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6 Ways To Turn Scanners Into Readers

By Expert Author: Phillip Alexander

Jakob Nielson's web usability study from 1997 showed us that 79% of all internet users scan through articles rather than read them from start to finish.
What does this mean for you? Well, if you're relying on your web content to help build your business, it means quite a bit. It means that if you're not writing with the internet "scanner" in mind, you're making a big mistake. Fortunately, there are some very simple ways to help make sure you convert those who merely scan your articles into people that read it from beginning to end. Here are six of them:
1) Break up your text
This one is easy. People are intimidated by giant blocks of text on a screen. More often than not, paragraphs that go on and on without any line breaks will get ignored by readers. It looks daunting and uninviting.
Keep your paragraphs to three or four sentences at most. You might even try throwing in a one-sentence paragraph here and there, just to switch things up. The more white space the better. Even the most complicated of subjects can be made much easier with more white space.
2) Embrace the numbered list
Some of the most popular websites today incorporate the use of lists to make their content more inviting. Cracked.com is a great example. People love lists. It helps capture attention and makes it easier for your reader to focus on the subject.
Sometimes you can increase the effectiveness of a post simply by numbering your subheads. Give it a shot!
3) Bold your words
Bolding important points in your posts helps add emphasis. It can also draw people in who are scanning your article and compel them to read deeper to find out more.
You don't want to overdo it, but bolding just the key points of an article is a very effective way to draw people into your copy.
4) Images with captions
Study after study has shown that people read the captions underneath images more than almost any other part of a page. You should take advantage of this. Try to make your captions two or three sentences long with the intent of rousing your reader's interest. Make them want to read your entire post.
5) The almighty bullet
The use of bulleted lists cannot be overstated.
People who scan through articles will often read your bullets in their entirety
They help break up your text to make your article more readable
They can create excitement and interest in your reader
6) Subheads, subheads, subheads
Whether or not you use the numbered list as suggested above, you should never skip out on subheads.
Subheads should tell a story all by themselves. A popular technique when writing a post is to write all of your subheads out first. After you do this, read through them to see if your reader will be able to get the basic point of the article without reading anything but the subheads.
You'll want to make your subheads intriguing in order to lure web users into reading the entire paragraph, and ultimately, the entire post. But it's also important to make your subheads informative and relevant to the article. Don't try to hype your reader up only to disappoint them as it will almost always result in them leaving your page.
You don't want to pass up the opportunity to turn those who scan into those who read. Use these tips the next time you write to help you do just that.

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