This is short. Fast. Easy to read.
And it’s important.
(Because if you want people to read what you wrote,
what’s here can help.)
Whether it’s a web page, blog post, or article,
most people won’t read what you write.
Seriously. Think about it.
Your long Facebook post.
Your blog page.
Your web pages.
Yep. Most visitors read only 20% of your web page.
“What?! All that time, energy, and money that I put into my site…and you’re telling me people are snoozing at the keys?” They’re doing more than that. They’re not even starting to read your words.
Just like this guy, people are bored, overworked, and bombarded by messages.
They want something meaningful — and they want it fast.
NOTE: If a person does share your words, most will share without reading them. People skim, smile/gasp/react, and share. Trust me. It’s true.
Even for fancy-schmancy academic stuff.
Only half of academic papers are read by someone
other than the author him/herself.
So. Here we are. And the question screams:
“What do I do, to make someone read my stuff?”
Here are 4 simple ways to get people to read your page.
- Get rid of visual noise.
If pages had sound, most of our pages would be unbearably noisy.Like the beach picture here — with a strong focus and no distractions — make your words focus.* Bold, too-large, and all-cap letters yell at the reader.
* Long paragraphs are hands waving in our faces to stop before starting.
* Long lines, long phrases, long ideas are as background noise in a coffee shop:
Soothing, perhaps, but not meaningful…and certainly not memorable.Think visual clarity.
* Give yourself white space.
* Make form clear and singular.
* Write text narrow and simple.
* Use bullet points, indents, and visual shape for clarity.
- Write short. Punchy. Powerful.
Write fewer words: less is more.
Choose words carefully; take time creating text.Get to the point faster.Enough said.
- Stick to one point. Just one.
Think benefit-action.What is the benefit your reader came for?
Make sure it’s on the page first.
Answer the reader’s nagging question, Should I stay?
with, Yes. Here’s a benefit. Let me tell you about it. And
now here’s what to do with it.
- Use competitive intelligence.Notice which pages you read and why you keep reading. Pattern your pages after successful existing pages.Big name companies, such as this one and this one, usually have concise, powerful pages. News sites like this one and this one show great headline writing. No need to reinvent the wheel. Pattern.
* Note the lack of text on major company home pages.
* Note the easy click-through text directions.
* On secondary click-through pages, note the short, powerful text.
Use the pros as guides.
On this page — what you’re reading right now — what’s the point?
Change the way you’re writing, and you’ll
get more readers.
It’s the way things are. Don’t fight it.
More people will read your work, take action, and engage.
Erin M. Brown, MA/MFA (aka author Erin Brown Conroy/EB Conroy), is a professional writer/author/editor with over 20 years of experience, including eight books; hundreds of articles and professional materials; marketing and web writing; multiple curricula on writing, reading, leadership, and communication; and over 50 online courses created and used across the world. A former university professor of writing, research, leadership/management, and interpersonal communication, Erin writes and speaks internationally.
Howard Berg is considered the fastest reader in the world. “The Guinness World Record Book” recognized Berg in 1990 for his ability to read more than 25,000 words per minute and write more than 100 words per minute. Berg has built a career as a speed reader and sharing his knowledge with the world.Starpro