Usability. It’s a term you might be familiar with from website architecture or e-commerce. What might surprise you to learn is that it applies to copywriting and content development, too – especially when it comes to blogs.
The content and quality of your business blog matter a lot. But the way you format your blog posts, the way they’re laid out on the page, matters almost equally.
Because if your writing isn’t formatted for readability, no one’s going to read your great, quality content.
Most people skim content online. In fact, according to Jakob Nielsen’s eye-tracking study, less than 20% of content is actually read on the average web page.
Formatting and layout designed for usability is how you can impact that number.
Write Compelling Headlines and Sub-headlines
Your headline is your number one priority on the page. It should not only explain the content that follows, it should trigger the reader to keep reading. Learn how to write headlines that convert and you’ll see an improvement in how many people actually read the rest of your post.
Your sub-headlines also do double-duty. They should tell a compelling story in and of themselves, but they should also encourage the reader to read the content that follows.
If someone only read the sub-headlines of your blog post, would they get the gist of your topic? If not, rewrite them.
Keep Paragraph Length Short
You are not writing the next great American novel. You are writing a blog post for an audience with short attention spans. Keep your paragraphs short.
Even this short.
Short paragraphs – and by short, I mean 1-5 sentences – will keep the reader moving down the page. With long paragraphs, often people will read the first and last sentences at most.
Keep the Most Important Content Above the Fold
The upside-down triangle method of journalism works wonders for blog posts. Put the most important content first. Web users spend 80% of their time reading what’s above the fold of the page.
In other words, get to the point right away!
Don’t Meander – Keep Your Writing Concise
Speaking of getting to the point, another Nielsen test found that concise, scannable and objective copywriting resulted in 124% better usability.
So keep your business blog straightforward and leave the poetry for your personal blog.
Use Bullet Points and Numbered Lists
Bullet points and numbered lists are effective to make individual points and give step-by-step instructions. But they also break up the content and help readers’ eyes skim down the page easier.
Lists can also make your material easier to understand.
Learn to Use the “F Scan” to Your Advantage
Check out web-content scan pattern image below from the Nielson Norman Group. It shows that users often read web pages in an F-shaped pattern.
It also shows that front-loading your content (putting the most important information in the first sentences and first paragraphs) may help people read your content.
Keep usability in mind when you are writing for your business blog to make sure your valuable insights actually get read by your audience.
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