August 1st, 2007
Editing your site’s content can be an exhaustive and time-consuming job. However, it’s absolutely critical to your site’s success. In her great new book, Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, Ginny Redish gives several helpful guidelines that design teams should keep in mind when working on their site’s key messages.
Give users what they need.
Your users probably don’t care about the history of your project. Nor do they want a flashy intro page welcoming them to your site. If this content is important to you but not to your users, it needs to be either cut entirely, dropped to the bottom of the page, or set aside in a link to another page. Knowing what your users value creates value for your site.
Cut! Cut! Cut! And cut again!
Most web users don’t want to read a lot of content. Instead, they want to be able to visit your website, grab the information they need, and move on. Read aloud what you’ve written: does it convey all the information your users want or need in a concise way? If not, don’t be afraid to cut it! Pink is the new black, iPhone is the new Razr, and less is the new more.
Begin with the key point.
I know this goes against everything you were taught in high school or college writing; trust me, I was an English major. While we’re used to the traditional style of writing as intro, body, and conclusion, this narrative style will not serve your users well. Instead, begin with your main point, and follow it with any supporting information you feel will be relevant to your users.
Ginny is an expert we recommend all the time to clients looking to write successful web content. If you haven’t checked out Ginny’s book yet, I highly recommend you take the time to read it.
Do you spend a lot of effort editing the words on your site? How does your team assess what content is valuable to your users?Tweet