Write to win on the web

Designing smart navigation for your visitors

The more choices you give your readers, the less you control the outcome of their visit to your website. Map your relationship with your ideal visitor.

What steps will your visitor take to engage with you?

Come to an info session? Sign up for your program? Ask a question?

These are the steps you want to include on your page as navigation options or quick link buttons, to help your user quickly find their answers. In each stage of the relationship, what may your user need or wish to do? Make it easy to know what to click next to move your visitor toward your goal. And make the experience successful.

Get to the point: motivate, inspire, or guide

The faster you take your reader to the heart of your business, the better. Visitors & users of your website usually come to your web site with a goal in mind: they want to find details on an event or course, or want to find out how to register, etc. Anything that distracts, confuses, or gets in the way of their goals will annoy them. The goal is to give them a positive experience.

Know your user and their goals

What does your reader want? Do they want to sign up for a course? Book a room online? Download a document? Give them the goods.

Keep your goals in mind

Do you want to increase registration in an under-subscribed program? Provide better customer service with less staff hours? Invite guests to your lecture series? Make it easy for your reader to do what benefits you most. Anything else is secondary. When necessary, put junk in the trash can.

Make your content scannable

Use descriptive headings for the various blocks of content on your page to help your users quickly scan to find the information they need. Building well-structured content with H2, H3, and H4 titles that feature keywords ensures that your page is search-engine friendly and accessible for people who are visually impaired. How to format your headings:

  • Only use ONE H1 tag per page. In the mobile-responsive layout, your section title displays automatically as the H1 tag for your page. Do not use again.
  • Do not bold your headings.
  • Left align your headings.
  • Do not use all capitals in your headings. Review UFV writing style guidelines for more information on capitalization.

Ponder before you publish

  • Will my content be useful to my web visitor?
  • Will my web visitor know what actions to do next?
  • Is my content in any way bloated, repetitive or boring? (Do not shy away from cutting the fat)
  • Will my content go out of date soon? If yes, link to a source with updated times or schedules, or set an expiry date on your content to ensure it disappears before it is stale.
  • Is my content easy to maintain?
  • Have I mirrored content from the source whenever possible to save myself work?
  • Do I have appropriate copyright and permissions to publish this?

Focus on making your content more efficient

The less content you put on a page, the more likely it is that a user will pay attention to it. Why? Because there is less to compete for your visitor's attention. The less content on a site, the less you have to maintain, fix, or update in future.‌

Improving your user's web visit experience

A user reads a website from beginning to end differently than they would read a novel.

Draw attention to important items without using images

The text on an image and or in a PDF cannot be read and indexed by the internet search engines. Your use of links and content wording in headings and content can improve your Google analytics. Ask the Marketing team to create ads and promo templates to help market your services.

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