F Your Website

Updated: December 4, 2020

How and why to prepare your website content using the F Pattern style of writing

Recently, I presented to the members of a local business referral and networking group on how to “F Your Website”. Here is a transcribed version of the slideshow I presented to them.

Good content is important

  • It sets your website apart from the masses.
  • It delivers the right message to your clients.
  • It’s the primary element that drives the success of your website.
  • Ultimately, content wins the wallets of your customers.

Wait – content is the primary element?

Yes, content is king!

However, presentation of that content is also very important. Such as:

  • Visual aspects of the design
  • Overall layout
  • Photos, videos and other media

Mind your own business

But professional help is available.

  • Nobody knows your business as well as you do. Most web designers don’t have a degree in mind reading, so you need to provide them with the best content you possibly can.
  • A professional copywriter conducts an interview with you and/or your employees, performs relevant market research, then prepares your content for you.

Most people write their own content

If you want to write your own content, keep these points in mind:

  • Consider what a client might search for when looking for a service provider relevant to your business. These are your keywords and key phrases.
  • Use your keywords and key phrases throughout your content but don’t overdo it. The search deities will accuse you of a common spammy activity known as, “keyword stuffing”.
  • Try to write at least 300 words of content for your primary pages, such as About, Services, etc.
  • Content is key to proper website design – your designer can use your content as inspiration for the overall look and feel, but it also helps with determining the layout of each page.
  • Very few of your website visitors will read every word on your website. They will scan for the best parts. This is why you need to: F your website.

The F Pattern of reading content

  • F stands for FAST (get your mind out of the gutter).
  • Website visitors scan your content quickly, in a matter of seconds.
  • Eyetracking studies show that visitors consistently use an F-like pattern to read your content.
  • As you will see, this pattern further proves the concept that visitors will leave your website if they get bored in 5 seconds or less.

F Pattern explained

  • Visitors first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area.
  • Next, visitors move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that is typically shorter than the previous movement.
  • Finally, visitors scan the content’s left side in a vertical movement that is slower and systematic.

Real world examples

Implications of the F Pattern

  • Visitors won’t read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner. Exhaustive reading is rare.
  • The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. There’s some hope that visitors will actually read it, though they’ll probably read more of the first paragraph than the second.
  • Start subheaders, paragraphs and bullet points with critical keywords that visitors will notice when scanning down the left side of your content in the final stem of their F-behavior.

Other considerations

  • The F Pattern is a typical behavior associated with websites in general. It’s not necessarily applicable to every situation or every page on your website. But it is a very good rule of thumb.
  • Design aspects can disrupt F-behavior, which is part of the reasoning behind some of today’s design technology.
  • Design aspects can also embrace F-behavior, making specific pieces of content more memorable and influential.

Harness Media can F up your website

  • We don’t provide professional copywriting services, but we partner with other service providers that can write or rewrite your website content with the F Pattern in mind.
  • We use the content you (or your copywriter) provide to layout your website pages as effectively as possible.
  • We build your website with WordPress, which means you can easily update your own content based on statistical analysis.
  • If you subscribe to one of our Website Care Plans, we can edit the content for you (and then some).


How to contact Harness Media:

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Originally published on April 5, 2017

Picture of Wendell Harness, the founder of Harness Media

About the Author

Wendell T. Harness

I’ve been building online properties since the late 1980’s and transitioned to web design in 1999. I formed Harness Media in 2005 to help businesses grow through online marketing. I also talk to cats in a silly voice.

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