When a person searches the web, they have one main goal: Find helpful information as quickly as possible. Your visitor is looking for specific pieces of information. In order to find that information, they don’t often take time to read your entire webpage, article, or blog post.

Instead, they scan it, looking for key words, phrases and clues that will indicate whether or not your page aligns with their current information search. Hence, you actually don’t have “web readers.” Instead, you have “web scanners.”

Scanners Don’t Read Web Pages

No one reads a website like they read a book. (If you do, you either have mad comprehension skills, or a lot of time on your hands.) Hence, you have to write in order to catch the scanner’s attention and communicate to them that your information is valuable.

Keep in mind that sales pitches will instantly send your scanner scrambling for the “back” button. Ditch the promotional jargon and, instead, tell your scanner that you have what they’re trying to find.

Your Goal Should Be Usability

In 1997, a study was released by the Neilsen Norman Group reporting on the habits of website visitors. It found that,

writing website content

If internet users were scanners back in 1997, it’s clear to see that it has become even more of a habit today. In fact, the Neilsen Norman Group followed up their initial report in June of 2013, confirming and extending their previous conclusions.

Interestingly enough, however, they reported that you can actually turn your scanners into readers by hooking them with usable, helpful, valuable website content. They said that,

how to write content for your website

Wait, They Are Readers After All?

“Now hang on,” I hear you say, “You just said that people don’t READ the web.” Yes, that’s true. They don’t read the web AT FIRST. However, once you’ve concisely convinced a scanner that you have objective, valuable information to share with them – they start reading.

Learn How to Grab the Scanners

Now, to tackle the blaring question – How do you convince a scanner they should start to read?

1. Use Headers Proficiently

A scanner will scan through the headings within your article or web page to judge the value of the information it claims to contain. This is your cue to use appropriate headings and make sure they describe the information they’re hailing.

However, don’t simply include headers for header’s sake. Word them carefully, making sure that they describe the segment of website content to follow and spike the scanner’s curiosity.

2. Keep Promotional Pitches Off the Page

Do restrain yourself. I know that you are aware that your product, service, ideas, or offerings are the best in the world, but your scanner wants to determine that for themselves. Simply offer objective, helpful information on the page and stifle the urge to pitch yourself.

4 Take-Aways for Website Content Writers

  • Get to the Point Promptly
  • Write Paragraphs Concisely
  • Use Headers Valiantly
  • Word Headers Helpfully

So, at the end of the day, what should we conclude?

the best way to write content for your website