People Don’t Read Online. Understand that they Scan. This Is How to Write for Them

To effectively engage online readers, it is important to understand their scanning behaviour and adapt writing styles accordingly.

People Don’t Read Online. Understand that they Scan. This Is How to Write for Them

Understanding Online Reading Behavior

Online readers tend to scan rather than read every word on a webpage. They quickly skim through the content, looking for specific information or keywords that catch their attention. This behaviour is driven by the abundance of information available online and the limited time and attention span of users. To effectively engage online readers, it is important to understand their scanning behaviour and adapt writing styles accordingly.

The Importance of Writing for Scanners

When it comes to online content, attention spans are short and time is limited. That's why it's crucial to write for scanners. Scanners are users who quickly glance through a page, looking for specific information that is relevant to them. To capture the attention of scanners, it's important to use clear and descriptive headings, highlight key points in subheadings, and format content for easy scanning. By writing with scanners in mind, you can ensure that your content is easily digestible and engaging for online readers.

Key Strategies for Writing for Scanners

When writing for scanners, it is important to use clear and descriptive headings to guide readers. Additionally, using subheadings can help organize content and make it easier for scanners to find the information they need. Highlighting key points in subheadings can also draw the attention of scanners. To further enhance readability, it is recommended to use bullet points and numbered lists to break up text and make it more scannable. Breaking up text with paragraphs and white space can also make the content more visually appealing and easier to digest. Lastly, using bold and italics for emphasis can help scanners quickly identify important information. By implementing these strategies, writers can create content that is more reader-friendly and accessible to scanners.

Headings and Subheadings

Choosing Clear and Descriptive Headings

When it comes to choosing headings, it is essential to be clear and descriptive. Headings should accurately reflect the content that follows and provide a quick overview for scanners. A well-crafted heading can grab the reader's attention and encourage them to read further. Additionally, using subheadings can help to organize the content into smaller sections, making it easier for scanners to navigate. Remember, the goal is to make the scanning experience as smooth as possible, so choose headings that are concise, informative, and visually appealing.

Using Subheadings to Organize Content

One effective way to organize your content for online scanners is by using subheadings. Subheadings act as signposts that guide readers through your article and help them quickly find the information they are looking for. When creating subheadings, make sure they are clear and descriptive, accurately reflecting the content that follows. You can also use subheadings to break down your article into smaller, more digestible sections. This not only makes it easier for scanners to navigate your content but also enhances the overall readability of your article.

Highlighting Key Points in Subheadings

When writing subheadings, it is important to highlight the key points to catch the attention of scanners. One effective way to do this is by using bold formatting to emphasize important words or phrases. Another strategy is to use bullet points or numbered lists to present information in a concise and easy-to-read format. By using these formatting techniques, you can make your subheadings more visually appealing and help scanners quickly grasp the main ideas of your content.

Formatting for Scanners

Using Bullet Points and Numbered Lists

When writing for online readers who scan, it is important to use bullet points and numbered lists to break up information and make it more digestible. These formatting techniques help readers quickly identify key points and main ideas. Bullet points are effective for listing items or providing examples, while numbered lists can be used to outline steps or rank information in order of importance. By using bullet points and numbered lists, you can improve the readability and scannability of your content, ensuring that important information stands out and is easily understood.

Breaking Up Text with Paragraphs and White Space

When writing for online readers, it is crucial to break up the text with paragraphs and white space. Long blocks of text can be overwhelming and difficult to read. By using paragraphs, you can separate different ideas and make the content more digestible. Additionally, white space helps to create a sense of clarity and organization. It allows readers to easily scan the content and find the information they are looking for. Utilizing bullet points and numbered lists can also be effective in breaking up text and making it more scannable. These formatting techniques not only improve the readability of the content but also enhance the overall user experience.

Using Bold and Italics for Emphasis

In addition to using headings and subheadings, bold and italics can be used to emphasize important words or phrases. Bold text can draw the reader's attention to key points or important information, while italics can be used to add emphasis or provide additional context. When using bold and italics, it is important to use them sparingly and strategically to avoid overwhelming the reader. Here is an example of how bold and italics can be used for emphasis:

Key PointsAdditional Information
Bold textItalicized text
Important pointAdditional context

By using bold and italics effectively, writers can help scanners quickly identify the most important information and understand the overall message of the content.


Summary of Writing for Scanners

When writing for online readers who tend to scan rather than read, it is important to use clear and descriptive headings and subheadings to guide their attention. Bullet points and numbered lists can help break up the text and make it easier to digest. Additionally, using bold and italics can emphasize key points and draw the reader's eye. By formatting content in a way that is scanner-friendly, writers can ensure that their message is effectively communicated and understood.

Benefits of Writing for Scanners

Writing for scanners has several benefits. Firstly, it improves readability by making the content easier to navigate and understand. Secondly, it enhances engagement as scanners are more likely to stay on the page and interact with the content. Thirdly, it increases accessibility as scanners can quickly find the information they need. Lastly, it improves usability by providing a better user experience. By writing for scanners, you can effectively communicate your message and achieve your desired goals.

Tips for Implementing Scanner-Friendly Writing

When implementing scanner-friendly writing, it is important to use tables and lists to present information in a visually appealing and easily scannable format. Tables can be used to organize data and comparisons, while lists can break down complex information into digestible chunks.

Additionally, highlighting important keywords in bold can help draw the scanner's attention to key points. By following these tips, you can optimize your content for scanners and improve readability.