Newbie web designers (and I say this with no disrespect whatsoever), might make the mistake of believing that designing is all about the visual elements. Forget designers that are just starting out, even experienced hands who have been designing for ages, still think it’s the visuals that make a website successful. Now, don’t get me wrong, visuals and designing aesthetics are important, but there is yet another aspect that is making its presence felt, this is effective writing.
Writing,textual content is as important as the images you use, the color that you choose for the background and the layout that you design with such precision. If you give it the importance it deserves, you will have a very successful website on your hands, but if you don’t, the website might just flounder in a highly competitive online world.
Let see why web design strategy might not be successful if you don’t consider ‘writing’ in the scheme of things:
1. Writing Grabs Attention
When you want to grab somebody’s attention in the normal course of events, what is it that you do? You shout, you scream, you surprise, you shock, and you just about do anything and everything to grab the person’s attention.
Now think about how you want to grab attention in the online space, through your website. Yes, images work wonders, but they are not stand alone attention grabbing tools. Its content that helps you grab the attention of website visitors. Catchy attention grabbing content helps you make a point clearly and effectively. You can surprise people with such content or you can even shock them or if you can use it to just interest and engage them.
Think about it for a minute. When you land on particular website pages, what hold’s your attention? Again images are right up there, but don’t the catchphrases and slogans on the banners and sliders grab attention. Of course they do!
But here’s the catch, content must be written well to grab attention.
2. Writing Showcases Credibility
Your target audience will only convert into a paying a customer if your website has any degree of credibility. Now here’s a question for you? How do you create credibility for your site purely through the visual elements alone? I am sure you know of a few ways that can be employed to bring this about? But this cannot happen without the use of textual content.
Well-written, conceptual, factual and engaging content can project the credibility of a site like nothing else can. It’s not necessary to say how good your services are, and how honest you are or how professional you are through your content. You can leverage the credibility potential of your content only if it helps the target audience make an informed decision about your products and services.
3. Writing to Enhance Visual Impact
Think about a web page that only has an image on it. The image is relevant to the purpose of that page, it does create some impact, and it is a high resolution image. Do, you think a visitor coming across a web page which doesn’t have any content in relation to that image, will actually be impressed by it. The answer is a huge No.
An image makes a person think, but content related to the image makes this task easier for the user. When you use an image, there is a chance that a viewer might not understand what the image is trying to say. The expected reaction from a viewer and the thinking an image puts in motion, might be different from what you expected it to be. A nice little sentence, placed right next to the image will go a long way in guiding the viewer’s thought in the right direction.
Writing qualifies the design, and also enhances its impact. If you place an image because you want the user to laugh when he views it, its impact can be enhanced if you place a humorous one liner right next to it.
What constitutes effective writing?
Now that you know why effective writing needs to be a part of your web design strategy, let’s take a look at what effectively writing for the web is all about.
Firstly, you must focus on short text blocks, wrapped around images, wherein the important points are italicized or made bold. Secondly, you must use short concise phrases that allow you to get to the point quickly. Thirdly, you must make sure that the reader is able to scan your writing, and pick from it the important points quickly. And fourthly, and most importantly, use words that everybody can understand. Simplicity is the best policy here.
There are writers who while writing website content, go overboard with their writing, wherein they don’t know where and when to stop. Long blocks of content are used, that after sometimes fail to keep the user’s attention from veering away. These are the kind of writing pitfalls that need to be avoided.
If you cut right down to it, your website’s design is a coming together of visuals and textual content. It’s how well that you mix the both of them together that differentiates successful websites from unsuccessful ones. Don’t overwhelm website visitors with textual content. Try to find a balance between its uses with visuals and apply this balance consistently throughout the website.