Website is your business card. Especially when most of meetings, conferences and workshops have been changed to fully online format and one of the ways how to promote your work is to share the link to your web resource.

This is the time to review your website content with a critical eye and fine tune it. 

How to start? How to make your website more visitor-friendly? Here are some basic ideas that can help to remake your content more appealing to the reader and to the search engines.

At the bottom of the page, you'll find also a checklist for your PA/HA website. 

  

First things first

Think of what is the most important in your website or what is the main message you want to tell to the reader, for example aim of your work in the EUSBSR, main tasks etc. Start each article or menu section with the paragraph of most important statements and then go in details. Don’t give everything the same attention, you can also highlight the most important parts in bold or brighter colour. Always remember to step into the readers shoes and look at the content like you have never seen it before, this will be a key to putting everything in right order.

 

Review your content and make it scannable

No one likes to read large blocks of text, especially when you want to engage your reader and keep them exploring your website as much as possible. We believe that you have many things to say about your work with the EUSBSR topics, but keep in mind: reader will most likely get tired very soon of reading huge amount of text.

What could you do?

Imagine yourself opening a new website, probably the first thing you will do is to quickly scan the text and pictures and look for the content you are interested in. Therefore, you can help the reader to find easily what is needed. Here are some tips you can do:

  • Use headings and sub headings to the paragraphs. This will help to quickly understand what the content is about.
  • Instead of using just paragraphs turn the content into bullet points or numbered lists.
  • Use white spaces – make an extra space between paragraphs, pictures, headings. Small white spaces will turn text easily readable.

 

 

Don’t put too much on one page

Don’t put too much text on the same page/screen. The more you include, the more you split your visitor’s attention. It is a good idea to plan the subsections for each topic and put them as another menu item or if not possible, highlight sections with headings or colours.

 

Keep in mind – consistency

Another thing to keep in mind when remaking your website’s content is consistency. Apply consistent style for headings, subheadings, coloured parts of text, hyperlinks etc. in all sections - it will help reader to focus more on the message. An inconsistent layout forces the visitor to stop at every page, relearn the layout, and only then get back to reading your message.

What should be done to keep consistency of layout? First of all, decide on three levels of importance:

  • primary importance,
  • secondary importance,
  • and then deeper detail.

For example, add bigger font size to primary headings and paragraphs, so that it gives clear message to your reader what the page is about and triggers reader to find out more. Then form other parts of text and use layout as an instrument that helps to easier understand your message.

It is a good idea to write down some visual rules for your website with the defined style of:

  • Headings,
  • Sub-headings,
  • Main text colour and font,
  • Use of bold and italic text,
  • Layout of hyperlinks,
  • Layout for numbered lists,
  • Height of spaces between paragraphs, headings, pictures, numbered lists.

Rules will help to keep the consistency, especially when you have multiple webpage editors.

 

Audit your page

But how to know, who opens your webpage and what do your visitors read on the page? The answer is Google Analytics. Ask you webpage developer to add Google Analytics link to your page and then you can monitor and implement your content based on reader’s behaviour. Analytics capture each visitor, shows how they have found your page, what keywords they were inserting on a search engine to find your webpage, how they navigate in your page and other important data that you can wisely use afterwards.

 

Use keywords wisely

Using keywords in your text will help search engines, like Google, easier find your page and put it in the first places of the search results. What are those magic keywords? A keyword is a word or multiple words that describe the content of your page and is a phrase written by users in the search window in Google. For example, if you have a website that promotes sustainable tourism in the Baltic Sea Region, ask yourself:

"Which words do you think people will use in search engines to find you?"

Probably, sustainable tourism, recreation, the Baltic Sea Region, tourists etc. Because these keywords reflect the content of your page.

How to use keywords?

Will it help if you create one page with many keywords in it with no understandable context? No! Search engines scan your text and give higher rank to easily readable text and most important a unique text that is not copied from other web resources. It is wisely to create all texts by yourself and spread the keywords throughout the text. Don’t use the keywords just in the first paragraph, add them in the heading, couple of subheadings and whole text. Don’t exaggerate – if 1-2 % of all words of your text are your keywords, it is enough.


Remember - In case you don’t use keywords in your texts or use incorrect keywords Google will just not find you that fast.

 

Checklist: what contents should be available on a PA/HA website?

In all content production, remember to convey the main message of the EUSBSR, the one about togetherness and cooperation: we are better together! 

1) Basic information about the EUSBSR and the Policy Area/Horizontal Action concisely.

Think of it in journalistic terms, with 5 W's, for instance:

  • What (is the EUSBSR and its Policy Area/Horizontal Action in question)?
  • Why (do they exist)?
  • Who (are involved)?
  • Where (does it all take place)?
  • When (did it all begin and/or does something happen)?

2) Listing of Flagships and projects/processes

Consider listing both ongoing and completed Flagships and other relevant projects/processes putting the EUSBSR into practice. Remeber to add links for more information. 

3) Funding

It is a good idea to communicate in few words how it is possible to apply for funding under the Policy Area/Horizontal Action field.

4) Contact information

The contact information of Policy Area/Horizontal Action Coordinators should be easily available on the website. Link to the contact information at the EUSBSR website can also be linked.

5) Links to further information

At least the EUSBSR website should be linked to provide further information.

+ If resources allow:

- Event calendar to provide information on upcoming events.

- Blog to share information, for instance, on the progress of flagships.