Write better content in two steps

Did you know that the attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds?

That isn’t surprising, but the attention span of humans is.

Microsoft published a report in 2015 with findings that the average attention span of a human is 8 seconds. That was a cited figure from Statistic Brain.

Now take that figure and add to it this one that reading from a computer screen is about 25 per cent slower than reading from paper.

Can you can see the quandary business owners face when creating their content?

It’s as so – how to write content in a way that grabs and maintains the reader’s attention.

My two-step process…

I have a two-step process for this.

The first step is to keep things simple. To write succinctly. To be concise. The second step is to make content scannable. In other words, to make important things stand out.

It isn’t rocket science. By writing succinctly, you deliver information quickly. By making content scannable, you make it easy to find important information.

It’s a two-step process that works for me and it’ll work for you too.

I’ll elaborate on these two steps below. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at info@contenthero.co.uk or leave a comment below.

Step 1. Write succinctly

If you struggle to write concisely, change two things about your writing:

  1. Avoid complex and lengthy sentences. I consider sentences with 20 words or less to be concise and easy to read.
  2. Avoid using long words that have a simpler alternative. For example, don’t write utilise – write use. Don’t write residence – write house.

If you use these two techniques, you’ll write succinct content.

Step 2. Make your content scannable

Walls of text are a chore to read. Actually, scrap that. Walls of text don’t get read at all.

If you don’t believe me, think about this – when was the last time you actually read an article from top to bottom? I’ll wager it’s been a long time.

Instead, you do what everyone else does. You ‘scan’ the content with your eyes, pick up on relevant information, and read the next sentence or two. And, the longer a web page is, the more abruptly you read it.

Faced with these facts, you should make your content scannable.

Use these five techniques to make your content scannable:

  1. Use headings. Headings keep your content organised. They also make it easy for the user to navigate through your content.
  2. Bold important sentences. Bold text stands out in a sea of normal text. You’ll notice that I have used the technique in this article.
  3. Use images in your content. This isn’t necessary, but it helps to break up your writing. Images can also deliver valuable content visually.
  4. Use bullet points. If you’re going to write a list as a sentence, scrap that and use bullet points instead. Bullet points are easier to read.
  5. Highlight important text. You can highlight text like this to draw the user’s attention to information. Highlighting text can be done in your HTML WYSIWYG editor by using this code: <mark>example</mark>

Any questions?

I hope you enjoyed my article. The two steps covered should help you to write better content for your website. Alternatively, I’ll write it for you. Email me at info@contenthero.co.uk to discuss content for your business.

Also, if you have any questions about the points raised, I’m happy to answer them. Tweet me @content_hero to start a conversation or add me on LinkedIn to connect.

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