Writing for scannability

Online writing - web copy designPeople have different reading habits online than they do offline.

Online, people tend to scan. They scroll through an article quickly and form an impression. Looking for words, highlighted concepts, photos and commitment level, readers decide whether they need to commit time or if anything “grabs” them.

For this reason, bloggers and website authors need to design their content. Additionally, well-designed content can be good for SEO and social media marketing. Well-designed content can attract more links, social shares and bookmarks.

Designing content for the web

  • Short paragraphs: four or five lines long
  • Bullet lists or numbered lists
  • Overall article is short and concise
  • Images positioned within the article
  • Intriguing headline and teaser photo
  • Use headlines: H1, H2, H3
  • Headlines should explain subsequent copy and contain helpful keywords
  • Includes links to internal website related or reference content
  • Legible font size and line spacing
  • Points of emphasis: use bold, italic appropriately to highlight important concepts or words. But do not overuse your emphasis styles.
  • Don’t be overly promotional. Readers may quickly gravitate away from your content if self-promotion is detected.
  • Use quotes that are separated from the regular content as highlighted material
  • Employ media, such as video or sound, as reference content



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Ironpaper is a results-driven digital marketing agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.