Give people what they come to your website for

Give people what they come to your website for

Most important thing I can tell you: find out what people come to your website for, and give them that. 
- Use as few words as you can. 
- Do NOT assume that a general reader has the background information that you know. 
- Speak their language. If you want the general public, write short, simple, and clear. 
- Design and organize so that people can follow your short, simple, clear words to do what they came to do.

If you have a small business – local restaurant, physio practice, small store – people want the obvious first. That is, contact, where you are, and when you are open. After that, say what is the best thing or service they will get from you. Then give your credentials.

If you are a government service, people want to know who can get the service. If they can get it, they want to know how. After that, you can talk about what the service actually is.

If you are a non-profit service like the United Way or a local charity, people need to know who you serve and what you can give them. If they qualify and you offer what they need, go ahead and tell them what is important and interesting and unique. 

If you are a non-profit that looks after the earth or its people, use the first instructions on this blog and tell a story. Use as few words as possible; keep it simple. Visuals tell great stories.

If your website is for people who have a common language, like engineers, use your language. Do assume that people know what you know. HOWEVER, you still need to be simple, direct, and clear, in your wording and your design. People come to get information or do a task. Get them where they need to go and give them the simple words that let them do what they came to do.

When you find a website that works for you, stop and look at what makes it work.

That’s all for today.

About the Author

Gwen Davies wrote 5 Keys to Building a Clear and Usable Website to curate the information online on clarity and usability. She draws on 30 plus years of work in plain language.