Mastering Web Content That Converts
Is your content readable? Is it shareable? Here’s how to write better content that converts.
According to Jakob Nielson, a respected web usability consultant, users have time to read, at most, 28% of web content per page, although 20% is more common. Web visitors have a very short attention span for your content, so it’s important to understand how readers process your content and how you can improve.
Think of web content as a meal. When cooking a meal you typically follow a recipe for the most part. You may divert from a recipe to accommodate for particular tastes or allergies, but for the most part you know to approximate the measurements to avoid disaster.
The same principles are applicable when writing a web article. When sitting down to write, it’s important to factor in three important ingredients: readability, comprehension, and legibility. These ingredients, when applied to an article, greatly improve the way users interact with your content and boost conversion rates.
If you use Yoast for website SEO, you’re likely to come across the Flesch Reading Ease score, which indicates whether or not your article scores as too difficult to read for the average user. It’s important to write for your readers, generating content that they not only enjoy reading, but also that they can process.
According to George A. Miller’s theories on processing information, we remember more if that information is properly segmented for us. Based on his theories, many web writers divide content into smaller paragraphs with sub headers, bullet lists and image/video placement. Because our mind process information better if it’s separated, it is important to vary the lengths of paragraphs. This also leads to less confusion for the reader.
We get it, you studied for months for your SATs and now you want to apply all that vocabulary to your web content. We get you, but the Internet doesn’t. In order to write content that performs well online, you’ll need to avoid “stop words.” Using unfamiliar terminology or industry terms may slow the reader down. Too many stop words can stop a reader in their tracks, or worse, cause them to click away entirely.
Ambiguous words may also have the same effect. According to a study conducting by Wayne State University, “Ambiguous words, or those with more than one meaning, might be expected to cause difficulties in lexical processing.” The word “lexical” for example is probably going to affect my reading ease score. Paraphrased, what that means is that you can slow a reader down by using words that have duplicate meanings.
Lastly we’ll consider how legibility applies to the content marketing world. Legibility of your content directly effects its readability. If your font is too small, too thick, or italicized it may be too difficult to read. If your web visitors have to squint to read your copy they’re going to bounce. It’s also important to consider color – not just the font color, but also the background color that sits behind the words.
Remember your readers are very diverse. There are those with memory, vision, and other impairments which may make it difficult to read and navigate your website. Don’t make it hard for your readers to convert.
How will you improve the readability of your web content? Share your thoughts below.
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