The average person’s attention span is less than 5 minutes. Only 16% of people will read a website word for word, and most people will retain less than 60% of what they have read.
So what does this mean for you when writing web content?
Keep it short, simple, and sweet.
In the last year Pinterest has grown from 1 million users in July 2011 to more than 20 million in 2012. Likewise, since its creation in 2010, Instagram has increased to 90 million monthly active users with 40 million photos being posted per day.
These numbers teach the web writer a valuable lesson: Writing for the web means using the right words not more words.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Content
But wait, what about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Isn’t content important so that my site ranks well in search engines?
There are several SEO factors that contribute to increased traffic, but no single factor will guarantee search engine rankings. Engaging content does play an important role in ensuring that search engines can find you.
Still, you are first and foremost writing for readers. Do you give people a reason to read your pages? Is there useful information they can’t find elsewhere?
When you provide readers with information that they find valuable, you will increase traffic to your site especially if the content encourages readers to link to it. The more links you have the better ratings your site will receive from the search engines.
Helpful Tips for Engaging Content
Engaging content is key to promoting your site. Here are a few easy tips that will help you create effective content.
- Grab Attention—use a catchy headline or a great first sentence, you only have seconds to make a first impression and get your readers to continue reading.
- Relevance—readers are visiting your site for a reason. Make sure the information you provide is straight to the point so readers don’t go looking elsewhere.
- Simplicity—your goal is to communicate as clearly as possible. Don’t complicate your point with big words or with tons of words
- Scannable Content— rarely will a user read a whole web page. Make sure your site can be scanned easily.
- Simple language
- Short paragraphs
- Bulleted and numbered list
- A strong compleying visual
By following these guidelines you will not only produce content to appeal to online users, but also help optimize your site’s overall visibility.