One of the most important aspects of running your own website (and online business for that matter) is the average on-page time a user spends browsing the pages on your site. Google takes this number into account when ranking your page, too. It is also closely related to your conversion rate, because the more time people spend on your site, the higher the chances of them becoming customers. However, sometimes, despite offering high-quality content and great deals, your bounce rate will still remain unacceptably high.
The reason for this might be in the way your content is formatted. You see, most people nowadays scan the content, as opposed to reading it. That’s why it’s crucial that your brand content is optimized and supported by good design, easy navigation, and writing which focuses on readability and distinctiveness, because that’s how you can make it more appealing to your audience. Here are 10 ways you can increase the average on-page time for your website by changing the way you format your content.
1. Black-on-White Text Still Rules
Although you will be tempted to use different colors for your background and font, especially if you have a particular color scheme which reflects your brand, black text on a crisp white background is still the best way to go. It creates optimal contrast, making the text readable, and it will go easy on your eyes. Just remember how most books ever written have relied on the same combination. Sometimes, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.
2. Keep the Font Size between 14 and 18 Points
Fonts are getting larger, and there is good reason for that. Bigger font is easier to read, and it enables those with less than perfect vision to enjoy your content. Plus, larger fonts require you to scroll through the page more often, which creates a more dynamic reading experience. This is especially true when content in consumed on mobile devices, which is often the case these days.
3. Avoid Exotic or Unusual Font Typeface
While it may seem interesting at first to use some extraordinary font for your content, the novelty will wear off quickly, because most readers prefer common fonts such as Arial or Georgia. Not only are they the most pleasing to read, but they look equally good on any device. Resist the temptation and express your creativity through writing, and not your font typeface choice.
4. Present Your Audience with a Content Menu
Since we have already established that readers are incredibly impatient, scanning the content instead of reading, it would be a good idea to include a content menu, where they will be able to see exactly what you are going to be talking about in your article. In case they are your target audience, rest assured they will stick around to read more.
5. Make Use of Bullet Points, Lists, Headers, and White Space
It’s way too hard to read a piece of valuable information if it lacks clear structure, paragraphs and has no space lines in between. No one would be able to read it down to the end without getting tired. According to William Edwards, who is a content editor at Essayontime, the common structural elements make all the difference:
“Bullet points, headers, lists, and white spaces make your text more scannable, and allow the reader to find what they are interested in fairly quickly. Apart from avoiding huge blocks of text, try and keep your writing as simple as possible, without overly complicated sentences and fancy words…”
6. Careful when Using Bold and Italics
Because your average reader simply skims the content, using bold and italic letters can be a great way of attracting their attention and guiding their eyes to the most important points inside your content. But, overdoing them defeats their purpose, and also confuses the readers, because they won’t be sure which bits of information are more important than others.
7. Don’t Go Overboard with the Colors
Introducing some color can do wonders for your content and grab the attention of your readers. But, you can’t just pick random colors. Using too much black will cause your website to appear gloomy and negative, while using a background that is too colorful or variegated will simply ruin your content’s readability. Luckily, you can easily find tools online which can help you find the right color scheme.
8. Limit the Column Width
Neil Patel, one of the largest influencers in the world, maintain the importance of optimal width for your blog or website:
“Imagine if a blog post was printed on a page the size of a giant movie poster. You would have a heck of a time trying to read the whole thing, having to constantly look back and forth, trying to find the next line.”
Keep the width between 550 and 600 pixels in order to provide an optimal reading experience for the user.
9. Don’t Forget About High-Quality Visual Content
And we are not talking about generic stock photography, which has pretty much run its course. Hand-drawn images and custom animation are the best, but also expensive, since you will have to hire someone to do it for you, and even if you can do it yourself, it will take up too much of your time. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools which enable you to create amazing infographics and graphs. Even a simple color box can make your content look more attractive, and using other types of visual content such as videos and infographics will elevate your content to a completely new level.
10. All Internal and External Links Need to Work
If you are trying to direct users to seek out more information on the subject, whether it is on your website or somewhere else, make sure that the links leading to more content are working. This is especially important when you want them to go on social media and share your content.
Proper formatting can breathe new life into your existing content and improve your conversion, as well as the average on- page time. And it is a hell of a lot easier to do it than to create new content. Try out these formatting tips and enhance your content today.