03.07.08

Writing headlines on your own Web site

When re-purposing press releases to post on your Web site, be sure to rewrite the headline to avoid a long list of "Our Organization Does This." "Our Organization Does That" "Our Organization Does This Other Thing." It's repetitive on your site, and makes it awkward to read for your site visitors.

Here are some excerpts from Jakob Nielson's latest alertbox on the topic:

The guidelines for writing microcontent, such as links, headlines, and page titles, have been very clear:
  • Start with highly information-carrying words, because users often scan only the beginning of a content container.
  • Avoid starting with your company name on your own site.

Every news item starts with the words "Highway Holdings," which raises two key problems:

  • The news is about this company, on its own homepage, making the repetitive use of the company name largely uninformative and a waste of extraordinarily precious real estate (each list item's first two words).
  • Starting all links with the same words makes the choices harder to differentiate, and thus harder to use.

When to Frontload the Company Name

  • Start search engine links with your company name when both of the following conditions hold:
    • The link appears as a hit for queries that typically produce a SERP (search engine results page) that's full of junk links.
    • You have a widely recognized and well-respected company name.
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