Readers browsing your web content want relevant reading material. When they’re reading, they need to feel enlightened. Incorporating website readability best practices increases your success. If the article is well-written, poor formatting negates quality. Your online reputation can make or break your business.
The reasons for adequately formatting your web content includes:
- Over 57% of customers research a company online before purchasing
- Proper formatting will bring more traffic to your site
- Increase search engine ranking
- Visitors take 2-5 seconds to decide if they’ll continue reading
- High-quality content attracts quality inbound links
- Creates a sense of trustworthiness
- Increases your credibility
Your audience recognizes excellence on a well-designed web page. Designing user-friendly web content keeps you competitive. Online reading is not comparable to reading a book. Readers want material that has a proper online format. You can be creative, but keep it within the norms. There are industry standard ways to tweak your content. You don’t have to figure it out alone.
1. Use the Best Font for Reading
Choosing a font for your content can be challenging. There are standard, fun, and creative fonts to choose from. Typography is a reflection of your brand. Use up to three fonts; primary, secondary and accent.
- Primary: Use for headers. It’s the most visible font. It can match the font of your logo. Sans Serif and Script fonts are best suited for headers.
- Secondary: Aim for legibility. This font is for paragraphs, articles, and descriptions. The best font for reading online is Open Sans, and 12pt (16px) is the best font size for websites.
- Accent: Insert accent fonts for calls to action. This is where you want the reader to click.
- Write short sentences
- Use numbered and bulleted points
- Provide resource links to other websites
- Headers should be in sentence format
- Headlines should be bold
- Make bold sub-heads
- Sentences should use the active voice
- Use the easiest font to read
- All caps can be used for acronyms
- Italics give a sense of urgency
- Use italics for titles of books, newspapers, plays, and movies
- Don’t italicize religious texts
- Italicize foreign words
- Choose bold for keywords in the instructions
- Bold is better than italics
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2. Scannable Content is Vital
The majority of readers only scan through your content. Forbes reports that 79% of people scan through online information. Only 16% read the entire article. There are some simple ways to make your content scannable.
Reading is less time consuming when you are direct. Avoid the use of fluff language and unnecessary information.
3. Use All Caps, Italics and Bold Appropriately
The use of all caps, italics, and bold are for emphasizing. Use them sparingly. Bold and italics are more challenging to read. People interpret ALL CAPS as yelling.
As part of your website readability best practices, choose bold. Your readers will appreciate your attention to detail. Use the easiest font to read.
4. Use Calls to Action and URLs
Using calls to action and URLs guides your audience. You need to make them stand out from other text. Prompt your audience with a call to action. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, a web address. Use URLs to direct visitors to information about a topic. Use links that are from the past few years. Keep them current. Examples of calls to action include:
You get the results you need with calls to action. Using links helps you to be found on search engines.
5. Your Visitors Like Graphics
Graphics enhance the readability of your website. Images convey information quickly. Infographics are favorite ways to show statistics and facts. Images grab and hold a reader’s attention. They shouldn’t distract the reader away from your written work.
Instead, they should complement your content. Using smaller sized images will help load the page faster. Too long of a wait will make you lose readers. The text used in a graphic should have adequate background contrast. Favorite graphics include photos and videos.
6. Use the Inverted Pyramid to Organize Writing
Online readers have a short attention span. Journalists use the inverted pyramid to highlight relevant information firstly. You can use it as part of your website readability best practices. The first paragraph answers:
This method helps your readers quickly understand your point of view. They will decide if they are interested in reading more. Use for commentaries, news, and blogs.
7. Make it Easy for Readers to See How to Contact You
Use the standard layout that others in your industry use. Put your contact button where others do. This is useful for your social media links as well. A clickable link enabling others to message you is crucial. Place all contact information in the same location. Your contact information should be on every web page. If a reader can’t reach you, they may leave. Consider inserting Google Maps if it is appropriate.
8. How to Improve Readability with White Space
Your website readability best practices should include ample white space. White space is the page area with nothing on it. Your content will stand out in contrast to the white space. It doesn’t mean solely using the color white for a background. A sense of drama is created with a darker background. Cramming too many elements on your page makes it unattractive.
9. Use Short Paragraphs
Breaking up chunks of information makes it easier to read. Since readers like to scan, a short paragraph is skimmed quickly. In our modern world of convenience, we want fast results. The more information relayed in short sentences, the better. Paragraph length should be up to six sentences long.
10. Use the Flesch-Kincaid Score to Measure Readability of Your Content
Your website readability best practices need to include the Flesch-Kincaid score. This test measures the complexity level of English on websites. Acceptable standards for web content are between 60-70. This means 13-15-year-olds can read your writing. Low scores indicate your content is too difficult to understand.