There’s nothing worse than a super lengthy blog post that a hurried reader just wants to skim through and there’s no easy way to do it. Even if your reader would love to read your long blogs, most people simply don’t have the time to keep up with their favorite bloggers, authors and movies. They only have 24 hours in a day which leaves little room between working, caring for a family and barely getting any uninterrupted time.
What bloggers can do is make their content scannable so that if their fans get time on a lunch break or before bed, they can easily scan through the post to get the main ideas of what you’re writing about. When your readers are trying to pack so much into the day and still want to keep up with your blog, make it easy for them to scan through your blog in order to keep up with their favorite blogger and not give up on your posts due to a lack of time.
How do I make my blog more scannable?
You need to grab their attention quickly. The first ten seconds is critical to gaining a visitor’s attention and you need to focus on how to get your reader’s attention in that first ten seconds. That’s the time they make their decision on whether or not to continue reading or to move on. Make sure your headline is golden by offering an interesting question or hooking the reader otherwise.
Make sure you’ve added large, interesting and clear images that match the topic to draw the reader in. Finally, balance your text with the white space to make skimming easy, because a big block of text with no white space to break it up is not scannable.
You could be suffering as a blog in general if your writing is not concise enough. It’s easy to go on a tangent about a topic you believe in or have a lot to say about. It’s important to be concise with your message to keep your reader’s focus and attention without losing them due to too much fluff.
Some studies have found that readers don’t read left to right online, they skim over text barely reading it and they prefer material that presents the main topic front and center so that they can get the idea of the article without reading every word. This is also true with mobile device users because they want to skim even more on their smart phones.
Don’t focus too much on the top of the page
It’s important that you don’t worry too much about the top of your page. You could get many clicks to your blog making it appear that your blog is successful but in reality, people are bouncing away from your site quickly and the click becomes worthless.
When looking at sites that get a lot of attention and people are sticking around to read them are the ones that keep the page interesting to look at below and above the “fold.” Your headline is important but some readers may scroll through it so fast to look at the bottom of the page which needs to be as easy to read and interesting as the top.
Make sure you use easy tricks like adding bold text on your headings and subheadings to make them pop. It’s easy for a reader that wants to scan to skip through to the bold subheadlines, get the general idea of the article and to read under the subheadlines that stand out to them. In addition, adding bullet points or numbered lists will help spread out the content and make it more interesting to read.
Try to use shorter sentence that are concise and to the point, keep your paragraphs short (around 3-4 sentences) and add captions to images where it would make sense. Your images are meant to enhance the text so only add them if it makes sense. A chart or infographic is a great way to make your content more scannable.
Keep in mind that reading on a screen is hard on the eyes, so you should keep in mind that people read slower on a screen compared to printed material. Skimming is common on a screen and many website visitors are short on time that doesn’t allow them to read through your whole post.
Like it or not, people skim articles online and will continue to do so, therefore, make sure your content is skimmable so that you don’t lose readers that wanted the convenience of a skimmable blog.