The Simple Content Strategy That Is Often Forgotten

The best words and ideas can not keep readers on your site if the layout is unpleasant. It’s a sad fact, whether you’re the business owner paying for written content or someone like me who writes web content for a living.

Your visitors will be won over or put off by some combination of several factors:

  • usefulness of the written words
  • entertainment level of the writing
  • accompanying images
  • grammar, spelling, and intelligence of the writing
  • page layout and design

All of these points are important; some more important than others depending on your target audience. But page layout and design is going to affect everyone to some degree or the other.

Many years ago, in the dawn of the internet, the primary design advice was about color schemes and busy backgrounds. You didn’t want to hurt reader’s eyes with contrasting colors like a blue background and red text or a background so busy even squinting didn’t make the words clear. No matter how cool you thought it looked, both of these tactics were quick ways to run readers off.

Today, the problem can take the form of many things, ranging from something big like a website that doesn’t load well on a mobile phone to something small like too much white space.

The latter was my problem. This blog bothered even me when I tried to read my posts, but for some reason I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was wrong with it. I was going to look for a whole new layout. Then it occurred me, “What about a background?” I quickly whipped up a background that would add a “texture” to the page without being too distracting, and when I threw it up there, it fixed the problem perfectly. At least to suit me for the time being.

This is what it looked like before:

blogbg1

It doesn’t look too awful here, but it was grating when trying to read the entire post on all that expanse of white and light gray. It hurt my eyes. Just like back in the day with the blue background and red text. It was just a subtler version of it.

I added a background:

blogbg2

Now there is a distinct difference between the content I want people to read and the background. It draws the eye in, both attracting attention and making the text easier to read. It also gives the page a more finished look, which adds some professionalism.

My advice based on this experience:

Ask yourself if something bothers you when you visit your website. If it does, it’s probably bothering others.

Get feedback from others. Ask friends, family, and co-workers to test your website or blog and give input. Or hire a web tester service.

Start small. Don’t try to overhaul the whole site. Make one adjustment at a time like the size of the text, the color of the text, the background color or image, etc.

You can have a wonderful product or service and have some excellent written content to go with it, but the delivery of the content is a crucial part of how it is received. Notice any reservations you have about the layout, get feedback from others, and make changes a little bit at a time. This will ensure people hang around long enough to see how great your business is.

The Simple Content Strategy Most Often Forgotteen

UPDATE:

I was reading this post today and discovered that on coming to it with a fresh brain, the polka dot theme was also glaring. Instead of too much white space, I had too much visual action going on. So, I’ve changed the background again and hopefully achieved the non-distracting look I was going for.

Lesson here? Yes: keep trying. Better yet, ask for opinions. This avoids the whole lack of a fresh brain problem.

This is what I’ve ended up with.

blogbg3

 

 

 

 

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