Tips for writing web texts


Glue your readers to your page with these useful tips

Several studies have found that people absorb more information and focus better when reading from paper, rather than from a screen. This is because when reading from a screen you usually scroll through content and scan through information faster, which brings you to go through more text in a shorter time. This can often lead readers to have shorter attention spans and not finish the text they are reading, before already switching to the next piece of content.

There are, however, ways to encourage readers to stay on your page. Precisely because people read less mindfully from a screen, it is necessary to make your text as attractive as possible to the reader. Below you will find some helpful tips.

Clear headings

Use headings to maintain a good structure in your text. You can do this by making the headings larger than the actual text, bold or giving them a different color. It is also possible to combine these points with each other, to make them stand out even more. In addition, the subheadings are also useful to grab the attention of a scanning reader. As mentioned earlier, visitors usually scan a text when reading from a screen and by creating clear and informative headings for the reader, you ensure to catch their interest and do actually read through the paragraph rather than just the title.

Number of lines per paragraph

Having to read large chunks of text from a screen is unpleasant. Chances are, the reader is going to scan through your text looking for the information they need. However, there is also a chance that the reader will not read your text at all, a big miss when it comes to a text about your new product or service! Instead, by writing short paragraphs of 2 - 4 lines you make the reader feel more comfortable, as they will not consider reading your text as a challenging task, but on the contrary a light and informative read. 

Ideal line length

The ideal line length is between 65-85 characters, including spaces. This is according to the research of online marketer Jim Connolly. From 95 characters or more, texts are perceived as unpleasant. This is because the eye muscles constantly have to stretch to read the entire line. For the study, the font Arial was used with font size 15 pixels. Therefore, if a different font or size is chosen, the reader's eye strain should be kept in mind.

Font type and size

There are many different theories and test results about the proper font to use on a monitor. A person's unconscious brain processes each font in a different way. A difficult font to read will be linked to a challenging task. This unconscious process is called processing fluency, a scientific term used to describe how easily the brain processes information. If information can be processed easily and quickly, it is referred to as fluent. Research shows that people feel more positive about texts that are quick and easy for the brain to process.
The brain can process fonts that are non-serif more easily than those that are serif. A serif font has brackets on the letters (as in the example below). You can see that the sans serif font is much easier to read. Keep this in mind when choosing a font for your website, newsletter or email marketing.

The most commonly used 'Web safe' fonts are Verdana, Trebuchet and Arial. These are standard fonts that everyone has on their computer.
Nowadays, Google Fonts are the most widely used fonts on the net. These are easy to add to your website by using a simple script in the header. Some examples are Lato, Roboto and Open Sans. Over the years it has become common to use larger fonts. A few years ago it was perfectly normal to use 14 pixels as font size, nowadays 16 or even 18 pixels are recommended when writing for your website. The font size also depends on your font weight. Usually 300 is good for any font, but this can vary from browser to browser. In Chrome for example, the letters often look a bit smaller, keep this in mind!

Font color

A number of important points emerged from several studies conducted into the use of the most effective font color to use on a website.
The colors that work best are those where there is a lot of contrast, so dark and bright colors. The best contrast is a light background with the text in a dark color. It was also found that a gray shade is better than a black color on a white background. The black color is often too bright, making the reader's eyes more likely to tire.

Interlineation

Interlinearity refers to the amount of white between two lines, so how much (white) space there is between the lines. Larger interlineation provides the reader with extra reading ease.
The standard HTML interline is too small for proper readability. There are several articles on the Internet indicating that 140%, compared to the standard HTML interline, has the best effect. So, an interline of 140% improves the readability of the text for the reader.

In conclusion...

With these helpful tips, anyone can get started on writing efficiently on their website. Always remember, you need the reader's attention for a profitable website. You can think of your website as a store for a potential customer, you want the reader to feel at ease by making them feel as comfortable as possible.


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