How to keep your content easy to read, understand and digest

24 May 2022
3 minutes

Want to create engaging content that your readers will like and share? It starts with making sure your text is easy to read, understand and digest.

Below, we’ll share some best practices that our freelance content creators recommend. These will help you get your message across clearly and attractively, every time.

In this blog, we cover:

  • What it takes to create text that is easy to read, understand and digest.
  • Practical guidelines for structuring your writing.
  • Best practices for creating easily skimmable text.

Keep it short and simple

Rule #1 to creating easily readable content is to keep things short and simple. Avoid overwhelming your reader with monster sentences and paragraphs.

As a rule, try to keep:

  • Your blog posts below a 7-minute read time (that’s about 1,600 words max.)
  • Each sentence below 20 words.
  • Each paragraph below 70 words. Ideally, no longer than 3 or 4 sentences.

Stay on topic

Each piece of content needs to focus on a specific topic. Start by introducing the topic clearly in the introduction. This lets the reader know exactly what to expect.

Make sure that every paragraph and section after the introduction ties back to the main topic. Avoid side-tracking to other topics. If you need to talk about a different topic, that’s a great reason to create a separate asset.

Provide a clear structure with headings

Use headings (H2s) to create a clear structure. The reader should be able to tell what the entire article is about just by skimming the headings. Also include a list of takeaways at the beginning, so readers know exactly what to expect.

Your headings should include keywords too. This helps your content’s SEO performance. At the same time, it helps your readers find the information they’re looking for more easily.

Make it visual

Most online readers prefer to acquire new knowledge through a mix of media. Appeal to different types of readers by including visual elements that reinforce your text. For example, organize content into a concise infographic. Or list key information in a chart or table rather than in paragraph form.

Vector image that contains icons that shows how to make an image more visual appealing

Use lists and bullet points

Use lists and bullet points any time you need to list key facts or other repetitive information. These are easily skimmable, so the reader gets the information without having to dig through long paragraphs.

Especially when listing factual information (containing numbers) it’s a good idea to use bullet points. This way, you avoid overwhelming the reader. Plus, seeing the information in bullet form makes it more memorable and easier to digest.

Use natural language

Even if you are dealing with a technical topic, it is still important to keep the text as natural-sounding as possible. Try writing about the topic the way that you would speak about it. If you have to use jargon, be sure to explain it using simple words the first time you use it.

A good way to test whether your text is easily readable is to read it aloud. Does it sound natural to you when you hear the words spoken? If not, try rephrasing to use more natural-sounding language.

Space it out

Be sure there is plenty of blank space on the screen. Most readers do not like to be confronted with a screen full of nothing but text. Intentionally leaving white space on the screen creates a calm layout that is more inviting to the reader. It also helps direct their attention to your content.

Many of the other tactics above have the added benefit of creating additional white space. For example, when you add lists, bullet points, headers and graphic elements, you automatically create attractive white space on the screen.

Plan for mobile

Most customers still prefer desktop during the conversion stage. But the majority use their mobile devices higher in the funnel, during the information-gathering stage. This is another reason why you want to keep things short and clutter-free.

On a mobile device, screen space is limited. The more concise your content, the better. White space is also even more important, because the small mobile screen easily looks cluttered and confusing when too much text appears all at once.

For more ideas, be sure to check out our blogs on how to create even better content and our top 7 tips for scaling your content.

Woman holding a mobile phone and watching content

Work with professional content creators

Want to instantly master all the techniques of creating highly readable text? If so, then working with professional content creators is the way to go. Contentoo connects you to best-in-class talent all over the world. Our freelance content creators have the experience and creativity to produce engaging, highly readable content for any purpose. Click here to find out why we’re the preferred choice for quality, speed and expertise in content marketing. 

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