5 Ways To Optimise The Readability Of Your Web Pages
As a copywriter, words are important to me.
And they are important to your business as well.
Good website content helps your business stand out from the rest.
At the heart of all website content, is communication.
Website content communicates your brand message both through what is written and how it is written.
And it communicates vital information about your business to your customers.
But, what if I told you that users read only 28%of the copy on an average visit to a web page.
Worried? You might be.
Am I? No.
And here’s why.
This type of research is good for copywriters.
The more copywriters know about how people read, the better copy we can write for business owners.
So, how do you catch the attention and optimise your content for someone who is only going to read about a quarter of what is actually written on the web page?
Through improving the readability of your website’s content.
What Is Readability?
Readability is about making your content reader friendly – easy to read and understand.
When talking about website content readability, it also involves how your content is presented to the reader.
When someone lands on your website, they will try and find pieces of information that will help them decide whether they stay on it or not.
If the information is hidden or hard to understand, they’ll leave.
This leads to
- A bad customer experience.
- A lost potential customer.
- An impact on your SEO (Google sees lots of people bouncing off the page and decides that your website doesn’t have the right information for the keywords you are targeting).
So how can you optimise the readability of your web page to ensure your audience is actually reading the important content on your site?
5 Ways To Optimise The Readability Of Your Web Pages
1.Highlight the most important information
It takes an average of 0.05 seconds for someone to decide if they will stay on your site or not.
It’s not a very long time.
That’s why, using the inverted pyramid to write your content and design your layout is a great way to make your most important information stand out.
What is inverted pyramid writing?
Typically used by journalists, inverted pyramid writing is a type of writing structure that prioritises information with the most important information/ or most eye catching at the top, details in the middle, and general information and background information at the bottom.
On a website, this means putting the most important information like your unique selling proposition or a kick ass tag line at the top of the page where people first land.
It also involves making it stand out the most over any other text.
This way, you’ll feed your audience the most valuable information first that will make them want to stick around and read more.
2. Break down large chunks of text
Have you ever landed on a webpage, seen a huge chunk of text and gone “Nope!”.
If you’ve even stopped to read that long piece of copy, chances are you’ve only skimmed it.
You are part of the 75% of all people that don’t read a website word for word.
In this fast-paced world, we are skimming copy for the relevant snippets of information we are looking for.
If no keyword is found that triggers us to stay at that paragraph, we will move on.
Don’t be afraid to hit the “ENTER” key when writing.
Group relevant sentences together, but don’t go for more than 4-5 lines in on paragraph.
When writing blogs, try and hit the “ENTER” key after every sentence – like I always do!
3. Use subheadings and bullet points
Moving on from learning about how people skim words on a page, you’ll find most people will read in an F-formation.
The F Reading Pattern
I say reading, but I mean scanning.
They will read in a horizontal movement, usually across the top part of an area of content.
Then they move down a little and read across again, this time though. They won’t read to the edge of the page like they did before.
Finally, they will scan the left side of the content in a vertical movement, not even bothering to read the whole sentence.
And this is where you need to capture their attention.
Using subheadings helps people land on certain topics that they are looking for rather than accidentally scrolling past them, while bullet points highlight important steps.
Bullet points also give you a better chance of being chosen for a Google featured snippet.
4. Consider your typography
Everything that has been written above can be undone in an instant if you don’t consider your typography.
What is typography?
Typography is the technique of making written content legible, readable and appealing to the reader. When designing your website and even when deciding on your business branding.
Typography plays a really important role in conveying messages to your audience and involves a number of different elements that all work together to create great
Important typography elements to consider
Hierarchy– Hierarchy shows the reader where to start reading.
You should already be using H1, H2 and H3 tags in your content for SEO purposes and the same should be applied when choosing fonts, size and style.
The headings should be the largest text on the page followed by subheadings and then paragraphs. This way, the content flows down along with the reader.
Contrast– Colours matter when it comes to content.
Your content should always be legible to the reader, despite what your website design and branding colours are.
Typeface– There are three basic kinds of typefaces; Serif, Sans Serif and Decorative.
Serif fonts have little embellishments at the end of letters, Sans Serif fonts do not, and Decorative fonts don’t fit into either category but are more elaborate.
Good typeface uses concludes that you should use no more than three fonts in a single design project, while two is best.
Use Serif and Sans Serif fonts together with either being the font for your headings or body paragraph, while decorative fonts should only be used for headings as they are harder to read.
When deciding on all the decorative elements on your webpage, remember that bad design will undo great page content.
5. Keep your audience in mind
Back when I was at university, I remember having to do uni readings.
I absolutely hated them because I felt that no matter how long I spent reading, I would get to the end of the reading and think “I didn’t take anything away from that text”.
Using complicated wording, or words that don’t resonate with your audience, will make it harder for them to read your content and take it in.
Always consider what your audience will want to know, and how well they are likely to absorb it.
For example, when writing for teenagers, you can afford to use colloquial slang.
If you are writing for academics, you’ll have to be more formal and use industry terms.
How you write for your audience should already be built into your branding guide and should always guide you when writing content for your business.
It’s always good to get a second opinion when designing and writing content for a web page.
Sometimes, you need to take a step back and bring in some fresh eyes to ensure that your web pages are readable.
Always remember that no matter how pretty your website is, if your content is hard to read, you’re seriously putting your business at a disadvantage.
If you aren’t sure whether your content or readability is up to scratch, your website might need a content audit.
Get in touch to find out how I can help you improve your website readability with a content audit.