How to Increase your Content’s Usability by 124 Percent

What if you could make just a few changes to your website’s content to make it more effective? A study by Neilson Norman Group may have uncovered the key to making it more likely that people will pay attention to your content and making it more successful.

The Statistics

During Neilson Norman Group’s study, 79 percent of users scanned the content on a new web page, while only 16 percent read the content word for word. The fact that most users scan your website and skim your content for what they are looking for might not be a complete surprise.

However, the study went on to discover that “making the copy more scannable, concise and devoid of marketing hype, increased usability by 124 percent.”

Not only does this research tell us that people are indeed more likely to scan content on websites than they are to read every word of it, it also tells us how to increase content usability. When you understand this, you can make your own site more effective.

The Three Keys to more Usable Content

To reach the potential of making your content up to 124 percent more usable, and therefore a stronger part of your marketing plan, there are three things you can do, as found by the research.

Make it Scannable

Scannable copy is copy that users can quickly glance through to find what they are looking for. Its main points, most important aspects and calls to action can be seen quickly and easily. To make your site’s content, and blog posts, more scannable, rely on good headlines, sub headings and bulleted lists.

You can also use design elements like graphics, boxes, colours and lines to make parts of your copy stand out so it is more scannable. This makes it easy to draw attention to your main messages and calls to action.

Be Concise

Since site visitors aren’t likely to read your content word for word, keep things concise. This makes it more likely that people will read more of your content and also helps you get to the point quickly, so you can more easily inform people and encourage them to take action.

Keep things short and simple and avoid overly descriptive or wordy pieces of content. When you do need to use longer pieces of content, break them up into smaller paragraphs, sections and lists.

Avoid Marketing Hype

People know when they are being sold to and overly promotional content and marketing hype can turn them off. This kind of content is less likely to be read by site visitors and will devalue you brand, making you look less professional and causing people to wonder if your products are low quality.

Of course, you do need to use promotional content on your website, but make sure it is professionally written, offers users some value and doesn’t work too hard to build up unnecessary hype, which can come across as spammy.

As you make your website’s content more usable, people will be more likely to read and respond to it. Stronger site content leads to stronger marketing, increased engagement and more leads.