Web Users Do Not Read — They Scan.

Web Users Do Not Read — They Scan.

If you do no understand this:

  • Your content marketing plan will fail
  • Your blog will fail
  • Your emails will fail
  • You will die in a plan crash
  • Are you scanning right now? Be honest.

Here’s a summary of an important study you should check out — well at least scan through.

  • 79 percent of test users scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word
  • On an average visit, users read half the information only on those pages with 111 words or less (you can imagine if there’s more than 111 words)
  • Users will read about 20{e108bb21be762fc6fa6f79a68ef8277ec5dd508afc1fd385a5d42c82a88a4204} of the text on an average page

You’re scanning right now aren’t you!?

Possible Explanations why Users Only Scan Content

  • Reading from computer screens is tiring on the eyes — it’s about 25 percent slower than reading from paper
  • We have very short attention spans — we feel like we should be on-the-go
  • The web is huge and competition is rough — each page has to compete with hundreds of millions of other pages for our attention
  • Modern life is hectic and we simply don’t have time to work too hard for information — we want it handed to us without much effort

10 Ways to Turn Scanners into Readers

  1. Title your stuff with interesting and provoking headlines
  2. Use subheadlines that communicate value and provoke interest
  3. Bold and italicize keywords to draw attention
  4. Attempt to craft every sentence to keep readers engaged
  5. Use short sentences
  6. Use brevity — the concise and exact use of words
  7. Use short paragraphs — 4 lines maximum
  8. Use only one idea per paragraph
  9. Use half the word count (or less) than conventional writing
  10. Use bullet points

These are the distinctions that every content marketer, or content creator of any kind, needs to know. Our attention spans are very low and we don’t want to wade through slush.

By the way, if this post was not bullet pointed out would you have read it?

Be honest.

Let this be a lesson. Now go out and stop creating content in formats that won’t get read.

Do you have any specific examples to show? Comment below and give some links for us to check out!