How to Write Website Content for Short Attention Spans
Today’s the day you’re finally going to finish that novel you started months ago, right?
Don’t beat yourself up about it. The average attention span typically lasts no more than 8 seconds according to research.
That’s less than a goldfish!
While this may not bode well for that novel, you can take this powerful fact and learn how to write website content that doesn’t bore your readers’ to tears.
In fact, you could turn readers with low attention spans into subscribers that hang off your every word.
Want to learn how?
Keep reading for all the juicy tips expert bloggers are using to capture the attention of the most fickle readers.
Include Visuals In Your Written Content
Compelling blog posts need more than just well-written text to get noticed.
To learn how to write website content effectively, you need to accept the fact that the average online reader prefers visual content over purely text-based articles.
Consider the following results from a series of studies cited by Fast Company:
– 65% of readers are considered visual learners.
– Human brains are hardwired to prefer storytelling.
– Readers process visuals 60,000x quicker than a block of text.
– Print and copy giant, Xerox, also put out their own study to drive home the importance of using color visuals specifically.
According to Xerox’s study:
– Color visuals can improve reading comprehension by 73%.
– Color visuals can make your content nearly 40% more memorable to readers.
– Including color visuals in your content can improve your readers’ attention spans by 82%.
– Color can improve the motivation to take action by 80%.
– Color visuals increase learning and knowledge retention by 78%.
How To Write Website Content With Visuals
Now that you know how necessary visuals are for website content, let’s talk about the best types of visual content to include in your blog.
Including video in your website content and landing pages is a must, and we can’t stress that enough.
According to a recent CISCO report, videos are expected to drive 80% of all search traffic by 2020, and people prefer to watch product videos 4x more than reading about said products in print.
Next to including videos and GIFS in your website content, you should also consider adding live video to your content marketing plan. Recently, Facebook assessed that their users watch live videos 3 times more than previously recorded videos—something to think about!
To diversify your visuals, consider adding these popular forms of visual content to your text as well:
Infographics: the chances of your infographic being read and digested over a text article is more than 30x!
Slideshare: Slideshare presentations are growing in popularity with members adding at least 400,000 new slideshows every month.
Embedded Tweets: Create more options for visuals by embedding tweets from social media influencers right into your text.
Instagram photos: Grab the attention of your readers and get more marketing leverage out of your Instagram by embedding photos into your blog posts.
Write Scannable Content
Not only do people naturally gravitate to visual content, but images, videos, and embedded material also break up your text into digestible bits.
Believe it or not, you process text different on a computer screen than you do with a newspaper or magazine. In fact, according to a Nielsen research report, it takes readers 25% longer to get through an online article as opposed to a print article.
Screen brightness, eye strain, and the instant availability of distracting apps make it harder for readers to get through online articles, so it should come as no surprise that the majority of readers skim, or scan, content as opposed to digesting it in full.
Aside from using media to break up your articles, use the following tips to learn how to write website content for the average reader:
– Use H2 and H3 sub-headings to separate sections.
– Break up written sections with bullet-point lists.
– Use short paragraphs that are no more than 1 to 3 sentences long.
– Keep it short and sweet and avoid using “fluff” to take up space.
– Make sure you have white space between each section, media file, and heading.
As you can see, it’s not about writing less content, it’s about formatting your content in such a way that lets readers comfortably bounce around the article. That’s why long-form articles and “listicles” with lots of sections and media perform so well with readers.
Write Long-Form Articles
Readers with short attention spans don’t reject articles because they’re too long, they reject them if they don’t have enough “meat” to hold their attention.
While most readers may have the attention span of a goldfish, long-form articles are still the most shared form of written content.
In the now famous content marketing study, “Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us”, researchers delved into why readers share what they share. Their results revealed just how powerful long-form articles really are:
– Long-form articles are shared more on social media than smaller articles.
– Articles between 3,000 and 10,000 got more social shares on average with almost 9,000 shares.
– Articles between 1,000 to 2,000 words got over 5,000 shares and articles with 2,000 to 3,000 words received more than 7.5k shares.
However, the report also notes how marketers aren’t taking advantage of this data and still prefer to publish short-form articles that don’t see as much traction. We suggest taking this opportunity to crush your competition by learning how to write website content that’s long, scannable, and full of valuable information.
Final Thoughts: How To Write Website Content That Sticks
Don’t let a low-attention-span kill your content goals. This important fact is actually a huge asset to your content marketing strategy.
This important fact is actually a huge asset to your content marketing strategy.
Let’s recap the tips you need to know to learn how to write website content that pleases even the worst attention spans:
– Always include visuals in your written content.
– Diversify your visual content with videos, slideshows, infographics, photos, and embedded social media posts.
– Create “scannable” content with short paragraphs, white space, headings, bullet-point lists, and visual media.
– Publish scannable “meatier” long-form articles as opposed to short articles.
You’re just one step away from creating content that impresses visitors. Make sure to bookmark this easy writing guide to craft a winning content strategy from the get-go.