Everyone tells you need a website.
And they’re right. But then you’re left to your own devices to set one up.
So you figure you better start loading up some content.
Unsure where to begin you think, “Hey, we’ve got a damn good playbill and brochure. Let’s just copy that info and get it on the web.”
So off you go a copying (sounds like a marching song, ‘off you go a copying, hoo-rah! Hoo-rah!’) And boom, you’ve got a playbill or brochure for a website. But there’s a bit of problem, the internet is NOT a playbill.
The format that works in one medium doesn’t necessarily work in another. And it’s guaranteed an audience that reads your playbill or brochure offline is not going to spend the same time online.
But there is a simple way to remedy the problem– avoid “The Dreaded Wall of Text.”
What is “The Dreaded Wall of Text?”
It’s brick after brick of words. Line on top of line. Stretched across the page with no room to breathe. This giant block of text intimidates your audience. Keeping them from learning more about your work.
So if you want them to find out more, you’ve got to break down the wall.
How do you break down the wall?
It’s simple if you remember one thing. Reading online is different from reading offline. Don’t be afraid to use the return key. Just by adding space between paragraphs you make your website less intimidating. Try to keep paragraphs to four lines or less.
And yes, even a single sentence as a paragraph is okay. =)
Studies of online behavior have shown we scan first when reading online. So spacing out the text allows the information to look more inviting. You can also bold key phrases and use sub-heads to draw the reader in. And once people are reading don’t make them strain.
How do you reduce the strain on your reader’s eyes?
Keep the width of your lines short. Don’t go across the whole width of the page. Take a look at news sites. They’re built for ease of reading. Notice how the text is kept within a short column. Much like newspapers.
Using these short columns reduces eye fatigue for the reader. Too much reading across the page and people give up. Once you’ve got their interest you want them to keep reading.
And if you can keep your audience reading
It’s more likely they’ll take the action you want them to take.
And isn’t that what you want?
- Use short paragraphs no longer that four lines
- Keep the column length to about 14 words
- Make sure you’ve got sub-heads to draw in the scanners
- Use this format on your website and emails
Go to your site now
Look for some places you can hit the return key. Then you’ll be on your way to breaking down the wall between you and your online audience.
What about you? Do you find it difficult to read sites that use the Dreaded Wall of Text?