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Use scannable content with the concepts of clear visual hierarchy and the inverted pyramid writing style.

Combined, you'll have a page that performs well with a high usability rating and a positive user experience.


SAMPLE LEADS
Be kind to your visitor. Help them get to their desired content quickly and easily.


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Writing Good Leads
 
Before journalists start to write, they ask themselves a series of questions
known as the 5Ws & H.

  1. Who? - Who are the person or persons involved in the story?
  2. What? - What happened?
  3. When? - When did it happen?
  4. Where? - Where did it happen?
  5. Why? - Why did it happen?
  6. How? - How did it happen?
Not all these questions will be relevant all the time, but they provide a good test. After writing the lead, check to see how many of the questions have been answered. If any answers are missing, there are two possible reasons:
  • The question isn’t relevant, so do nothing.
  • The question is relevant but was neglected, so rewrite.
Another way to evaluate the lead is the Stop Reading Test.

    You are generally writing for busy people. They generally do not want—and often do not need—to read the entire text.

    So ask yourself: At what point could someone stop reading and still get a clear, sharp picture of what the web page is all about?

    If they would need to read much past your lead, you've got some rewriting to do.

Here's a Few Examples of Good Leads or Blurbs

A little long but all 5 Ws & H This evening at about 9:30 p.m. at Ford's Theatre, the President, while sitting in his private box with Mrs. Lincoln, Mrs. Harris and Major Rathburn, was shot by an assassin, who suddenly entered the box and approached behind the President.

CONTRAST lead - The contrast lead draws contrast between two opposite extremes - tragedy with comedy, past with present, age with youth, beauty with ugly.

Less than 3 years ago, two college friends decided to build a website to exchange their favorite videos.

Today Your Tube is owned by Google and gets over 25 million unique visitors to the site each month.

PICTURE lead - The picture lead draws a vivid word picture of the person or in the story. The idea is to have the reader see the thing as the writer saw it.

Standing tall and straight, easy to smile, unfurrowed brow under glistening eyes, Mary told of her dramatic attitude change, having seen her business results turn around after bringing in a consultant.

BACKGROUND lead - This is the same as the Picture lead except it draws a vivid word picture of the news setting, surroundings or circumstances.

High seas, strong winds and heavy overcast provided the setting for a dramatic mission of mercy in the North Atlantic on the first day of the year.

PUNCH lead - The Punch lead consists of a blunt, explosive statement designed to surprise or jolt the reader.

The President is dead. Friday the 13th is over, but the casualty list is still growing.

QUESTION lead - The Question lead features a pertinent query that arouses the readers' curiosity and makes them want to read the body of the story for answers. Make sure the question is rhetorical, cannot be answered with a straight "no" or "yes".

How does your website conversion rates compare to other sites in your industry?

DIRECT ADDRESS lead - The Direct Access lead is aimed directly at the readers and makes them collaborators with facts in the story. It usually employs the pronouns "you" and "your".

Your website conversion rates will increase by 50% in one month.

You will see measurable increases in web results if you follow our new "10 Points to Web Success" program announced this week.
QUOTATION lead - This lead features a short, eye-catching quote or remark, usually set in quotation marks. Use this only if the quotation is so important or remarkable it overshadows the other facts of the story.

"You really don't know what freedom is until you have had to escape from terrorist captivity", says Tom Dennon, an Air Force pilot stationed in Iraq.

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