Users don't read (at first)
They scroll and scan for hints in headings, keywords and images. Only when they have found that right word or phrase are they more likely to begin reading. Pages that over communicate with long text prevent scanning but also decrease comprehension. Instead of reading, they are leaving.
How to draw their attention
So what can you do to draw a visitor's attention?
- Infuse structure into your page by using sub headers
- Breakup long text into shorter paragraphs and lists
- Use images, background colors and icons to emphasis important information
- Use short words
- Bold keywords and phrases
- Skip the words and use video, animation and infographics
- Above all be concise and ditch the jargon
According to a Jakob Nielsen study
, "concise copywriting has resulted in 124% better usability."
You still have to write a good story
Even the best designed page or catchy headline won't a replace a good story. All good content must do at least one of the following (bonus points if it does all three):
- Inform. Tell the reader something than they didn't already know. An intimate understanding of audience is key. Nothing turns off a reader more than telling them something they already know.
- Be Useful. Give the reader information that they can take away and use in their everyday lives.
- Entertain. The toughest of three but the one that get the most results. Don't forget there is a human on the other side. Stories that are funny, sad or terrifying all make for compelling reading.