Writing to be Skimmed
How do you get a message to someone who isn’t paying attention? You make it easier to digest.
Most web users don’t read every word of every page they visit, and they can’t be expected to do so. The internet is full of pages dense on complicated information (have you ever tried researching mathematics on Wikipedia?) and much of it is written for a specific audience of people who will understand.
Unless you’re writing a scholarly article, you probably can’t assume your audience is up for densely packed-information.
As a law firm, your website is probably full of content (or it should be) and your target audience probably isn’t deeply familiar with the topics being discussed. If you want visitors to turn to clients without expecting them to stop skimming your pages, you need to adjust your content.
Practice Area Pages (Use Headers)
Practice area pages need balance, just like everything else. They need to show what topics you cover and that your firm is knowledgeable, but they shouldn’t overwhelm the reader with information. Save that for the blog.
If your practice pages cover multiple areas of the same practice, use headers. Visitors are looking to see whether you will cover their case and if they see a large header of their issue they will know that you do.
Blog Posts (Summary, Background, Conclusion)
Blog posts are your opportunity to be more informative. People are reading through your blog looking for detailed information. For blogs, the best way to convey information quickly is by structuring. Every section and every paragraph should have a basic “Summary, Background, Conclusion” format.
If your post is long (at least 2 printed pages), ensure you use headers. If it’s especially long (5+ pages), consider a table of contents.
Keep sentences short and sweet and make sure every word has its purpose. Don’t get too attached to any sections, as you might find that they’re superfluous and will have to cut them.
Remember to give yourself a break if your message doesn’t get across your first few tries; writing content for the internet is writing for both algorithms and humans. It takes time and trial and error. We can’t all have the character efficiency and keyword optimization skills of Ernest Hemmingway.
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