Readability: 15 Keys to Readable Content
It’s one thing to write great content, it’s another thing entirely to make sure that your audience reads and understands your content. It doesn’t matter how great your SEO is, if you can’t create content that people read, you’re going to have a difficult time building your audience. Before you publish your next piece of content on your site, be sure you’ve followed these readability guidelines.
1. Break That Content Up!
Nothing makes Internet copy harder to read than large blocks of text. Most online readers will not stay on a page very long if there are long paragraphs.
In addition to breaking your content out into paragraphs to make things easier to read, be sure to use headings. This makes the piece you’ve written easy for readers to scan.
For long or complex topics, don’t try to cover everything in one post! Instead, break that post up into a series of posts. Not only does this make your pieces easier to read, but it also gives readers an incentive to revisit your blog.
2. Give Readers the Bullets
If you’re working with a list, break that list up into bullet points. This makes it easier for people to scan and read, and this is a way to break up text to make it more visually appealing.
3. Concise Writing is Your Friend
Why write a paragraph if you can convey the same information in a sentence or two? Proofread before posting to be sure you aren’t using extraneous words.
4. Watch Your Titles
Are you going for the click? If so, you may want to watch out. Today’s audiences are savvy to clickbait, and social media titles with hyperbole may never be opened in the first place.
5. Highlight Important Text
Set important concepts apart by using bold or italic text. This will make your words stand out more, and help scanners to pinpoint the crux of your text.
6. Use Whitespace Wisely
Too much whitespace can be bland, but by using whitespace wisely, you make your content stand out against the website’s background. Be leery of using too many ads or images on your page.
7. Don’t Overlook the Importance of Images
While whitespace is important, images are equally so. Make sure you have a Pinterest-friendly image, and be sure that you utilize the captions area of images wisely.
Consider what’s called “Deep Captioning” a featured image. This practice involves writing a 2-3 sentence caption for an image to create more interest and lead the reader deeper into your article.
8. Avoid Subjective Language
Any time you write for your audience, be sure to stand back from what you’re writing about. If you’re writing about a service, be balanced. Don’t offer large claims without backup to support such claims. Whatever you do, don’t exaggerate any claims about products or services.
9. Be Clear About Your Topic from the Start
When someone comes to your page via Internet search services, that person should be able to immediately tell what your post is about and whether it is relevant to what they were searching for. The best way to do this is begin with the conclusion.
10. Show, Don’t Tell
This is one of the cardinal rules of fiction and creative nonfiction writing. It’s easy to overlook for content writing, but it’s just as important. Language that shows readers what you’re getting at is more engaging, and it helps keep your audience on your page longer.
11. Consider an Infographic
If you have a lot of data to convey to your audience, don’t fill up the page writing about it. Instead, create a visual tool that allows readers to view this information at once. Web readers are visual creatures, and a well-created and well-placed infographic can go a long way to helping your content get the shares you’re looking for.
12. Talk to Your Audience
In school, many teachers and professors drill in the “don’t use informal writing in your papers” line. When writing content, you want to be conversational. Go ahead and use personal pronouns like “I” and “You.” Talk directly to those who are reading your post. Speak in simple language and avoid technical jargon.
13. Consider a Video, Presentation, or Slideshow
If you’re working on a post that requires more in-depth explanation, consider using one of these formats to do so. Not only can you visually demonstrate complex ideas (like navigating an app), but you also appeal to those who respond better to this format.
14. Numbers Improve Readability
Numbering your list makes it more readable. Your audience can scan to ensure that they’ve read every tip you’re offering in your post. Numbering headings isn’t just for list posts, though. It’s also helpful when you’re writing a how-to post. Readers can be sure that they haven’t accidentally scrolled past a step.
15. Use a Readable Font on a Plain Background
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this: A well-intended blogger or content marketer has unreadable text against a busy background. Keep your website’s background as clean as possible, and preview your text. If it’s too small, too bold, too fuzzy, or too fancy, chances are your audience will not be able to receive your message.
By following the above 15 tips, you can create readable content that not only helps boost your leads list, but that people want to share. What’s your favorite tip for creating readable content?
Ronda Bowen – Content Creator