Nielsen and Morkes’ pioneering study revealed that 79% of web users skim through online content instead of reading it entirely. For digital publishers, unfortunately, that means readers likely won’t read your copy from start to finish. Instead, they’ll scan it for info that is relevant to them and their particular needs.
1. Shoot information with bullet points and/or lists
Lists work in tandem with our brain’s natural process of ingesting and organizing information. It happens subconsciously, and lists complement our inherent tendency to categorize things. They break up large chunks of text, emphasize main points, and group information into short, digestible pieces. Lists also help our brains recognize information and recall it more easily, as Walter Kintsch’s 1968 study found.
2. Be bold with bolding
To call more attention towards important information, try bolding it. Actually, you don’t even have to read the rest of this paragraph. We bolded the very first sentence because it’s the main takeaway. Bold your content strategically so readers can scan and extract info from it quickly.
3. Work with whitespace
Whitespace refers to any unused, blank spaces on a page. It’s an inherent building block of great design and translates to a much easier reading experience when used properly. According to research, whitespace between paragraphs and in the left and right margins increase reader comprehension by nearly 20%. The best publishers work with it to avoid clutter, increase legibility, and draw attention towards a specific aspect of the page.
4. Superb subheaders
You’ll need compelling subheaders to capture your reader’s attention and get them to peruse the rest of your content. Subheaders are the crux of your paragraphs, serving as both the introduction and conclusion of the points you’re trying to make. The best ones are informative and interesting. They don’t mar the publisher’s credibility by being super exaggerated. Once you’ve laid them out, review them. Scan the page, read your subheaders out loud, and see if you’re able to grasp the main ideas from them alone.
5. Include handy hyperlinks
Linking your content to relevant websites lends more credibility to it. It shows that you’ve researched your topic and are armed with extra data to validate your point. Quality internal and external links broaden your reader’s understanding of the topic and add more merit to your publishing brand. Just be sure to check your links every once in awhile to ensure they’re still working.
6. Pick a font-astic font
Fonts speak louder than words, so the right one can decidedly impact your copy’s readability. The general rule of thumb is to make your font uniform across every format so it’s easy to read on all devices. Sans-serif fonts including Arial and Verdana (the right ‘F’ below) are generally easier to read than Serif fonts such as Times New Roman (the left ‘F’). The former do not include decorative embellishments on the ends of strokes that comprise letters (circled in red).
You prose could be the greatest the web has ever seen. But if it isn’t readable, it won’t garner the attention it deserves. Learn to write for an online audience, master the techniques above, and start with Joomag today.