Blog to catch skimmers and scanners.

reading_scanners
Communication is so important – and you want to do it as good as possible. One of the things you can do to improve the experience for your readers, will be to style your work to suit their needs.

Skimming or scanning are speed reading techniques. This two techniques are popular and constantly in use by internet readers. In this posts we are taking a look at the 2 reading methods and ways we can present our content to appeal to the way majority of people on the internet reads.

What is skimming and scanning

When it comes to reading on the internet, No one has time. As bloggers we are lucky to have ways to catch “skimmers” and scanners. The idea is to follow the things the skimmers do, and fit in.

The moment a reader that skims, lands a page, they do a quick overview or page scan to determine if the posts can be read by skimming. If the answer is no – They Leave.

The example to the left will be rejected by most people in an instant. The right one is a bit better but not 100%, read on to find out why.

content2Heading (<h2 />) tags will be the first option we look at. As part of indexing, search engines look at Heading positions and check for relevance to the content that follows. eg: If you use a heading right at the end of the post, it will effect page rank negatively.

Do not overkill with headings on each paragraph, but separate your post into sections as follows:

  • Header image
  • Introduction
  • Information
  • Example/problem
  • Validation
  • Conclusion
  • Question

I found that when you publish content for business purposes it helps to set a standard to follow. By standardizing your content, you not only strengthening your brand awareness, but at the same time make it easier for future editing.

good-skimThis article will catch a skimmers interest, Why?

At first glance you can clearly see you are being asked a question. Instant Curiosity. So your header image takes the first priority and the next thought to enter the readers head will be: what’s the question?

That bring us to the heading of the post.

In most publishing platforms you will enter the heading 1 <h1> in a separate place, usually to the top of the content. This allows for styling, but also confuse many people.

For indexing, search engines likes one H1 heading on a post. Your post are supposed to be dealing with A topic not all at once like a haberdashery.

One topic = one H1 – heading

What comes next? As per the list typed above, you can see that your content not only reads easier but makes more sense, if classed in sections. You can visually represent the sections by using headings of different sizes.

By adding headings you give skimmers and scanners reference points. Smaller chunks of data to be processed quicker.

In other words, by adding headers correctly you are creating an extra layer over your content. A layer that gets picked up by skimmers and provides them with an outline of the message you are trying to convey.

Add Images in your blog to catch skimmers and scanners.

Everyone knows the picture tell a thousand word bit. And it’s true. Bit you do not want to confuse the reader by adding irrelevant images. This is a simple concept, If you are talking about variable valve timing engines – do not add a picture of a donkey cart! or even a normal a picture of a normally cammed engine. It helps noting.

Relevance

Relevance is so important I can write book chapters about it, but the relevant part here will be to keep in mind that your reader are forming an idea from TIPS or HINTS you are giving him. Feed him the wrong information and you do damage if not totally destroy the readers confidence in you. That’s Bad for your credibility.

Sinker

We have done the line and the hook bit, with bait and all, so why not simply add the sinker. Closing your posts nice makes a difference. You do don’t want to leave your reader hanging and wondering.

In order to achieve that you first have to make sure you Actually make your point! With that said, you can leave your reader with a question – that is a good way to build retention, engagement etc.

At the same time you can make use of the opportunity to push your objective, just a bit. Something like: If this helped you or you want to find out more – don’t hesitate to drop your 2 cents in the comments below.

Renier van den Berg
Working alone, providing digital services to businesses in different sectors, comes with an advantage. I get to see the similarities in businesses operating in different sectors and will gladly help you to implement the right digital strategies and applications to save money and generate more business leads.