Last Updated: February 2024
Before we get into the the ‘How,’ let us understand ‘Why’ you need to ensure that your content is being read by people.
No matter how efficient an individual is, it takes a great lot of effort and time to prepare good quality content for viewers. And if your viewers aren’t reading your content, then the very purpose of creating it gets defeated.
Moreover, you may not get traffic on your site if your content isn’t being read by anyone. And to drive traffic to your content, you have to make sure that people want to read what you write.
So if you have understood ‘Why,’ let’s understand ‘How.’
To help you create content that people actually read, we have put together some of the best facts and tips by industry experts:
The ‘15 seconds’ truth about your articles
As proclaimed by David Zheng, the founder of ‘Growth Wit’; ‘15 seconds’ is the average time that a viewer spends on a website. So that is all you have to enrapture their minds.
This means that if you fail to establish a connection with your viewer within these 15 seconds, then your work probably won’t induce any interest in their minds.
(I guess it’s over 15 seconds since you started reading this article; if you are still reading, here is what you should focus on to ensure that people read your content)
How readers go through your content
To create content that grabs viewers dwindling attention and entice them to read your content, you need to know how readers engage with your content.
Only 10-20% of readers actually make it to the bottom of the post
CoSchedule conducted a test using a heatmap tool to know how their viewers behaved and found out the following:
- Their pages were neat and clean. This helped them draw a lot of focus on their work.
- Readers followed the typical ‘F’ Pattern while viewing their content.
- Headings and subtitles were bestowed with a lot of attention from the viewers.
They also analyzed the data obtained from Google Analytics to determine how much of the content did the people (actually) read. Have a look at the findings:
- Only 10-20% of readers actually make it to the bottom of the post.
- On some posts, many readers didn’t make it past reading 20-30% of the content.
Clicks don’t always mean people are reading
While most people believe that the number of ‘clicks’ their content receives, or the number of times their content is loaded on a device, is the number of people who have read their content.
The truth according to Chartbeat is that most people who click on your article do not actually go through the whole content. Have a look at these stats:
- 55% of people spend less than 15 seconds on a website.
- The articles that were exceptionally good got only 5 minutes of reading time from the viewers.
People follow the ‘F’ pattern while reading
Another research by Jakob Nielson, a prominent usability consultant, revealed that people view content in an ‘F’ pattern, emphasizing the Headings and Subtitles. He managed to find this by virtue of eye tracking visualizations to track the eye movement pattern of the viewers. This is what he found:
- The eyes of a reader move very fast through the website.
- Readers renounce the conventional left-to-right reading pattern and incorporate an ‘F’ pattern to skim through the website.
- The ‘F’ pattern generally emphasizes Headlines and subtitles.
- The viewers tend to read only the left side of a web page and overlook the remaining part.
For better understanding, look at the image below:
In the study, Nielson also provided a chart that elaborates how you can incorporate different writing methods to make your article more readable:
How to make your content interesting enough to grab the reader’s attention?
To ensure your content grabs readers’ attention, here are some things you should consider while writing:
1. Maintain Flow:
When you write something, ensure that the texts follow the preceding context. Maintaining a proper flow in your content is paramount.
Abstract ideologies lead to a break in the meticulous thought process, thereby making it easier for distractions to overwrite all your hard work and the time you spent on preparing that content.
2. Follow the inverted pyramid model:
The inverted pyramid model is a method that has worked wonders for newspapers and journals for decades.
This method emphasizes including facts and figures along with certain statistical models (if need be). These facts are brought to light based on their order of relevance.
Following this model, you can not only generate interest in the minds of your readers but also impart information that may have been skipped as suggested by the reading patterns mentioned earlier in this post.
3. Use visuals to represent your content:
Use visuals that can easily explain your content. This will help in sharing the basic gist of your article in a creative manner.
Thus, even if a viewer tends to skim through your content, they will realize what you have actually written about and might impel them to read it.
4. Use easily scannable text:
- Use sentences that are brief and can be easily understood by the viewer.
- Use keywords (high-light them) that will get the attention of your viewers.
- Use purposeful Subheadings (Avoid using puns and sarcasm).
- Do not stuff up multiple ideas in the same paragraph- people tend to ignore the entire paragraph if the introduction is not eye-catching.
- Don’t focus on increasing your word count – if your article exhibits a monotonous dragging nature, it will hardly be read by anyone.
Reality-Check: You may not have read this article but you have probably shared it by now.
If you are reading this, that means you have already covered way more than 30% of the article. In return for that courtesy, let me drop another truth-bomb regarding the correlation between content shared and the actual number of people who read it before doing so.
There is hardly any correlation between the articles shared through social media platforms and the content that has actually been read.
In lay-man terms, more shares do not imply more reading; as quoted by Tonie Haile, “We found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading.”
The results mentioned above according to CoSchedule confirm that people hardly read 20-30% of the article before sharing it.
We hope this post helped you know how to create content that people actually read.
Different challenges are dealt with from different perspectives based on the uniqueness of an individual. The best step for organizations that want to stand out from these monotonous proceedings is to rethink the aspects of their content and put more emphasis on increasing its readability.