Improve Your Website’s Content by Understanding Users’ Reading Behavior

How do you read information online? Do you read content on a web page word-by-word? Perhaps; but not everyone does.


According to a research by Nielsen Normal Group, 79% of online users scanned new web pages, and among them, only 16% read everything on the page, word-by-word. The research demonstrates that online users only scan content on web pages, picking out terms and sentences that make the most sense.


Reading Pattern

Nielsen Normal Group also released an eyetracking study showing that online readers’ dominant reading pattern resembles the letter F, wherein the first two horizontal movements cover the title or heading, and then the first paragraph. The final vertical movement in their reading pattern is when readers scan the content’s left side. This further proves that users only look for scannable text.


Scannable Text

As users only look for scannable text on web content, it is important that these texts are informative, relevant, and direct to the point. Employing scannable text is also more effective when browsing on mobile devices, where it takes more effort to read on small screens.


By understanding users’ reading behavior, we can adjust web content to make it easier to read and scan. Effective ways of emphasizing important information and catching readers’ attention include:

  • Highlighting keywords; aside from text formatting, this also includes hyperlinks.
  • Including bulleted lists so that readers can instantly locate the essential details.
  • Writing in inverted pyramid format, where the summary comes first.
  • Composing short paragraphs that focus on only one idea each.
  • Using clear subheadings that inform readers the idea presented beneath.

Content Quality

Most importantly, online users should benefit something from reading the content. The content should satisfy their curiosity and make them purchase your product or service, or make them even more curious enough to get in touch with your business and ask for more information.


Furthermore, web users tend to be skeptical, since it can be hard to verify information posted online. Gain readers’ trust by establishing credibility. High-quality content does not only mean good writing but also use of trustworthy references that can provide more relevant more information. Use of high-quality visuals is also a sign that the website is built with careful planning and preparation.



As the content needs to be direct to the point and informative, it also involves presenting facts and figures honestly. When content is created to promote, hard selling and exaggeration can sometimes be off-putting. This doesn’t mean that you can only present the facts in a boring way. Information can still be straight to the point yet engaging at the same time. Use flowery words and metaphors sparingly, and avoid exaggeration to the point of twisting facts.



The main takeaway is for businesses and brands to be aware that online readers are most likely busy, and that your content has to compete with and stand out among the countless distractions on the web. Users do not have the time or the patience to stay on one site especially when there are tons more available right at their fingertips.


When outsourcing content writing for your website, these are the things you should keep in mind and make sure that the copywriter will incorporate in your content. To ensure quality, outsource to agencies that specialize in creative outsourcing. MicroCreatives caters to customers around the world and offers copywriting, web and graphic design, web development, and animation. We are located in the Philippines, where creative outsourcing is growing, manpower is adaptive, and language and culture have a strong affinity towards Western customs.