How can you create scannable blog posts that will improve your blogs dwell time? Are you wondering how you can make your blog posts scannable?
Why does it matter anyway?
To create scannable blog content matters a lot because studies have proven that only 16% of your readership read your blog content word-by-word, while 79% would scan your posts.
Therefore, to solve this problem, bloggers and content marketers need to create scannable blog posts and also transform existing text content into scannable formats to help you:
- Attract more readers
- Keep visitors longer on your site and improve your blogs dwell time
- Retain your existing blogging community
Hence, when it comes to marketing your business, you need to adopt a multipronged approach. Creating a great email marketing campaign is not going to do you any good if your email leads readers to a blog post nobody want to read.
That is why it’s essential to pay as much attention to the creation of your blog posts as you do to your email campaigns and to ensure that both efforts form a cohesive picture of your brand.
In this post, we’ll have a look at how you can create scannable blog posts that people will want to read.
Start with a Clear Heading and Use Subheadings to Break Your Blog Posts
Writing blog content that people would love to read starts with a clear and compelling heading. A persuasive headline will help you attract more clicks and boost website engagement. Here is hoe to craft headlines that people will love to click.
Nonetheless, breaking your content down into a series of sections makes it easier to digest, that why you have to use subheadings (H2 & H3) to break your blog posts into bite-sized text.
This approach will help readers see what is being covered in the article quickly and easily. It also helps them quickly locate a section that they may want to refer back to later.
Divide your content up logically with each section naturally leading on from the previous one. It will boost your blogs dwell time and increase website engagement.
Keep Your Paragraphs Short
Your paragraphs should be a maximum of three to four sentences at most. The spaces between each paragraph help to make the page look less cluttered. Whitespace here is your friend.
The shorter your paragraphs, the less intimidating they would be to your readers, and they will be more likely to read the article. Think about this for a second – imagine if I wrote this article in one big block of text.
Would you have wanted to read it? That’s unlikely. If it were all in one big block of text, it would look like a tough read. Without the headings and subheadings, you would not be able to scan through to understand the subjects they covered.
Even if you did still consider reading it, how valuable would you have thought that the information was? If the person creating the content pays no attention to the layout, how professional would that be? Accordingly, keeping your paragraphs short will help you make your blog posts scannable and boost time spent on your blog.
Stick to Shorter Sentences to Make Scannable Blog Content
More like shorter paragraphs short sentences work incredibly well, and it will also make reader o stay longer on your site and increase your website dwell time. When you’re writing for the web, you’re writing for people with a range of different reading levels.
You might even be dealing with those for whom your language is not their first language. It’s best to keep the sentences shorter on the whole. Why?
Because shorter sentences are easier to read, the spacing between sentences adds in more of the white spaces which help to improve readability. This step presents the article in an excellent light-that it is well edited and professional.
Again, the aim here is to create scannable blog posts that are easier to read.
Link to External Sources
Although linking to external sources does not directly add up to creating scannable blog content; however, it improves your writing significantly in that it adds credibility to your text and present you as an authority.
For these reasons, try to add well-researched data, graphs, and so forth to your writing and link to the external sources to prove your point.
*Important* Make sure your curated data and other external materials are from credible sources. And when linking out, ensure that you check the “open in a new tab box.” It would assist your readers in remaining on your blog while checking the extensive information on the other blog.
In that way, you will build trust with your readers since they will sense that the information you are giving them is trustworthy. And if your audience wants more information about the subject, all they need to do is click the link to the main post.
Use Simple Language to Boost Readability
Part of the reason that you’re creating content is to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. In other words, you want to show that you know the topic. You’ll want to remove jargons and industry terms.
The problem with using jargons and industry terms are that not every reader will have the same level of understanding that you have. If they encounter a lot of big words that they don’t understand, they might feel that the article is too difficult to read and give up.
In fact, some incredible blogging tools like Yoast SEO will tell you to use more simple words to boost text readability. Consequently, write in simple language and never assume that all your readers will be able to understand all of the terms that you use.
Use Bullet Points to Create Scannable Blog Posts
Another aspect that we often overlook when creating blog posts is that there will be readers out there who only want to pick up tips here and there. By creating short summaries of each section using bullet points, you make your posts scannable which can help those in a hurry to get the gist of the article quickly.
They’ll be able to get the information that they’re looking right away and will more likely to want to read the rest of the post. By creating bullet points, you’re showing them the most vital aspects – the information you want them to take home.
This step is similar to using sub-headings in that it allows your readers to scan through and get the idea of the main points. It also helps to improve the layout and make the overall text look less intimidating.
Consider Putting in a Table of Contents
This tip works best for longer posts. Creating a clickable table of contents at the beginning of the article means that people can see what the post covers without scrolling the to the bottom. They can decide in seconds whether or not the post relates to them.
They can then click through to the parts that interest them the most or read the whole thing. The point is that you are giving them a choice in the matter, and they’ll appreciate the courtesy since you’re showing that you think their time is valuable.
Handpicked: 8 Powerful Tips to Save Time Writing Blog Posts
Proofread and Edit Ruthlessly
Several bloggers fail to proofread their content before hitting the publish button. However, you are serving the public so your posts need to be flawless and should flow beautifully. That’s why running them through spell check is never enough.
By all means, use some form of grammar editor to check for typos that you might have missed. Just don’t rely only on the grammar checker. Read your work through – you’ll often find points that you want to expand upon or sentences that you want to tighten up.
Do another read through when you’ve completed the first one. Consider even reading the text out loud to someone. This step won’t help you create scannable blog content, but it will allow you to experience the article as the reader.
You will be able to see areas that don’t make sense and what you need to improve.
Use Lists to Create Scannable Blog Posts
Using subheadings, white spaces, etc. to break up your post will not only make it scannable, but it will also make your content to appear clean and orderly. Nevertheless, another unusual step that helps in this process is the use of list posts.
For instance, in a survey by the Buzzsumo and Okdork teams of more than 100 million articles, they found that lists posts were among the top most shared blog content on social media, coming at second place.
As a result, it makes sense to use lists to create blog posts more scannable, clean, and appealing.
Check the Overall Layout Before Hitting Publish
As your final check to create scannable blog posts, take a look at the article overall layout. Ideally, you want the sentences to look regular. You want paragraphs to be around the same length so that the piece seems more cohesive.
Check to make sure that you’ve used the same spacings throughout, and that it looks pleasing to the eye. Consider the article from the perspective of someone viewing it for the first time. Even better, get someone to read it over for you. They might see something that you missed.
When creating content for the web, it’s best to keep things simple by creating scannable blog content. Stick to a layout that is clean and uncluttered. White space is your friend here. It helps make the content look properly scannable and less intimidating.
Your overall aim should be to make things as easy to read as possible. By dividing the post into sections, with subheadings and keeping the sentences shorter, you create scannable blog posts that are easier to read.
About the Author
Alex Slichnyi is the community manager at 99firms.com. He is an avid learner of all things IT, a savvy SEO specialist, and blogger who loves traveling because it allows him to experience hands-on the many facets of life.
Connect with him on LinkedIn.