An online devotional for writers
Jesus asked them, “Would anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not! A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light will shine.” (Mark 4:21, NLT)
The web content writer understands that readers consume content differently online and print. In print, readers read word for word. Online, users skim.
Sure, some readers soak in every word. But on average, online users have time to read just 28% of the words on a web page during a typical visit. So says web usability guru Jakob Nielsen.
In other words, writing for the web is not a simple cut-and-paste job from print matter.
Instead, the web content writer knows how to set the different page elements in a format that a reader can skim. He places keywords so they’ll be noticed … white space and bullet points to give the human eye some breathing room … subheads to guide the reader through the page so she can absorb the main point.
Jesus made a similar case for the Christian life in Mark 4. He equated our witness to a lamp. You don’t bury a lamp beneath a bed or in a closet, just as you don’t bury important content in a sea of thick paragraphs on a web page. You place the lamp where it will give light to the most important things in the room.
The web content writer understands his job: he uses visual hooks on the page to help the reader to get the most information in the shortest amount of reading time.
That kind of web content is scannable. It highlights the most important information on the page.
The web content writer creates scannable content.
You tell us to place your truth where it will give the most light. Let me use that principle when I write web content. Show me how to place visual hooks on the page so readers can skim it and understand it.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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