One of the first things I do when I’m commissioned to write any web content is to sit down with my client to discuss the purpose of the website and the structure it needs to have.
Because once you’ve got these right, you can create a valuable tool that encourages people to explore the site and take the action that you want them to take.
If you get them wrong, you’ll end up with confused visitors who will go elsewhere to get what they need.
When I look at existing websites, especially smaller ones, there are two clear warning signs that suggest that the purpose and structure are ill-defined.
The first is an FAQs page. The second is a search facility.
An FAQs page means your website isn’t telling people what they want to know
The trouble with an FAQs page is that it suggests there are two competing demands.
- There’s the stuff that the company wants to tell its readers.
- There’s the stuff that the readers actually want to know.
If you’re writing with your reader in mind (and if you aren’t, you should be), the stuff you want to tell them and the stuff they want to know are one and the same.
A search facility means you think your readers will be looking for a needle in a haystack
The trouble with a search facility is that it suggests that the content hasn’t been structured in a way that allows people to find the information they’re looking for.
If you think your website needs a search function ask yourself honestly whether that’s because you’ve got an unusually complicated business or an unnecessarily complicated website.
What do you think?
Does your website have an FAQs page or a search facility? Is your site the better for them? Comment below and prove my opinion wrong! If you think I might have a point, get in touch and let’s start discussing how we can improve the situation.
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