How to Format Blog Posts for Increased Readability
ReAdAbIlItY iS vErY iMp0rT@nt.
How long did it take you to read that? How long would you continue reading a paragraph like that? Probably not very long. While that is a drastic example, it is still an example of the importance of readability.
To ensure that your webpage, email and blog post content is easy to read and passes the 2-second scanability test (the average amount of time you have before your reader decides if they will ditch or proceed to read) we’ve put together a checklist of things to do and things not to do to make your content extremely readable:
- Use headings and subheadings, especially when you write content over 250 words.
- Use bold/italics for key keywords and phrases, but limit this to a maximum of one bold/italics use for every 200 words.
- Use lists to break up impenetrable blocks of text.
- Don’t be afraid of blank space, its a powerful tool to help emphasize certain blocks of text.
- Use powerful images, but sparingly. No more than one image per 350 words.
- Use text wrapping wherever possible because it keeps your readers attention focused on your copy, but don’t put it too close to your image or the text might be unreadable.
- Underline links.
- Keep your paragraph line spacing at around 1.5, to signify a clear break between sections.
- Don’t use crazy colors. This is especially targeted advice for fonts. Black or Blue—it’s what we’re used to. Definitely don’t change the color of highlighted, bold or italics text, it creates too much distinction and the reader can lose focus.
- Don’t break up a post with an advert. It loses the readers attention quickly and leaves them with a bad taste in their virtual mouth.
- Use your image at the top of the article because its supposed to GET their attention to your article, not distract them from it.
- Keep your paragraphs short. A maximum of 5 sentences is the generally accepted rule for paragraph length, but this can be shorter if you use run-on sentences.
- Don’t use run-on sentences.
- Left aligning is highly recommended. We read left to right in English, so don’t try and mess with our natural reading flow.
- Use bullets to break up content that has no natural sub-heading placeholders.
- Indent your any quote over 45 words and lists to clearly separate them from the surrounding paragraphs.
- Use a popular font, like Times, Verdana, Arial, etc.
- Make your font size uniform throughout the content, and keep it at a readable size (between 10 and 14).
- Don’t use ALL CAPITALS in the body text of content. Its annoying.
- Put your sidebars and menus at the top and bottom of your content, not aligned at the side as it will distract your user and give them an option to move on to another page.
- Take it easy with the links. There should be a maximum of one link per 100 words, and they should vary between internal and external links.
It’s a lot of information above but it will become second nature to you as you begin to incorporate them; within a few blog posts or webpage writing sessions your formatting will come naturally.
For more cool content tips, click here.