Let’s face it, there are a million and a half web pages out there with more than 2 million blogs posts and articles published everyday, so driving readers to your web copy can be difficult. However, once you get those readers (which you will, with a little help from us!), it is vital for your message to stand out.
It’s time to put aside all those grammar rules and convoluted adjectives you learned in English class, and try these tips for styling text and writing less to make your message pop and hold your readers’ attention.
Keywords. No matter how much hard work and editing you put into your content, not every word is going to be read by every reader. In fact, this Nielsen study on web usability shows that that 79% of web users scan rather than read, which means the use of keywords, rather than flowery language, is essential to ensuring your message is picked up by scanning eyes. (Don’t forget that InboundWriter can help you stay on track when it comes to optimizing your content with the right keywords.)
Word Count. We’re not talking about actually counting your words, but shorter paragraphs and articles are easily digestible for readers. Too much content can seem like a hassle and turn readers off. In order to drive the point home, try to keep paragraphs to 3 sentences or less and break more in-depth, content-rich posts into a series rather than posting all at once. Not only will this achieve greater clarity for your message, but it will keep your readers coming back to check out the next installment!
Sharability. It’s great when one person sees your content, but wouldn’t it be better if that one person influenced 5, 10, or maybe even 1,000+ people to see it too? Use your social media prowess to make your message as sharable as possible. Try conveying your message and main points in tweet-worthy sentences (140 characters or less!) so they can easily be plucked out for social sharing.
Formatting. Bold, italics and subheads are all great tools for creating emphasis around important concepts. Your reader will be able to scan through and pick out the most important information at a glance.
Bullet Points. We all love lists — grocery lists, to-do lists, bucket lists — so it only makes sense to list the main points of your message! Bullet points are not only easily-scannable, but they also stand out because they look different than the rest of your content. When listing a hierarchy of points, try numbers instead of symbols.
Your readers are exposed to hundreds, if not thousands of articles, blog posts and marketing messages every day, so if your message is buried under fluffy content, chances are it will go unnoticed. Give these formatting and writing tricks a try and be sure to share your favorite writing tips with us in the comments below or post to our social networks — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+.
*Image courtesy of writingforward.com