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How to format your blog posts for best reader experience?

How to format your blog posts for best reader experience?

You put all your heart into creating that piece of content. But what if it is not pleasing to the reader? What if your reader ignores that content you have created?

What if that content doesn’t get any shares or comments? You want to be appreciated, right?

At least you want others to notice you.

Well, assuming that the content you create is extremely valuable and is of great use, here are some tips to present your content in an appealing way to your readers.

Let me emphasise this again – I assume that you have created killer content. If you are doubtful about that, I highly suggest you take my Course: How to create killer content for your business?

Moving on…

Why should you bother about formatting your blog post?

That’s a great question isn’t? You have spent a lot of time and energy in conceiving that great idea and creating a killer piece of content.

Now, why should you spend even more time and energy in formatting it? Crazy isn’t?

Let me tell you this – the internet is a very busy place. People are in a hurry looking for something.

If they land on your site (through any means) and if they don’t like what they see they are going to leave your site.

Why? Because there are numerous places where they can find the same information and people don’t want to waste time on one site, hoping to figure out what they see.

For your information – 2 Million blog posts are published online in a duration of 24 hours (source)!

And people have a very short attention span – shorter than that of the notorious gold fish!

Formatting your blog post properly will help fighting short attention span of your readers!Click To Tweet

So you have to make sure your content is pleasing and appealing to your readers. Otherwise all the time and energy you spent on crafting that piece of killer content will go wasted!

Shall we get to the formatting bit?

#1 Say NO to big blocks of text

This is my #1 tip as far as formatting blog posts are concerned. Big blocks of text can put off your readers. They are boring.

They strain the eyes of your readers. And they make it quite hard to keep up.

When your readers are presented with a big block of text, it instantly gets overwhelming. It creates an illusion of difficulty. And mess.

Here’s the answer of an anonymous user for this question at Quora:

Quora answer

The same applies for using long sentences. Keep your sentences short. Long sentences will be hard for your readers to follow.

Here’s what Henneke says about writing short sentences in this blog post at Copyblogger that talks about how to bore your readers.

Copyblogger full stops

Make sure there’s enough white space so it is easy on the eyes of your readers.

#2 Use bullet points appropriately

Bullet points are attention grabbing. They give a break.

When your readers are reading a piece of text, bullet points give them a change. Like something that stands out. Like this:

stand out in the crowd flowers

Apart from making bits of your post stand out, bullets also help to put out short lists. Here are certain tips to writing great bullet points:

  • Your bullet items should be short
  • They should be symmetric
  • They should hook your readers
  • They should be a list of something
  • The items should not be paragraphs
  • Each item should be uniform (beginning with capital letters, verbs etc.)

There you go, I just had an excuse to use bullet points.

Moving on…

#3 Make your post easily scannable – a.k.a use sub-headings

Sub headings are highly crucial to make it easy for the scanners. Oh I’m not talking about the scanner machine next to your computer.

I am talking about your readers.

Your readers read only 20% of the content your write (source) – I know that can be disheartening.

They scan most of your content. When you write a blog post that promises 5 tips to do something, most readers would just read the first few sentences in the intro.

And then scan the rest of the post to see what those five tips are. And if they find those tips interesting, then they might read inside those five tips.

So in order to help those who scan your content, you have to include sub-headings. In this example, your sub-headings should be those 5 tips! Simple.

In fact writing sub-headings help you to write blog posts much easier. When you conceive the idea for your blog post, first you should write down the outline for the blog post.

And the main points in the outline become your sub-headings. For example, my outline for this very blog post looked like this:

Here’s a wonderful guide on how to write awesome sub-headings.

#4 Don’t distract your readers

Let me tell you this again – the internet is a very busy place. There are distractions everywhere (which add to the busyness).

Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Youtube and many other things distract us online. And when your readers are reading a particular blog post they have a very short attention span (of 8 seconds) as I mentioned earlier.

Other things like email notifications, the cell phone, the microwave and people interrupting also add to the list.

An online survey conducted (by Stop Procastinating app) helped finding out that 68% of employees are distracted at work. And here are the stuff that made the top 10 online distractions:

Online distractions

Among all these distractions your readers have your content in front of them to read.

Now you have to make sure that you don’t add more distractions.

So what are distractions? Ads, flashing banners, distracting stuff in the sidebar, and sometimes even the sidebar itself could be distracting.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have any ads, or sidebar on your site. I understand that some business models have ads as one of the major sources of income. But make sure you minimise the usage of those kind of stuff.

As far as ads are concerned, limit them to one or two per page. This applies to both direct ads or third party ads (like Adsense).

And avoid any pop under or slide in ads. They are annoying and heavily distract your readers.

Do you format your blog posts?

If you’re someone who just writes a blog post, and publishes it and hopes that everything is done, you have to think again.

Think about how much time and effort you’ve put into creating that blog post. And if it is not fully used or read by your reader, your efforts simply go wasted.

And I’m sure you don’t want that to happen!

Format your blog posts so you and your readers can benefit from them!Click To Tweet

Follow these tips to format your blog posts each time you write one so both you and and your readers can benefit from your efforts.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 9 comments
Parth Vinodbhai rathod - July 7, 2017

hey
a very helpful article, i have noticed that i have been making some mistakes
thank you for your help

Reply
Susan Velez - July 7, 2017

Hi Jane,

Great tips, I totally agree with you about adding too many banners. I will actually leave a blog if they have too many ads.

I understand that a blogger wants to monetize their blog and I don’t see anything wrong with that. However, like you said, 1 or 2 banners is sufficient.

If you start adding more, it just becomes so confusing and hard to read the content. Which is what your audience is there for in the first place.

Thanks for sharing these tips with us, I know that they’ll help so many bloggers create awesome looking posts that get read and shared.

Have a great day 🙂

Susan

Reply
    Jane - July 9, 2017

    Hey Susan,

    Yes, there’s nothing wrong with bloggers wanting to make money. But doing anything that annoys users or anything that confuses them is not going to help certainly.

    In the current “visually appealing” era of the internet, only awesome looking posts will get read and shared 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    Reply
Elvis Michael - July 12, 2017

Gosh, I hate big blocks of text. This was widely accepted 10 years ago, but these days bloggers know better (thankfully).

Additional tips:
– Use multimedia sparingly, only when it fits: Not too much, not too little

– When inserting a link, consider doing it on its own separate line (for example, by saying something like “Suggested read” instead of inserting it within the paragraph itself).

Enjoy your week, Jane 🙂
Elvis

Reply
    Jane - August 15, 2017

    Hey Elvis,

    Thanks for the wonderful suggestions – I highly appreciate you sharing them here. Agree so much with the multimedia tip in particular.

    Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    Reply
Shantanu Sinha - July 18, 2017

Hello Jane,

Love this post 🙂

Indeed formating a blog post could be very severe task, one need to focus upon how their blogs should look and how they can bind their readers to the end point. Everybody loves short and detailed post i.e. not too short but yeah long enough that can explain the information to our readers.

Adding up bullet points could be very generous thing, they are easy to read, cleared out in the crowd. These are some tips which every blogger need to pin it to them selves.

Thanks for the share.

Shantanu.

Reply
    Jane - August 15, 2017

    Hey Shantanu,

    Not too short, not too long is the key for publishing blog posts to keep your readers in focus. But that is not enough. Formatting helps do a lot of heavy lifting to keep people hooked to your content.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    Reply
Karthik Linga - August 30, 2017

Hey, Jane

Informative topics you have shared here. Yes many of them failed to format their content in the post too. Well explained, formatting post content will give us an extra audience attention boost to our posts with readable content is must. First, i will check and update it in my blog very soon from now.

Thanks

Well Share ! Keep Sharing !!

Reply

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