Everyone loves a good read, especially when it’s easy on the eyes. The average reader takes 10-20 seconds to decide to stay on a page or move on. So how do you make your article “readable”?
- S p a c e is good When we read it’s much easier on our eyes when there is a good amount of space between the lines. There’s just something about clutter that our eyes and brain don’t like. It’s an automatic turnoff. Although space is good, too much of a good thing can be bad. To know the perfect ratio for your site, see tip number 3, but don’t skip number 2!
- Blocks are a no noNo one likes to click on a link only to find a huge block of text that is squished together making it near impossible to read. I know I don’t. As soon as I see that on a web page my immediate reaction is to hit the ‘back’ button. Try breaking your paragraphs up. Stick to 2-4 sentences and it’s okay if a paragraph only has one sentence sometimes. Maybe I’m just lazy, but when I’m looking for something specific and I have to go through a sea of words to find it, my reaction is going to be to try to find something that will give me a straightforward answer. With everything at the touch of a button, our generation wants everything fast. I do the same thing when a page doesn’t load fast enough for me, but that’s a different story.
- Simple is sweetest There are so many fonts out there that it’s hard to choose from sometimes. Try to only use 2 fonts. It can get tricky when you are pairing them. Generally a sans-serif is paired with a serif. 14 is now the new 12 as far as font size goes. There is actually a ratio you might want to follow called The Golden Ratio. It helps you determine how much space you need between the lines depending on how big your font is, how many pixels you are working with and your desired CPL (desired characters per line). For bodies of text, it’s best to keep it simple just like the sites you might use on a daily basis: Google: Arial Wikipedia: Sans-Serif CNN: Arial Yahoo: Arial (home), Georgia (content) MSN: Arial New York Times: Georgia Wall Street Journal: Arial
- Let them see Being able to actually see the text is, you know, important. Contrast helps us to differentiate the actual text and background. Sounds like common sense right?
- Give them a visualNot only do pictures help a reader understand what you are talking about but it also helps them to stay more engaged. When you scroll through Facebook are you more likely to look at the lengthy status or the picture post? The picture post right? You’ll be killing two birds with one stone.
- Lists are loveBullets and numbering your content is a great way to break it up to make your article easier on the eyes. It helps your readers to scan faster and will help them determine how long they want to stay on your site.
- Help ‘em outWhere did you get your facts? Or how did you know that? Links are useful for readers. They love to get the whole story behind the scenes. This also might help you get noticed by other sites since you are referring your readers to theirs. It may even enable you to make a couple of connections and expand more!
Making small little changes to your articles could make a huge difference. It could help your readers stay longer and engage more. You may even want to update your site to make it more pleasing to the eye! How do you engage readers?