We have been creating websites for over 20 years and many times we have seen clients ask us for new websites and then request we use the exact same content and assets as their original 10 year old website. So what’s the issue here?
A website can only be as good as its content. We can make it look better, but if the user takes the time to actually peruse the site and read the content, they will discover very quickly that the content is out of date, links are broken and there is too much to read.
The new generation of users are not looking to read paragraphs and paragraphs about an organization, they want quick and easy to digest text snippets with infographic facts and stats interspersed. If you’re not accomplishing this, then chances are the user is not reading your content and you are not connecting with them, resulting in them not caring about your organization. So the question is how can you get the user interested in navigating your website and learning about your organization?
Improve Your Content.
If you don’t care about your content, how can you expect a user to?
Simple things like editing and condensing your content, conducting a photoshoot, providing infographic facts and statistics about your organization and having a blog and updating it regularly are ways that you can help improve user interactions on your website.
Let’s go over why these suggestions help.
Starting with editing, you can do a lot to make your content more coherent. Remove any long and overly complex words and replace them with words that are easier to understand. A verbose vocabulary is marvellous, but you don’t want to confuse the user. Studies show that the most popular websites write their content at a 7th grade level and use words with 3 or less syllables.
Of course, sometimes the content is very complex and you need to use larger words. In these cases it is best to try breaking up your content with graphics that describe what your content is trying to say. Most users are visual learners and will understand what you’re trying to communicate if you provide visuals that go with your content.
Image Above – Colourful graphics can transmit data to the user quicker.
One final thing you can do after editing content and adding graphics to break up the text walls is to create a call to action. Use of a strong emotive graphic that corresponds with the content will motivate the user to learn more about the topic being explained. Most websites do this in the form of social buttons, but very few users will share an entire page on social media. It is far better for the user if the call to action involves doing something rather than simply allowing them to share the page. Give the user something to do is another step for them to take to get involved with your business.
Part of encouraging a user to take action is using emotive photography as a way to relate to them. If your website is full of stock images just to look pretty than you might as well not have them. Your imagery should be of what you do and not vague esoteric images (for example of a person with a headset on). If you want to show that you donate or support a charity, an image of the word donate made out of blocks on a wood background is not relatable to a user, but an image of children at a charity, showing how they use the support that you give. (i.e. children at the charity playing on a donated play structure)
Image Above – An example of poor imagery.
Whenever possible it is highly recommended that you hire a photographer and have a photoshoot. The user wants to see that your organization has people behind it, because people are relatable, so a stock image of a bunch of diverse people doing various jobs, isn’t showing what “your” organization does. At best, it is showing an approximation of something that somebody at your company might do. For non-profit organizations, emotive photography is also a good way to increase the chances that your target audience will donate.
Image Above – Custom photography can be more emotive than regular stock.
Sometimes hiring a photographer and having the photoshoot isn’t a viable option and in those instances stock imagery is around for a reason! In cases like these, we recommend that if you are going to use stock that you do not use fake stock.
By “fake stock” we are referring to those images that are obviously staged, these images provide nothing visually compelling and the picture is ultimately pointless to your website. However if the images you select for your website convey a sense of community or overcoming adversity, then you are potentially changing the way a user looks at your organization.
This, in turn, gets them more involved emotionally and can lead to them reading and caring more about your content with their new understanding of your organization.
Image Above – Emotive imagery meant to get a point across to the user.
What if your organization is harder to represent visually versus a not for profit?
It might be difficult to find stock images to represent you, however visual infographics are just as compelling to tell the story of your organization. Infographics can be as simple as how many people are in your organization or how many people your organization affects. These kinds of statistics give the user a better understanding of the inner workings of your organization in a very short amount of time and sometimes these infographics can take a 5 paragraph explanation of stats and condense it into an easily readable list of stats with a colourful presentation. This is much easier and quicker for the user to read and understand.
Staying Connected to your User
Alright you’ve updated your content, had a photoshoot to get those emotive and impactful images for your website and have broken up large text blocks of content with interesting infographic statistics and facts, what’s next?
There’s one more thing you can do to increase the quality of the content on your website. That’s to make a blog or news section. If you want the user coming back to your website, you have to look like you are active.
Image Above – You can start in Word and port your posts over to your website.
Posting a weekly or monthly news/blog post accomplishes this and gives the user more insight into your organization. You can also include calls to action in these posts that ultimately might result in the user advocating for your organization to all their friends and family.
You never know what might happen when you present a user with easily digestible information that gets them motivated about you.
We hope these suggestions help you to improve your website’s content and that you achieve more user traffic and a better understanding of your user base.