4 Dangerous Mistakes Web Designers Make When Presenting Content

4 Dangerous Mistakes Web Designers Make When Presenting Content

Everybody these days knows that content is king. No website ever sold anything without content to persuade its readers to buy. And it’s the job of the web designer to present that content as effectively as possible.

Unfortunately, presenting content to sell well is kind of glossed over in web design school. Most designers don’t know a lot about it. In fact, most designers don’t even know they don’t know. And nowhere is this more evident than on their own websites.

Mistakes Web Designers Make When Presenting Content
Image credit: Abd Al-Raham Al-Terkit

Today, I’ll run through four of the major content presentation mistakes freelance web designers often make – errors which can kill the effectiveness of your site’s content. By learning about these mistakes, you can not only avoid them yourself and get better returns from your own website, but you can also provide a lot of extra value to your clients by advising them on these issues. And if you take the time to learn further, you’ll have the ability to really set yourself apart as a designer.

The Four Mistakes

  1. Taking up valuable headline space with a “GFI”.
  2. Setting main content at sizes smaller than 16px.
  3. Using too many pages.
  4. Leaving readers hanging.

Let’s get right into it, and take a look at why these things can scuttle an otherwise promising site.

1. Taking Up Valuable Headline Space With a GFI

A GFI is a Generic Friendly Introduction. It’s the term I use to describe the welcome messages you see on every third or fourth freelance designer’s site. I won’t name any names, but you know the ones. They’re set in a large font, and they say something like, “Hi! I’m a web designer with a passion for web standards, and something else specific yet unlikely, which I mention to sound unique but is really kind of obvious.”

Headline

Why Is a GFI So Bad?

Firstly, it’s generic. It’s meant to seem personable and unique, but in reality it’s so overused that it just seems lazy and thoughtless. It tends to create the opposite impression in a prospect than it’s meant to.

Secondly, it’s friendly – but prospects aren’t coming to your site to be your friend! They’re coming to see if you can help them with a problem they have. A GFI focuses on you. But there’s only one thing your prospect cares about and that’s his/her problem. You should be talking about this, and about how you can solve it – not about yourself. In short, your big, friendly welcome blurb is costing you clients.

How You Can Fix This

Rework your GFI into a proper headline. Focus on your prospect’s problem, and why you are uniquely qualified to solve it. If you can, provoke his curiosity so that he’s drawn into reading the rest of your text.

If a client ever wants to use a GFI on a site you’re designing, take the opportunity to expand your role in the project from that of a mere designer to a valued adviser. Help him to understand why a GFI is a bad idea. If you can save a client from himself without making him feel foolish, you’ll be a real hero in his eyes – which could mean repeat work, great testimonials, referrals and so on. In time, establishing yourself as an expert consultant means you can command higher fees and better projects.

2. Setting Your Main Content at Less Than 16px

You’re probably wondering about this one. What could possibly be so bad about using a smaller font size than the ridiculously large default? Well let me give you some perspective.

On most computer displays, 16px text displays at about the same size at 12pt printed text. And at least one in ten people has trouble reading printed text that’s smaller than 12pt. That’s the number of people who have poor eyesight but my own experience is that more like one in five adults complain about having to read text at less than 12pt. So how do you think those people feel about 13px text on a screen? Are you willing to have 10% or 20% of your prospects leave your site without reading it, just because it was too hard?

Font Size
Image credit: tuanrobo

I have 20/20 vision (with my glasses on). But when I’m working on my laptop, which has a 15.6 inch 1920×1080 full-HD display, I pretty much always find myself zooming text which is set at 15px or below. It’s just too much of a strain to read otherwise. High resolution laptop displays are becoming increasingly popular, too.

Now sure, your users can zoom. But do you find yourself wanting to zoom text you find hard to read? Or do you find yourself wanting the designer to have made it legible in the first place? Remember, if your prospect can’t read your site easily, he’s going to assume that he’ll have the same problem with any site you design for him. I don’t know about you, but pretty much every client I’ve ever had has wanted to be able to read his own site without difficulty.

How You Can Fix This

Generally speaking, treat any text below 14px as illegible by default. Always set your main content at 100% (16px). You can even go higher if the visual style of your site accommodates it. And don’t forget your line-height. The default single spacing is too narrow to read easily. I find a line-height of 1.5 works pretty well in most cases.

3. Using Too Many Pages

This is another mistake which might have you scratching your head. Yes, I do mean simply having separate pages for things like your services, portfolio – and of course your individual portfolio entries. But this is one mistake which can really make a huge difference to a site and of course it’s a major one you can advise your clients on as well.

Why is breaking up your content bad? Isn’t it a good thing to be able to logically divide everything on your site into sensible, separate pages? I mean, isn’t that what information architecture is all about, for crying out loud?

Pages
Image credit: optikalblitz

Let me answer a question with a question. In usability studies, what happens over the average when you give users the choice to do something? The answer, of course, is that some will and some won’t. So when a prospect must decide to click through to a new page to find information he wants, is that a choice to do something?

You’d better believe it is. And this is really just common sense. After all, how many websites do you visit, then check out the page you land on, scroll down, look at the links and then close it? If you’re like me, it must be heaps.

It could be that the information I wanted – the information that might have even made me a buying customer – was just on another page. But I was checking out my options, and had a dozen other competitors’ pages open at the same time. So I wasn’t in a browsing mood – I was in a buying mood. And when I didn’t find what I needed to make the decision to buy, I closed the page on the assumption that another site would have it. This is exactly the mood that your best prospects are in when they come to your website.

How You Can Fix This

Make sure that everything your prospect needs to choose you is right in front of him. Make sure at least one portfolio piece – your best one – is right out front for him to see. And not a small thumbnail; make it big and bold. Make sure that all the important information about what you do (remember: how you can solve his problem) is in his face straight up. Don’t hide stuff away out of some coy notion of organization or structure. It’s quite possible to organize and structure long homepages. That’s what heading levels and internal anchors were invented for.

Don’t go too crazy with this. Don’t try to cram everything onto your homepage. But think about whether some of your currently separate pages would work better if they were integrated into it.

4. Leaving Readers Hanging

This leads me into the fourth and final mistake I’m going to talk about. You don’t see this as much as you used to, but it’s still a major problem on a lot of sites.

What do I mean by “hanging”? Basically, I mean not giving your reader something to do. If you’ve presented your content right, and your prospects are finding you in the right way to begin with, a good number of them should want to at least talk to you about what you can do for them. Yet, at this crucial point, a lot of designers just stop. The content ends and the reader has to find his own way. If your analytics are showing you a high bounce rate, it could well be simply because you aren’t asking your reader to do anything. So he isn’t.

Call to Action
Image credit: zurbinc

How You Can Fix This

Simple. Use a call to action. Decide what you want your prospect to do, and ask him to do it. Make sure you start your CTA with a verb (that’s an action word for those of you who skipped school) – it’ll almost invariably perform better. And don’t be too proud to start your calls with that old classic, click here – it still generally out-pulls anything else.

Remember that calls to action should not be confined to your homepage. They should appear on every page. Every single part of your website should work toward your overall objective or objectives. For example, your homepage and portfolio items are probably intended to drive conversions. So you might ask your reader to contact you at the bottom of each. On the other hand, you also publish articles to establish yourself as an expert (right?) So on those pages you might ask your reader to share what they’ve been reading via social media. Either way, always have a call to action on every page.

Keep on Learning

These pointers just scratch the surface of a huge topic. Learning more about what encourages sales when you’re presenting content (and what depresses them) can significantly increase your value to your clients – and of course the rates you can command.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to make your content work as hard as it can – as well as what content to include, when, and why – there’s a great deal of good, free information out there. Two that spring to mind are Jakob Nielsen’s Usable Information Technology, which contains a lot of great hard data which you’ll need to interpret through your designer’s lens; and Copyblogger’s landing page tutorials and case studies, which are excellent practical guides.

If you’re really dedicated, you’ll want to dig deep into the world of direct marketing, and particularly online direct marketing. The resources for that are pretty scattered, so I’d suggest our old friend Google. Becoming an expert in this field can be hard work, but the results can be extremely rewarding.

D Bnonn Tennant is known in the boroughs as Information Highwayman – the dashing & debonair copywriting ace and attention-thief for hire. If you want more secrets from the direct response industry for presenting content to maximize conversions.

Comments

  1. / Reply

    These are actually really good tips. I think the first one, GFI, is just a trend that people who are new to the industry tend to do. You’re absolutely right, I’ve always though phrases like “Hi, I’m a web designer” are such hollow statements.

    Great read.

    • div,
    • July 14, 2010
    / Reply

    Very very useful information. A ready reckoner sort of detailed description helps every level of expertise designers.

    Thanks for the Post.

    • Patterson,
    • July 14, 2010
    / Reply

    Fabulous read! Web designers should really follow these great tips. Though I believed that testing is very important here. Thanks for writing this great article Bnonn!

  2. / Reply

    agree- especially with the very first point, freelancer websites are full of big bold ‘hello, i am a super designer and i love everything’ kind of phrases.. however, i would have appriciated more if an example was given to show how to fix this- i mean real example with wordings.

  3. / Reply

    I’m not agree with your first and second point.

    First.
    I’m designing my new site and the first, big, thing that user will see, will be: I’M A WEB DESIGNER.
    Why?
    Because year by year i have noticed that users don’t read content and contact me for works that are not my business, are not described in my services.
    So, first of all, i want that users understand what i am, to ask me the right job.
    It’s not a trend, it’s a part of site, like a form, like a call to action button, with a specific objective.

    Second.
    Partially agree with you: 12px is small. 16px is wrong, like 14px is wrong. The correct size is: as big as the design and the function/position on the site can permit you.
    Every part of layout has a specific weight, a specific function. Bigger or smaller depends only on function they must have.

    This is my opinion, and my experience, obviusly, not dogma, not the only-correct-way.

    1. / Reply

      Francesco, I think you missed the point. This is not about the design. It is about the reader, or the user, if you will. But Bnonn is so 100% spot on; and I say this with all due respect and based on 20+ years of experience in the marketing industry, but designers often care too much about their work, and too little about the target audience.

  4. / Reply

    Nice article. However. What do you mean with the font size less than 16px ?? This article is in 12px !! so you yourself are below 16px. 99% of the internet is below 16px as the main content font size.

    I’m betting you made a mistake and were going to say that the content shouldn’t be below 12px. That would be reasonable and that 12px font size equals around 16pt size in real life. Maybe 14pt.

    1. / Reply

      I didn’t even have to check to know this was 12px, but you are blaming the author for something he has no control over. He wrote the article, he didn’t design this website. Click on his name and visit his site, and then you can call him down if he isn’t doing what he preaches.

      1. / Reply

        his site is content heavy – more like a blog- there it might make sense to have 100pt sized font right on ur face.. but otherwise 12pt works fine.. people can read.

    • Matt,
    • July 14, 2010
    / Reply

    4 Dangerous Mistakes? Nah, those were mostly subjective opinions about how the author believes the web should be presented.

    Here are my 4 Dangerous Mistakes Web Designers Make When Presenting Content:
    1) Presenting Content while riding a Motorcycle without Wearing a Helmet
    2) Presenting Content from within an Alligator Pit
    3) Presenting Content, Eating a Meal, Then Going for a Swim without Waiting a Half Hour
    4) Presenting Content and Falling Asleep Smoking a Cigarette

    Now those are dangerous mistakes, folks.

      • yoyo,
      • July 14, 2010
      / Reply

      actually the worst is:

      writing no-sense comments in a forum and trying to act smart.

        • tonytony,
        • July 14, 2010
        / Reply

        I thought it was funny. And I’d argue that the worst are humorless chumps who don’t enjoy the use of wit & whim on the intarwebs – even in content presentation!

  5. / Reply

    Yeah, the GFI mistake is very common. Even I do it.

  6. / Reply

    I see the importance of all the tips listed. I see these mistakes made every now and then. Truthfully they are a pet peeve at times. Thanks for this!

  7. / Reply

    Hey guys; thanks for your comments. I’m gonna go ahead and assume the blockquote element works in comments, so if it doesn’t…forgive me (:

    Kumar, you said:

    however, i would have appriciated more if an example was given to show how to fix this- i mean real example with wordings.

    It’s a bit tricky to give specific examples, because of course every site is different. Any site with a GFI probably has a unique selling proposition that could be focused on instead. But here are a couple of websites which I think are doing a lot of things right in terms of their introductory copy:

    An interesting one is http://kennymeyers.com/ He almost has a GFI…but I think he turns it around by using the word “ally”. That automatically makes it about the customer, rather than him. I think he should test leading his copy with the second paragraph, and following it with the first (ie, switch them). But that second paragraph is great, great stuff. “You’re overworked, and you need help. I will beat the crap out of these projects for you. You will learn the fine tradition of a weekend.”

    Another, which isn’t a design site but really illustrates the power of great copy coupled with strong design, is http://www.saddlebackleather.com/ Check out the headline: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.” It intrigues you; it probably makes you laugh a bit; and it implies that this stuff not only lasts forever, but is highly coveted. And their story and warranty pages are both hilarious and highly convincing; clearly written by someone with a huge amount of expertise in making leather, and a complete passion for the stuff he produces. And you don’t balk when you see the prices. You expect to pay a lot for such great products.

    Now, in fairness, personality-based copy like that is hard to pull off. But if you can get that much expertise and passion to come across in your words, people will naturally respond. They feel like they just have to have a piece of what you’ve got. Hope this helps a bit

    Francesco, you said:

    First.
    I’m designing my new site and the first, big, thing that user will see, will be: I’M A WEB DESIGNER.
    Why?
    Because year by year i have noticed that users don’t read content and contact me for works that are not my business, are not described in my services.
    So, first of all, i want that users understand what i am, to ask me the right job.
    It’s not a trend, it’s a part of site, like a form, like a call to action button, with a specific objective.

    Second.
    Partially agree with you: 12px is small. 16px is wrong, like 14px is wrong. The correct size is: as big as the design and the function/position on the site can permit you.
    Every part of layout has a specific weight, a specific function. Bigger or smaller depends only on function they must have.

    I’d make the following suggestions here:

    1. If you’re getting a lot of people contacting you for stuff that you don’t do, it’s not because of your headline or your intro. It’s because you’re getting unqualified leads coming to your site in the first place. Remember, you aren’t writing for the people who don’t want your services. You aren’t writing to them at all. You’re writing to the people who do want your services, to persuade them that you’re the best and only choice.

    2. You’re engaging with the scientific facts behind my recommendation of 16px body copy. Yes, some copy can be smaller depending on its function; but anything below 14px is illegible by default for a percentage of your users; and anything below 16px is hard to read for a lot of users. The attitude that “people can read” is really indicative of the problem I’m calling out. The job of the designer is not to impose his own sense of style on users, and make it harder for them to use a site. It’s exactly the opposite of that, actually.

    Now, naturally you shouldn’t just say “well I’m only ever going to use 16px or above”. But you need to be able to justify using smaller sizes given the disadvantages they bring. As always, testing is key.

    Arnór:

    Nice article. However. What do you mean with the font size less than 16px ?? This article is in 12px !! so you yourself are below 16px. 99% of the internet is below 16px as the main content font size.

    I’m betting you made a mistake and were going to say that the content shouldn’t be below 12px. That would be reasonable and that 12px font size equals around 16pt size in real life. Maybe 14pt.

    As someone pointed out, I didn’t design this site. I noted with some irony when I wrote the article that it would be set at 12px; but what can I do? (: And no, 12px text on screen is definitely not the same size as 12pt text printed. It’s much smaller. 16px text on screen is approximately the same size as 12pt printed, as you can see in the photo on Information Architects’ article ‘The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard’ (naturally this varies based on screen size; the higher the resolution and the smaller the screen, the smaller 16px renders).

    • Grayson,
    • July 15, 2010
    / Reply

    Great follow up, Bnonn! Now I’m beginning to see and understand more about this article. Those reference were especially helpful.

  8. / Reply

    Good points you give here but I’m not sure about the font size. I personally like big font sizes and 16px does look good on a 1920×1080 screen. However on a 1024×768 it just looks too big. About the “The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard” reference, it also depends on how far away from the screen you sit. While that is true to some it might not be to others.

    I’d say that the best font size is also dependent on the target visitors so while you take hight for being able to change the font size in the design in the future, right now it should be implemented based on visitor statistics.

    Anyway, your article gave me the impulse to A/B test font sizes right now so thats what I’m gonna do :)

    Thanks!

  9. / Reply

    Uhm, not sure at all to “you aren’t writing for the people who don’t want your services”.
    I mean: i’m writing for people that want my services, sure, but also foe people who don’t want.
    In italy internet culture is a bit different, people don’t use information, or search result correctly. So i have to do what the don’t have do before: scan results, choose the correct results, and so on. I think i coud make an A/B test. My idea, your suggestion, and then decide ;)

    About the size: i’m not speaking about readability, although 16 px is maybe too big for small resolution. I’m speaking about importance of elements, OVER, the readability. The role of designer is to guide user to a speciic action (the goal of the site). Sure it’s best to read a font with 14px size rather than 12, but you have to know, as a designer, where is necessary a 14, where a 16, and so on. Honestly, 16px, is maybe too big for screen, at every resolution. try a 14px, with 1.4em line-height, and i think is easy to read like a 16. It could be interesting to write an article on effective size and perceived size.

  10. / Reply

    Hey Patrik, well, I meant to add at the end of my last comment: always test everything. The mistakes I list in this article aren’t absolute; sometimes something may work when it shouldn’t, or won’t work when it should. I’d be real interested to know the results of your split test—I hope you’ll post them here? I’m always keen for new data.

    Francesco: that’s interesting to know about internet culture in Italy. Your results will obviously vary in cases where it’s hard to qualify leads. That said, I’d still say that you should always write directly to a very particular person: your ideal prospect. If you really want to speak to him, you have to, you know, speak to him. Again, I’d be interested in the results of your split test.

    As regards font-size, I can say for sure that (for my own part) I would rather read 16px text than 14px at 1920×1080—whether I’m working on my 23″ screen or my 15.4″ laptop. I have my minimum font size set to 14px just because otherwise I find myself hunching and squinting at my screen after working online for a few hours. As I say, I have 20/20 vision when I’m wearing my glasses (which I always am)—so how must people with poor eyesight feel? Remember, about 10% of the population has quite poor eyesight.

    While you and I may be used to reading small text online, and while larger text might look “too big” to us because of the de facto standard we’re accustomed to, I wonder how someone who’d never been exposed to anything but 16px sizes would feel when confronted with (for instance) the text on this website. My guess is he’d think it looked “too small”, and hard to read! Remember that what you’re used to makes a bit impact on what you think looks “wrong”. In many African tribes, fat women are beautiful—they’d think Jessica Alba was ugly. Imagine!

  11. / Reply

    I understand that it’s good to have easy to read font on a content heavy websites. Size isn’t everything though. You can solve a lot of readability issues by choosing the right font for the job and giving the line enough height. Contrast and colors between the text and the background is another thing to keep in mind. Having the right resolution on your screen matters as well. The highest setting may not always be the best for you if you are having trouble reading.

    • Lisa,
    • July 15, 2010
    / Reply

    I completely disagree with #2. Setting the website font to 16px is horrible for the other 11 people who see fine. I know two people who battle to read the small text so their monitors are set to huge, 800×600 or whatever, so ulitmately they read the smaller fonts. Half-blind people need to accommodate themselves, not make the whole Internet accommodate them. If this article was at 16px, it would be HUGE long and ugly for the rest of us. 12px is perfect and elegant.

  12. / Reply

    Concise and to the point Bnonn – you don’t pull any punches. I like your ‘tell it like it is’ attitude (which is still professional). And this article is full of really useful tips and valid points too.

    When I first seen the GFI stuff, as a designer I liked the new typographic tend, but as a user I can’t help but think that its a lot of wasted space.

    Points two and three are EXTREMELY important usability points – make life easier for the end user – and points that I will definitely be taking on board!

    And of course point 4, turning your visitors into cold-hard cash – with something that is so easy to implement, why would you put in the time to add some call-to-actions on everything page?

    Great stuff. Thanks Bnonn.

  13. / Reply

    okay

    I admit……….. i did first one in my site…. But for me its really require. Forget about web-designers/web-gurus my potential clients wouldn’t be in same filed ie.web . it really doesn’t matter :)

    Thanks

  14. / Reply

    I can’t say I agree entirely with the first point – it shouldn’t be a mistake. Rather, it is simply a tool which, like any other tool, could be used poorly or effectively.

    Perhaps it is being used poorly on the majority of websites, however the GFI is like an elevator pitch. If done right, it is an effective marketing tool – but I agree that people tend to make them very generic, but where people have made it both entertaining and informative, I think it’s a brilliant element to my opening impression of a website.

    “People come to your website to problem-solve.” I agree. But I might argue that part of the process involves reassuring all your doubts about who can and can’t do it. After all, they are probably worrying of their pending (often large) investment. So I believe stating the obvious “this guy is a web designer” reassures them and helps their decision process, even ever so slightly.

    This is especially so on a lot of designer’s websites, where the front page usually has little text, and a lot of graphics (presumably their portfolio works) – it may be “obvious” to us this is a designer’s website, but they may want to be sure, they may have simpler, obvious questions that I find are rarely answered properly on sites like those. Or at least on the front page.

    Questions like: is this site only a showcase/gallery? Does the person specialize in web design, or is it just to compliment his specialization in print design? Is all his work done by himself? Is all his work standards compliant? Yadda yadda.

    I’m sure, all of which can be addressed other ways, like including a “hire me” section of some sort, or “about me” pages – but this falls under #3 – don’t use too many pages. But if you still need to, a GFI seems like one simple way to concisely reinforce the reader’s suspicions from the front page, no?

    Although, I have seen GFI’s that grow past 3 lines long in 72-pt type, taking up more than half the space above or just meeting the fold: Off with their heads! XD

    * * *
    All that aside, I agree completely with your other points, a great article :D

    Cheers!

  15. / Reply

    Hey Henrik, I think we’re actually on the same page (: You seem to be saying that if a GFI isn’t generic, then it isn’t necessarily bad. Well, I agree—but of course if it ain’t generic, it ain’t a GFI either (:

    Check out my first comment; you’ll see I link to Kenny Meyers’ site as an example of some very good web copy. He starts with a big heading saying “I’m an agency ally”. But that’s not a GFI. That’s just a good headline that happens to introduce him at the same time. Of course, it wouldn’t be awfully effective without the other two paragraphs beneath it. As you say, you gotta let your prospect know he’s in the right place, and answer all those questions he’s got. As Kenny’s site demonstrates, you really need a bit more copy than your basic intro allows to do that.

      • soul,
      • August 17, 2010
      / Reply

      why do you use font size for this content smaller than 16px?
      Are you defying your own words?

  16. / Reply

    Excellent Article, Added to favs, keep up the good work.

  17. / Reply

    Excellent article, some really great tips.

    I’ve just redesigned some of my current company website and have taken most of this on board.

  18. / Reply

    Really nice article! Especially the “Setting main content at sizes smaller than 16px.” Is an fault I see a lot! In the past I did not much attention to this all, now it is almost main priority in our webdesign at http://www.smokingcow.com ! But it is of-course a lot of work when the website is already there!

  19. / Reply

    Some excellent points D Bonn. Concerning the third point, having too many pages, I think this is often done to benefit search. People who have done their homework on using keywords know that a good place to put them is in URLs, so having pages like: …/products/my-product-name/ are beneficial. I’m not saying it’s advisable to create pages if there isn’t enough content to support it, but I understand why people might go that route.

  20. / Reply

    it made me to change some of my approach in designing…

  21. / Reply

    It’s nice to see an article that is fresh, useful and new. Thank you. There’s some really good advice there and IT IS ORIGINAL advice. I’m tired of reading the same 5 articles chopped and changed.

    Well done D Bnonn Tennant for raising the bar. I’ll be dropping in on your blog from time to time.

  22. / Reply

    I have to disagree with some of your conclusions.
    15 years experience designing websites has taught me differently.

    I agree with the large generic welcoming text.
    This should be used to present your keywords. Google wants relevance.
    Putting your primary keyword phrase in tags tells Google it is the most relevant text on teh page. Putting it in the largest text on the page tells the visitor it’s relevance.

    Font size I disagree with.
    Anything over about 14 px bold can be seen as images, not text.
    This is a trick of the brain. Left brain and right brain users will see the large text differently.

    If you want something read, make it small. 10 point Verdana is ideal.
    You capture the reader’s attention with the large keyword relevant headlines and if the text is too small for them they WILL zoom in on it.

    There is no such thing as too many pages.
    Each page is a new chance at top placement in the search results.
    Multiple pages in one topic is following Google’s suggestions that information be in “silo” form.

    Calls to action are most important.
    You attract people using the keyword phrases they use in their search.
    You reinforce their feelings that they have landed on the correct page by repeating their keyword phrase.

    You lead them into the page’s categories by a slightly smaller font size positioned in the left of the hot-spot, then you lead them with anchor text to internal pages.

    Once on the internal pages you can give them one or two choices.
    1), More Information -> Links on the more information page to outside sources. (Opens in new window).
    2), Buy Now. -> Add to Cart -> Contact Us -> Sign Up For (your choice).

    A page needs to be finished. A call to action does that.

    I would add another Mistake to the pack.
    #5, Presenting content from a supplier centric viewpoint.
    ” I am, – We do, – We Supply, – Our employees are the most talented, caring, sensitive human beings on the planet, – Our widgets are the best, the cheapest, the biggest….etc

    Content should be presented from a benefit viewpoint first.
    If people are looking for your services you need to tell them why.

    It is like the old saw about speeches.
    Tell them what you are going to tell them.
    Tell them.
    Tell them what you told them.

    best,
    Reg

  23. / Reply

    Hi Bnonn,
    these were really practical tips for enhancing a website esp. for the end user. I particularly liked #1 & #4, which I had not really focused on from a potential customer’s point of view.

    I plan on putting your advice about having a CTA on every web page to good use for higher conversions. I will also put in a direct, value oriented welcome address especially targeted for visitors who will be motivated to hire my services as opposed to simply having a polite intro about what I can do :-) That is, highlight user benefit as opposed to listing team talents.

    Thanks for an insightful article.

    D. Figg
    (Freelance writer)

  24. / Reply

    Reg, I’m afraid we’re going to have to agree to disagree. Especially over the notion that smaller text invites reading, while larger text is perceived as “images” (and thus doesn’t get read? You don’t read text in images?) Testing simply proves otherwise. You also wouldn’t use points to set a font size on the web, so I’m not sure why you say 10pt Verdana is best. The fact is that if you want the maximum readership, you have to design for maximum legibility.

    D. Figg, I’m glad you found this article helpful. Since you’re planning to reworking your site’s content to focus on user benefits, you’ll probably get a lot of value out of another article I wrote: How persuasive is your website’s copy? A simple, five-step checklist.

    Kind regards,
    Bnonn

  25. / Reply

    Remember to create professional mockups of your web designs. Sending screenshots is not acceptable and will cause confusion with inexperience clients. Your designs should always be presented in a browser, with a background. Use a website like hostedpreviews.com if you do not have any coding experience.

  26. / Reply

    Bnonn,

    Eye tracking studies have shown that smaller text gets read more thoroughly than large.

    The Eye Tracker III study states:

    “Want people to read, not scan? Consider small type”

    The Eyetrack III researchers discovered something important when testing headline and type size on homepages: Smaller type encourages focused viewing behavior (that is, reading the words), while larger type promotes lighter scanning. In general, our testing found that people spent more time focused on small type than large type. Larger type resulted in more scanning of the page — fewer words overall were fixated on — as people looked around for words or phrases that captured their attention.

    Studies have also shown that text in graphics is not read.
    Readers have a large bias toward image blindness.

    One of my clients had a site where the primary headings were words made into graphics and none on his team of developers noticed that a primary industry keyword was incorrectly spelled.

    I gave font size as an absolute to define the size.
    I used Verdana as it is a font designed to be read on monitors.

    best,
    Reg
    http://www.nbs-seo.com

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