Research shows that people read about 20-30% of an article that they are reading.
While this may seem like an unfortunate fact, and for writers it can be seriously disheartening, and since we can’t hold people down and force them to read the information that we, as content producers know will add value to their lives or their business, we can only hope that strategically laying things out and making content “easier” to read, might encourage them to read articles in their entirety, or at least more than 30%.
Lucky for us, it works.
There are some things that we can do to strategically get people to read more of the content that we produce.
Using Blank Space
Separating words can be your biggest ally.
Putting only one or two, three at maximum lines together at a time has been proven to hold a reader’s attention much longer, but more importantly, it doesn’t scare them off from reading your article in the way that staring at a 500-word long paragraph that looks like it drones on forever might do.
Putting a space between sentences seems simple, but it has proven to be very effective.
Separate your content.
It stands out more.
If this sounds odd at first, look at some of the most successful and well-read blogs that you subscribe to and take note of their spacing and use of blank space.
Using white space is actually easier on people’s eyes to read as the text will tend to stand out more.
Keep Paragraphs Short
Again, separating the sentences you write and keeping paragraphs short helps to lessen the feeling that someone will be sitting there forever reading this huge document or article.
Keeping the paragraphs shorter will also naturally add space which will also make the point above much easier.
People are more apt to read a paragraph that is no more than 2-3 sentences long than they would one that is comprised of 5-8.
Too much information puts people off.
Think quality more than quantity when it comes to the information you are comprising your paragraphs of.
Try to keep paragraphs very focused on one topic and sticking to one main point in each paragraph.
Clumping ideas into one paragraph takes away from the distinguishing factors about each point that you are trying to make in your article or document as well.
Similar to the way that bite-sized food is popular, think of feeding your readers the same way, something small that is easy to take in.
Sectioning and Titling
Research indicates that when readers are looking at an article or another form of content, they will often skim the article for the particular information that is useful to them.
Using subheadings to highlight the particular points that you are trying to make draws focus in on all of the things that you don’t want your readers to miss.
It also allows them to skim through your article to find the information that they will find the most value from rather than going somewhere else when they can’t easily locate the information that they are looking for from within your content.
Make sure that the titles that you chose are clear, concise, and specific to the points that you are trying to make so that the reader knows exactly what they will find in that subsection.
Many people take in information visually.
Often if you can add visual cues that support the content, it also adds particular value to the writing.
Demonstrating the point, or reinforcing it with an image will also help the reader to retain the information that is shared and hopefully remember more of it.
It is particularly helpful also to add numbers and percentages that represent real data that support the main points to further reinforce the significance of your data.
The addition of symbols tends to be eye-catching and draws the reader’s attention to particular areas of the content that represent main points.
Additionally, the use of a question mark, because of its shape, can also tend to have the same effect.
You might consider the addition of a leading question that might add a different tone in the document so as to further engage the reader.
The Platform is Just as Important
If your intentions are that the written information be available to someone on a mobile device, you need to make sure that your content is easily readable from a mobile device.
Google has recently added Accelerated Mobile Pages which now allows people to easily convert web pages to be mobile pages to allow them to be easily viewed from anywhere on any mobile device, thus adding additional value.
Another thing to consider with the mobile pages is that they are relatively new and making sure that content is available in that format, could potentially mean the difference between showing up at the top of a search, or at the bottom of a search.
Check your website regularly to see how it reads and to make sure that it is adaptable to any and every platform that you hope your readers will use to access it, and in a format that makes it easy to read.