Better Engage Readers by making your Content Scannable

By Jakk Ogden on October 12, 2013 in Content Tips
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Whether you own a brochure website with 5 static pages of web copy or a blog with thousands of posts, engaging a reader to act or getting a visitor to stick can be incredibly hard. Offering content of real value does not come easy, yet 50% of creating successful content is all about your formatting.

Have you ever heard of scannable content?

How many times have you landed on a web page only to be completely overwhelmed by huge paragraphs of text which never quite seem to get to the point? Recently, I searched around online for a hotel spa for me and my partner to visit and loaded up 5 separate websites, only to be horrified by the formatting of the text on every single web page of the prospective hotel spas I chose. The quality of the content was fine, and there were no grammatical errors to speak of. The real problem for these websites lay in the fact that their content simply wasn’t scannable.

Most people read online by scanning a web page. In product reviews, for example, the journalist writing a piece will always break up their writing in to specific segments so that a reader can either jump to the part of that review which matters most to them or so that they can get the gist of the review without having to absorb 1000 words of analysis.

People scan a web page by looking for individual words, key phrases, headings and bold and italicized phrases.

Is your content scannable?

Finding out whether your web pages are scannable is an easy task – simply get somebody who has never visited your website before to go to a chosen web page, scan around that page for 10 seconds, and then come back to you on what that page was about. Can they recite important details from the page? Did they find your content easy to digest?

If they cannot deliver to you a good overview of your page after 10 seconds, chances are your content is not scannable. Here are some ways to correct that.

Tips to make your content scannable

Headings

The basic way a websites text is structured is done so through headings. They range from H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6. In general, that is also the order of their individual font size. You can create more engaging content by making use of these heading types, with the most important content and phrases created with H1 and H2 tags.

Formatting

Using bold, CAPITALS, italics, and underlining are fantastic ways to accentuate individual words within a paragraph. They make words stand out immediately to a reader, and when used correctly, they can emphasize a point and also be used as a heading for a new paragraph. If you check out our top paragraphs to this post, you will see this technique in full action.

Pictures

Images are a fantastic way to spice up a web page and are an essential component to any blog post. Images should be chosen based on their relevance to a topic and can create a visual relationship with a reader immediately. For this blog post, I chose a rather catching eye, for example, a vital tool for scanning any web page I am sure you will agree.

Video

As well as pictures, video can also make a page extremely scannable. Video is an amazing opportunity that we think all businesses should jump on in order to capitalize on potential customers whom require a form of personality behind a product or service. If you have or can create a video that will build your topic, you should always include it.

By making your content scannable you will increase the stickiness of that page

If your web pages, blog posts or marketing material are not scannable, you run the risk of losing customers due to not capturing their attention. Using the tips above, take a look at your websites content today to see whether it could do with a fresh lick of scannable paint.

Get in touch with the team at Content Hero today to maximise your content marketing strategy with engaging, relevant and searchable content. Email us at info@contenthero.co.uk or give us a call on 0845 094 6193.

About the Author

Jakk OgdenView all posts by Jakk Ogden
Jakk Ogden is the founder and managing director of Content Hero. Jakk's background lies in marketing, advertising and publishing. He is partial to the clever infographic, Mark Twain, golden age comic books and Johnny Cash. He has written over 3,000 articles that have been published online. Connect with him on Linkedin, , or buy him a coffee in Leeds to talk about how high quality content can grow your business.

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