There’s nothing wrong with so-called “walls of text” on your website, that is, if it’s about publishing encyclopedia entries and scholarly studies and journals. However, if it’s for just about anything else, your content should be more than just about the words on a page. It also has to be visually engaging as well as easy to read. The average Internet user easily gets turned off by walls of text, and isn’t likely to stay longer on your page.
These days, simple, concise, but engaging content is key. Here are some tips to keep your content simple.
Keep text short and sweet
Whether we like it or not, today’s online reader does not actually want to do a lot of actual reading. So keep text short and sweet, the way newspapers present their stories. In case you didn’t notice, most newspaper editors break up nearly every sentence into another paragraph. This way, they can help readers have separate thoughts and move them along rather quickly compared to what long, chunky text does.
Keep important things “above the fold”
Have you noticed how newspapers keep its most important stories and images “above the fold”? You should do the same for your website. Well, there’s no actual “fold” online, but just think of it as “above the first scroll down.” So your overview paragraph, your top quote and your most striking images should be “above the first scroll down.”, because they will keep readers engaged long enough to get them to continue reading.
Sloppiness is a big no-no
What good are excellently written posts if everything about it is a mess? No reader actually likes seeing uneven spacing or images that don’t line up, among other things, on your website. Messy details distract a reader to the point where they give up and leave your page. Avoid that by being extra-careful about your text and your images. If you think you’re too close to your work to notice these things, have someone you can trust do a once over on anything you create before hitting the post or publish button.
Text and images should complement each other
I have seen far too many posts where the text and the images that went with it seem to be clashing for attention. If anything, text and images should complement each other. If you want the reader to give your text more attention, then wrap it around the images, which should also be of the same size to keep things balanced. If you want your pics to get more attention, then make them the centrepiece of the post by showing them off while keeping the captions brief and direct to the point.
Don’t forget your CTA
Sure, you already have calls to action all over your website, but have you any CTAs within the content of, say, a blog post itself? If the answer is no, then it’s time you give it a try. At the end of your post, say something along the lines of hitting the comments for their opinion about what they just read. If you can, place the CTA immediately after saying something that’s a bit controversial or intriguing. That should get their attention long enough to actually respond.
In a world where the attention spans of Internet users seem to be shrinking by the day, it’s terribly important for those who own and run websites to make their content even more eye-catching than ever. Keep your content simple, and you will still have their attention.