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Why Don’t Users Read Your Content?

DBS Interactive
content spelled out in magazine cut outs and pinned to corkboard

Marketers and businesspeople spend hours writing web content. More than 60% create at least one piece of content daily. That’s why it’s so frustrating when what might be valuable information is not read by users. We all strive to create unique and original content. But, the goal of many websites and blogs often fail to produce desired results. It’s not for lack of effort, but many web content writers leave out or forget a number of steps essential to effective content writing.

Good Content Makes Good Readers

We’re going to look at five elements of great web writing that many marketers often miss:

  • Headlines – The first thing a user reads and reacts to.
  • Content Structure – Making your content more easily readable.
  • The “F-Shape Pattern” – How users actually read a web page.
  • Keywords – Finding and placing keywords in your content.
  • Editing – Make yourself look authoritative and competent.

5 Reasons No One is Reading Your Content

1. Your Headline Isn’t Great

You have only a few seconds to get the reader’s interest. Grabbing that attention begins with the headline. Headlines for digital content can adopt many forms. Use headlines to excite interest. These can be in learning how to do something new or they can inspire humor, curiosity and even fear. The biggest thing to keep in mind when writing a headline is to be direct and straightforward. Do not promise something which your content will not deliver.

  • Make your headlines enticing – generate interest!
  • Keep it simple – direct and straightforward.
  • Keep it real – make your headline reflect your content.

As the user reads your article, the headline always comes first – the content second. Keep your headlines simple and grab the reader’s attention. Once you have the reader’s interest you need to keep it by making it easy to follow.

2. Your Content is Poorly Structured.

One of the best ways to keep your reader interested is by optimizing and making your content easy to take in. Short paragraphs built around short, powerful sentences go a long way toward this end. It is also a good idea to use bullet points in lists to simplify focus. This helps the reader digest the information you are putting forth.

  • Write shorter paragraphs with uncomplicated sentences.
  • Utilize bullet points, numbered lists, and subheads to draw user attention.
  • Break up longer sections of text with images, videos, and other visuals.

3. You Aren’t Following The “F” Pattern

Getting the attention of users to read your content is only the first small step. Now you have to put your content forth in a fashion that the user can read. The Nielsen Norman Group conducted a study of 232 internet users. They found that internet users read web content in a particular fashion: the “F-Shaped Pattern.” The pattern will vary with individuals, but it basically follows the same basic flow.

F-Pattern for Content Structure

As the user browses the article they read left to right across the page. They take in the headline and the first few lines of copy. This creates the top horizontal line of the “F”. Then they will drop down a few lines and again read left to right. Although, they don’t take in as much information as the first scan. This makes up the second horizontal line of the “F”. Finally, the user begins to scan down the left side of the page. When doing this, they are generally reading only the first couple words of your sentences. This forms the vertical line of the “F”.

There is a recommended method for writing for the “F” pattern. It is to load your most important information into the first couple of paragraphs. Then try to load the beginning of your sentences with keywords that will draw the interest of the user.

  • Load your important information into the first two paragraphs. Don’t have an unnecessarily long introduction!
  • In your subheads and bullet points use keywords that will stand out to your readers and prompt them to read further as they scan the page.

4. You Never Did Your Research.

Keyword research is an important element of content writing that many authors shy away from. Organic search is a critical traffic driver for most content marketing piece. It is important to do the research ahead of time to make sure. When you select keywords, they need to be relevant to your audience and your topic. Make a keyword list. Look at the relevance. Look at the traffic driven by those keywords and choose those terms which best fit your content. Try not to overuse them or use non-relevant keywords (keyword stuffing).

Keyword stuffing, the practice of throwing non-relevant keywords into your content to improve search results, is never a good idea. The search engines will penalize you by moving you down in the SERPS. Always use keyword research to optimize your content. It will improve your positioning and user engagement.

  • Research and prepare your keyword list before writing.
  • Keep keywords relevant to your topic.
  • Do not over-use keywords.

5. You Forgot to Edit Your Content.

Good editing will help optimize your content and provide a better user experience. Writing well and providing appropriate sources will build trust in the reader. The more authoritative your article or blog is for the user, the more likely they are too read more of the content. This will help them be more engaged and the more of your content they will read.

Proper editing is also important. Even if you put out expert information, but do not present it cleanly, it will take away from the trust you wish to build.


  • After finishing your content, set it down and come back to it later. Re-read it carefully and find your mistakes before your readers do.
  • Reading your article or blog aloud to yourself can help you find the errors you need to correct.
  • Have another person read your work and help you to proof it. We often do not see our own mistakes.

Writing effective content is not always easy. But, it will pay off in user engagement and goal attainment. A website that has nothing to say, or is difficult to digest, will not engage your readers. But, effective content writing will.