Jakob Nielsen is the guru of the internet reading and website usability. Jakob’s research helps us learn how people surf the Internet and consume content. This way we can learn what to do to improve the usability and stickiness of our own sites to increase the readership and earnings. First let’s take a look at how users spend their time online. You must consider this when creating your content. Internet is a user-driven medium where users feel that they have to move on and click on things. Users are engaged and want to go places and get things done. People want to feel that they are active when they are on the web.
People scan, they don’t read
Modern life is hectic and people simply don’t have time to work too hard for their information. Google has made Internet search so easy which means that the easier it is to find places with good information, the less time users will spend visiting any individual website.
Each site has to compete with millions of other websites for the user’s attention. Users don’t know whether particular site is the one they need or whether some other page would be better so they are not willing to commit the investment of reading the page in the hope that it will be good. Instead of spending a lot of time on a single page, users move between many pages and try to pick the most tasty segments of each.
These factors contribute to the fact that when on a particular website, people rarely read web pages word by word. Instead, they scan the content, picking out individual words and sentences. 79 percent of Jakob Nielsen’s test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word. This is a very important fact for anyone producing content online. Let’s look at how this should be presented in your content creation.
Ways to employ scannable text in your posts
The first point is that 79% of Jakob Nielsen test users always scanned any new page they came across and never read word by word. As a result of this, bloggers have to employ scannable text in their posts.
- Low word count (don’t write long posts, word count of 500 or so is enough)
- One idea per paragraph (split the post into paragraphs and concentrate on one point per paragraph)
- Sub-headings (entitle each paragraph with relevant keywords)
- Highlight keywords and paragraphs (highlight important parts of the posts, keywords in bold are also good for SEO)
- Bulleted lists (split your content, include bulleted lists)
- Start with the conclusion (make the reader excited to read the whole post)
Ways to make your posts sticky
The second point is that people don’t have time to work too hard for their information. It is very easy to search on Google and it means that users spend less time visiting any individual blogs. To avoid this and improve visiting time, the site must be made sticky.
- Produce good, useful and original content (this will convince the user that your site is worthy their attention)
- Make it easy to find even more good stuff (link to your other blog posts within your new content, and link to relevant articles on your blog, link to most recent articles, and to most popular articles from every post)
- Encourage users to return (publish regular content, provide opportunity to subscribe)
There’s more advice on how to make your content sticky here.
Following the guidelines above is a great starting point in creating engaging content. Keep all of these in mind when creating your new post and use them as a checklist before publishing. After doing this for a while you will learn to recognize what works well for your audience and it will become an automated process before you publish