Readability is important. Make long content easier to read with these 9 practical tips.
When you’ve spent hours crafting word-perfect written content for your website, you want to know that as many people as possible are going to read it. Long content is precious.
The main goal is to avoid the dreaded wall of text, keeping your content easy to digest and accessible to all. In this blog, we’ll be offering tips, tricks, and tools to help make your content more readable.
How to Make Your Long Content Easier to Read
Studies have shown that web readers constantly switch between attentive reading and quick scanning, so you need to keep this in mind when it comes to creating and formatting your website’s written content.
These will help you to keep your content accessible, increase your readership, and keep viewers coming back to you:
1. Choose a Reader-Friendly Font
Your choice of font might seem like a trivial design choice but in reality picking an easy-to-read font is essential.
If the webpage looks visually unappealing or like it will be a challenge to concentrate on, there’s no way that visitors are going to stick around long enough to read all of the content you’ve carefully crafted.
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to choose a font that is ‘web safe’ – meaning they’re universally installed across all major devices including computers and mobile phones. Commonly used web safe fonts include Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Verdana, and Courier. There are plenty to choose from, so there’s no excuse not to use one!
2. Break Content into Paragraphs
Once you’ve picked your ideal font, it’s time to think about how you format the content.
Perhaps the most key formatting tip is to make sure you split your written content into paragraphs. Paragraphs will break up the text, creating more blank space on the page and making it less intimidating for the reader.
Keeping your paragraphs short is also important, as shorter paragraphs are easier to digest. While there are no hard and fast rules, we recommend keeping paragraphs between 1-3 for ultimate readability.
3. Make the Most of Headers
Headers divide up your content, making it much easier to navigate. This means that readers can quickly go to the section that interests them the most. So, in order to make the most of them you need to use both headlines and subheaders.
Firstly, you need a strong headline in order to grab your reader’s attention and draw them in. Then, once on the page clear subheadings – like the ones used in this blog – are essential to help readers navigate the text.
4. Include a Table of Contents
If you want to take your organization one step further and make the content even easier for readers to navigate, consider including a table of contents.
An interactive table of contents allows users to click links, and instantly be taken to their section of choice. This means that they don’t have to read (or scan) the entire page and can go directly to the information that interests them the most.
For WordPress users, the Table of Contents Plugin from CreativeMinds allows you to create a simple, easy-to-use table of contents on any webpage. The plugin allows you to create a table that’s fully customizable, with options that allow you to change the look, shape, and location of the navigation panel – it’s a win-win for both you and your readers.
5. Use Shorter Sentences
When it comes to writing text for the web, you’ll need to forget some of what you learned in your English language class. Writing for web pages is a different beast to writing traditional prose, as readers want information written in a straightforward way.
For example, when it comes to sentence structure, complex or compound sentences that run-on for days should be used sparingly. Instead, keep your sentences short and sweet to maintain readability throughout.
6. Keep All Reading Abilities in Mind
When writing your content, you should keep in mind that anyone on the web can access it – that means people from all walks of life and from anywhere in the world.
You should keep your wording simple by using words and phrases that even non-native speakers will be likely to understand, this means you keep your content universal and your readership as wide as possible.
7. Introduce Tooltips to Your Text
Another way to make content easier to read is by including tooltips. A tooltip is a message that appears when users hover over a certain word or phrase on a webpage.
Including tooltips is especially useful if you use any specialist language that novice readers might need explaining. It avoids cluttering up your web page, as well as giving readers something new to engage and interact with. Not only this, but using tooltips can help improve your SEO credentials, helping to boost your readership even further!
If you want to add tooltips to your text, the Tooltip Glossary Plugin for WordPress is the perfect tool to help you do just that. The plugin is incredibly easy to use and offers a range of customization options to help you build a useful glossary for your readers.
8. Add Accompanying Visuals
When there’s a lot of reading involved, visuals can help to break up the text and give readers something new (and pretty!) to look at. Visual aids could include:
- Graphs / Charts
No matter what kinds of visuals you use, ensure that they’re both high-quality and relevant to the content on the page. And, if you’re using content that wasn’t made by you or your business, make sure there are no copyright restrictions in place before putting it on your website.
9. Optimize for Mobile
Internet users are increasingly browsing using their mobile phones, so if you want to increase your readership you need to make sure that your content is optimized for mobile.
The most rudimentary way to do this is to check your webpages via your phone, and make sure you keep an eye on header sizes and images.