It’s not what you said. It’s how you wrote it.
There was a time when words really mattered. Each. And. Every. One. Of. Them.
But not anymore. Writing for the web has become much less about the words you use and much more about the way they’re styled.
Jakob Nielsen’s 1997 research on how people read websites found that 79% of people scanned web content only – essentially making how copy is laid out much more important than what it says.
10 Copy styling tips to make your web content more scannable
1. Highlight keywords: Use typeface variations, hypertext links and colour to draw the scanners attention to the keywords they came for.
2. Choose fonts and font size carefully: There’s an optimal typeface and size for web fonts. Know them and use them. 2017 is not the time for Comic Sans.
3. Employ meaningful sub-headings: Leading lines and subheadings break up the copy load and encourage a scanner to read on for more information.
4. Use line breaks: Line breaks create bite-sized chunks of copy that look easy to read. Make your new mantra; easy reads get read.
5. Apply bulleted lists: Bulleted or numbered lists make content easy to digest as the heading states the intent.
6. Create takeaways with quotes: Quotes are an invitation to dive deeper into content as they speak directly to the point.
7. Use infographics where appropriate: This is a great way to condense complex information and statistics for scanners.
8. Include only one idea per paragraph: Simple but important when it comes to retaining the scanner.
9. Start with the conclusion: Structure paragraphs in an inverted pyramid style, stating the conclusion first, followed by supporting information.
10. Halve the word count: Cover complex content in a series of portion-controlled posts. This invites the reader to come back for more, and makes the content easy to digest.
Make every piece of copy count.
Writing and styling great web copy is about making the important things matter. If your subheadings, lists, quotes and highlights tell the story – congratulations, you’ve made scannable copy! But the best part of scannable copy? It’s effortless to consume for word-by-word readers too!
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