How To Make Your Content More Readable

by | May 3, 2017 | Content Production

Want someone other than your mum to read your stuff?

No matter how good your writing is, if it’s not visually appealing and easy to read, no one is going to stick around to the end.

You want to engage your reader, right? You want to give them useful copy, right? And you want a chiselled six-pack, right? Well, we can help you on your way to achieving at least two of these things right here.

Layout

Use a strong title

Pay attention to me

Your title should catch your reader’s eye and make them want to read what you have to say. This doesn’t mean you should deliver outrageous and misleading clickbait-y titles (these can be bad for business) to lure readers in, like a politician’s empty promises.

The heading needs to clearly describe what’s covered in your content. If it doesn’t, readers will be disappointed, your bounce-rate will increase, and you’ll look a real fool to the gals down at the beauty parlour.

Choose a title that tells the reader what they can expect to read about in your content, and make them feel like they need to read it right this second, whether they’re on their lunchbreak, the train home, or the toilet (don’t pretend you’re not guilty of reading on the porcelain throne).

Key takeaway: Your title is the most important factor of your content. Make it attention-grabbing, creative, and a clear indicator of what’s to come.

Add subheadings wherever you can

I think we should take a break

Have a paragraph that tackles a new topic? Fab! Throw in a subtitle. This will add structure to your text and break things up, making it easier to read and easier for that sneaky sausage who is just skimming your article to get to the part about that particular topic.

Adding subtitles doesn’t just make your content easier to navigate, though. It also makes information easier for the reader to digest. Organise and divide your text into easy-to-read sections to keep your readers engaged.

Hot-to-Trot Tip: Subheadings also offer opportunities to add some long-tail keywords to your content and up your SEO game. Just don’t go getting too keyword happy – not unlike real stuffing, customers can smell keyword-stuffing a mile away, and this can make them lose trust in your brand. And if the Brad and Jen saga taught us anything, it’s that trust is a must.

Bullet points are your friends

That is genius

Bullet points are another great way to break up text and introduce some negative space to make a page of words look less intimidating. They also offer a simple and effective way to list important facts, and they make information easier for the reader to absorb. Just watch.

Use bullet points to:

  • Break up text
  • Introduce blank space to a page of scary words
  • List important facts effectively
  • Make information easier to absorb.

Chances are, you’re more likely to take away those benefits after reading them in bullet-point form, rather than listed in a paragraph. And if you scrolled down the page specifically to read about the benefits of bullet points, we just served them to you on a silver platter. You’re welcome.

Length

This is too long

A long blog post? Fine, if it’s warranted by fresh ideas and great writing.

A long paragraph? This can leave your reader lost, bored, or both.

A long sentence? Your reader may forget the point by the time they get to the full stop.

We’re living in a world of scanners. And scanners don’t want no bulky paragraphs or fluffy sentences. They want to find the info they’re looking for before they exceed their attention span (which is now at an average of 8 seconds – one second shorter than that of a goldfish).

Readers (especially those reading off a screen) want their information in easy-to-digest, bite-sized pieces. They want useful, concise information. Snappy sentences make for easy reading (and the occasional LOL doesn’t go astray, either).

Bonus: Not only do shorter sentences and paragraphs help the reader. They also help you to control your ideas and keep your text flowing more beautifully than Mufasa’s glorious mane. Wow.

Tone

I get it and I like it

People may come for what you’ve written, but they stay for how you’ve written it.

You need to connect with your reader. Create an emotional response. Stir something deep inside them that not even a tequila shot and a wink from a stranger could match.

A conversational tone is ideal for creating a connection and relating with your reader. You’re saying I get you, girlfriend without trying too hard to push your product or service onto them.

Forget the formal essay writing you learned in school and create content that speaks to your target audience as though you’re just hanging out with a coffee.

Visuals

Flying Puppy

Images, tables, graphs, GIFs – it’s all good! Breaking up text with visuals will keep your reader interested and make your content more fun and shareable. Hello, 11 likes on Facebook! Hello, fame!

Because every writer knows the golden rule: if all else fails, just throw a dog GIF at them.

For some inspiration on what to write, check out some of our favourite tools for content creation and ideation.

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