February 2, 2017


You might think your eyes read in one continuous sweep, but they actually read in roving chunks about the size of a quarter.

Music composers figured this out centuries ago. They packaged notes in clumps known as quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes. They assembled them into measures spanning one to two inches. Talented musicians can play masterpieces on the first try in large part because the music’s layout is so readable.

So how does this relate to your website copy? What music composers learned years ago, many copy writers are still not implementing. Write content that is digestible, easy to scan and well organized. Here are four tips to play in tune with your readers:

Organize your content in columns
Print journalism was one of the first to figure this out: Columns are a great way to convey information for quick consumption. Columns catch the eye in just the right amount of space, which is why they are so commonly used now on website homepages, resumes and brochures.

Shorten your paragraphs
Keep your sentences short and your paragraphs shorter. Think of web-based paragraphs like bullet points rather than prose.

Cut your copy
The old rule in journalism was to limit paragraphs to no more than three sentences, but when it comes to web content, even one long sentence could stand as an entire paragraph.

Create content for your phone
If your sentences are spanning the width of your wide screen television, no one is reading them. Or if they are, they’re probably not digesting information well. Remember to write content for reading on a phone—because nearly 68 percent of Americans own smartphones.

Do yourself a favor next time you sit down to compose: Chunk content into readable bits and don’t fret over the white space—it carries the melody.

Katie learned about chunking decades ago during her flute studies with Patricia George—it really works!

How do you create readable website copy? Tweet your answer to @JayRayAdsPR.