What do You Name Your Homepage

You may or may not know that you really don’t need a home page per se. With WordPress you can set any page or your blog to be the landing page of your site.

But if you want a special page as a home page then don’t name the home page homeWhy? Because home really isn’t a searchable term unless you’re looking for home page icons or pictures of houses.

So what do you name your homepage?

Why not take this opportunity to apply a little SEO (search engine optimization) to your site. It is especially important to do so on your homepage, after all that’s where search engines go first to index your site.

Here’s a  real life example. The Julie Anderson home page is called  Sculptural Ceramic Art of Julie Anderson

TIP: By default WordPress will use the actual name of the page when you add it to the menu. Once it’s in the menu open the menu item for editing and change the label to “Home” but leave the title attribute as the full-page name. NOTE: This will only work if your theme works with WordPress Menus

By putting some thought into what you name your homepage you will also have the start of a meta description unique to that page.

So what do you name your homepage? Provide us a link to see it in the comments below.

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Create meaningful hyperlinks

Best practices to create meaningful hyperlinks and links to PDFs

By using appropriate link text you will create meaningful hyperlinks to internal and external web pages. Use these guidelines for linking to non-web documents such as PDF’s and email addresses.

Create meaningful hyperlinks

create-meaningful-hyperlinks
This is NOT a meaningful hyperlink
  • Links should describe what users can expect to find when they click on the link.
  • Use short, concise link titles. Links should not exceed 60 characters.
  • Avoid using “click here.” Visually impaired visitors often use auditory browsers, which will read the text aloud rather than display it visually so the link should have meaning when read out of context.
  • Do not use URLs as link text. Not only can URL’s from other sites be long, they can be difficult to read.

Text you can use to create a link title:

  • The name of the site the link leads to (if different from the current site).
  • Details about the information on the linked page and how it relates to the context of the current page. For example: to view the tutorial on creating links, see Artbiz’s WordPress tutorials.
  • A specific action, such as “Sign up for my newsletter”

Internal and external links

An internal link is any page that exists on your website.

An external link is any web page that exists outside of your website.

Open web pages in the same browser window. Most people rely on their Back button to go back to where they were, they can become confused when it appears grayed out, so they close the browser entirely. For this reason, open web pages in same browser window.

PDFs and non-web documents – open in a new window

pdf
Visitors can become confused when links to non-web documents offer a different user experience than that of standard web pages.

Usability studies find that when people are finished viewing PDF files or other non-web documents, they clicked the window’s close box instead of the Back button. If the document wasn’t launched in a new window, they have left the site completely.

Guidelines for linking to non-web documents:

  • Open non-web documents in a new browser window.
  • Warn users in advance that a new window will appear.
  • Use the following format, only linking the document title to the file:
    • Sample Guideline Document (PDF – 16 kB) opens in new window
    • Application Form (DOC – 3 MB) opens in new window
  • To open files in a new window, select the ‘Open in new window’ option in the WordPress hyperlink dialogue box.
  • Keep file names under 20 characters

Email links

Outlook-Email-SetupEmail addresses should be spelled out and hyperlinked when they are to open an email client. Clicking an email link and having a new page open with a form is misleading. Make it clear the link is an email link. For example:

If you want to direct people to your contact information contained on a contact page, tell them so. For example:

In conclusion:
By using the appropriate text to create meaningful hyperlinks visitors will understand what information the hyperlink may contain. Links that do what visitors expect them to do will increase the usability of your website.

This is the fourth of 4 articles dedicated to writing good content. To read the others follow these links:
Web Page Writing Tips
Scanning Web Pages
Using Web Page Heading Titles and Headlines
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Using Web Page Heading Titles and Headlines

Draw in visitors using web page titles and headings

Titles and headings are important; they provide users a glimpse of your content and organize your content into readable “chunks.”

Your WordPress theme has styling tags that can be applied to your web page heading titles and headlines in the visual editor.

Page titles

  • Clearly describe what information a visitor can expect to find on the page
  • The H1- style tag is used for page title and is automatically applied by WordPress when the page is published
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word in the page title
  • Fit titles on one line. Avoid titles flowing over to a second line

Headlines

  • Headlines should be brief and informative
  • The H2 – style tag is used for the headline and is typically at the top of the page
  • Make sure your headline is understandable out of context. Headlines are often the only line people see in an RSS feed or in a mobile phone browser so avoid using creative puns or clever headlines.

Headings

  • Clearly label each section with a heading. Headings organize your content into readable “chunks.”
  • Tip: Scan your page by reading only the headings. If you can understand the flow and content, your headings are well-constructed. If it’s confusing, try rewriting your headlines and adjusting the order of your paragraphs.
  • The H3 style tags are used for headings in the body of the content
  • Capitalize only the first word without a period at the end

Subheadings

  • Subheadings provide an extra level of organization within a section. For example, if your heading is “Workshops,” you may need subheadings to group the various workshops by interest.
  • Use the H4 to H6 style tag for subheadings
  • Capitalize only the first word without a period at the end

Following these tips on formatting website titles and headings will organized your content allowing readers to understand what you are writing about.

To view what headings would look like with your Artbiz theme please view the style sheet.

This is the third of 4 articles dedicated to writing good content. To read the others follow these links:
Web Page Writing Tips
Scanning Web Pages
Create meaningful hyperlinks
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Scanning Web Pages

People are scanning web pages in an F pattern.

Eye tracking studies show people read the first full paragraph of the page but their attention wanes as they continue down the page. It is therefore important to tell your readers what the article is about by putting the summary at the top of the page.

Scanning Web Pages
Reading and scanning behaviors when reading web pages

Attention span is short on the internet, we want to complete tasks fast. Breaking up large blocks of text as you go down the page with meaningful subheadings, bold or italics text and bullet lists makes the page scannable.

Below is an example of making my artist biography scannable. Continue reading “Scanning Web Pages”

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Web Page Writing Tips

People read web pages differently than printed materials.

Most people find reading on-screen very hard on the eyes. Since reading on the web is 25 percent slower users scan the page until they find relevant information. Using these web page writing tips to make your content easier to read and increase user engagement.

Write the opposite way you would for print media

Continue reading “Web Page Writing Tips”

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How to use Excerpts and Read More Tags

There are two ways to create summaries of blog posts; excerpts and read more tags. The results are quite different depending on the styling and coding of your WordPress theme. In this article I show visual examples of both and explain how to use Excerpts and Read More Tags

How the Read More Tag works

The Read More tag is added to the content at a place of your choosing. The tag is added in the visual editor of WordPress.

read-more-tag

Simply place your mouse cursor where you want the tag to appear and click the icon shown in the image above. Once inserted into the content it looks like the image below.

more-tag
Once inserted on the page it looks like this

Once the tag has been inserted it appears similar to the image below on the live site. When clicked the link takes the reader to the rest of the article.

read-more-tag
More tag linked to the rest of the article on the live site

What I like about the read more tag is that it maintains the post formatting, showing the full size feature image, the meta data and comment links at the bottom of the post.

The Read More tag is useful if you have long articles and your reading settings are set to show a number of posts on a page. This reduces the amount of scrolling and exposes your readers to more of your posts.

When using the read more tag it is important that the first few sentences provide the essence of the article because this will be what influences your readers to click-through.

How Excerpts Work

When you write blog excerpts for your posts you are providing your readers a teaser. These words can be quite different from the open sentences of the post.

If your WordPress theme is coded to use excerpts you can craft an excerpt otherwise use the Read More Tag as explained above.

The excerpt is a content summary, use this opportunity to influence your readers and give them a reason to click-through and read the entire article.

excerpt
Custom crafted excerpt

The excerpt will appear with a thumbnail rather than the full size image, along with the title and a link to the rest of the article, as shown in the image above.

Under the editor you’ll find the “excerpt” dialogue box. Write your excerpt here. You can use HTML to provide some styling to your excerpt.

excerpt-dialogue-box
The excerpt dialogue box is under the visual editor

Either way you chose to summarize your blog posts the important thing to remember is that it’s the opening sentence for the read more tag and the excerpt itself that are MOST IMPORTANT words. Chose your words wisely and you will have also created a meta description for search engines.

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