Welcome to another Tuesday Tip Video Clip. This week, we’re going to discuss how to format your website’s content so that it’s easier for your customers to read.
I’ve got five different ways your writing might be turning customers away, and how you can fix each of them right away. Ready?
Number five: don’t write in all caps. WRITING IN ALL CAPS IS LIKE YELLING, and you’d never yell at your customers, would you? We understand needing to emphasize a point, and putting one or two words in caps is fine. But when you emphasize everything by writing in all capital letters, it’s hard to read. Some people write in all caps out of laziness, but if you’re going to spend the time writing something, don’t you want people to read it? Writing in capital letters turns customers off, and can be interpreted as a spam signal by Google. Instead of ending a paragraph with “ACT TODAY – OFFER ENDS THIS FRIDAY!”, put that sentence in its own paragraph. Make it an H1 or an H2 so it stands out.
Number four: don’t use too many different sizes of text, or text that’s too small or too large. Take a hint from magazine publishing – it’ll have a large headline, and maybe a few lines of text that are larger, but most of the words are a uniform size. This makes it easier to read, but also makes it easier to see which points are being emphasized. Just like all caps, mutliple font size changes on every page looks pretty spammy to search engines.
Number three: don’t use more than two colors. It’s tempting to use multiple colors to make different things stand out, but your site isn’t a coloring book. Think back to those magazines – they don’t look like a box of crayons barfed all over their pages. You want people to read what you’ve written, which means you have to be gentle on their eyes. Stick to one primary color that has a high contrast with the background, like black text on a white screen. This should be the default font color on your site. If you need a second color, make sure it’s got a good contrast, and one that matches the color scheme of your site. Red text on a blue background? Bad. Blue text on a black background? Bad. Yellow text on an orange background? Gag. Trust me, it doesn’t make your customers say “wow, that text stands out so much i have to call now!” – it’s annoying and hard to read.
Number two: don’t overuse bold, italics, and the underline. Think of them like condiments. You wouldn’t salt your entire meal, and you wouldn’t use ketchup, mustard, and mayo on everything. Use them sparingly, and only where they’re needed to make your writing a little more flavorful. Too much bolding, italics, and underlining just makes everything look messy.
Number one: don’t have giant blocks of text with no breaks. The Enter key is your friend. You don’t need a break after every sentence, but separate different thoughts, or use spaces to emphasize your point like we talked about earlier. If you’re unsure, use the Enter key more than you think you should. Customers can read small chunks of text faster than they can take in long paragraphs. You don’t have much time to grab their attention, and putting spaces in dramatically improves your chances of communicating more to your customers.
Virtual high five – you just learned how to avoid the five formatting fails that we see most often. Got something to add? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and let us know. Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you again next week.