January 13, 2015

10 sure ways to grabs readers’ attention to your written word

A number of studies have shown that web readers seldom read the text word by word. They scan it for relevance and look intensely for the matter they’re looking for.  Most readers, thus, have their brains trying to get the maximum value without big effort that goes in serious reading.

That means, you must write text in a way that catches readers’ attention in the first go. Headlines and visual content are two major ways to catch attention, but this post focuses only on a third important aspect - catching attention to the written content.

1. Put sub-headings, and bolden the text, enlarge it or give it another colour.

2. Highlight words and phrases: use different formats such as bold, underline, italics, another font, large font, colour, putting within quotes, putting in a box, etc

3. Use simple and small sentences, and simple words. Simple language leads to greater reader comfort.

4. Keep paras short; in a para, give only one thought. Short, focussed paras lead to clarity.

A collage of ITB posts to show
use of highlighters

5. Give summary if dealing with a complex topic or long discussion.

6. Use bullets and numbered lists rather than describing many things in a running passage.

7. Don’t display full post if too long. If very long, use ‘jump break’ to expand it.

8. Use graphs and infographics to reinforce the main idea(s).

9. On visuals, put captions that relate to the nearby text, generally in a different font or at least italicized to differentiate it from the main text.

10. Don’t display too many things around the text. Avoid visual distraction, especially animations, slideshows and unrelated photos.

While applying these highlighting props, take care of the following:

  • Don’t write for computer but for human beings. 
  • Make formatting embellishments after you have finalised the text. 
  • Don’t overdo. Don’t unnecessarily hyperlink words and phrases. Be consistent.