Formatting your blog posts doesn't have to be a painful experience. But if you choose not to format your content it becomes a horrible experience for your reader.
The average person visits a website for 15 seconds! So, if you have a high bounce rate in your Google Analytics, and you want to keep your readers on your site longer, then formatting your posts is the first step! In this post, there's a 10 step How to Format the Perfect Blog Post checklist, as well as this detailed post. By the time you've finished reading you too will be able to format your blog posts with ease.
1. Add headers and sub-headers
Readers don't read the way you think they do! They skim the content, and then they may go back and read it fully. Their eyes read web content in a Z-Pattern. And an F shaped pattern. And probably some other patterns we're not aware of.
By adding in headers we help draw the reader's eyes down the content so they consume more of it, and hopefully stop skimming and start to read properly.
How to Add Sub Headings in Your Content
Adding subheadings to your content is really easy. You can do it in 3 clicks!
2. Eliminate the wide walls of text!
When someone reads a wide wall of text, their eyes tire quicker.
When someone reads a wide wall of text, their eyes tire quicker. There's a lot of eye moment that goes into reading. Create narrow columns of text so your reader is pulled deeper into the content
Newspapers use this technique to get you to read a triple-page spread. Their narrow columns with just 80 characters across mean there's narrow columns to read rather than one huge wall of text.
We recommend that you add an image to your blog post and align it to the right to create a narrow funnel of text. On a mobile device, the image will appear above the text, and on a desktop, you will have a narrow column for easy readability.
3. Highlight words and phrases so they stand out!
I know your content is important, but there's no need to make it all bold, or all italics... or all bold italics!
But highlighting a phrase here and there will help your content get read. Some SEO experts say you should make your keywords bold or italics. Readability trumps SEO, so highlight your best sentences.
4. Add Images
The days of a perfect blog post being text-only are long gone. You need to add a visual that aligns with your content and your brand.
We recommend creating a template on Canva.com for speed and ease of use.
5. Use Lists and Unordered Lists
Creating an unordered (bulleted) list makes things easy to read
- Create a list
- Use Bullets
- Your content is easier to read
If you create a post with a number in the headline use a numbered list. Because there are people who will count your list to make sure you've given them what you've promised in the headline. Yes, really.
6. Use Callout Boxes/Pull Quotes
Or coloured content boxes. I've created these using Thrive Architect. I also used it to create columns in tip 2. Thrive Architect (part of the Thrive Suite of tools) is a fantastic tool that will help you also create content templates so you can format your blog posts faster than ever!
Don't overdo the callout boxes as they can be disruptive to the reading experience.
Traditional media use pull quotes all the time. The name tells you that the quotes pull people in! Try pull quotes in your content to draw the eye to important things. Remember that print media uses the pull quotes sparingly. Perhaps only one per page.
7. Shorten Paragraphs and Sentences
Where possible, use short paragraphs and sentences. In fact, it's best to vary sentence length or this happens:
This can be formatted so that it reads better:
This sentence has five words.
Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine.
But several together become monotonous.
Listen to what is happening.
The writing is getting boring.
The sound of it drones.
It’s like a stuck record.
The ear demands some variety.
I vary the sentence length, and I create music.
The writing sings.
It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony.
I use short sentences.
And I use sentences of medium length.
And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”
Don't drone. Don't bore. Shorten your paragraphs and sentences. Wherever possible create music with your words.
8. Add Captions to Images
If you have an image, remember to add a caption. A caption can even be a call to action, a quote or a link.
You can see this in action in the images above.
9. Mobile-Friendly Content
Make sure your content can be read on a mobile device. If someone has to move the page left and right (with their finger) in order to read it... It's not mobile-friendly.
Your site may be mobile-friendly, but social media sites might wrap a frame around your content so that it's no longer easy to read.
Image A is a link opened on Facebook.
Image B is the same article opened in a browser.
Where you share your content can impact its mobile friendliness.
10. Add Your Signature
Is your content important? Then sign it!
You can use Canva to create a signature, or, you can just type your name and hyperlink it to your about page. Whilst you may have your author byline at the top of the page, someone is going to have to really love your article to scroll-up and find your name. Add it to the end of your post as well.
Found this blog post useful? Please share it and make it easy for everyone to format their blog posts.