The Art of Formatting Your Blog Posts
Is there really an art to formatting your blog posts? If you have been blogging for any length of time, you will have realised how difficult it is to write blog posts. Not just the content either, but the look and feel. Whilst blogging isn't a beauty contest, people engage more with posts that are easy to read.
Are You Formatting Your Blog Posts For Easy Reading?
You may have been trying to increase your readers for a while now. Other bloggers manage it. Everyone else makes it seem so easy. But for some reason your blog posts don't stand out.
Read on to discover the tips and tricks that will make your blog posts easier to read. Create your own method of formatting your blog posts. Give these tips a try and see them work for you too ...
Plan Your Content.
I am not going to talk about the content of your posts, but you can read more here. But the main way of formatting your blog posts so they are easy to read, is to plan your content.
Never just start writing, then add in topics haphazardly. Instead, think about what you want to talk about. Then write out the main points. These will be your sections.
Have an introduction and a conclusion for each main point. And obviously the topic of the point! You will have different ways of discussing the point depending on the type of post you are writing. If you want some of the draft outlines I use, either drop me an email or add a request in the comments section. Include a summary of the points you have covered too.
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Once you have drafted your outline, you will find it easier to write the content of your post. Plus it will flow better so your audience will find it easier to read.
Tip. If you are writing a long piece of content, split it into sections and have an introduction and conclusion for each section. Summarise the points of the sections.
Paragraph Size is Important.
One of the simplest ways of making sure your content is easy to read, is having small paragraphs. Keeping your paragraphs small will mean your readers can skim through the document fairly quickly.
Make sure that your paragraphs are short so they are normally only a few sentences long. Keep your sentences short too, so that the whole paragraph is easy to read.
A great way of formatting your blog posts so they are easy to read, is to also keep the paragraphs narrow. It is harder to read off a screen than it is from a printed page. It is easy to lose where you are in the middle of a long line. So have your blog formatted so the post width is quite narrow. This again helps your reader to scan down the post.
So just remember to keep your paragraphs short, and narrow. This means that people are less likely to lose their place.
Plenty of Spacing.
Included with paragraph size comes spacing.
Ensure that you have plenty of white space between paragraphs and don't scrunch everything up. Think how you would feel being faced with reams and reams of solid words to read through. You wouldn't, would you. So make sure it is spaced out and light and airy!
A bit of space around your paragraphs will give the reader a break from the continuous stream of words. They are then more likely to continue to read through the post.
Headings and Subheadings.
Continuing along the theme of breaking up your words, ensure you use headings.
Headings are not only a requirement for SEO purposes, but they are a requirement for your human reader. By using headings and subheadings, you are splitting up different topics.
If you have a blog about household pets, you wouldn't write one paragraph about feeding a dog and a cat. You would split it into two, with a subheading. This makes it clear when you are talking about dogs and when you are talking about cats.
Try not to have more than 300 words without breaking it up with a subheading. If you use the Yoast plugin, it will tell you off for doing this. This helps people skim through your paragraphs.
I use Heading 1 to 3. Heading 1 for the main title, Heading 2 for subtopics then Heading 3 for major points within the subtopic.
You may think your blog post is only about 1 topic but you can always have subheadings. Ensure you use them to make it easy for your readers. You really shouldn't be creating any type of written content without subheadings.
Table of Contents.
Like any book or long article, you can help your reader by using a table of contents (TOC).
If you haven't used a table of contents before for example in a document, then you may be surprised how easy it is. The table of contents picks up your headings and subheadings and uses those as the links.
As you can see at the top of this post, I use a table of contents. There are different ways of setting up your TOC. I use Thrive Architect which makes it easy to format your blog posts and includes a TOC feature. If you don't use Thrive Architect, there is a plugin that has the TOC feature that you can try.
A TOC certainly isn't necessary, but it is a great feature that is beneficial for your readers. Especially if you write fairly long blog posts. Which you should.
Separation of Text.
There are some other ways that you can separate blocks of text, as well as using headings. Using these in your posts makes it easier for your readers to go through the content rather than large paragraphs.
Lists allow you to put some spacing around short pieces of text. Numbered lists are easy for your reader as they are less likely to miss important points. Readers generally do love lists and I am sure you are no exception.
You can highlight important aspects of your post by placing it within a box. This also breaks up long stretches of text.
- Bullet points.
Like lists, these break up your paragraphs of text making it easier to read.
Use Relevant Images.
It is quite rare now to find a blog post without at least 1 image. Images are a great way to break up text and liven up a post.
You don't have to just use pretty pictures. Any relevant graphic is a good thing to add to your post. It is probably the easiest way of formatting your blog posts for ease of reading. Think about how you can simplify a complex point for your readers by use of an image.
Don't forget that images can also be videos. But just be careful with this as you don't want your reader to leave your post. You want them to read your post and enjoy the content.
Ensure that the images you add are relevant and are not too large. You don't want your readers to have to scroll down a large image.
As we have already mentioned, it is difficult to read through lines of text. It is therefore possible that your readers will miss some of your important points. Ensure your text formatting helps your reader notice what you think is important.
Some people use bold whereas others use italics. Some use both but in different places. Pick which one you prefer and use it consistently. You can also use a call out box (see below for mine).
You can also use colour to make some text stand out. But use this sparingly. Using too much coloured text will reduce the effectiveness of the formatting.
Try to format the text of your important points and your audience will pick up on them. This is easier to do once you have written the article and you are editing it.
Once you have found a way of formatting your blog posts that you like and that makes it easier for your readers, then stick with it.
Ensure that all your posts look and feel the same. Use the same tone of voice and the same way of talking to your readers.
Also ensure that your style is the same throughout all your posts. Use the same font, size, colours, and formatting rules. You don't want your readers to go to one of your posts and wonder if they have accidentally left your blog.
Your place should feel homely to your readers and they should enjoy being there. Don't suddenly throw in a shock to their system.
Now that you have gone through all the hard work of writing your post, you want people to come to your blog and read it. You want them to read it all. But you need to help your readers by making it easy for them to read your posts.
You are going to try formatting your blog posts in such a way that they will appeal to your readers and be easy to skim.
Obviously they should be relevant, add value and be interesting. But they also shouldn't be something that your reader has to struggle to read. So do your bit and ensure you are formatting your blog posts so that your readers can enjoy the read. And they will keep coming back for more.
These action steps should help you to format your blog posts so that they will appeal to your audience, and be easy to read.
- Plan your content with an initial outline.
- Split long content into sections if necessary.
- Make sure your paragraphs are short and narrow.
- Have plenty of white space throughout your posts.
- Use headings and subheadings.
- Don't have more than 300 words without breaking it up.
- Use a Table of Contents to help your readers.
- Separate blocks of text with lists, boxes and bullet points.
- Use relevant and worthwhile images to enhance your post.
- Format important parts of your text.
- Be consistent throughout your blog.
- Help your readers to enjoy their read.
Hopefully you have enjoyed reading this post and found some useful information. What hints and tips do you have to help other bloggers format their blog posts? Care to share?