Good web design is about good writing; don’t buy any nonsense to the contrary. The online experience is primarily a reading experience. Why? Users want information fast and reading short messages is far faster than watching video. Text loads faster and, when written effectively, communicates information much faster than video. And the second reason that text is king is that computers are basically stupid. Computers understand nothing. But they are extraordinarily good at matching things that are the same or similar to each other, so the entire structure of finding anything on the Internet is based on matching strings of text characters. When it comes to getting found online, text rules.
Spend your web design dollars on words
Hiring a good writer who understands your business advantage and how search engine optimization works is a far better way to spend your web design budget than on a graphic designer or web developer who lacks those skills. How can you tell? Go to their website and read the copy. Can you understand what they’re saying? Are you swayed by their arguments? Is the copy fun or informative? How’s the spelling? Is the writing awkward? This last consideration may be due to a poor writer trying to work in keyword phrases to optimize the page for search. A good writer will shape the content so that keywords are part of the natural flow of the language. As a point of differentiation between web development companies, quality writing should be a key consideration for any business.
The final word is “user-experience”
Nobody ever leaves a web page because they don’t like the font choice or the background color of a banner. If your website lacks animated dropdown menus, you won’t lose a single contact opportunity. But if you don’t immediately let people know what your business is selling and how it might help them, they will leave your site. Your product or service may be the best in the business, but if you don’t communicate how it can help your web page visitor solve her problem, you might as well be selling mud because nobody will buy it. Good writing engages a reader’s imagination—their ability to foresee a positive outcome from using your service. All the other aspects of web design, from the code to the bells and whistles, are there to support this most fundamental necessity. Ignore the written word, and the Internet will ignore you.
A Note About the Author:
Scott Pelland, President of AIM, earned a Masters Degree from Brown University in Creative Writing and has 20 years of experience writing consumer review and marketing copy for Nintendo, where he was the Publications Director. For the past several years, he has concentrated on blogging and developing effective online marketing copy techniques.