We know that 79% of Web users scan pages; they do not read word-by-word. So what can you do to make your web articles scanable?
- Remember to write less. People have a really short attention span. Between 300 and 500 words is a really good length for an article and the maximum words you should put on a web page.
- Many people recommend highlighting. They make words bold, but I find it distracting for the eye and prefer only to use it for subheadings, leaving the copy clean and easy to read.
- Bulleted and numbered lists slow down the scanning eye and can draw attention to important points.
- Keep paragraphs short – one thought or idea to a paragraph and write smart sub headings using strong keywords.
- Hyperlinks are always blue, so remember to link relevant words/ phrases. We will learn about anchor text in a future module.
- Black text on white has a higher readability.
- Use a simple font / typeface (if you have any control) like Times or Helvetica/Arial.
- Do not make the entire page into a long bulleted list. That is just as overwhelming. If you have a list that needs to be posted, break it up with connecting copy, images, and headings.
- Use numbered lists when the order of entries is important and unnumbered ones when the order is not.
- Headings should be short or they change from being headlines to being prose. Once again, resist the temptation to write “clever” headings. You want the search engine to find your story.
About the Author
She has written profiles, features, advertising copy, obituaries, press releases, and columns in magazines, company newsletters and newspapers, and written and produced corporate scripts.