According to Internet usability expert Jakob Nielsen, people don’t read online. They scan and pick out individual words and sentences. He said this a long time ago. But it still holds true. Perhaps even more so today as our attention span online gets shorter.
This can be a challenge for content producers. We know content can sell. But how do we balance that and keep reader interest? The key…
Don’t work to make people read your content. Instead, work to make your content easier for the way people consume content online. Here are a few pointers to help you boost your content’s readability.
Beyond the typical yellow background, you can use font variations or color.
This is my personal favorite. You can also take it further by using bullet icons to strengthen the message of each bullet point.
When asked how people know something is clickable on a page, the answer is blue underlined text and buttons. Text links work great but too much of it, overwhelms readers. They don’t know which to click. Buttons give people more direction and signal to people – “push me”.
If there’s something you want people to click on. Vary your call to actions with both text links and buttons. I like using buttons at the end of the post because it gives a nice visual end to the post.
Ample White Space
Write a kick butt piece of content, put it in a post with nothing but text and nobody will read. It’s too overwhelming. Give readers’ eyes a rest. Use paragraphs. Add more space between the lines.
Chunk Your Content
Readability is the ease with which a reader can understand a written text. – Wikipedia
You can also rest the eyes by breaking up chunks of content with images, feature boxes, pull quotes.
Sub-heads also break up the content. But more important, it makes your content scannable. Also, sub-heads give readers a quick bird’s eye view of the content. This helps them do two things.
- Get a quick summary, and/or
- Decide if they want to spend more time reading in depth
One Thought Per Paragraph
Too many ideas in one small paragraph is rather overwhelming. It makes readers want to check out.
Clear Simple Words
You aren’t writing for your English teacher. Write as you talk. Keep your words simple, and your sentences short.
Online, it’s not always easy to achieve these. Simple things like font variation and color are easy. Buttons, pull quotes, feature boxes, and icon bullets are much harder if you do not know how to code HTML and CSS.
This is where a plugin like Snazzy Press can help. Unlike others, Snazzy Press does not use shortcodes. If you uninstall, your content will still be readable and your links continue to work. The important thing, you won’t end up with a bunch of code on your page.
Because Snazzy Press is a plugin, you also won’t lose the styles when you switch themes. It’s also coded to work with any theme. Snazzy Press comes with a variety of styles. From buttons to icons, feature boxes to iconic bullet points and more.
You might not have paid it much attention earlier, but in the post itself, I’ve used Snazzy Press to liven up my message and give the post some depth. If you want to see how it works, here’s a quick video for you to watch.