This is a post. And this first bit of text is a paragraph, which is the default setting for text. Think of a paragraph a bit like a block, it can be left/right/centre aligned but also have various ‘styles’ applied to it from the drop-down menu you’ll find on the left of the second toolbar when editing it.
Page Structure (a Heading 2)
Text on the web is more of a journalistic structure mixed with a format report. So the first few lines ideally give the game away (a paragraph) and then you use sub-headings.
Sub-headings like ‘Page Structure’ might feel un-natural at first, but remember when looking at a web page we are scanning over it, reading the first paragraph to get a sense of what it is about and then skipping over the main titles to see what the page is about.
Search Engines and Accessibility (another Heading 2)
Search Engines like Google are a bit ‘dumb’, and are trying to ‘read’ a page as best they can, despite being software. So the way a page is broken down (or ‘marked up’) really helps them to see what is important.
The title of your post or page helps to explain what the main subject is and using Heading 2 (not big and bold, but a style setting from the drop-down menu on the second toolbar) helps say ‘this is a useful summary of what’s below.
Heading Titles (a heading 3)
The above heading 3 is breaking down this section on Search Engines and Accessibility, so it’s a Heading 3 under a Heading 2. Always try to use that kind of structure, not the ‘size’ of what it looks like on the front of the site.
The site of a heading can be modified using the code, which includes the font and colours. Basically don’t colour, bold, change font or anything just use headings, simple! Then across your site it will look consistent.
As for Heading Titles themselves, try to be descriptive. ‘Services’ could be any business, while ‘Plumbing Services’ is a lot clearer, and then just talk about plumbing services.
Being accessible to everyone is a good thing, but like in real life a ramp for a wheelchair user can be great for a buggy user too the same is true online – being accessible is good for everyone.
A lot of the functionality (like finding and navigating the menus) is built in directly, but using headings really helps because for those with sight loss they have screen readers which read the headings to jump around. Also, a search engine is basically blind.
Other options which can help text to stand out are ‘block quotes’ (the ” button next to Italics) and also indenting a paragraph.
Blockquotes like this paragraph might look like you’ve just indented them when editing the page, but if you look at the page itself it can be made to look significantly different. In simple terms it can be made to look like a box in a magazine, or anything at all. Great for quotes or just making something stand out.
Bold is an option, but not that great as typically if you’re using bold it might be better to have chosen a header instead. While italics do highlight some specific words. Underlining can be done but should be avoided (it’s not a button on the editing toolbar) because it looks too much like a link.
Hyperlinks / Web Links / URLs
This is basically 3 ways of saying the same thing when we’re talking about websites. They are crucial though to the ‘hypertext’ experience. Too often people write a page but don’t link to any other part of the website, meaning the visitor to the website has to choose where next.
Instead try linking through to more detail, if you mention a name or a service then just link those words in the paragraph directly to the page talking about that person. And at the end of a page or post give a kind of ‘where next’. That might be ‘Related Articles or what is called a ‘Call to Action’.
Call to Action (CTA) / Communication
Let’s say you are describe the features of a service you offer. You explain it nicely in detail, use some bullet points, break things down and then that’s it. You hope they’ll click ‘Contact Us’ at the right to book it, or find the ‘Buy’ option on the menu. Some might, some won’t.
There’s no real point leaving it to chance. While we don’t like to think we are ‘led’ to do something it can be very helpful, focussing the visitor’s attention on what options are available to them. If you want them to Contact you, Join, Buy then just say so as simply as possible.
Because links stand out using generic words means that the actual context might be lost, even if you are saying it immediately after in plain text. People’s eyes are jumping around.
- Read More
- Find out More
- For More Information
- Click Here
Short and simple, action words which ideally make it clear what you’re saying.
- Call Us
- Get Your “Service” (replace “Service” with what you’re selling)