In a online world awash with with content, capturing and retaining the attention of your audience is more challenging than ever. Did you know that tired screen eyes spend about 20% more time reading content online compared to print? What’s more, a whopping 80% of readers will scan a page before deciding if they will read it or not.
If you’re putting time and effort into crafting compelling copy, it’s crucial to ensure that it’s not time wasted. So, To help you avoid falling into the digital abyss, here are 8 easy tips you should employ on every article, sales page, blog or social media post to make your writing more readable.
1. Rule of One: Keep it Simple and Focused 🎯
The “Rule of One” in copywriting is a principle that stresses the importance of focusing on one key idea or message in a piece of content –
- one idea/issue
- one solution
- one call to action
The idea is to keep the content simple, clear, and highly targeted. By concentrating on a single concept, you ensure that your message is direct and easily digestible. Stick to one idea or issue at a time.
2. Structured Headings: Your Content Signposts 🗺️
Don’t be shy with your headings and subheadings! Use plenty of clear, concise headings to break up your copy and tell people what they are going to be reading next. Think of them as friendly signposts or a way of giving your readers a clear roadmap – they’ll know exactly where you’re taking them, helping them navigate through your content without getting lost, bored or distracted.
Not only that, the extra white space on the page will give your readers’ eyes a welcome break.
3. Short Paragraphs and Sentences: Less is More 📚
The same goes for paragraphs.
Break down your content into short, digestible paragraphs and sentences. Long, convoluted paragraphs can be overwhelming for readers, leading to disengagement. Do you remember as child learning to read how overwhelming it was to be faced with great long chunks of text. Shorter paragraphs (maybe 3 sentence max) make it easier for readers to get through and absorb web copy quickly.
So, break it down, keep it short and sweet. Your readers will thank you for it.
4. Bullet Points: Because Lists Rock 🚀
Allow readers to grasp your key points effortlessly by organising important information with bullet points.
Why? because lists:
- create visual appeal
- improve the ‘scannability’ of your content and
- ensure your message is not lost within the text
It’s like handing your readers a cheat sheet – quick, easy, and they’ll love you for it!
5. Visuals, Visuals, Visuals: Spice it Up! 🎨
Add some further visual appeal, and rest for weary screen eyes with pull quotes, number counters, and highlighted sections.
These additions not only break up the text but also make your content more engaging and memorable. Oh, and don’t forget pictures and graphics – they’re like the sprinkles on your content cupcake! 🧁 And content with pictures attract over 90% more traffic. But be sure to use only relevant images that complement rather than detract from your message.
A rule of thumb that you could work by: one image or graphic per 300 words.
6. Format your Text for Emphasis: Bold, Italics, Underline ✨
Be sure to make judicious use of text formatting like bold, italics, and underlining. These options draw attention to important information, allowing readers to skim your content while still capturing the essence of your message.
Highlight the good stuff. It’s like giving your words a makeover – they’ll stand out and shine!
7. Clear Call to Action (CTA): Don’t Leave Your Readers Hanging 🤙
At the end of your piece, remember to give your readers a nudge in the right direction. This circles back to the Rule of One and helps you to keep focussed on your page goal.
A well-crafted Call to Action will guide them towards a specific action whether it’s subscribing to your newsletter, making a purchase, booking a call, sharing, or doing a little happy dance – let them know what to do next!
8. Read it Out Loud: Your Final ‘Readability’ Check🗣️
Before you hit that publish button, read it aloud. Seriously! It’s like having a chat with your audience and making sure everything flows smoothly and naturally. This practice helps identify awkward phrasing, redundant sections, and repetition.
Your Copywriting Checklist
Use these tips as a content readability checklist every time you write for your website. Making your writing more readable is not just about the words on the screen; it’s about creating an experience for your audience, keeping them engaged and coming back for more.
Sophie is a London-based Web Designer & Writer with 15 years’ experience creating websites and content for small businesses, therapists, coaches, and non-profits.