How to get more people reading your online content

Written by Nicola Risi  |  26, September, 2017  |  3 Comments  Subscribe

scannable-content.jpgThere truly is an art to creating readable web content.

And I’m sorry to say, it pretty much requires you to forget everything you learnt in school.

Okay, not everything.

(I'm yet to use Pythagoras' Theorum in my adult life, but maybe that's just me...) 

Evidence suggests we digest content online very differently. And this demands a new discipline of writing.

Ever heard of the F-shaped pattern? Clever eye tracking techniques have been used to measure the amount people actually read. And you’d be pretty peeved to find out that it’s actually only 20%.

Consider why you search for content online.

To find answers.

Most people will visit a search engine with a question, and they’ll scan the web until they find their answer.

In a world (or world wide web, if you like) of infinite space, we’re now fighting for attention. And who gets heard? Those with the most authoritative, informative and cleanest content.

So before you spend hours slaving over your content, polishing each sentence and perfecting every word with your trusty thesaurus on hand, I’m here to tell you those efforts could be obsolete. Learn to create scannable content that your buyers will read and digest.

Short and sweet

Remove superfluous words and sentences. Get to the point. Your readers are impatient.

They want the answers, and they want them quickly.

Make use of white space

White space is your new friend.

You don’t have to take this literally as ‘white space’. Just make sure you’re breaking up your paragraphs sufficiently.

You can even use images to break up dense paragraphs and add context to your content.

Use subheads

Visitors are very often scanning content for words or search terms that relate to what they’re looking for. Help them to find the information they need before they quickly switch off, click off and move to the next page.

Bullet points

Bullets are a great way of breaking up your content into manageable chunks. When a paragraph can be broken into bullets, don’t hesitate.

Lists

The same principles applies with lists:

  1. Lists are easy to scan
  2. They’re equally as easy to create

Compelling headlines

Use resources such as CoSchedule's Headline Analyzer to test the effectiveness of your title. We’ve already spoken about the ‘F shaped pattern’ so what does that tell you about where your readers are really looking? A good headline will grab them at the first hurdle or create intrigue.

Highlight

Much like you would highlight key sentences and information before an exam, embolden key points within your content to bring them to the reader’s attention, with minimal effort.

I hope that, if you’ve made it this far I can say I practice what I preach.

Remember, online readers are impatient, easily distracted, and hungry for information.

55% of people spend fewer than 15 seconds on a page, which doesn’t leave much time for superfluous jargon.

Hand it to them on a plate and make it smooth and easy to digest (excuse the pun) and they'll be back for more.

Content writing for inbound marketing

Topics: Content Marketing

Nicola Risi

Written by Nicola Risi

Nicola writes content for Equinet as well as our clients. After completing a degree in English Literature and Language, and a CIM Marketing diploma, Nicola has spent the last five years working in creative account management and copywriting. Her wealth of sector experience ranges from charities and healthcare, to corporate and commercial brands.

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