Let’s face it. We are living in a fast-paced environment and really don’t have time to sit down and read every word on a webpage or blog; who does? We are all guilty of it–our eyes focus in on the important information, and as we trail down a long article or content-rich homepage our interest wanes. It’s inevitable. The web-reader looks for value front and center and if you don’t deliver, they’re gone. But did you know that there is a distinct pattern web-readers follow, and that keeping this in mind will help you grab and keep their attention? It works, I promise, and using this information to improve your content online can even help turn your visitors into customers.
In 2006, Jakob Nielsen conducted a research study to pinpoint readers’ eye patterns on the web. His studies concluded that participants followed an F pattern when reading content or search results on the web (see image below). They focus on three major components of the text, search result, or product page, and utilizing this information on your website can be extremely beneficial.
1.) Horizontal Movement – The average reader is going to begin with a strong interest and curiosity as to what the content or product provides for them, the first horizontal movement. This is your first chance to engage your reader. Appeal to the emotions, establish your voice, relate to them and always state your purpose early on–how will this content or product enhance their lives?
2.) Second Horizontal Movement – The second movement in the web-reader’s gaze is also horizontal, but is often shorter than the first. If you are not providing useful content at this point, you have already lost your reader. This is your opportunity to present solid information and visuals when appropriate–details and product information.
4.) Vertical Movement – The last is vertical movement. By this point, if your reader is still hanging on, it’s by a thread and you have a few short seconds to offer them any more value–do it quickly, and remind your reader why the content was useful and what they can gain.
Pay attention to the way you read blogs or content on the web, you will notice the trend. The trick becomes using this information to your benefit. Take a look at these tips to keep your content both informative and interesting:
- Relate to your audience
- Offer a guarantee
- Utilize visuals and lists
- Consolidate your content
- Only write what you would read
- Outline your points and topics
- Establish yourself as a leader in your niche
- Organize your information logically
- Don’t make anything difficult to find
- Deliver on your product or guarantee
Notice the trends your eyes follow on the web and use what you learn to enhance your content. For more tips on blog writing, check out 101+ blogging ideas to make blogging easy, and to help you convert your visitors, check out 12 ways to convert website visitors into customers. Happy writing.