Most websites are overflowing with different types of content competing for your attention. Consider the chaotic appearance of a typical news article. There are lists of other stories to read, a queue of auto-playing videos, and ads indistinguishable from official content.
Yep, this is how we tumble down endless internet rabbit holes! Sometimes it’s fun following the next lead, while other times, it feels more like a trap. Either way, you may have noticed that it’s not relaxing to consume content in such crowded quarters.
The problem with distracting readers from their original objective is that they may miss out on gaining anything valuable from your content. Most people who click on an enticing headline do so with an agenda, and if your message gets muddled due to poor User Experience (UX) design, you’ve failed to deliver. So how can you avoid these pitfalls and keep your audience engaged?
Add whitespace to keep readers focused
Our eyes desire a vast amount of whitespace to digest what we’re seeing. If you’re not familiar with the concept, whitespace represents the areas of negative space, meaning blank or empty areas of the page.
When you visit a blog post, it can be visually overwhelming if the page is just one big block of text. Many people will move on quickly because it’s too hard to find answers this way. A Semrush report revealed that blog readers typically only spend 37 seconds per post, so you don’t have much time to hook your audience.
Tricks to add whitespace and visual interest
The best way to visually format a blog post is to make sure it’s scannable and skimmable. It may sound absurd to promote skipping around your post after toiling over its creation, but allowing readers to parse information quickly actually encourages them to continue reading and hopefully make it to the end of your article. Below are several ways to add interest to your next blog post.
- Add breathing room between elements
- Break your text into smaller paragraphs
- Use descriptive headers and subtitles
- Create easy-to-read lists with bullet points
- Stylize with bold, italic, and color text
- Incorporate links throughout if possible
- Add pull quotes and highlight text
- Insert media, but avoid going overboard
- Use a table of contents for longer posts
- Pick simple clean fonts in legible sizes
These suggestions will increase the amount of whitespace on your page and draw your readers’ eyes toward the key elements you want them to notice. The goal is to keep visitors moving from section to section.
It’s crucial to prevent your viewers from becoming distracted, overwhelmed, or fatigued before gaining any value from your work. Losing someone partway through also lowers the chance they’ll visit your other posts or come back later.
“Space is like air: it is necessary for design to breathe.”Wojciech Zieliński
If you need further incentive, including a generous amount of whitespace can make a brand appear more luxurious, according to A List Apart. Consider Apple’s minimalist design seen throughout their website. Its spaciousness screams sophistication. So if you want an upscale feel, this is a worthy UX trend to follow.
Why plenty of content is still important
Does this mean you should stop bothering with lengthy articles and sum everything up with big colorful bulleted text? Not exactly. While longer articles aren’t read word-for-word as often, you’ll still need a higher word count to rank well on search engines like Google.
Comprehensive blog posts have more content to pull from when someone is seeking answers, and it will help you position yourself as an expert who knows all the ins and outs of a topic. But if SEO is a low priority and you’re confident that a topic can be covered more concisely, you may still find success with posts of any word density.
Remember that writing for the internet is much different from writing a novel. In most cases, the monotony of word after word is tiring on screen, but adding too many distractions isn’t the answer either. Liven up long posts by making your content easy to follow while nudging the most desirable bits into the spotlight. Strategic whitespace and visual cues will lead the way for your readers.