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.
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!
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:
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.
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:
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.
#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.
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!
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.