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312 – How to make it easy to consume your content: Tom talks Website Readability
From:
Tom Antion -- Internet Marketing Expert Tom Antion -- Internet Marketing Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Virginia Beach , VA
Friday, July 24, 2020

 

Episode 312 – Website Readability
[00:00:09] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.

[00:00:24] Hey, everybody it's Tom here with episode three hundred and twelve of Screw the Commute podcast.

[00:00:29] Today, we're going to talk about Web site readability. I now say you ignored my other advice on building cheap world class Web sites, and let's say you put several thousand dollars into your new site and you're all proud of it because it has a giant picture of the ocean that takes up the entire first screen. And you gave the designer reams of content because, of course, you read content is king and that has every Bellen whistle a Web site can do nowadays, maybe maybe even do your dishes. Well, after it's up for six months, you look at your statistics and find that you're getting plenty of traffic, but they're not staying very long.

[00:01:19] Then you hire me to review your site and you leave the zoom call in tears because I tore the site apart for being virtually impossible to read. This is ridiculous.

[00:01:31] I don't want this to happen to you and I don't want to make you cry. So do what I tell you in this episode. In your site will be a joy to read. And I guarantee you visitors will stay longer to absorb what you have to say. And that gives you an infinitely greater chance to turn them into a customer or client. So buckle up and we'll get into details in a minute. Now, I hope you didn't miss episode three hundred and eleven. That was link bait and and how it can help your site. I'm not talking about click bait, which is a bad thing. Link bait is a good thing. And if you want traffic free traffic to your Web site, you should be spending a little bit of time every week on link bait. All right. How would you like to hear your own voice here on screw the commute? Well, the show's helped you out at all in your business or giving your ideas that help you start a business. We want to hear about it. Visit screwthecommute.com and look for a little blues side bar that says send a voicemail. Click on it and talk into your phone or computer.

[00:02:40] And tell me how the shows helped you. Also put your Web site on there so you can get a great big shout out in front of thousands of people on a future episode of Screw the Commute. Now grab a copy of our automation e-book. It's saved me millions of keystrokes and allowed me to steal customers from competitors who were too slow to get back to people. So this book has all the things that I use to automate my business and we sell it for twenty seven bucks. But you get it for just listen to the show. So grab it at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. While you're at it, grab a copy of our podcast app. You can take us with you on the road. Put it on your cell phone and tablet. We've got video and screen capture training so you can use all the fancy features. So catch at screwthecommute.com/app. All right. People are still freaking out about working at home. Their kids are stuck at home.

[00:03:47] We don't know if schools are going to open or what. But I'll tell you what. There's one thing you could do for your kids. I mean, starting at, oh, I'd say 12 years old is star teaching and robot internet and marketing and selling and having their own business. While I've formalized this training that I have been living for twenty six years, so this is not any kind of oh, I just started making some e-books yesterday and I want to tell you how to get rich. I got rich by doing this for 26 years and I got rich actually in the first four years. So. So look, this is real. This is not hocus pocus. This is an in demand skill. And I know you've been brainwashed to have traditional college for your kids and all this stuff. Well, that is that is old school now, folks. They're just teaching the kids how to protest. They have no usable skills when they get out. They've got a fortune in debt or you've gone into debt or mortgaged your house and your kids get out with no usable skills or even for your own. If you're in business or you need a side house or you want to retire and have some income coming in. Check out my school IMTCVA.org. It's distance learning. You won't be stuck in debt for the rest of your life to to pay the tuition for this school.

[00:05:11] And it's just so powerful and the people that are in it and have graduated are doing great things. So. So check it out at IMTCVA.org and if you want to talk to me about it, I'm very accessible. Get in touch with me and we'll discuss your future on line.

[00:05:30] One other thing I want to tell you, it's a great legacy gift for your kids, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. Because if you give them just money and they blow it on a car or something worthless, you're not helping them that much. Get him a scholarship to this school and they'll have a career in their own money in a skill that's in demand. See, every company on Earth needs this skills, though. I mean, I'm just so excited about it. I'm sorry to use up half of the podcast, but I've just seen this and seen the great things it can do for people of all ages.

[00:06:07] And they're stuck here in this pandemic wondering how they're going to pay their bills. Well, I'm not and many people that are doing this aren't because they can keep selling around the world even if there's bad stuff going on. All right. That's my first high horse for today.

[00:06:26] Let's get into the main event Web site, readability. Now, I'm not talking about usability. That's an entirely different subject, which I'll cover in another episode. They have critiqued, oh, gee, conservatively more than ten thousand Web sites over the last twenty three years or so, and I see many of these same mistakes over and over again.

[00:06:50] It's another reason I have such a disdain for web designers who, while impressing you with how pretty your site looks, they actually hurt you in reaching your goals for the site.

[00:07:04] I mean, anybody could research what I'm going to tell you about today. My question is, why didn't your web designer, who's supposed to be doing this as a profession, research and implement these things on your site? It's just beyond me. All right, let me get off my second high horse. OK, I can do the job for you that they should have done. All right, let's get into some overriding principles first and some of these you're responsible for, we can't dump all of this on the web designers. The first thing, and these are in no particular order, is short paragraphs. We're looking at two or three sentences at the most. You're never going to get away from your English teacher when writing for your Web site and also for e-books. People can barely read at all nowadays. So if you put a massive blob of text in front of them, they immediately think, oh, man, is is too hard. I'm going to find an easier website to look at. Couple that with the fact that most people are looking at your site on cell phones and tablets and you've got a mess on your hands if you have real long paragraphs. I see sites all the time. That one paragraph fills up three screens on my cell phone without a break.

[00:08:28] No one's ever gonna read texts like that. Plus, people get eye strain and headaches when reading on a screen, which brings me to my next overriding principle of white space. You must leave plenty of white space between paragraphs and at the right side of paragraphs in between bullets and generally all over your site. This sends and an instant message to the visitor that the site is easy to look at. So they stay longer. The other important concept has been going around the Web for a while is called glanceable content. This means that someone can just glance at your site and see what it's all about. This is important on home pages and blog postings. So maybe you have a tag line or a headline grabs the person and in literally fractions of a second to make them want to read more. Now, here's one that drives me crazy. It's called text contrast. The highest text contrast is simple. Black on white. There are con tranced checkers on the web, and I'm going to link to one in the show notes, but quite honestly, I never even figured out how to use it. I just use my eyes. If the text jumps off the page, it is very prominent on top of the background. It's OK with me.

[00:09:58] I see so many examples of us, like small gray text on light blue or gray backgrounds. It might look cool, but it's almost impossible to read without straining.

[00:10:13] This is no good. Also, text over busy photos is bad. Then there's another thing where you have to know about links, see an unclick link and a browser is one color. And then when you click on it. It changes colors to remind you you've already clicked on that link and it stays that way for I don't know how long.

[00:10:38] So sometimes the links are hard to see to start with. If you put them in and try to be cool, put them in. And then sometimes after they're clicked, they're either they disappear and fade into the background or they just look terrible or are they readable. So you've got to watch that, too.

[00:10:58] Really, folks, you got to get your ego out of cool Web sites and get your head around Web sites that can easily convey your message.

[00:11:07] So I got some links then I want to put in the show notes. One is called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. So there it shows you about text and things to make it accessible for people with site disabilities and.

[00:11:25] Also, I'll have a link to that contrast checker, but really, like I said, if you just sit there and look at your site in a in a divorce yourself from that, it's your site. You can say, oh, man, that is kind of hard to read. I need to make a higher contrast.

[00:11:41] I have a white background, black text, not gray text. That's terrible. All right, the last overriding principle is to know this isn't the last part of this episode. This is the last intro to the episode. The last overriding principle is to avoid jargon. I'm pretty sure in the early days I was the one that coined the term brain stoppers as it applied to Web sites. I don't know people who use that for other terms, but as it applied the Web sites, the anytime you use industry jargon when writing for non industry potential customers and clients, you're causing them to have trouble reading your message in e-books. Generally, I tell someone if they really need to use an industry term to define it the first time they use it. But see, that doesn't work on a Web site because you never know where they're going to enter your site. They may not have seen your definition of that industry jargon. I mean, you just can't assume they are all going to enter your home page. So just avoid jargon. All right. Let's get into the specific things now. I see all the time, and I would probably find one or many of these mistakes.

[00:13:03] If I reviewed your Web site, which I am happy to do. I've got a program where I'll review the outside and my tech guys will review the inside or the, you know, the coding stuff and give you a full report of what needs fixed.

[00:13:18] And I'll even estimate for you how much it should cost. So you don't get robbed when you do try to fix things. All right. Here we go. Given the specifics of readability. One thing I see all the time, text is too wide. See, there are readability rules. One is the wider a line of text and the smaller the font, the less readable the text is. I've seen this all the time. This applies more to when people are reading on a laptop or desktop.

[00:13:53] Now, you can look at this yourself. Just pull your site up on a laptop or desktop and review the whole site in the paragraph text.

[00:14:01] If you look at a paragraph on your site and you feel like you're watching a tennis match with your eyes and even your head moving back and forth, guess what?

[00:14:13] Your text is too wide. You must constrain it by putting pictures or graphics beside it or changing the margins or and we don't use this too much anymore, putting it in tables. All right. Next thing is centering, text centering is fine for headlines and major subheadings. Anywhere else, it's considered amateurish and hard to read. I don't think I would center more than two lines, and that would be a big old subheading or a headline. All right, next is ragged right text. See in word processing, you normally have four choices when formatting, paragraph, text left, justified, centered, right, justified and fully justified. You see, these are like horns. And when you're formatting, text and your word processor. Justified means the text lines up perfectly on the edges. Now for Web sites and e-books, we want LAF justified ragged, right? Fully justified is in printed books. See, quality printed books are typeset, which is a really sophisticated, fancy way to format text. Well, this doesn't work on a Web page or an e-book. There is no typesetting. The ragged right means the text does not line up perfectly on the right hand side. This eliminates weird word spacing in your text and opens up that wonderful white space that I mentioned earlier. And one more thing for you, older folks who learned how to type on a typewriter. Clickety, clickety, clickety, right? We were taught to put two spaces after a period. Well, that went out one hundred years ago when word processing was invented. Now only put one space after a period.

[00:16:25] Now you can fix all of these in a document by doing a search and replace. So you search for a period space space and replace it with period space. But here's the thing. If you've been doing this for years, good luck in breaking the habit of typing that way in the first place.

[00:16:44] You can do it, though. I did it. All right.

[00:16:48] Let's talk about fonts now, then. What I'm going to tell you now I got from Penn State University has an accessibility section on their Web site, and I put the link to it here in the up. Very good link to go to to has lots of information. So they said their general record recommendations for online reading is a sans serif font. Those are the ones that don't have little curly cues at the top and bottom or, you know, we're on the edges like Ariel and Vedanta.

[00:17:21] They're considered more legible than serif fonts. Likes times new Roman. And also, you don't want narrow fonts or decorative fonts there, okay, but they've got to be reserved for headlines where they're real big so that they don't, you know, just jam together and they're hard to read.

[00:17:42] Now, I'm going to give you some fonts here, Verdana, Helvetica, Calibri. Lucida is a new one used on Macs, Tahoma, Georgia, and then Comic Sans, I kind of like it because I'm kind of a goofball, but but if you have a site designed for younger audiences, Comic Sans is a good font.

[00:18:08] Now on to the next ones are only for big stuff like headings and subheadings. That would be Ariel Black and Ariel Narrow. Now, a couple things I don't want you to do on your phones. I do not want italics. See, your screens and screens are made up of vertical and horizontal little dots called pixels.

[00:18:33] And when you start cutting at an angle across these pixels, things get fuzzy and ruin the look of your sight.

[00:18:40] Yeah, you could have a giant italic in a graphic where this doesn't count where I was, what I was just saying. But generally avoid italics and absolutely avoid underlining. Underlining on a Web site or e-book means that the piece of text is clickable. Well, if you just did it for emphasis and it's not clickable, people will think something's wrong and either complain or have a poor thought of your quality.

[00:19:11] So no underline.

[00:19:13] You can use bold and color, see color as free and e-books and Web sites. So use it judiciously. Don't make it look like a circus tent, but use color and bold to emphasize you can change the size of the font.

[00:19:28] And graphics are great too, in that they can break up the text. Leave more white space. Always put a caption under it and avoid stock photos. There's been a big backlash against the obligatory Asian person, black person, Indian person. You know, they're they're quite obvious nowadays. So I'd rather see it shoot pictures of you working with clients or doing something and then put a caption under. Hey, here's me working with so-and-so and we got great results. Check it out. So the captions, they've done retinal studies where they the people look at the pictures or the graphics look at the caption and the caption should make them want to read the text, say so. That helps your readability right there. All right. Now, before I get into I want to give you a readability test tool and talk about bullets. Want to remind you that I have the longest running, most successful, most unique mentor program ever in the field of Internet and digital marketing. It's been running for over 20 years now. I hit multi-millionaire status around the year 2000, doing exactly what I teach. Exactly what I teach in my school and exactly what I do and my mentor program. The difference is, is that I actually work with you. Nobody else at my level. Well, they won't even talk to you. Okay. So. And it's all one on one. We don't do anything group here except for your trip to the retreat center after the pandemic hits. If you're in my program, you spend an immersion weekend here, which nobody does. You live in this estate home with me and we work with you. We have a TV studio. We shoot video, all of this stuff. And then for a whole year, you have access to me and my entire staff who some of them have been here 12 years.

[00:21:25] One on one to tutor you through and make all this stuff happen for you. Nobody on Earth can put a finger on this program. And also it's affordable and that you pay an entry fee. But then you'd. I don't get my big money. I mean, people like me were charging 50 or 100 grand upfront and then disappearing on you where I don't get my big money unless you make big money. So we have a program that allows you to make money before I get any more money. And then it's capped. So you're not stuck with me forever. So it's really unique. And it plus it gives you a scholarship that you can gift to someone or use yourself if you'd like to attend the school and have a really structured ABC kind of thing. So having both is great.

[00:22:16] But one guy joined a mentor program, gave the scholarship to his daughter, and she's making six thousand dollars a month as a side hustle. Okay.

[00:22:26] So, so very, very powerful. All right. So check all that out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com. Give me a call and we'll discuss it.

[00:22:38] All right. Let's get back to the the last couple of things I want to tell you about in the show notes. I have a readability test tool where you can put in a Web page or a Web site and it will give you scores on your readability and tell you what to fix. So that's going to be in the show. Notes is too long to to say right here. And this is episode 312. So if you ever want to get to the show notes, which you should, screwthecommute.com/312. We'll take you to the show notes for this episode. All right. Last thing I want to tell you about as bullets. First of all, make sure you format bullets correctly, a bullet should stand out to the side and then the text is justified to the right of the bullet. Don't ever let the text go under the bullet. That means that you did it wrong. You look amateurish. It doesn't get the job done like it's supposed to. Bullets are supposed to stand out. And in this case, you're putting whitespace at the left and the right. So it makes it really stand out and then put space between the bullets. See if most default bullets just line up one under it underneath with no spaces in between them.

[00:23:55] So if you put a bunch of them, it looks like just a blob of text with a bunch of dots next to it. That's terrible. Now, the way typically in a word processor or on a web, you add space between a bullet without adding another bullet. So if you just hit enter at the end of part of your bullet, it's going to make another bullet. So typically you hit shift, enter and then it just it's called a line break and it comes down. And then you keep typing, all right, without the bullet or it'll add a space and then you hit enter and that'll put the next bullet. So that opens space between your bullets and read this. Read the transcription for this episode. Or it would be good for you to read the transcription printed out and then highlight all these tips and use it as a checklist to go over your own site. All right. So if you carefully review or you have me do it for you, the things that were covered in this episode, I'm guaranteeing you visitors will stay at your site much longer, consuming your content, and you'll have a much greater chance of turning them into customers and clients.

[00:25:09] All right. That's it for this episode. Check me out at greatinternetmarketingtraining.com. Can't wait to hear from you. We'll catch you on the next episode. See ya later.

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