How to make your webpage stand out

You have a website. You have content on this website — perhaps information about an academic program, or an event, or your latest research — and you want it to pop out on your page over all the other content that might be stuffed there. What are some good ways to go about doing so?

There are good ways and bad ways to get your content noticed, and there are ways of getting your content noticed which may not necessarily help in getting people to take the action you desire. What follows are a few tips that will hopefully allow you to present your content in a way that is useful to your audience and help you to achieve your goals.

Prioritize and organize content

  • Most websites likely have some content that is more important than other content. That could include an impending date or content that is just more popular. Make sure this content is in the most prominent locations on your website, namely as high up on the page as possible.
  • If you have information that requires an action by the user by a specific date, put that date up front at the top instead of after a block of text where it may be more easily missed or ignored.
  • Consider breaking your page up into multiple pages or, if you use the Ensemble CMS, divide content into tabs or accordions to make it easier for people to find the content they are looking for. The best way to get people to notice your content is by making the content they are looking for easy to find.

Emphasizing text is OK, as long as you don’t overdo it

  • If the text is a heading to a longer block of information (such as the line of text immediately preceding this one), you can use a website header (like the h3 header above!). You can read more about using headers here.
  • Bolding text is usually the next most effective way to emphasize text. It is the easiest on the eyes and thus can be done the most without frustrating users. However, it is still suggested that you use it sparingly, perhaps no more than a sentence at a time.
  • Using ALL-CAPS or italics is also an acceptable way to emphasize text, although it is better if these are used for shorter chunks of text, such as a phrase or a couple of words, as both of these can get harder to read when applied to larger pieces of text.
  • Do not use underlines to highlight important information as this can be confused for website links.
  • Don’t change text sizes or colors (outside of using headers) as this can damage website readability and cohesiveness and, if used excessively, and cause your page to look unprofessional making it more likely that people will choose to ignore what you have to say.

If everything is emphasized, nothing is emphasized

  • The point of emphasizing text is to make it stand out against against all the other content on your page. When you use an excessive amount of emphasis on the page, then the emphasis itself starts losing it’s meaning.
  • If you find yourself bolding or otherwise emphasizing large sections of text on your webpage, you may want to go back to point No. 1 above and reconsider the prioritization and organization of your content.

Keep content up-to-date

  • If your goal is to convince visitors to your website that your content is important, there are not many better ways to undermine that than to have obviously outdated information or dates on your website.
  • Internet visitor’s attention spans are incredibly short, and you have a very short window to attract their attention. With these tips, hopefully you can draw more eyes to the content that you want people to see.
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