Why Your Website Isn't a Brochure: Writing Web Specific Content

Too often I've seen nonprofits take the information from their brochure, slap it up on the website and call it a day. Writing for the web is entirely different then for a brochure/article. It's important to clearly state your mission and purpose as succiently as possible so that it's easy for people to read.

The majority of webpage readers don't actually read the page at all, they skim instead. So your content needs to stand out to be noticed. The look of the content is almost as important as what is written.
So what are the biggest no-nos I see on websites?
  • No Call to Action

According to a study, by the Neilson Norman Group, 43% of sites examined clearly conveyed what they were trying to achieve and only 4% said what they were doing with the money. Have a strong call to action that encourages your donors, not dissuades them.

  • Text Heavy Paragraphs

When a paragraph gets too long, there is a tendency to skim it. Make them concise and easy to read.

  • Confusing Language

It's easy to become guilty of this. Using words that you think everyone else might know, even though they are industry specific. However, confusing words will turn off people and your message will be lost.

  • Lack of Engagement

This is important. If you are not engaging your audience then they will not want to donate/participate/volunteer. Include client and volunteer stories, and show the passion you have for your organization in your words.

  • No Clear Direction

This goes hand in hand with Call to Action. What do you want visitors to your site to do? Click to the next page and read more? Head straight for the donation page? You need to frame your web writing so that it's guiding your readers somewhere.

Here are five tips to improve your web writing:

1. Keep it Simple

2. Use Bullets

3. Use General Language

4. Consider Your Audience

5. Be Engaging

Remember, your website is only as good as its content.


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