February 15, 2010

How Much Should I Write for my Web Site?


Hostway Team

By Samantha Gluck

When you're writing for your Web site, you may start to wonder: Is this too short? Or, Is it too long? Just as every person is unique, every Web site, business and selling style are unique. There is really no one-size-fits all solution regarding Web page length. Expert opinions have a wide variance.

To Scroll or Not to Scroll?

Some experts advise keeping a home page between 300 and 350 words. The current trend is to keep Web pages to one page length wherein the reader will not have to scroll down for more information.

One criticism of that length is that there is hardly room to get vital information about the subject matter across to the reader in this limited space. Using a smaller font in an attempt to squeeze more information onto the page will make it seem cramped and difficult to read.

Three Pages Long

On the other hand, others suggest keeping homepage content no longer than three full page lengths. Page length is one many things to consider when creating a homepage as it can affect page visits, durations of visit and ultimately, repeat visitors.

The true answer to how long a Web page should be is "It depends." Some businesses and products are so straightforward; they don't need a lot of copy to explain them. Some are too complex to explain in 300 words. The most important thing is that you get your point across to readers in the quickest and clearest way possible. How many words that takes really depends on your business.

Writing for Two Audiences

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an extremely popular topic these days and is vitally important to those wishing to bring as many visitors as possible to a Web site. With this in mind, consider that Web page design should not only consider SEO, but also visitor experience. The content should flow easily while reading and be easy for the reader to digest. Overuse of keywords, called stuffing a page, can interrupt the natural flow of the words and make reading awkward. Visitors will not read far on a page if wording is stilted and choppy.

To make content easy for visitors to read, break it into manageable portions. Include in-depth, high-quality content without unnecessary verbiage. Web site visitors will not stay on your page long if it seems they have to wade through wordy, complex text.

Relevant photos or simple graphic design elements can be placed between or alongside chunks of text to avoid making visitors feel as if they are reading an online book. Your goal should be to make sure the Web site contains attention-grabbing content that is not boring and that also gets the business message across. Embed links that call the visitor to action throughout the content. Position the links near high-attention language that will guide the reader to key points about business mission, services or products. Links to other sites can be included that may serve to build the authority of the Web site or message.

Successful Web sites keep the home page to a moderate length, but quality, in-depth content that gets the point across is key. Many elements work together to make an attractive page where visitors wish to linger. Design, graphics, structure and color all play into a page's first impression with a visitor. For that visitor to become a reader and actually ingest the page message, the content must be clear, concise and to-the-point.

About the Author

Samantha Gluck has had more than a decade of experience helping businesses better focus their Web sites to enhance ecommerce and Internet presence by utilizing Web analytics, relevant design elements, and marketing campaigns.

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