There’s no question that writing has exploded online. With content marketing, the rise of bloggers, and the movement of journalism onto the web, we are now seeing more content than ever. In fact, there are over two million blog posts added to the Internet every day.
On the one hand, this is great news. Publishing is now accessible to almost anyone. On the other hand, this is bad news, because it’s becoming harder and harder to stand out. The sheer volume of new content is making it harder to engage your target audience and convert them into customers.
As a result, it has now become essential to write as effectively as possible for your audience. You have a matter of seconds to hook your readers and keep them around before they are off to check Facebook or make a purchase from your competitor.
Fortunately, this is possible. But to do so, it’s important that you tailor your content to the way your visitors interact on the web. The better your customer experience, the better engaged they will be. It takes some work, but there are a few proven rules that will make your content more powerful and user friendly.
The 3 Rules of Content Usability
There are three key elements you need to consider when creating user friendly content that’s more engaging and leads to more conversions. Your content must be:
The first key of content usability is making it easy to understand. As Einstein said, “You don’t really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother”.
There are a few ways you can make your content more understandable. The key is not to say less, but rather to say more in fewer words and to use simple language as much as possible. Here are some helpful ways to be understandable:
- Use simple speech. Don’t use jargon
- Avoid large words and run-on sentences
- Lead with the most important details. Don’t bury the lead
- Cut out unnecessary info
- Abstract ideas lose. Stories win
Tools for writing in a more understandable way:
In the digital era, it’s much more difficult to stay tuned into a long paragraph of text. Users scan for words and phrases that hook them and then decide whether to go back and read further.
You’ve simplified your words, now simplify your paragraphs. Break them up into smaller bites. Here are a few ways to make your content more skim-able:
- Utilize icons to break up content and make it less intimidating
- We read in blocks. Use smart headings to break up articles and use white space
- Utilize bullets to draw the reader’s eye
- Highlight key info with bold and italics
- Include complementary visuals to your writing but remember, users ignore stock photos
- Include arrows on images as appropriate
Resources for writing in a more skim-able way:
An often overlooked part of content user-friendliness is the legibility of your content. If your content is understandable and skim-able, but it’s hard to look at, your visitors will move on.
Make sure you are displaying your content is a way that is pleasing to view. Here are some ways to improve your legibility:
- Use appealing typography. Is it a comfortable size and color?
- Use a healthy amount of whitespace. Optimal line spacing is between 120% and 145%. It can also help comprehension
- Consider complimentary icons to create interest. They can work similar to paragraph breaks and make content look less intimidating
Resources for writing in a more legible way:
- 6 of the best typography tools for designers
- White Space – A Perfect Option For Improving Usability In Web Designs
Bonus: Be Authoritative
One additional way to increase the strength of your content is to demonstrate authority with it. How can you show authority with your content? Try a couple of these methods:
- Write longer posts. Research varies on exactly how long, but it’s agreed that you are best off with a post that is at least 1,600 words
- Include research. Are you trustworthy? Link to reputable outside sources to show your readers that they don’t just have to take your word for it
- Answer who, what, and why questions. Answer the types of questions that search engine users are likely to ask
Give Your Users a Good Experience
The bottom line is that you should work to give your users the best experience possible. That applies not only to the interface of your website, but your content as well.
Good usability means eliminating roadblocks to conversions. When you follow the rules we’ve covered, your content will be much better prepared to engage and convert your users. You will cut through all the noise and earn more attention from your audience.
Does your content provide a good experience?
About the author
David Hoos is a Marketing Strategist at The Good, conversion rate experts who deliver more revenues, customers, and leads. David and the team at The Good have made a practice of advising brands on how to see online revenue double through their conversion rate optimization services.