Investing in high-quality content is one of the best ways to draw your target audience’s attention to your brand and the solutions you offer. But no matter how hard you work to produce and distribute, you won’t achieve much unless you make it unique, exciting, and, most importantly, engaging.
One way to keep blog visitors engaged is to focus on readability. Now, if you’re not convinced that the relatively easy hack works, consider these facts:
- The typical person’s reading level is lower than you think. According to research on literacy rates in America, only 2% of US adults read well enough to comprehend information presented in an advanced format. And the average American reads at the 7th to 8th-grade level.
- A conversion rate benchmark report looking at landing page performance in 2021 discovered that SaaS pages with better readability scores saw higher conversion rates. According to this report, a reading ease score of 60 or above rapidly boosts conversions, causing them to jump from just under 4% to a much more impressive 8%.
- Most businesses nowadays cater to international audiences. This means that some of your blog visitors might not be native speakers. So, try your best to produce blog content that won’t alienate, confuse, or frustrate them as they attempt to find information relevant to their needs.
- Finally, don’t forget that even native speakers don’t like to read blog content word-for-word. Instead, they prefer to scan articles, using visual and textual cues to zoom in on relevant information. With this in mind, your blog content needs to be scannable, which you’re far more likely to achieve if you boost its readability score.
So, if you’re ready to do what it takes to keep blog visitors engaged, here’s how you can do it by boosting content readability.
Get the Basics Right
Design plays a significant part in helping your content engage readers.
But even though color, fonts, and images can turn a boring old blog post into an exciting resource on an interesting topic, do your best to get the basics right. By making a few changes you can implement directly in your content management system, you can effectively boost content readability, making it easier for web visitors to interact with it.
So, what are the basics of writing highly-readable text-based content?
Font Choice, Size, & Color
The easiest way to ensure your website visitors don’t have difficulties trying to read your articles is to choose the correct font.
Now, you already know (hopefully) that you should stay away from complex and immature typefaces (like the infamous Comic Sans). But did you know that some fonts are more suitable when aiming to boost readability than others?
Generally, when aiming for accessibility — which is the precursor for readability — you should use simple fonts like Verdana, Tahoma, Arial, Georgia, Lucida Sans, or Helvetica. Times New Roman and Trebuchet MS are also acceptable to use. However, they may be slightly less legible for some users.
Once you’ve chosen the correct font, it’s time to deal with size. Generally, you should use an effective size of 16px or more.
And don’t forget about letter colors. Generally, aim to go with simple colorways that provide sufficient contrast between the text and the background. Black letters on a white background are ideal. However, if you want to mix things up a bit, use a contrast checker to achieve the recommended ratio.
Sentence & Paragraph Length
The second best way to boost readability when writing plain text is to pay attention to sentence and paragraph length.
To keep your blog posts accessible and engaging, try to aim for sentences that are shorter than 25 words. Moreover, keep the length of your paragraphs between 100 and 200 words or no more than five sentences.
Another easy hack you can employ to boost content readability is to use paragraph breaks.
This helps visually separate paragraphs (every one of which should cover one thought/idea). Plus, it allows you to employ the benefits of white space in text-only posts. That will help make the posts more visually pleasing and minimize the chances of readers becoming distracted or lost in a massive block of text.
Lastly, as you attempt to cover the basics of content readability, don’t forget to use formatting to your advantage.
Something as simple as using bold letters to highlight important words or separating ideas with bullet points can make it far easier for blog visitors to consume the content, increasing their chances of remaining engaged with the text.
For an even more positive readability boost, do your best to use subheadings and format them in a way that makes them stand out. By making them visually prominent, you’ll encourage readers to use an efficient and engaging scanning pattern. Naturally, this will boost their chances of finding the information they need more quickly.
Company Blog Doing It Right: UnscrambleX
If you check out the Scrabble Word Finder page on UnscrambleX, you’ll see that it’s a text-only 1,400-word post without any images.
However, thanks to adhering to the basic rules of readability, it achieves a 78 readability score (equivalent to a 5th-grade reading level), making it a super-accessible piece of content guaranteed to keep readers engaged, regardless of their educational background or native language.
Note how the post checks all the boxes regarding font choice, size, and color, as well as how well it organizes the content into small, easily-consumed chunks that are further made accessible with the correct formatting techniques and the use of appropriate heading styles.
Use a Lot of Meaningful Imagery
Using images is a great way to boost content readability.
And that’s not just because images break up blocks of text into easily consumed chunks. More importantly, the human brain is more effective at processing visuals than words. Plus, images can boost comprehension (especially for non-native speakers) by repeating information in a new medium unlimited by language or education-related barriers. Add to this that internet users prefer beautifully-designed content over plain and simple blog posts, and it becomes evident that using imagery on your website blog is a must-do for keeping visitors engaged.
Of course, if you decide to enrich your blog posts with imagery, you have to make sure it’s meaningful.
Stay away from stock photography and choose to employ relevant visuals that will contribute to the text of your blog posts. These can be diagrams, graphs, product photos, illustrations — anything that conveys meaning to the reader and aids their understanding of the topic.
Company Blog Doing It Right: Easil
If you’re looking for an excellent example of a company blog employing visuals in a meaningful way, look no further than Easil.
Instead of writing about 2023’s Pantone color of the year in a monotonous way, this brand chose to make text and visuals work together to deliver unique value to the readers (which, naturally, results in a higher engagement rate).
Note how the blog is peppered with references to social media posts, instructions on how to use the color in question, and even a few examples of color choices that work with the hue discussed. These are all simple visuals. But thanks to being meaningful and relevant in this particular context, they work splendidly to encourage readers to pay attention throughout the entire article.
Answer Questions Early
When writing for your target audience, you have to remember one key thing: people are becoming increasingly impatient these days.
Studies have shown time and again the way a long website load speed negatively impacts performance due to people’s tendency to abandon websites that are slow to respond. But have you ever considered that the way you structure written content could help you improve engagement rates on your company blog?
If you’re looking to boost content readability, one excellent strategy you could employ is to give your readers the answers they came for early in the article.
Optimize your introductory paragraph with a great hook, as well as an overview of what they can expect to learn by reading through the whole page.
Additionally, see if you can further engage readers with a clickable table of contents. That way, you can make your content valuable to a larger audience or even allow it to be engaging to people populating different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Company Blog Doing It Right: Eachnight
If you take a quick glance at the best queen-size mattresses guide on Eachnight, you’ll immediately notice how the brand aims to engage readers from the very start of the article.
Instead of wasting the reader’s time with a history of mattresses or a guide to mattress sizes (knowing that those topics are not what web visitors came to the blog to read about), the writer gets straight to the point. They outline the sections readers can expect to find in the guide. Plus, they employ the power of visual design with a highly-visible “Best Queen Size Mattress” highlight that summarizes the four products readers are most likely to end up wanting to buy after getting through the entire guide.
In some cases, boosting content readability and relevance doesn’t have to require simplification.
In fact, by developing a slightly more advanced way for your content to work, you can present your web visitors with highly-personalized content. This will boost their engagement, user experience, and satisfaction.
Plus, this particular strategy could help you generate more leads, which is one of the main goals marketers go after when producing and publishing content in the first place.
The solution we’re referring to is interactivity.
Statistical data shows that interactive content performs exceptionally well when compared to its static counterparts. It:
- helps brands stand out
- aids message retention
- maximizes user engagement
- gives web users access to information they want to consume
And best of all, it doesn’t have to involve a complicated production process. Something as simple as a 3-question quiz can help web visitors navigate to a piece of content they’ll find highly engaging, automatically increasing their chances of sticking around to read the entire article (and maybe even browse the rest of your site).
Plus, if you’re trying to educate readers on complex subjects, interactive content, like calculators, can be an excellent tool to circumvent the obstacle of having to explain complicated processes, allowing you to present your readers with an easy-to-read and understandable text instead.
Company Blog Doing It Right: ATH
A great example of interactive content used to improve blog visitor engagement and boost blog post value via improving readability comes from ATH.
This brand created a protein calculator that gives web visitors access to valuable information presented in a super-accessible way.
Note how, instead of highlighting the science behind protein intakes, ATH asks four questions. Then, it gives readers a straightforward recommendation for their daily protein intake, along with a couple of visuals to help them better integrate the macronutrient into their routine.
Keep Distractions to a Minimum
If you’re looking for strategies that will help you keep blog visitors engaged by boosting content readability, remember that clutter is the enemy of clarity. So, instead of allowing your blog pages to become filled with distracting content, consider whether there are any elements you can remove.
For example, we all know that well-positioned CTAs and conversion boosters (such as social proof) play a crucial role in delivering a positive UX. But other webpage elements, like pop-ups, often compete for web visitors’ attention, preventing them from focusing on the article they’re trying to read.
Does this mean you have to pare your blog posts down to their basics, potentially risking lower conversion rates? Absolutely not. Instead, it simply means being intentional with where and how you present potentially intrusive elements, ensuring that they’re benefiting your users, not distracting them from the task at hand.
Company Blog Doing It Right: HubSpot
If you check out HubSpot’s blog section, you’ll see that articles often include several CTA buttons. But there’s also a non-intrusive scroll trigger pop-up.
This element encourages readers to download a relevant resource without preventing them from interacting with the content or making it impossible for them to use the website without closing the pop-up first.
Understand Your Audience
Finally, as you work to boost content readability to keep blog visitors engaged, don’t forget that getting the tone, complexity level, and visual design just right hugely depends on who you’re writing for.
For example, if you’re writing for the general population, you should always aim for a high readability score.
However, if your intended readership includes industry experts and professional users, you can get away with more complex language and even some industry-specific jargon.
With this in mind, don’t forget to always check in with your previously defined audience. That way, you’ll guarantee that your blog content is engaging and informative to your audience and that it provides the value your prospects expect to receive when reading your articles.
There you have it, the best strategies for keeping blog visitors engaged by boosting content readability.
Whether you utilize one or all of the techniques discussed here is up to you. However, if you’re after the best possible results, make sure you first cover at least the basics of boosting readability. Then, continually track the performance of your blog posts to check whether you’re achieving high enough engagement rates.