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High-quality website content starts with knowing your readers’ habits

John Murray

To write content that engages your readers, it’s important to know how they typically behave. Here are some points to remember:

Reading is difficult on a computer screen

People will happily read books filled with long pages of small print, but studies have found the people read 25% slower on the web than in print. This means that web content needs to be shorter, and this also requires writing more concisely. If a concept can be explained in a short paragraph, then keep it short.

Readers are impatient

Many people are in a hurry, so if your content does not grab their attention, then they will move onto another website. A rough rule is to that readers spend around 10 seconds in deciding whether to read your content, and then another 55 seconds to develop a basic understanding of what your content says about your business and its services.

You need your readers to quickly find the information that they are looking for. This can mean presenting the main facts on a page, with links to more detailed information for people who want an in-depth knowledge.

Readers are sceptical

Many people are inundated with emails promising them untold wealth or the perfect soul mate, so it’s no wonder that they have begun to take what they read on the web with a pinch of salt.

Your web content needs to avoid over exaggeration or claims that are not backed up by evidence or research.

Readers can feel overwhelmed with information

There’s so much info available on the internet, and this can lead to people feeling that they’re being hit by an information overload. Give your readers manageable chunks of information. Make paragraphs short and be as concise as possible.

By getting to know your readers habits, you can cater for them by writing succinct, clear web content.

John is every inch the wordsmith and loves a game of Scrabble above all else. With experience writing for newspapers, John’s time at university was spent studying Creative Writing – something which comes across in his love of the pun.

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