According to scientists, we now have shorter attention spans than goldfish…
In the year 2000, average attention span was 12 seconds. It’s now 8.25 seconds, while a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.
What does this mean when it comes to blogging?
It means that most people who are browsing the web want a quick and simple answer to any question or problem they may have. They want to skim their way to a solution.
And if you make them go through thousands of words of complicated, windy sentences to find what they’re looking for, they won’t ever subscribe to your blog, and they’ll never read another one of your blog posts as long as they can remember that you’re that one blogger who kept them doing the same thing for 10 minutes or so.
So, if you want people to trust you, if you want to be their go-to place for effortless access to the information they need, you might want to take a look at these seven ways you can optimize your content for shorter than ever attention spans.
Keep your subheads short and simple.
When writing your subheads, you should keep this one thing in mind: use subheads to let your readers know what comes next.
If they don’t feel like reading your entire post, all they have to do is scroll through your subheads and understand what your post is all about.
Those who want to learn a bit more can read the entire post, of course.
You are offering your readers a choice, and this is something they will surely appreciate.
Keep your paragraphs short.
This is not only a rule of good formatting, but you are also offering readers the ability to scan your post.
Short paragraphs tend to act like a roadmap; they enable readers to find their way, take key elements from your content, and go through your article at a much faster pace.
A lot of people are not even going to try reading your posts if your paragraphs are too long.
Make use of bullet points.
Bullet points are extremely useful because:
- you can easily share the main takeaways from your posts
- they are visually distinctive enough to make readers stop skimming and actually read
- readers know that this information is important enough to be showcased like this
The truth is that the more you add different elements in your blog posts, the easier you make life for your readers.
Alternate paragraph and sentence length.
When it comes to great writing, we often describe it as having a certain rhythm to it. It has a pace of its own.
Of course, this comes down to alternating sentence length. It’s as simple as that.
Using only long sentences will make most readers quit. Using only short sentences makes the piece feel rushed, angry, and it’s equally frustrating to read.
If you use rhythm skillfully, you can enhance your post’s emotional undertone. Use long sentences to set the mood, explain certain ideas. Use short sentences to deliver your punch line.
Great writing often tends to feel like embarking on a rollercoaster ride.
Break down your text with images, quotes, and separators.
Think of such elements as stop signs.
One someone scans through your post, they will stop to look at a picture, or go through an infographic.
Also, separators and spacers, such as this one…
Act in such a way that they help your reader better understand the content, while making scanners stop to assimilate the important points in a blog post.Cristian said that.
Structure your post in such a way that it shows your readers that you care about clarity more than anything.
You know what you want to share with them, and you know how to do it in such a way that they are not wasting precious time having to go through your post for its key takeaways.
Highlight the most important parts.
Of course, there are a few ways to do that:
You can either choose to bold a word or sentence to show your readers its importance. Or you can use italics.
Also, you can format your post in such a way that key thoughts appear as larger text.
Know exactly what you want to say.
Clarity of purpose means that you know what you want to say, how to best say it, and why you want your readers to read your post.
You also know what you want them to do.
Take this post for instance.
I want you to better format and design your posts, so that even those with the attention span of a goldfish can enjoy the experience of going through your content.
I am sharing with you seven clear ideas on how to do that, and I’d like you to use that information in order to create new content or edit old posts accordingly.
In other words, I know why I am writing this post, why you should read it, and how reading this post is going to benefit you.
Knowing all this has tremendous benefits, not only for the reader, but for you as well, because you are better able to be concise and clear, while highlighting the most important parts of your post.
Not every single post can or should be optimized for short attention spans, but even adopting a few of these elements can provide a better experience for your readers.
For more tips and tricks and strategies to help you grow your blog, enroll in my free online course by clicking this link here.