Very rarely do people read blog posts from start to finish. Maybe it’s because of the information overkill in our society. Or maybe it’s because there are millions of articles on the Internet trying to attract readers. But it’s probably more because it takes about 25 percent longer to read from a screen than from paper. In this blog, you’ll find tips for writing excellent content in 2024
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Whatever the reason, it’s important to find the right approach to writing for online readers. A new approach that engages readers instead of driving them away.
Digital writing differs significantly from writing a traditional text on paper.
So if you want to convert more visitors into repeat readers, then you need to crack the code and use a different strategy. You need to learn to write more readable content.
I used to just write without having any idea how people like to read online.
I now have a much better idea of what a reader expects from online content.
He wants us to write scannable content. Readable content is always scannable content. My six years of experience as a specialist journalist have shown me that.
Writing More Readable Content: Why Even?
Did you know that 55 percent of people spend less than 15 seconds actively on a website?
That’s not exactly a good premise for bloggers or corporate websites that want to be read.
And it’s a bad premise for people who want to sell a product or service online.
So you only have a small window of opportunity to grab visitors’ attention and motivate them to read your articles.
Don’t expect your visitors to read your posts in their entirety. That would be a very unrealistic assumption. Very few people do that.
According to a study, only about 16 percent of all people read an article word for word online.
That means less than two out of 10 visitors will read your articles.
The vast majority will scan the text and thereby secure the information.
That’s called scanning. To have any chance of keeping these readers on the site and converting them into repeat visitors, we need to write more readable content. But other methods could bring in new readers.
Do we read the articles we share?
Curiously, content is also shared without first having read it in its entirety.
One study found that shared content did not receive more attention than normal.
The graphic shows the phenomenon very nicely:
The chart shows that we don’t necessarily read the articles we share.
So what is more readable content?
Scannable content is crisp, interesting, and to the point. Sentences and paragraphs are short. Important passages are highlighted. Links to other content are also included.
So we create content that is geared towards the 21st-century visitor. Content that is easy and simple to read on a screen.
The information is presented in a streamlined manner to make the usefulness of the text easier for the reader to grasp.
Your best bet is to throw your previous approach out the window and become a fan of the scannable content. I assure you it works!
Tips for writing excellent content in 2024
Write more readable content, step by step
Point 1 – Write short paragraphs
- You’ve probably noticed that I write very short paragraphs. Sometimes really short. Often a sentence is also a paragraph.
- This is by no means chosen by chance. In my opinion, this is the most important technique of creating scannable content.
- As an example, I’ll choose a really big, bold block of text :
- A so-called text desert. Unreadable on screen.
- You’ve probably noticed that this block of text is very difficult to read. Our eyes have no point to fix.
- Here is the same text divided into many small paragraphs :
- Which text do you find easier to read? I bet it’s the second one.
- Your eyes always find a way to fix the text to find the right line.
- This allows you to seamlessly move from one point to the next for smooth, effortless reading.
- Write only one idea per paragraph and no more than three to four sentences. I’m now a fan of a maximum of three sentences.
- White space is your friend, so use lots of it. Break your text into small chunks.
Point 2 – Keep your sentences short
- There is no reason for a blogger to make their sentences long and extremely convoluted.
- Packing a collection of foreign words into the sentences also makes no sense. What use is a text that only the academic elite understands?
- Your visitors will be made up of different levels of education and vocabulary. You must never forget that.
- No reader will have a dictionary lying by his side to look up the meaning of every third word.
- Therefore, it is very wise to use short sentences and easy-to-understand words.
- As a rule of thumb, you should not use more than 16 words per sentence.
- Also, try to present complex information as simply as possible. Every reader should be able to understand your texts.
- Your content should be as high quality as possible. And understandable for everyone. Then it’s more readable content.
Point 3 – Use subheadings
- The majority of readers will not be interested in every single point of your post.
- Instead, most readers will skip from one part of the text to another. They try to find out where the information they are looking for is hidden
- You can support this reading technique by using good and meaningful subheadings.
- So break down each section of your content and add subheadings where it might fit.
- This breaks your text into logical chunks and puts your reader in the »flow«. He is automatically directed to the information he is looking for.
- Make sure the subheadings reflect (roughly) what the content below is about.
- In this way, you support the scanning process and speed it up.
- Don’t try to write cool or funny subheads. Keep them simple, practical, and logical.
Point 4 – Use bulleted lists
Who doesn’t love bullet lists? I love her.
They break important information into short chunks and are extremely easy to grasp.
Your readers can find the information that is important to them very quickly, without having to think too much.
Instead of writing many sentences, just write a bulleted list.
Here’s an example:
- Write short paragraphs
- Write short sentences
- Always use subheadings
- Feel free to use bulleted lists like this one
- Read the article further…
Point 5 – Intersperse images into longer texts
- Images serve two different purposes:
- First, they serve as eye candy, satisfying the reader’s subconscious craving for visual stimuli.
What is important for you as a blogger or business website operator, however, is that content with images gets 94 percent more page views.
See also 9 SEO content writing tips