It’s been estimated that there are around 155 million websites on the World Wide Web. That number continues to grow as we rely more and more on Internet technology and all the information that comes with it.
Given the fact that there is such an enormous amount of information online, it’s no surprise that people are becoming more turned off by “ordinary” content. These days, it takes a lot more to really hook your readers and keep them on your site.
I think everyone gets pretty bored from time to time reading stuff on the Web, so here are seven techniques you can use to avoid that trap when crafting your Web content.
1. Put Yourself In the Reader’s Shoes
Ask yourself what the ideal reader wants to know or achieve from reading your content. In general, readers want to get all the facts without any fluff. Typically, people don’t want to read several paragraphs or pages that simply just introduces a topic. If you can weed out the unnecessary stuff, you’ll have better luck keeping your readers interested.
Think about the key facts of the topic or issue, create an outline, and edit out any sentences or words that don’t help contribute to communicating the message.
2. Tell a Story
One of the easiest ways to keep your readers wanting more is to tell a story and use real life examples to explain problems and concepts. Telling a story helps paint a clear picture in the reader’s mind and helps establish a good flow of ideas.
A lot of people never tend to fully understand the meaning of writing in passive voice. In general, passive voice involves a subject as the recipient of an actionable verb. For example, a statement in passive voice might say: “The reader was surprised by the magazine article.” In an active voice, that same statement would say: “The magazine article surprised the reader.”
See the difference? Always write using an active voice rather than a passive voice.
4. Use Jump Cuts
Jump cuts involve cutting out as much as two thirds of your words in order to increase the reading pace. Look for long sentences in your content that are 2 or 3 lines long. See if you can re-work those sentences into something shorter. Shorter sentences tend to be more direct and leave your readers feeling less bored when they need the facts laid out for them.
5. Don’t Depend On Length
One of the worst things you can do is to put quantity before quality. The length of your content should never be the first priority. When you focus too much on achieving length, content gets stuffed with ambiguous words, redundant sentences and long paragraphs.
If you’re wondering why your content seems to be a little on the boring side, try cutting down the length. As long as it keeps the reader interested the whole way through, length shouldn’t really matter.
6. Talk About the News
News moves fast on the Web these days and tends to get shared a lot. If you can work a news story item or current event into your content, readers will be immediately drawn to it. People love discussing the news, and working a news story into your content lets the reader know that it’s likely going to be a fresh and relevant piece to read.
7. Ask Questions
Struggling with keeping your readers from falling asleep after the first paragraph? Why not engage your audience? Ask them questions and try to encourage them to think about how certain points or issues apply to their own personal situations.
Taking it even further, why not ask your readers to take some form of action to get your message across? Tell them to watch a video, visit a website, close their eyes, breathe through their nose, stand on their head, or whatever it takes to make them feel as uplifted and enlightened after they finish reading your content.
Remember these tips when crafting good Web content and you should do pretty well with keeping the excitement going!
What techniques do you use to eliminate ordinary content? How do you hook your reader from the start? Let us know in the comments!