You’ve got a lot to say about your nonprofit. You do a lot of good, and you want to let your website visitors know about it. You also want to make sure your visitors have everything they need to get involved and take action. To accomplish this effectively, your website content needs to be written and organized with the average website visitor’s preferences in mind.
People read differently online than with print—they scan more. As a writer, I find this incredibly unfortunate. But, the fact is you need to create content with scanners top of mind. Your content needs to be organized intuitively, informative and engaging. You want to entice people to stop scanning and start reading.
Figuring out how to optimize your content for the casual peruser can be a daunting task, and we know you have about one thousand other jobs on your plate. But, instead of throwing in the towel on creating content that will stop scanning visitors in their tracks, read through these tips. It will make all the difference.
Skip the Jargon
No matter the type of work your nonprofit does, there are bound to be a few terms you use that might not fall within the vocabulary of your typical site visitor. If your site is full of terms and phrases that leave visitors wondering what you’re talking about, they’re probably going to lose interest pretty quickly. You don’t want to alienate people by using inaccessible language.
Take note, though! This doesn’t mean you can’t introduce (and explain) your unique vocabulary. It just means you shouldn’t use these words all throughout your site.
You want your content to educate, inspire and motivate visitors to support your cause. Clear, concise, engaging content can achieve these goals. People are more likely to read content that isn’t overwhelmingly lengthy. It’s less intimidating–and it’s less time consuming. So, with that in mind:
- Don’t use five sentences when you could say it in one.
- Keep sentences short. They’re easier to read.
- There’s no need for semi-colons. Ever. They’re just a fancy excuse to turn two sentences into one. (see point above)
- Lists and bullet points are your friends.
Break Your Content into Sections
Have you ever clicked on a webpage only to be greeted by a giant block of text? You had zero interest in reading it at that point, right? Breaking content into easily digestible sections makes it much more visitor-friendly.
When chopping your content into sections, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- Cover one topic per section.
- Use descriptive headings.
- Write enough to warrant each topic having its own section.
Embrace Internal Linking
Maybe this is an incredibly geeky thing to admit, but I love internal links. When done well, those nifty little clickable phrases (known more accurately as “anchor text”) take you to another section of the website with information related to what you were just reading.
Why do I love them?
Well, from a content strategist’s viewpoint, they’re an incredibly clean way to provide contextual information. Instead of citing a source, providing background information or wandering down a path discussing something the reader is probably interested in, but not totally relevant to the topic at hand, you can link to it. And, from a visitor’s viewpoint, they often provide useful information that I either really need or am interested in knowing more about.
Execution is incredibly important when it comes to internal linking. It must be done well. You don’t just want to toss out a “click here.” Use natural, descriptive phrases. You want to make sure your reader knows what to expect on the other side of the link.
Anyone can throw some content onto their website and call it a day. But, if you really want to engage people, you need to put some thought into how you write and organize your content. You need to grab their attention with just a glance, enticing them to really dig in and learn about the amazing work your organization does.
Do you have any tips for organizing page content? Is there a nonprofit you think is doing a phenomenal job? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you in the comments.