Who has time to read everything we receive? From email, in the mail and on-line. In fact, who can read it at all with most of us now getting our news on our smart phones or tablets. So now if writing 140 characters were not enough we need to write as if the reader is only half reading what we are posting. A 2007 study from the Poynter Institute, found that the average visitor to a website only reads 20 percent of the words on a page. A 2007 study from the Poynter Institute found that the average visitor to a website only reads 20 percet of the words on a page. I know I just repeated that sentence but I wanted to include it again just in case you read only a few of the words. Visitors also spend on average 10 seconds or less on a website. So with those statistics in mind, how do you pass the skim test?

  • Focus on the headlines - make sure you include the gist of your article in the headline.
  • Link - Keep your landing pages clean and just link to other places on your site. This includes emails too.
  • Use bullets - Break up paragraphs with bullets
  • Use pictures - Pictures today tell more than words. We can look at a picture and if it piques our interest, we will learn more
  • Use video - Instead of reading something, we like to listen to it.
  • Tell the reader what you want them to take away but identifying it up front in bullets.
  • Create a .pdf that they can just link to or print to read later