Make Posts Scannable – One of lessons that I would advise all bloggers to get their minds about is that in addition to fact that the average web user doesn’t usually stay long on a web page – they also don’t read much of it As a result, scannable content is a userful strategy to use in your blogging.
One study found that only 16% of people read word for word when they are online and another found that the average person only comprehends about 60% of what they read.
Rather than read word for word – web users ‘Scan’ pages for information – looking for key words, phrases and visual cues.
Here are a few tips and techniques you can use for working with your scanning readers and not against them:
- Lists – This will be no surprise to ProBlogger readers – I’m pretty big on lists and my stats show me its my posts with bullet point lists in them that get linked to ALOT more than similar length posts written in of an essay style. Read more on lists in posts at this list on why lists are good.
- Formatting – Use bold, CAPITALS, italics, underlining, teletext and to emphasize points. Don’t go overboard as you run the risk of frustrating your reader. Also consider changing font size, color and style to draw your readers eyes to your main points.
- Headings and Sub Headings – Using headings midway through posts helps with post structure (and many believe with SEO if you use <h> tags) but they also are great for drawing your readers eyes down the page and helping them find the parts of your article that will interest them most..
- Pictures – clever use of pictures in your posts can grab attention, emphasize points and draw people down into your post. I’ve played around with pictures pretty extensively on a couple of my blogs and find they add a real air of professionalism and interest to posts – there’s nothing worse than long chunks of text on a page – break it up!
- Borders/Blockquotes – boxes around quotes and key points can similarly get the attention of readers.
- Space – don’t feel you have to fill up every inch of your screen – rather create spaces because they help readers not to feel overwhelmed and again tend to draw readers eyes to what is inside such space.
- Short Paragraphs – Web users tend to get lost in large blocks of text – break it into smaller bites and you’ll stick with it for longer.
- Don’t Bury your Points – Make your main points as clear as you can. One technique to ensure this is to get your main point across in the first few sentences rather than burying it in your conclusion.