Just like business, reading has evolved over time. Reading is a primary way of communicating information to others. Unlike verbal communication, what is write has the potential to stand the test of time for hundreds of thousands of years. The bible and cave paintings are just a few examples for literature that’s stood the test of time.
But, this is the 21st century and we’re not scribbling on walls any more. Instead, we’re carving our message on the world wide web. As we’re all well aware, nothing can ever be truly erased from the internet so anything you publish will be around much longer than you, your grandchildren and their grandchildren. Keep reading to find out how… well, reading, has evolved over time and what this means for your business.
Information at your fingertips
People have become used to being able to access information at their fingertips with their smartphones. Information is more quickly and readily available than ever before. People love having their wealth of knowledge in their pocket that can tell them the answer to practically any of their questions.
When writing articles for your business you need to first and foremost consider your audience. Are they of the market that wants their information yesterday? If they are then you need to consider search engine optimization (SEO) when writing. Writing articles for the web is oh-so different to writing for a local newspaper. If your articles is not optimized for search rankings, then you wont get discovered. People don’t want to spend forever searching for your information – they want it handed to them, spoon fed, if you will.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
As I just touched on SEO is going to help you ultimately help your audience by getting your information right under their noses. Think of it this way – do you want to go to a farm, pick a cow, slaughter it and then turn it into a delicious steak or burger? No, didn’t think so. You want to go to the food store and pick up a great looking piece of meat that someone else has prepared – bonus points for going to a restaurant and having someone else cook it!
But you get my point, right? Be honest – who on God’s green Earth visits the second page of Google search results? If you know of someone, I would be fascinated to find out who this mysterious person is! If your article doesn’t rank well in the search results then it’s not going to get discovered. The exact algorithm that Google uses is top secret, but there are some pretty basic things you can start doing right away to help your articles achieve better results in the search engines.
- Pick a keyword and use it in the title, subheadings, paragraphs text and the ‘alt’ text for the images in the article. This makes it clear what your talking about
- Set a meta title and meta description also containing the keyword of your choice
Have inbound links (going to other places in your site) and outbound links (going to other websites) in the article
- Share, share, share on every social platform you use to increase the number of links pointing to your article
Search ranking are difficult to guarantee but there are certainly things you can do to give yourself a fighting chance at getting on your target audiences radar.
Fast paced society
Our attention spans are not what they once were. Funnily enough, our attention spans are about 10 seconds and can you think of a social platform that have utilised this? BINGO – Snapchat! Yep – that’s the reason why snaps last for 10 seconds. But how does this apply to writing? Well, in a world that’s moving so fast and information is being produced at a quicker rate than ever before there’s no doubt that we need to rethink how we write.
In the past, books were more precious and rare; medieval manuscripts and leather bound classic tomes graced the bookshelves of only the wealthy. Then people had access to books only at schools or libraries rather than being able to purchase a copy for themselves. While once upon a time, books took time to produce and time to read, today a Kindle version of most books is available at the click of a button – it’s instant literary satisfaction. Paperbacks have rapidly become a thing of the past. While this somewhat saddens literary fans like myself, times have changed drastically and if you’re publishing novels instead of publishing online, your doing something wrong. Essentially, what this means for business is that if you’re not publishing informative articles online, you’re neglecting a huge audience.
Not only is writing for the online space different than writing to be printed on paper, reading on the two mediums is vastly different. It might sound strange and counter intuitive, but out eyes don’t actually like reading off of digital screens. The harsh lights and stark contrasts is not all that enjoyable when you think about it. However, the gratification of getting information so quickly outweighs this negative. When writing for the web, think about how you can create less of a chore for your readers eyes.
- Lists are amazing when writing for your online blog
- Bullet points are short and to the point making them easier to read than long passages
- If you must use paragraphs, bread them up into smaller, manageable chunks with images, block quotes and subheadings
- Use subheadings often to make the article skimmable – people want information quickly, remember?
- There’s an optimal font size and sentence length – I encourage you to search for this yourself so you can see how these articles are written
- Black writing on a white background is less than favorable to the eye. Grey on white or black on an off white is easier to read as the contrast is less harsh
How reading has evolved and what this means for your business
While people aren’t sitting down to read a paperback novel as much anymore, our fast paced society still wants to consume written information. Writing and the reading of articles online is not the same as writing and reading for print, so keep this in the forefront of your mind when both writing and formatting your written content. It’s no good just putting ‘pen to paper’ and writing off the cuff anymore. You need to think about how what your writing is going to rank in the search results. If your article has poor SEO, it’s going to be difficult for people to discover and in an era where articles are being produced left, right and center you need to be competing for the top spot to get on your audiences radar.
Writing is not something that comes naturally to everyone, so if you have any questions about the topics raided in this article please don’t hesitate to contact me.