- Reed Alliston
It’s 8:30 PM on a Wednesday night. I’m stretched out across the couch in my PJs, computer in hand. I’m looking for a certain product on the web. I find your site and click on it. I quickly scan your logo at the top of the page – three seconds – followed by a quick glance at the first header.
I then scroll down and attempt to read the thick block of text explaining your services, hoping to end my search for the night.
Ten and out. I hit the x and continue my search, moving on to your competitor’s site.
Web users spend around 10-20 seconds on a site before they bounce. That means the design of your site’s home page not only has to be user-friendly but also must have scannable copy that easily engages consumers so they’ll stay longer and hopefully want to buy your product or service.
So how do you know if your company’s site it formatted for scannability? Ask yourself these three questions.
- Does my website use simple, short paragraphs?
Less is more. You’ve heard it a million times. But are you using it for your website? Long and winding paragraphs will turn off your reader faster than Chipotle can give away free food. Even if there is a lot to say about your product or service, save it.
You want to offer just enough information so that your readers get hooked and want to click on other pages of your site. A tease, if you will. Paragraphs should be no longer than three or four lines. Easy to read. Easy to stay longer. Easy for consumers to understand what it is you offer.
- Does my website use bullet points?
Bullet points have been around forever it seems. Why? Because they’re effective. Bullet points are one of the best ways to offer easy-to-read content in bite sized pieces – perfect for when readers are scrolling on their phone. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of these timeless classics on your home page.
If your product or service has multiple features and benefits, don’t cram them into a few sentences. Break them up into short but sweet bullets. Your readers will quickly scan the points, saving their eyes from fatigue, and will hopefully explore your site further.
- Does my website use technical jargon or five-dollar words?
Did you know using bigger words makes you sound less intelligent? It’s true. Daniel M. Oppenheimer, professor of psychology at the UCLA Anderson School Management, ran a series of studies to determine how using language can make one seem smart or not.
He found that when people read shorter words they associated the author with “positive qualities, including likability and intelligence.” And when people read longer words they associated the author as “less capable and confident.”
So sharpen your pencil and start excising those complicated words from your website’s copy if you haven’t done so already. Your readers will thank you – and they’ll feel more confident in your product or service.
Websites formatted for scannability is nothing new. But if you’re not using it, you’re losing consumers daily. Format your company’s home page copy using these tips, and you’ll be sure to keep consumers on your site and increase your conversion rates.
Check out a scannable website IQ Agency created for one of our clients. Click here.