Pamela Wilson reports:
"Writing less and styling your text so it’s easy to read could be all you need to do to attract and hold attention...Think about how you use the web. You’re in search of information. And if you don’t find it on the page you’re visiting, you click away and look elsewhere. The web is a 'lean forward and participate' medium. Television, by contrast, is a 'lean back and let it wash over me' medium...Accept that people scan web pages rather than reading them in detail, and work with this reality rather than fighting it. If you want to cover a complex topic, consider breaking it into a series of posts. It’s a great way to keep people coming back for more, and your reader will find it easier to digest your content if they get it in portion-controlled sizes. Structure your paragraphs in the inverted pyramid style. This means stating your conclusion first, then supporting it with the sentences that follow. This helps scanners to move from point to point, and decide where they’d like to dive in deeper...Even complex content can be made much more reader-friendly with the simple introduction of lots of white space. Feature one idea per paragraph, and keep them short — three or four sentences at most. And try writing some paragraphs with one sentence only...A strong headline (and therefore a strong premise) is vital to getting readers to come check you out in the first place. And solid subheads keep the reader engaged, acting as 'mini headlines' to keep them moving through the rest of your content. Make your subheads intriguing, but informative, too...Once you’ve written your subheads, review them to see what your reader/scanner will understand if he or she reads only that part of your article...[Bulleted lists] create fascinations your readers can’t resist...[are] an easily-scannable way to present multiple points...[and] look different from the rest of your text, so they provide a visual break for your reader...Try pairing a strong image with a 'deep caption.' Deep captions are two to three sentences long. That’s long enough to intrigue your reader to dig in to your whole article...Internal links back to your own cornerstone content will keep people on your site and reading your best material. External links demonstrate that you’ve researched the topic and want to highlight other experts. Good content uses both to expand your reader’s understanding and add value...Add emphasis to your web copy by bolding important concepts...Don’t highlight everything (which would have the same effect as highlighting nothing). Instead, emphasize the key points so the scanner can quickly pick them out...Numbers are an incredibly effective way to both capture attention and...keep the reader oriented...You can often make a post more compelling just by numbering your main points. Give it a try...Once you’ve used subheads, numbers, bulleted lists and other formatting to highlight the key elements of your post, read through it again — looking only at the text you’ve called special attention to. Does the reader get the gist? Have you pulled out the most interesting and relevant words, the words that will pull your scanner in and turn her into a reader?"
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