How to turn your website into a tabloid newspaper.

As dental website writers, we have a lot to learn from tabloids. Stay with me. I am not suggesting we post smiling images of our patients (of any gender), scantily clad, alongside bold, juicy, ‘NICE TEETH!’ headlines – however proud we feel about the dentistry we have provided for them.

No, here we consider how to make our content accessible and our websites easy to navigate. Improving our site readability and usability is the new ‘dumbing down’ – and all the better for it.

People read websites by scanning. Each page must stand alone with clear site ID, page name, sections (primary navigation), local navigation, ‘you are here’ indicators and easy search capacity. Write with your platform in mind e.g. smartphones only show the first 35 words of website content – make them count.

Maximise your website ranking with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) but avoid cramming key words, intuitive search terms, niche terms and ‘power words’ (e.g. quick, easy, guarantee, free, sales) into your content.

Enhance your layout and break up pages with clear visual hierarchies. Put your most important content in large, bold headings at the top of pages. Place headings closer to their relevant paragraphs than previous paragraphs. Break up big blocks of copy with shorter paragraphs, subheadings, images and quotes. Reduce and vary sentence length throughout your content. Use punctuation to shorten sentences. And start sentences with conjunctions for added effect. See what I did there?

Use poetry deliberately e.g. patterns, groups of three words, rhyme, assonance (rhyming vowel sounds) and alliteration (several words with same sound e.g. from shy to smiling). Use the active voice by placing subjects first: e.g. ‘Your teeth (subject) need treats (object)’ is better than ‘treats are needed by your teeth’. Employ ‘elegant variation’; use synonyms to avoid the same words appearing in close proximity within your content.

Use bulleted lists and highlight key terms in moderation. Omit needless instructions and words. AVOID BIG SHOUTY CAPITALS AND HYSTERICAL PUNCTUATION!!! Minimise small print lots of small print lots of small print lots of small print lots of small print – you get what I mean. poor speling lac of punctuation and bad grammar and slang is wellard to reed innit Get your grammar, spelling, punctuation and vernacular right.
Select the ‘spelling and grammar’ and ‘show readability statistics’ boxes in your Microsoft Word Preferences menu. Check your content by clicking Spelling & Grammar in the Tools menu. After Word checks spelling and grammar, it scores the reading level of the document from 0 to 100 on the ‘Flesch Reading Ease’ scale. The higher the score, the easier your content is to read. A score of 30 is appropriate for university graduates. Average scores are 60, about the score of this writing. Scores of 75 and over represent comfort for tabloid readers – said to be an ideal score for website content.
Above all, make it easy for your ideal patients to read all about you.

For all of us dentists and for our very patient patients who read what we write and need what we offer, I remain, writing for dentists, at your service.

P.S. For more exclusive writing wit and wisdom and a free copy of my e-booklet ‘WRITE YOUR OWN WEBSITE’ sent directly to your email address (which will not be shared or used for any other purpose), contact me:

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