When sitting down at your computer to produce eye-catching, jaw-dropping website content, you may find yourself staring at an empty screen wondering where to start. Even if you have an engaging, well-researched topic, your content may still fall short. Many writers begin by envisioning their readers by picturing someone who sits and reads every word of your masterpiece. Unfortunately, this is probably not the case.
The digital landscape is full of skimmers. Reading from a screen when browsing through websites is a different type of reading from reading a physical page. Eyes follow a basic F pattern to attempt to gain the most information in the least amount of time. So how do you write to accommodate these readers? Below we have gathered five top tips to keep your website content accessible and enjoyable to encourage return visits:
#1. Keep it short.
This does not mean that you cannot write long pieces of content. Just be sure that sentences are short, 20 words or less, and that no paragraph has more than four sentences. Readability is an algorithm that looks for complicated text, long sentences and passive voice. Maintaining a great readability score can help your search engine optimization (SEO) and keep readers coming back for more.
#2. Use images.
Use images and white space to break up the text. Readers often evaluate what they are about to read in terms of how much concentration will be required. More often than not, tightly spaced text will send readers elsewhere. You can prevent this by including lively images and white space between paragraphs and in the margins of your text. Headings and subheadings can also take pressure off of tough reads to help readers quickly skip to the section they are looking for.
#3. Be upfront.
Good writing isn’t always seen as simple writing. Many content creators assume that complicated or vague information keeps readers interested, which simply doesn’t work for website content. Keep titles informative. Quickly state what you are trying to say in a conversational tone. Don’t be afraid of laying it all out on the table. Internet users aren’t willing to commit to your content unless they know exactly what the benefits are. Think of content as a transaction. Readers give you their attention and you give them helpful or entertaining information. Be clear about what that information is.
#4. Keep it simple.
To be realistic and factual about certain topics, you can’t always convey simple information. Oftentimes you will approach complicated or technical topics. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t attempt to break information down to simple ideas and concepts. Don’t be afraid to use metaphors or hypothetical situations to make a point. Whenever possible, demonstrate what you are describing through video or screenshots. Try to create a visual to keep readers interested.
#5. Add value.
Before adding any content to your site, whether it’s images, video or text, always ask yourself “what is the value of this content?” Be sure that your content is never fluffy or superfluous. Keep a clear audience and purpose in mind. Even the most personal, mundane blogs should have a clear-cut reason for being there. If you can’t quickly and easily express why your content is important, then you might reconsider your online content strategy.
It can be tough to create engaging, exciting content for your website. However, with a little planning and some tough editing, you can increase website traffic, social media followers and time spent on your web pages.
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