Only 16% of people read web sites word for word. Source
The average person only comprehends 60% of what they read. Source
Knowing this – how should bloggers who want to communicate effectively write?
Is your Blog Scannable ?
Most people read online by scanning the page for individual words or phrases, headings and other visual cues. Studies have shown that reading from a screen is more tiring and therefore about 25% slower than reading from paper – hence scanning becomes a technique that most employ.
Is your Blog Scannable? It’s a pretty simple thing to test. Ask a friend who is not familiar with your site to take a quick look at a few of your recent posts. Give them 15 to 30 seconds on each post, at the end of which you ask them what the post was about. You’ll quickly get a sense of how they’ve interacted with your blog.
Techniques to Make your Blog Scannable
Good bloggers keep this in mind as they write and will employ a variety of techniques to make their posts easier to read. Some of these techniques include:
- Lists – Anecdotal evidence here at ProBlogger suggests that its my posts with bullet point lists in them that get linked to ALOT more than similar length posts written in of an essay style.
- Formatting – Use bold, CAPITALS, italics, underlining, teletext and to emphasize points. Don’t go overboard as you run the risk of frustrating your reader. Also consider changing font size, color and style to draw your readers eyes to your main points.
- Headings and Sub Headings – Large, Bold words that act as visual cues of what is happening in the content are effective ways of drawing readers further into articles.
- Pictures – Research shows that readers eyes are drawn down the page by pictures. Place them cleverly by your key points (especially when they closely relate to the content) and you have more of a chance of getting readers to read full articles.
- Borders/Blockquotes – boxes around quotes and key points can similarly get the attention of readers.
- Space – don’t feel you have to fill up every inch of your screen – rather create spaces because they help readers not to feel overwhelmed and again tend to draw readers eyes to what is inside such space.
- Get to the Point – try to be succinct with your points.
- Don’t Bury your Points – one trap many of us fall into is to bury our main points deep within content where it’s unlikely to be noticed. If you have a key point make sure you say it up front. You can expand upon it later but get your message across in the first few sentences if possible.
- Find creative ways to reinforce your main point throughout your post.
- Don’t Introduce too many New Ideas in one post – once again this helps to avoid overwhelming readers with information all at once. If you want to cover many ideas that relate to one another consider a series of posts that link to each other.
If your site and its posts are not easily scannable you run the risk of losing your reader to another blog that is.