However great your product or competitive your prices, one of the hardest tasks associated with website upkeep is creating content that is compelling. Great content succeeds not only in winning over new visitors, but also keeps that traffic stalled on the page upon arrival. The only way to ensure that those visitors stick around is with compelling content that satisfies their original search query and holds their interest beyond the initial fact-finding mission.
A new visitor will usually find a website either by typing a series of keywords into a search engine and clicking on a result or by following a link from another website. Upon arrival at the landing page, they will scan through the presented information to find what they are looking for. But how do you keep that visitor on your page long enough for them to find the desired information, browse the catalogue, read a product description, or purchase an item or service?
Match Content To Purpose
Blocks of text are generally quite off-putting for browsers, as most do not have the time or patience to trawl through large chunks of writing to find what they are looking for. It’s important to remember that on-screen reading is different to reading text in a book, newspaper, or magazine. If you present your readers with large amounts of text to scroll through, you’ll often find that a large percentage will hit the back button and try another site. This is not always true, as some pages will be text heavy by their nature – it is expected that a scholarly article, a white paper, or product manual will be text-heavy, for example. Likewise, the written word is a very powerful SEO tool, so you may have already commissioned a copywriter to produce substantial chunks of text for you. If that is the case, all is not lost as there are tips and tricks which you can implement to make your content more eye-catching and compelling.
Use Standard Formatting Techniques
The way you format text will play a big role in determining bounce rates on a page and its interest factor to readers. Breaking up text-heavy pages with headings and subheadings can really make a difference to the appearance of a page and, therefore, the way that it is consumed by the reader. Headers are also a useful on-page optimization technique, so incorporating them will improve the all-round performance of the page.
Use H1 headings at the top of the page to give a sense of the theme of the article and then H2 headers or ‘subheaders’ throughout. Subheaders break a page up into manageable chunks, so use an H2 header or subheader to identify changes in topic. This will aid the user by allowing them to scroll down to the header that most resembles what they are looking for and then read information in that section. If you’re not sure when or how to use subheaders, pick up a couple of newspapers and study some of the larger articles for ideas. The subheader is the line in bold used every few paragraphs or so across the middle of the column.
Use Relevant Links
If you are familiar with SEO techniques, you may already be using internal links on some sections of text within your site. Extending the use of links in text to a relevant secondary page within the site will help to make your content more compelling and relevant to the user. Some users may even click through to the second page before reading that larger chunk of text. Format the anchor text so that it contains useful information and to help the reader decide if following the link is more likely to answer their question than staying on the current page.
Use Bold And Italic
PPC advertisers will be familiar with the impact of picking our key phrases in bold, as keywords included in PPC advert text are formatted to appear in bold by most search engines. Used sparingly, bold text on a page can help the reader to orient themselves within the information and when scanning through to pick out the most salient points of that article or body of text. Bold text catches the eye in the same way a header does, encouraging the reader to stick with the page and read on.
Keep Content Current
A sure-fire way to make website content compelling is to ensure that it is up to date. That can mean going to the trouble of adding news items on a regular basis or simply updating popular pages to reflect changing legislation or product availability. An easy way to lose a potential client is to keep outdated text on a site – when a visitor lands on that page you instantly lose trust and potentially a sale. Most will simply click back through to the search results in order to find a more up-to-date, reliable site.
Consider Images, Video And Feedback
If you’ve tried adding bold, links, and headings but still find that the content fails to resonate with new visitors, try adding images and video to make the page more eye-catching. The use of these multimedia elements will make the page immediately more visually enticing. If you use images and video to illustrate key points in the text and space them out throughout the page, you encourage readers to continue scrolling through the information.
Images and video also provide a safety net, in that those who really do not want to read lots of text onscreen can get a sense of the page from the multimedia content and will be less likely to bounce straight off to a rival website.
If all else fails and the content on your page is still not compelling visitors to stay or potential customers to buy, invite visitor feedback. Most people love to give their opinion and as your target market, site visitors are better placed than anyone else to tell you what you need to do to pique and retain their attention.