People read very selectively online, always looking for the maximum benefit for their reading investment. Web usability expert Jakob Nielsen cites studies showing that web readers read an average of only 20% of the text on a page.
What makes content worthy of a reader’s precious time? The main reason people read online content is to learn something useful for their personal or business goals. However, engaging web readers is more challenging than ever.
The key is targeting your audience precisely. Ask yourself if this is something that my audience will find helpful in achieving their goals. You may also consider conducting a survey among your readers if you have a way to do that.
Once you have a relevant topic, here are five ways to make your content more readable and interesting:
1. Know your topic well. Do the research, read the experts and examine different points of view. If this topic is of true interest to your readers, it is something they care about, so don’t just breeze over the topic.
2. Present a new point of view. Assume your reader is well read. They aren’t going to be interested in something they already know, so don’t restate the obvious. Even if it’s something introductory, you can still put a new spin on it.
3. Use research, data or anecdotes to support your points. Unless you’re somebody famous, just stating your opinion is probably not very interesting. Back up your points with data or quote an expert. Give examples, even if they’re anecdotal. Anecdotes and data make your writing more memorable.
4. Use your readers’ language. Imagine you are talking directly to your reader. Don’t use words they don’t use. Get their words by studying what they read. Your points may be original, but use your reader’s language to make them.
5. Keep it short and clean. Be concise. Make copy scannable by using bullets and subheads. Remember, web readers are assessing their time investment as they scan for what to read. Write short paragraphs and sentences that get to the point fast. Your readers will reward you with their attention and actions.