An Encouraging Design - Designing A Readable Site
The first step towards getting people to read the copy on your site is this: don't annoy them with your site design. Aside from specifically content-related concerns, you should make sure that all the rules of a well-designed site apply. Your design should never detract from the content of your site.
Adhere to web standards. Your visitors should be able to read your site even if their browser doesn't support every feature (so don't design it in Flash). They should also be able to use a screen reader and enlarge the text if they want to.
Ensure that the background behind your text is a pale colour – preferably white – and that your text is a dark colour – preferably black. Avoid dark backgrounds and pale fonts.
Sans-serif fonts (like Arial or Verdana) are, for reading on-screen, preferable to serif fonts (like Times New Roman).
If your visitors are likely to want to print your pages, don't discourage them. Make sure that your site is printer-friendly or that you have a link to a printer-friendly version of your page.
Use graphics sparingly. Really, they should only interrupt the flow of text if they are directly and usefully illustrative of something you are writing about. For example, a diagram of something you are discussing would be fine. However, if your picture is as wide as your text column, make sure you tell your readers that the article continues underneath.
Avoid breaking the flow of text with advertisements.