Once you’ve worked out the look and layout of your web site, it’s time to make sure that your web content flows and is easy to read by site visitors (including vision impaired) and search engines. The best way to do this is to use page formatting like you do in a word processor .e.g. MS Word. By using formatting you are letting everyone know which are the page titles and sub-titles, content and highlighted content. To control the layout of your content you will use the WordPress visual editor and it’s “kitchen sink”. The actual look of the content, i.e. colour, font style, font size is controlled by your themes style sheet and should be changed using a child theme. The use of child themes will be discussed in a future post.
Starting at the top of the page, you’ll be using Header 1 for your page title. Most of the time your theme will automatically add this on for you. Since this is the most important title on your page, it isn’t recommended to use this again on that page. Which is why you still have Header 2 – 6 available to you.
I’m of the opinion of using Header 3 for your sub headings, that way if there is a piece of content you want to stand out you have Header 2 available. Then using Header 4 for any notices you want to place on the page.
As when using a word processor, the most common page formatting you’ll be using is Paragraph, coupled with a mixture of bold and italic content to highlight specific text and ordered and unordered list, depending on what is relevant.
When adding images to your web content you have a number of ways to display them, either left of right of text or on its own line left, right and centre. With WordPress you also have the option to select the size you want to display them. From a small thumbnail 150 x 150 pixels to the original size of the image. If you’ve read a few of my posts you’ve probably noticed that I like to position my images left then right though out the content and have a medium image size of 300 x 300 pixel, this is purely a personal preference. As mentioned in 13 things to do, I recommend having a default original image size of 640 x 640 pixels for content images.
When you add your images to your web site, you’ll have the option to add information (meta data) about that image, the main 2 to focus on are the Image Title and Alternative Content. Though I’m sure there are those that will disagree, I think it best to use the image title to associate the image to the content, then the alternative content to give a simple description of the image, try and keep the description between 60 to 80 characters.
Though the images alternative content is often overlooked (I do it myself), it does assist the vision impaired in describing what is on the screen, it helps search engines understand what sort of web content it is crawling (search engines are vision impaired as well) and if you plan on using Pinterest as part of you web strategy it will give a better image description.
Links (hyper-links) are what makes the Internet what it is, giving you the ability to point to other content on your web site or someone else’s. To get the most out of your web site it’s important to take advantage of this simple yet powerful concept. Once you’ve added your link to the another page it is a good idea to give it a title, I follow the practice of, if it’s an internal link, use the page title and if its an external link use the site name and sometimes the page title depending on the site.
Another setting you have when adding a link is to open the link in a new browser window or tab. In the end it’s another personal decision and is an endless debate in in web development community. I think if it is an internal link open the link in the current window and if its an external link open a new browser window/tab. Before the “modern” browsers had tabs, I understand that you don’t want lots of browser windows open as it took up more computer resources, but now there are tabs and plenty of resources (CPU and RAM), its easy for users to switch between different web sites, I feel opening a new tab has the benefit of keeping the user on your site, even if they come back to your web site 2 hours later.
If you have multiple levels of product and services or articles categories, it is a good idea to add “breadcrumbs” to the top of the page the help your visitor quickly find their way back through your content. You may also want to think about adding a site map to your web site, as this will give the visitor a complete overview of your web content. Depending on your theme or plugins that you use, you may have the option of hide certain page or categories.
It’s Your Decision
In the end how you want to format you content so it flows and is easy to read, is up to your and how you want to brand your web site. Though what ever your decision, it’s a good idea to have a similar style of content though out your web site’s articles, product listing and service descriptions.
Till next time,