You might be as sick as I am of hearing that people have a short attention span these days. Sadly though, it's true. I can even see it in myself. So, how can you make your blog writing format easy to read for those of us with a short attention span?
And yes, I do include myself in this! When I was researching this article, I realised what a 'skimmer' I actually was! Bad Penny! See if you find any traits that you recognise in yourself.
What is Your Blog Writing Format?
When I talk about your blog writing format, I am referring to the layout and format of your blog post. You should also consider your content too though. We will talk more about improving your content in a later post.
Remember that every post you write should solve a problem. Or answer a reader question. Therefore you need to follow the process of describe the problem then describe the solution.
Although people know they have a problem, and want the solution, they don't want to spend the time trawling through information. They want to be able to tell at a quick glance if it will be helpful to them. This means that your blog writing format should make it easy for your readers.
How Will Your Blog Writing Format Make a Post Easy to Read?
When people read content online they tend to read in an F pattern. They want to scan the content for information and keywords to find out if it’s something they really want to read or not.
In fact, studies show that in most cases online readers will scan first, reading only about 20 percent of the content, and then move on if they’re not drawn into the content. 20 percent! It makes you wonder if it's worth even writing any posts!
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If you use good blog writing formats, you can make the content you create easier to read. You can set up all your content with scanning in the F pattern in mind. Things like using bold, italics, and header tags.
Not only will it make it easier for your audience to read, but it will show search engines what’s most important in the content you’re sharing.
Make Your Posts Easy to Read With Key Points That Stand Out
One of the best ways to improve your blog writing format is by making your key points stand out. I use a Table of Contents which makes this easier. Your table of contents should be a summary of your content.
A reader can either click to go to the part of the post they are interested in, or scan to see if it may be useful content.
To make your key points stand out, enhance your blog writing format with these different ways.
If you use WordPress for your blogs, all titles of pages including titles of blog posts are automatically created with the H1 tag. This makes the font darker, and larger than the body content.
When you use that tag it shows the search engines that this is an important word and the readers notice it more, so they know that’s what the topic is about.
You should then use the H2 tag for the main points in your post. The H3 tag is useful for subtopics. I don't normally go down any further than H3.
You can find out more about header tags here.
On WordPress you can use many different methods of emphasis. Try bold, italics, underscores, capitalization, single or double quotation marks, alternate fonts, or colours. Be brave and try combinations of all of these.
However, don't let your blog posts start looking like a carnival. The aim is to make your post easy to read. Not to make it look like a paint explosion.
Avoid Overdoing the Emphasis
Only emphasize words that are important. This should be keywords or words that you want your reader to notice. In directions, for example.
The search engines will note when you use the right tags for important words and rank your site appropriately.
Using the emphasis will also help your reader scan the content efficiently. But if you do it too much it will not look as good or translate well.
Know Why You Are Adding Emphasis
It is important to be aware why you are adding emphasis when you plan your blog writing format. Are you adding emphasis because it’s a heading, important directions, a command, a label or something else?
There needs to be a reason to add emphasis to a word or else it will just look strange and distract the readers.
Follow Some Emphasis Rules
There are rules that you can follow when it comes to using some forms of emphasis. For example, a heading should use one of the header tags. Books, magazines, newspapers, academic journals, films titles should all use italics.
Sometimes it’s fun to use alternate fonts to make titles and other emphasized words stand out to your readers. You can upload new web fonts to the fonts folder of your WordPress theme.
It’s important to set up a style sheet for your blog so that the formatting is similar in each blog post and all the content on your site. It will make it easier for your audience to read and understand if each page isn’t totally different.
When you're planning your future blog writing format, remember to use emphasis for certain words for search engines. Also it helps your SEO if you use the header tags. But it’s more important to emphasize words using bold and italics to make it easier for your readers to scan and understand.
The best way to improve your traffic, is to write great content that your audience wants to read. By making it easy to read, and scanable, you are already making things easier for your audience.