You read articles every day that tell you to write scannable content because your readers aren’t going to read it word-for-word. It’s not just a gimmick, either, there’s a real reason behind this advice. Serious research shows that reading is around 25% slower from a computer screen than from paper, so online readers just naturally scan to help speed up the process. Here’s what you can do to help them out.
Create Lists – List posts and how-to posts that use bullet points to highlight specific information are typically the most popular content on every blog, simply because they’re so easy to read.
Use Formatting – Use bold, italics, capitals and underlining to highlight important words in your text. Use it sparingly though. Too much can be distracting.
H1 and H2 Tags – Use headings and sub-headings to separate key ideas and draw the reader’s eye down the page.
White Space – Learn how to construct a proper paragraph so you have white space on your page, and make sure you have a wide margin of white space around images.
A paragraph consists of a topic sentence that carries all the key information, followed by two or three sentences that go into greater detail. When you change topics you start a new paragraph.
Use Block Quotes – Instead of just using quotation marks, put that quote on another line and set it apart with block quotes so your readers pay closer attention.
Use Pictures – Countless studies have shown that online readers are attracted to images. Use images throughout your post to keep drawing the reader farther down the page, especially when you’re creating those longer posts.
Get To The Point – Put your main points right there at the top of the post. Placing the real answer at the end of the post might seem like it would force the reader to stay on the page longer and read the whole thing. However, since readers scan for information, if they don’t see what they’re looking for immediately they’re not going to stick around and dig for it. Give them the answer they’re looking for right away so you look like a star. If they want more information, they’ll read the rest of the post.
Stay On Topic – Wandering off topic or introducing too many ideas in one post just means your reader has that much more information to sift through before he finds the answer he’s looking for. Keep words to a minimum, get to the point, and if necessary, break long posts up into multiple posts.
Why is it so important to make your content easier to read? Because the more information your reader absorbs the more he retains. The reader actually learns something from you which makes you look like more of an expert, and that means he’ll be back for more.
So writing blog content that’s scannable isn’t just about making things easier for your reader. In the end, it helps build your online reputation and increases your repeat traffic.