Make Your Blog Articles Scannable
People don’t read, they scan. This was once said by Jakob Nielson, an expert in the field of user-friendly Web design. I’d like to think I’m different, but I’m not. When I read a blog I will quickly scroll down the page looking for words, pictures and ideas that catch my attention.
Explained Nielson, “Usability is a necessary condition for survival.” If a website is difficult to use, people leave. If users get lost on a website, they leave. If a website’s information is hard to read or doesn’t answer users’ key questions, they leave. So how do we get them to stay?
Scannable content is writing or text that stands out.
Researchers have found that change catches our eye and makes us pause. Use paragraph breaks, photos, and bold or italicized text to draw your reader’s attention. Used properly, these techniques when blogging, can help readers get your point, make your content navigable, and help you be memorable, before deciding to read your full post or not.
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4 Elements for a Scannable Blog Post
- Use headlines / headers to break up certain points. Not only does this make for easy reading, used correctly, it’s great for SEO.
- List important points in numbered or bulleted lists. Bulleted lists allow faster access to information. List items are small, discrete “chunks” that are physically easier on the eye and psychologically easier to follow and comprehend.
- Include only one idea per paragraph, and keep it to four or five lines.
- Use images to complement text. It goes without saying, but what’s essential here is to keep images relevant.