Face it, we have all become online skimmers. I know that I first skim anything that grabs my attention online to see if I want to dive deeper — and if all I am confronted with is a sea of gray type, I tend to move on.
In fact, studies show that almost 80% of online readers scan a page instead of reading it.
This is what the Internet has turned us all into — crows attracted to shiny objects.
So it is becoming just as important that your blog posts look good as it is that they deliver actual content people want to read. Because if they can’t get past the layout, they’re not going to digest that great content and think of you the next time they need a lawyer.
Your 8 simple hacks to increase readership
Here are 8 simple hacks that will help you increase readership of your blog:
1. Use whitespace. Whitespace has its purpose, which is to offset dark type on the page and let your content breathe. Having the right spacing between paragraphs and text lines makes your content easier to read — in fact, one study showed that it increases comprehension by 20%.
2. Use section headers. Section headers like the one above make it easy for readers to understand the main points of your post. They also help you stay organized.
3. Use short paragraphs. Huge blocks of text are really off-putting to readers, especially on the Web. Eye tracking studies have shown that short paragraphs get 50% more of a reader’s attention than long ones.
4. Use a legible font. Sans-serif fonts — those without embellishment like Arial and Verdana — are easier to read online. Size counts too — don’t use small type unless you’re trying to hide something.
5. Use bullet points. Use bullet points to emphasize the important points in your content. This way you ensure people don’t miss them. Remember, we’re all skimming.
6. Use bold type and hyperlinks. Using bold type helps readers understand quickly what the key takeaways are in your posts. Hyperlinks perform the same function while boosting your SEO.
7. Use images. Images help you break up the text while subtly reinforcing your message. Remember, a picture is worth 1,000 words — actually more, since the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.
8. Use numbered lists. Numbered lists make it easy for you to get your points across and they’re easier to read. They also get readers committed to reading to the end. If you’re still reading, I just proved my point.