I click on a lot of links on Pinterest. I love using it as a search engine to find ideas and how-to’s. But far too often, I click a link and all I get is giant blocks of text that are really hard to read.
These days, people skim read. You know it and I know it. People, me included, want to be able to quickly get to the point of what something is saying. If I want to read long form, I’ll pick up a book. (I do that a lot.) If people get to your website and see big blocks of text to slog through, they aren’t likely to stay very long.
So, how do you make your web writing easier for people to quickly skim read?
- Use short sentences and paragraphs.
- Use bolded words and phrases.
- Use bulleted lists.
- Use headers.
Which is easier to read?
Here are my five tips to make your writing easier for people to read. Follow these four ideas and your writing will better communicate what you want to say. Firstly, write shorter sentences and then put those sentences into shorter paragraphs. Secondly, bold the important words and phrases to draw the reader’s eye to the most salient points of your argument. Thirdly, break up the material with things like bulleted lists so readers can easily find the items. And then, fourthly, use headers to identify the sections of your material so the reader can again, in this way, discover the most important points of what you’re saying.
Four Ways to Make Your Writing Easier to Read
1. Make your sentences and paragraphs short.
Shorter sentences are easier to skim read. So are shorter paragraphs.
Writing short sentences and short paragraphs forces you to use only the most necessary words. Fewer words means fewer places the reader can get lost.
2. Bold important words and phrases.
Make the important points stand out in the text to draw the reader’s eye and gives them a signpost to know what the key points are.
3. Use Bulleted Lists
Any time you need to list a bunch of items, use a bullets to make them easy to see and absorb quickly. A long list of things separated by commas is a maze designed for getting lost.
4. Use Headers to Guide Your Reader
Separate out your main points into sections and give each section a descriptive heading. This helps you organize your thoughts and helps the reader understand your organization and scroll to the section most interesting to them.
The best part is, these tips don’t just work for web writing. They work for things that people will read in print too. Things like brochures, reports, magazine articles.
Go ahead. Play with your writing and make it easier for people to read!