’s written, especially with long web pages. It’s usually a good idea to divide the content into clearly defined sections and then use:
- subheads to step the reader through the story,
- bulleted lists to deliver important information quickly,
- sidebars or highlighted text to call out key points,
- and quotes from experts or customers to add credibility and interest.
Pay attention to readability. All the above techniques are helpful, but in the end, simple and clear writing is what makes long copy effective. Be informative. Be factual. Be clear and straightforward. Ask, what would you want to read if you were the customer?
There’s no single answer to how long a good web page should be. Much depends on the market, the product, your readers, and many other factors. But you shouldn’t be afraid to have long content on some of your pages. In fact, you should look for opportunities to create in-depth content. Use the design and writing tips in this blog as a starting point, and you’ll be able to create content-rich web pages that score well with search engines--and with your readers!
Website Copy: Long content can be very effective when handled correctly.Have questions? Contact Wakefly to learn more.
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