It’s no secret few people read every word on a web page. This is a tough pill to swallow if you’re a copywriter who works hard to craft copy that converts.
Nearly 80% skim (*raises hand*) and only 16% read every word (I’m surprised it’s not lower).
Most of us read a website page like we shop for groceries: You find what you need and leave as quickly as possible, using self-checkout to avoid getting into a discussion with the checkout clerk over your exciting weekend.
Or maybe that’s just me.
- Recent eye tracking studies show:
- 79% of users scan web pages, while only 16% read every word
- Eyes don’t move smoothly but jump from word to word
- Short words (4-6 letters) are often skipped, favoring longer ones (7-8 letters)
These findings have remained intact since the early days of the internet. People’s behavior has remained the same for over 20 years, studies show – regardless of the copywriter’s skills.
If you’re a copywriter involved in digital creation, you’ll want to note two particularly common reading patterns: F-Pattern and Z-Pattern.
- The F-pattern is common on text-heavy sites like news pages and blogs, where users scan headlines and bullet points.
Here’s an example:
- The Z-pattern is used in visually driven layouts like landing pages and corporate websites, guiding the user through a storytelling journey.
Like this one:
So how can you make your copy scannable so the average reader will capture your main points and calls to action?
Keep these guidelines in mind:
- Use clear headings, crossheads, and subheadings
- Front-load your content with important information
- Break content into small, distinct chunks
- Highlight keywords and use bulleted list.
- Keep paragraphs short and ideas succinct
Here’s how to combine the patterns with scannable text:
- F-Pattern for Text-Heavy Pages:
- Use clear headings aligned with the F-pattern layout.
- Start with the most crucial information at the top and left.
- Incorporate bulleted lists to facilitate scanning.
- Z-Pattern for Visual Pages:
- Strategically place key elements like logos and CTAs.
- Use engaging visuals and headlines to draw attention.
Remember, the key is to help users quickly find what they need without overwhelming them.
I recorded a solo podcast breaking this down further – complete with images on YouTube.
Check it out at: YouTube
Or listen to the episode on these platforms (and please subscribe!)