How to design an effective webpage
What are the 5 most important things on a webpage?
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.
When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.
– David Ogilvy
Each webpage has to work for both search engines and people. You need enough on-point copy on a page to highlight strategic keywords for which you wish your site to rank in search results. Even if you show up #1 in Google, your page won’t convert a visitor into a sale if they get bored after the first paragraph.
Before you write a single word of page copy, you must have a goal. What’s this page going to talk about? What action do you want the reader to take if they scan or read the page? What impression and message do you want the reader to remember when they leave this page? How will you know you have been successful in achieving your goals?
Webpage META tags
You should create a clear and concise TITLE and DESCRIPTION statement for each page. Also, write an “intention script”. TITLE is 5-9 words sumarizing what the page is about. It’s also the phrase that shows in many browers at the top, above the address/URL bar. It’s the default phrase describing the link when you Bookmark the page. Most importantly, it’s the clickable first line representing your webpage in a Search engine results page.
The DESCRIPTION is 2-4 short sentences which tell more about what the reader can expect when they click into the page. Often, the DESCRIPTION is the text immediately under the TITLE in your search result listing. Here you can use a couple more keywords to influence the search engines, but more importantly, motivate the viewer to click your link.
KEYWORDS meta tag is no longer considered by Google, since it had been so horribly abused in the past. Never the less, I still find it useful as a sort of “scratch pad” on which I record the most important keyword phrases thsi page should cover. If it’s not on this page, don’t put it in the KEYWORDS list. If there’s something important on the list that doesn’t really fit on the page, create another page/post for that phrase and link it to this page. Your KEYWORDS list can later be harvested to supply CATEGORIES and TAGS for your individual posts, which will provide alternative ways for people to search your site for things in which they may interest.
The Intention Script describes what you consider the most important parts of your page, what you want the reader to do and what sorts of things you might measure in Google Analytics to measure the success or failure of this page. It can be a simple paragraph or two or even a bullet point outline of what you consider important about this page, how it is relevant to your Buyer Persona person and what you wish them to do next.
Your webpage Needs One and Only One Clear Goal:
So what is your goal for this page or blog post?
- Can you clearly and simply state one goal for this page in a short paragraph? To many goals water’s down the power and effectiveness of your page and can confuse or frustrate your reader. K.I.S.S.! (Keep it simple, sweetheart!)
- How is this page different and unique than others on the site?
- How does it tie in with the overall goal and theme of the site?
- How does it address the needs, desires and wants of the User Persona you have built for describing your audience?
- What action are you trying to persuade your readers to take?
- Is anything on the page distracting visitors from that goal?
- Is there anything that needs to be added to anticipate “resistance points” to help people move forward through your site to the action you wish them to take?
Capturing interest is more important than being “creative” and clever. Every headline, image, subject line etc. should tie back to your buyer persona and be able to persuade such a person to take action. Be willing to put “innovative copy ideas” aside if they are boring to read. Create, concise, to-the-point copy that is relevant to this person’s interests.
Make your copy personable, believable, conversational, maybe even humorous but certainly relevant. You will only have 6 seconds to capture their interest and get them to read on past the first sentence or paragraph. Deliver a perception of authority and value to this person and you are more likely to convert them into a customer or client.
In your mind’s eye, picture the person you have defined in your Buyer Persona. Imagine they are in the room with you and reacting to the copy you are writing. How would this person react to your content and the layout of this page? Does it make sense to them? Does it answer their questions? Does it provide value? Does it have a clear call to action and make it easy to do that action? Does it reward the person for taking an action? Does it present benefits rather than merely list features? Do any and all images and pictures support rather than detract from the main message and topic of that page?