What do you think of when you hear the word “content?” Most people think of text. Which to them means having the right words on their site.
Words are great. This post is made mostly of words and, if I may say so, I use the best words. Well, maybe not the best ones, but I do try to use really neat-o words when I can.
Words By Themselves Are Boring
But content isn’t just words, it can also be images, video, etc. But let’s get back to words because that’s what I’m writing. Words by themselves are boring.
I recently received a free book that contained, wait for it… a lot of words. It was very difficult to read, but not because they used big and fancy words. It’s because the words were not well formatted.
Yeah, that matters.
There was no spacing between some (but not all) of the paragraphs. Many words were misspelled, or the wrong word was used (incorrect tense), and it was often difficult to discern when the author was changing a thought process. So much of it ran together.
The content is actually pretty good, but the text isn’t. And that impacts my ability to understand what I’m reading.
Don’t Make Them Guess
On your website, you have to make sure you have more than text. You need content that can be read and understood. Which means segmenting your content in a way that makes it easy to skim, scan and digest.
Have you ever had someone hand you a piece of paper full of words and say something like “Can you believe this? What do you think?” Of course, all you see is a bunch of words. You don’t know which part they are referring to or what exactly they want you to read.
If you haven’t experienced this, you probably don’t have kids.
But this very thing has happened to most of us at one time or another. And unless they point to the exact place to read, you’re stuck wondering or having to read everything, only hoping to pinpoint what they are talking about.
With your website, there really isn’t anyone there to point to the most pertinent information on the page. Which means you either have to keep your content short or help the reader focus on what’s important for them.
This is where content segmentation comes into play. With the possible exception of some blog/informational type content, most people don’t want to read an entire page of content just to find the specific information they want. Instead, they want to scan the page to find the section that contains the information they need. Then they’ll scan that section to find what interests them.
A website without segmented content is the child handing you a math book saying, “Can you help me with this problem?” Uh, which one?
Content segmentation means you do whatever you can to make your content easy to scan and particular pieces of information easy to find. Bullets, bolded words, paragraph headings, collapsible sections. All of these are on the table, and all help the visitor in consuming the most important content (to them) on the page.