According to Nielson, 79% of people scan web pages. With the majority of people only glancing at articles, it only makes sense to have to write content that is skimming-friendly. Having content that is difficult to digest can decrease traffic to your firm’s website, causing you to lose potential cases. To make sure your pages are easy for skimmers to read, be sure to:
1. Be Short
Keep everything short. Having shorter paragraphs and sentences makes it easier for a reader to scan through your content. Long blocks of text can seem unappealing to a viewer and turn them away from your firm’s website. Around 16 words per sentence and three to five sentences per paragraph should do the trick and keep your content short.
2. Use the Inverted Pyramid
The inverted pyramid lets you lead with the most important information first. Start with the who, what, where, when and why of your content. Begin with the conclusion and work your way down, with your least important information at the end. For example, start with the importance of working with a lawyer. In the conclusion, reemphasize your call to action.
3. Break Up the Content
Scanners love subheadings. This will let the reader know what your paragraph is about. Headers and subheads should be around four to ten words. Use bold or italics to add emphasis and let a reader know that a word or phrase is important. Underlines should typically be limited to linking to other pages.
When applicable, bulleted or numbered lists also help to break up content. If you have a list of more than three items, you have a perfect candidate for bullets or a numbered list. These are more appealing and easier to skim than a long list in the format of a block of text.
For example, if you are writing a piece of content on how an employer may commit wage theft. Consider a bulleted list of the different forms of wage theft or breaking up each type of wage theft with subheads with brief explanations below. Either of these will allow the reader to quickly scan through your article and pick out what information is important for his or her claim.
4. Have Whitespace
As mentioned, blocks of text are unappealing to a reader. Having whitespace makes the article and your firm’s website seem more approachable. By adding lists or headers, you allow for more whitespace in your content.
Creating single-point paragraphs will add opportunity for whitespace. This will also help ensure your paragraphs are shorter. If you are writing about the different types of negligence in a personal injury claim, each explanation should have its own paragraph. Don’t lump them all into one.
5. Use Simple Language
Big words won’t always impress your readers. It’s been found that the average American reads at a 7th or 8th grade level, but you should even consider writing at a 6th grade level. If you use words three syllables or less, you’ll keep the reader more engaged. This is especially true for Social Security disability lawyers, as more readers are likely to have disabilities.
6. Use Conversational Writing
Write like you are having a conversation with your reader. Use an active voice. Passive is harder to read and less conversational. You should also consider using personal pronouns like ‘you’ or ‘us’ as well to help engage the reader.
If you’re writing an article on qualifying for Social Security disability with colon cancer, write the article as if you are explaining the qualifications to the reader in person. Writing as if you’re having a conversation along with keeping it simple will make it easier for a reader to understand. If it sounds like it’s coming directly from the Blue Book, those who don’t have the expertise will most likely not understand.
If you follow these tips and apply them to your content, the average reader should have no problem reading through your entire piece of content. Users will be less likely to leave your firm’s site, and subsequently more likely to contact your firm. Having easy to read content can help open the door to more potential clients!