You’ve created a beautiful blog post.
The copy is well written, your topic is compelling and makes people want to engage.
It doesn’t matter how good of a writer you are – if you blog posts are not structured and formatted in an easily understandable way, people will leave.
Take newspapers for example. The core goal of a newspaper is to provide high-quality content regarding current events. But that’s not all you expect, you also know that the information will be laid out in a logical way that lends itself to easy reading.
The same goes for articles online. There are some basic rules you can follow to help ensure that your content is easy to read and understand. Using things like headings, bulleted and numbered lists, and careful use of bold text can go a long way toward making your text more readable and compelling.
A key point to remember is that very few people will actually read your article word-for-word. Most people skim through an article, looking for the main points of the post and picking out key phrases that they can quickly digest.
Particularly for longer blog posts, it is important to write with skim-readers in mind.
You can facilitate skim-reading by providing adequate white space between paragraphs, restricting column width for your text, using lists and headings, as well as including appropriate images in your text.
Let’s go over a few key points for skim-reading:
Use plenty of white space
White space is the blank area between two paragraphs. Keeping your paragraphs separated like this helps to break content into manageable chunks that are less intimidating to readers than huge blocks of text.
Using white space can help to make readers feel like they are moving through the article at a quicker pace, and keeps them reading longer. Keeping paragraphs short also helps in this regard. Paragraphs of two to six sentences feel much more manageable to readers than larger sections of text.
Restricted column width
Newspapers keep their columns very thin and long. This is because the human eye has trouble moving from one line to the next when a column of text is more than about 80 characters wide.
Keeping your text columns thin will help readers to move more quickly through the text without losing their place in the article.
Lists and headings
Bulleted and numbered lists present very quick access to key pieces of information. Using lists also helps to keep the article visually interesting, and immediately shows readers where they can find some of the main points of the article.
Headings are great for summing up the portion of text below them. That way if a user is skim-reading, they can glance through the headings of your article and get the gist of what was presented.
Headings also help readers to get an idea of what kind of information will follow, and prepares their minds to absorb information on that topic.
Here’s a great article on why list posts will always work great as blog content.
Images and image captions
Humans tend to process and retain images much more easily than text-based information. Using images along with your text can help readers to remember your post much more easily and to understand your article more clearly.
Using images with captions will also help skim-readers to understand your article and get quick bits of information without reading through an entire paragraph.
Of course, there is much more to learn about blog post formatting. Check out this infographic from SuccessfulBlogging.com for 16 basic rules of blog post layout and formatting to learn more.