Optimizing Page Content

Use the inverted pyramid

The classic academic writing format is like a pyramid, starting with background information, educating the reader as they work their way up to the pinnacle where they uncover the conclusion.

Online readers prefer an inverted pyramid style, so that the first paragraph includes the most important information and summarizes the page content. This format works well for several reasons:

  • Readers get the most important information quickly, without having to read the entire contents of the page.
  • In a matter of seconds, readers will decide whether or not they will find the information they seek on the page.
  • Readers can explore a topic to the depth that they choose without being forced to read through information they may consider irrelevant.
  • If readers are interested in learning more, they can scroll for more information.

When you write...

  • Keep it short: short words, short sentences, short paragraphs, short pages.
  • Reduce content used in print materials when migrating to the web.
  • Use one idea to build each paragraph.
  • Write for your audience. Consider your site visitors and what information they are seeking.
  • Write for an international audience. The Web is a a global, multicultural environment. Students come to Seminole State from many countries around the world.
  • Write in plain language and avoid complex terms.
  • Bold key words to draw the reader's eye to relevant information.
  • Don't underline text. Underlined text is perceived as a hyperlink.

Use bulleted lists

  • Instead of burying key points inside paragraphs, pull them into a list.
  • Use numbered lists when explaining instructions that need to be performed in sequence.
  • In most cases, you can start each bulleted item with a capital letter.
  • It is not necessary to use periods after short phrases or single words in a list if the introductory statement is grammatically complete.
  • Avoid semicolons. Use periods after independent clauses, dependent clauses, or long phrases that are displayed on separate lines in a list.
  • Avoid exclamation marks.

Consider your call to action

  • As you develop content for each page of your site, consider what the objective or goal of each page is. This is where the call to action comes in.
  • What do you want your reader to do once they have looked at your site/page? Contact an advisor, register for an information package, apply to a program?
  • Always be thinking of the users' next step and make it easy for them to get there.

Landing pages

Think of your landing page as a summary of the section. From your landing page, users should be able to quickly get to the area that contains the information they seek. The primary area of landing pages should be used to highlight the two or three key services or offerings with a call-to-action linking the user to more information.

Scrolling is ok if content is relevant

Users don‘t mind scrolling if the information is coherent and formatted for ease of scanning. For example, users prefer to scroll a lengthy news article on a single page than click on links to read multiple pages.


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