Editor Tip: Less is More

Creating effective web content is only possible when editors adhere to the rule of scannability. A scannable website allows users to quickly find information through the use of  headers and lists, which help to organize information. Scannability is also improved by minimizing the amount of content on a site. With that said, editors should only publish what is necessary to provide adequate information. In addition to scannability, there are several other reasons for web editors to keep their content to a minimum.

Upkeep

The amount of time required to keep a website up-to-date increases as an editor adds more content.

Errors

The possibility for errors to exist or occur also increases, as attention to detail is sometimes sacrificed to work on additional content.

Outdated Content

A website should always contain current information. It is common for an editor to forget everything they must update if the information can be found in multiple locations. Also keep in mind that the amount of time outdated information exists on the web is dependent on the amount of upkeep an editor has created for themselves.

Broken Links

Broken links will occur with time, they cannot be prevented. The best thing an editor can do is remove or update broken links in a timely manner. When the amount of content increases, the number of links often increases, and routinely testing links becomes more and more difficult.

Incorrect Search Results

Search results are dependent on the number of times a word is found and linked to pages. For example: transcript. If the word “transcript” is linked to one page throughout the website, the search engine will know to rank that page as the first result when a user searches for “transcript.” In reality “transcript” is likely to be found on a few pages throughout an academic site, and the search engine can account for that. However, if “transcript” is linked several hundred times, to multiple pages, it would become difficult for the search engine to determine which page is the most useful.

User Frustration

A user comes to a website to find information. The amount of information a user has to “sift” through increases with the size of a website, making it more difficult for that user to find what they are looking for. Maintaining a simple navigational structure and keeping content to a minimum helps ensure that a website serves its purpose.

About Dwight Nagy

Assistant Director of Web Communication at The College of Wooster and ScotBlogs Administrator
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