Typography sets the stage for your content. It creates visual logic and directs users to the main message. Although most bloggers (myself included) think typography is merely selecting the right font, it actually includes appropriate measure, size hierarchy, and weight hierarchy.1 This is what will ultimately guide your readers through your content. If you’re effective in both your message and typography, you’ll develop a following of loyal readers and sharers. This is a tight balancing act because…
People don’t read everything online
When was the last time you read a full article? How often do you? Sure there are those methodical readers who read everything in its entirety. But there are those of us, well, most of us, who only read a small fraction of the article online. Various eye tracking studies have proven that when someone lands on a webpage, they scan the content first before diving into the meat of it. Using myself as a guinea pig, I usually land on a page, look at the pretty pictures while scanning the headlines to determine if I want to read the whole article. Now the sad thing, even though I found the content interesting, that doesn’t guarantee that I’ll finish it.
I’m not the only one, apparently. Harald Weinreich and Jacob Nielson’s 2008 study demonstrated that users only read half the information presented on a webpage with 111 words or less. Realistically speaking, if they were to read the content of a page (e.g. layout, images, information), they would read only 20% of the text of any article with 500 to 1200 words.2
That doesn’t mean our articles need to be shorter. Actually, Inbound Engineer Casey Henry at Moz, found that of those that stick it out to the very end (the dedicated 20%), they are more likely to share the article. Bless their hearts!
So, for those who have stuck out this far…
To keep your readers engaged with longer, meater information, you need to make it easy to consume. Very similar to trying to consume a large salad — you throw it in a blender and turn it into a smoothie. The easier they can consume the information, the more likely they will remember and share it. In next week’s article, we’ll the key elements of visual representation and how to ease readability.