Improving web content: First let’s kill the banter

4 Feb

Kill the banter.

Is there anything worse than poor web content? How about aggressively reducing your reputation with banter content? Welcoming readers and telling them how delighted you are to announce a launch.

“Welcome to our site! Oh, we hope you find its improved design helpful.”

Not helpful. Anything less than a direct appeal to readers’ intelligence and limited time will be wasted effort. Introductory text on landing pages is often much too long. It should be a bull’s-eye to actionable content. Instead, it’s often a very obvious reminder of another website to avoid.

Increase usability

Brief introductions increase usability by explaining the purpose of the remaining web content. But keep it brief. Introductory paragraphs are usually one block of web writing that users are determined to skip. Their eyes are eager to move to actionable content:

  • Bulleted lists
  • Product features
  • Hypertext links

Remember that people only care about answering their questions and solving their problems as quickly as possible so they can leave your website. It’s nothing personal. They’re just being efficient.

Scale of content negatives

  1. Banter content
  2. Bad content
  3. No content

Readers consume so very little on web pages that wasting word count on happy banter is criminal.

Cut the banter and cut to the chase.

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5 Responses to “Improving web content: First let’s kill the banter”

  1. Melanie February 4, 2010 at 4:22 am #

    Such a great point. Thanks!

  2. J. Todd Bennett February 17, 2010 at 6:32 am #

    Nice! I’d also add mission statements. Not exactly banter, but not what people care to read on your home page either. Also hate when people try to tell you how to use a website in their banter…”We have provided a lot of useful links to pages of good content. To get started, click the links on the left hand side!”

  3. Jeri Hastava March 10, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    According to Jakob Nielsen, “On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.” Certainly no time for “banter.” 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] Resist the urge to ‘proudly announce’ and ‘share special offers.’ […]

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    […] expect your first two options be “praise or compliments” or “comments or feedback.” The welcome banter and legal summary wear you down before discovering option three – […]

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