When people arrive at the landing page of your website, what do they see? If it’s a wall of text, they’ll most likely hit the back button. You’ll be losing a new visitor: a potential fan, customer, future colleague or employee.
Take care with what’s above the fold
You can use every trick at your disposal to get people to come to your site, but they usually won’t stay long when confronted with dense text. On the web, people mostly scan instead of read. As such, the topmost part of your webpage – the section above the fold – should convey with as few words as possible what visitors can expect on your site. It needs to grab them with a catchy title, tagline, well-selected graphics, and clearly labeled links pointing visitors to other pages on your site.
Even if visitors don’t immediately hit the back button, but instead stick around to peer at the dense text, you’re still stuck with a landing page design problem: Heavy text tends to bury what’s around it, such as your call to action, other links, or a special feature you wish to highlight on your site.
What about the rest of your landing page?
Below the fold you can include more text if you need to. However, keep it from appearing dense. Format the text with bullet points and lists. Keep paragraphs relatively short and use headers. Site visitors should be able to quickly scan and pick up the main points, and then settle down to read more closely if they wish to.
If you’d like to share a lot of information with visitors, break it up into sub-pages and link to them from your landing page. Try not to cram everything onto one page.
Scanning, then reading
The bottom line is that visitors will scan first to get the gist of your site, or to try to quickly find what they’re looking for, such as a link to a certain product or your CV. As far as text goes, it should be organized for easy scanning as visitors make a first pass through your site; of course, everything still needs to be clear and well-written for those who decide to stick around and take a closer look.
*The image links back to its source (Wikipedia).