October 24, 2017

Meet readers out front

On web heads, put topics up top

When it comes to web heads, focus on the front.

Front-load web-headlines

Out front Make it easier for readers and Google to figure out what your story is about when you put topic words in the first 11 characters of your web heads. Image by Christopher Harris

That is, place your topic words at the beginning of your headline. That approach:

  • Signals to Google what your page is about, improving your place on search engine results pages (SERPs)
  • Helps readers decide to click your link on SERPS, indexes and other lists

How important is this? It’s the No. 1 thing you can do to improve the ROI of your website, says Jakob Nielsen, “king of usability.”

“Selecting the first 2 words for your page titles is probably the highest-impact ROI-boosting design decision you make in a web project, he says. “Front-loading important keywords trumps most other design considerations.”

13 ways to front-load web heads

Related stories

“Selecting the first 2 words for your page titles is probably the highest-impact ROI-boosting design decision you make in a web project.”
— Jakob Nielsen, “the king of usability”

Reach skimmers and nonreaders with microcontent

How to write web heads, links & more

Web visitors don’t read. They skim.

Writing for the Web and Mobile

The eyes have it Learn to put your key messages where readers will be 84% more likely to find them. Image by Amanda Dalbjörn

In fact, according to a critical incident study Xerox PARC, people are looking for something specific — not leaning back for a good read — 96% of the times they visit websites.

How do you reach these nonreaders with web copy?

At Writing for the Web and Mobile workshop — our two-day digital-writing master class on Dec. 11-12 in Miami — you’ll learn how to to make sure skimmers get the gist of your webpage with microcontent that gets the word out.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Steal 4 tricks from the BBC for writing world-class web headlines.
  • Get the word out with bulleted lists with our 6-step list-writing makeover.
  • Stop writing the most common type of link. It reduces skimming, clicking and accessibility.
  • Pass the Goldilocks test. Make sure your links aren’t too long or too short.
  • Bust the myth of page view time. Help readers understand better, remember longer and enjoy your webpage more in half the time.

Save $100 when you grab one of our early bird tickets by Oct. 11.

P.S. Folks in Miami are hard at work getting things back to normal after the hurricane, and we’re all set to host our workshop as planned.

“Revolutionised the way my communications team and I approach writing for online consumption.”
— Nikki Van Dusen, manager, internet communications, Alberta Public Affairs Bureau

Polish your skills at these Master Classes

Learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller, Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in New York: Ann Wylie’s creative-writing workshop in New York on Sept. 25-26, 2017

New York | Sept. 25-26

Register for Catch Your Readers in Kansas City: Ann Wylie’s persuasive-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017

Kansas City | Nov. 16-17

Register for Write For The Web and Mobile: Ann Wylie’s online-writing workshop in Miami on Dec. 11-12, 2017

Miami | Dec. 11-12

Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Atlanta: Nov. 13-14
  • Boston: Oct. 9
  • Dallas: Oct. 16-20
  • Kansas City: Nov. 16-17
  • Memphis: Nov. 2
  • Miami: Dec. 11-12
  • New York: Sept. 25-26
  • Roseville, CA: Oct. 24
  • Washington, DC: Oct. 31

Keep up with my calendar.

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