5 ways to make your online content more readable

Truth be told, it’s becoming harder to get people to read your content online (he says, hoping that someone is actually reading this!).

Since the year 2000, the average attention span of internet users has dropped from 12 seconds to just 8 seconds.

And 55% of all page views get less than 15 seconds of attention!

Having teased you with some juicy stats, this is the point where I hope you are still with me.

If you are, it’s probably because you want some helpful tips on how to make your online content more readable.

Because if you grab people’s attention and keep them on your web page, you’re one step closer to converting them into a customer.

Here are 5 ways that you can do just that.

1.     Understand what readable content looks like

Let’s take it as a given that content should be well-written and error-free.

Readable content should also be:

  • Well researched
  • Informal and unstuffy
  • Interesting and informative
  • Unique and distinctive

Whether you’re writing a blog, press release, case study or landing page, it goes without saying that you should know what you are talking about.

Take inspiration from various sources but always credit them. And if you’re making a claim, always remember to back it up with a link to the original study that it came from.

Readers will return to your site if they know that you’re a trusted, well-informed font of knowledge.

Keep things simple and don’t get bogged down in technical jargon.

Above all, be an original voice. Choose topics that interest you, because the chances are they’ll interest your readers too.

2.     Understand what readable content sounds like

This relates to the tone of voice that you create for written material.

You should always remember that this content is being created in order to be consumed by the people who are interested in your product or service.

Adopt a tone of voice that matches theirs.

Focus on their needs over yours as a business. Don’t talk about yourself, tell them how they will benefit from what you can offer.

They might not be interested in the technical specification of a piece of software. But they will be interested in how that software can make their life easier.

3.     Don’t get too hung up on old-school rules

Online content is consumed very differently to the printed word.

You’re not writing a dissertation or a critical paper so you need to keep things informal and concise.

Visitors to your website are likely to be reading your blog on a mobile device and possibly even on the move while they do it.

They want to get to the information they need quickly and easily.

You should:

  • Write in bite-sized chunks
  • Write in short sentences
  • Use bullet points
  • Break your content up into sub-headings

Large bulky paragraphs don’t scan very well on digital devices.

Short, sharp sentences flow well and read more comfortably.

4.     Be clear in your messaging

Choose a topic that you know people have an interest in and find an angle that hasn’t been looked at before.

Don’t veer from point to point. Stick to one clear theme for the page and give it a definite beginning, middle and end.

Your headline should make it clear what the reader is going to get (and can also help with your SEO strategy).

  • Take a stance in an opinion piece.
  • State the facts in an informative article.
  • Offer expertise and knowledge in a thought-leader blog.

Ask yourself these three questions:

Who am I talking to?

What do I want them to get out of the content?

Why should they take the time to read it?

5.     Read it out loud

This might seem obvious, but the only way to know if your content is truly readable is to read it out loud.

Don’t just proofread content for spelling and grammar errors, although that’s obviously really important. Read it out loud and listen to how it flows.

Online content should be conversational and easy to listen to.

Give it to someone else to read out loud.

The human voice is a compelling tool. If you can pull off a natural tone to your content, it immediately becomes something that people will want to come back and read time after time.

Effective content is a vital part of any website design, from the initial UX stages to when the site goes live.

Find out how our team of online copywriters, UX experts, website designers and web developers can create an efficient digital platform for your business. Give us a call today.

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