Writing for online #2: How to compose texts that people will read

By Qarin Lövgren

Writing for online #2: How to compose texts that people will read

This is the second post in a series of articles that will guide you on how to create texts that will be found, read and shared. So, let’s get going with persuading visitors to dig into your content. Is it even possible?

The short answer is yes. The key is content disposition. A wise writing strategy emphasises your copy and by so guides the visitor’s eyes through the article. 

And, if smartly styled you can put focus on important parts. 

Different media require different formatting

Did you know that our attention span is 2.8–8 seconds? This fact stresses the importance of high readability online.

Just think of yourself. You google something, click the result that appears most relevant, or interesting, and then you quickly browse that page.

You are quite harsh in your judgement, aren’t you? If you don’t find what you look for, you quickly dig into another search result. Or refine your query.

Checklist for text optimisation online 

So, once more: the solution is to structure your web text so it becomes easy to read. That allows visitors to quickly determine whether you actually provide something relevant.  

1. The headline

The title might be the most critical part to nail. It is the first—and perhaps the only—impression you make on a prospective reader. Subsequently it must be engaging and interesting.

2. The introduction

The preamble is the first paragraph of your post. It should summarise the article and be written in a way that makes the visitor eager to know more. Without a compelling promise, the rest of your words may as well not even exist…

And remember, you have 2.8–8 seconds to catch the reader's attention. Be spot on!

From a copywriting and content creation standpoint, writing a great introduction is an elementary skill.

3. The paragraphs

Short text blocks are a prerequisite for creating legible texts. Such segments will not only facilitate reading and guide the visitor further; those will also ensure that more words are consumed while browsing. Here, I should have used a line break, both for the reason that it felt natural to take a minor pause, and because that I changed subject. But I didn’t, I wanted a good example on the maximum length of a paragraph before a line break should be used.

4. The length of your sentences

Try to vary your language. Use short and longer sentences to create a nice flow while reading. Remember, no sentence should ever be more than two bodylines.

5. The intermediate headlines

These titles are great for pointing out the key areas covered in your text. And, they make it easy to skim the article and to determine whether it is worth a read or not.

Strive for 2–3 blocks of information and then break with an intermediate headline. And to use those subheads to emphasise important parts of your text. 

6. The text links

A hyperlink is another way to accentuate content. And it can be used to encourage readers to further engage with other pages. Keep in mind that the linked words always should be optimised for the page they point to.

A common mistake is that just one or two words of a sentence are linked. According to best practises, text links should be meaningful and descriptive. Consequently, ‘Click here’ or ‘Read more’ in the body copy will tell your visitor—nor Google—nothing.

Strive for at least one internal and one external link on each page. And make sure that the links are relevant to your readers. 

7. The lists

My last advice is to use bulleted or numbered lists to highlight key points or important details. Lists increase readability and make it easy for your audience to find what they look for.

So, time to grab your copy or blog post and slice it into nice little, resistless chunks. If those parts are interesting enough, you will turn your browser into a reader…

‘Great content is the best sales tool in the world.’

And you, you came all the way down to this word. Would you like more tips or guidance on this topic?

Get in touch with us!

The next post on this topic will dig into a vital conversion skill; how to get clicked in the search result page (SERP) and when shared offsite. Stay tuned and subscribe to our blog!

Qarin Lövgren
Copywriter and Conversion Specialist at Zooma since 2011. Qarin considers UX a business priority, whether it concerns copy, visual impact, or usability.
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