Someone clicked on the blog you posted on Twitter or that popped up after a keyword search. Great! Now your trick is to keep your reader on your website long enough to read the blog they were interested in.
That may seem easy, but it’s not. In today’s long-form writing style and short attention spans, you have to work to get your audience to read your blog post through to the end. But it’s not as hard as you think to format a blog for success! A few little tweaks to your post before you hit “publish” and you’re on your way.
Break Up Text
Blog posts are getting longer to try to attract the search engines, but no one wants to read a long wall of words. Face it, we’re lazy. I put myself in that category too!
Use subheads throughout your text (like I’ve done here) to draw your reader’s eye to important points throughout the post. Subheads tell the reader what your most important ideas are so they caan skim the post to get what they want out of it.
To break up the text even further, text call-outs can draw attention to some of the most important content in your posts. You’ve seen pull-quotes in newspapers and magazines; these work the same way online.
“But I don’t know how to do this online.” Technology today has made it easy to create text call-outs—even for someone who isn’t savvy with PhotoShop and HTML. Canva allows you to create graphics of any size that are easy to load to your blog posts. And WordPress offers plug-ins that create call-outs with the click of a button or two.
Another handy call-out is a click to tweet. Your readers can tweet a quote that you choose to their followers, just by clicking a link you’ve prepped for them. It’s that easy. And it’s an invaluable way to encourage readers to share your content.
[bctt tweet=”Click to Tweet is an invaluable way to encourage readers to share your content.”]
Just like subheads help to break up text, lists help add some white space to your blog posts that readers need. If you’re discussing a group of items that are similar, don’t be afraid to make it a bulleted or numbered list to help break up the text and draw the eye somewhere.
Add an Image (or three)
While a picture may not be worth a thousand words (to the search engines), they’re perfect for breaking up text and engaging the reader—emotionally, intellectually, socially. Graphs are perfect if you’re introducing the reader to a lot of data that you can illustrate in a graph.
[bctt tweet=”A pic may not be worth 1000 words for SEO, but they DO break up text and engage the reader.”]
Whether you use stock images, your own photography or a graph you create in Excel, brand your images wherever possible. You’ll notice the featured images in my blogs (which I create in Canva) are branded with my logo color and text. If that’s not possible, use the same border for every image or include your logo in a corner. Whatever you do, be consistent.
Watch Column Width
Size does matter, especially when we’re talking about page width. It’s tiring for an eye to scan all the way across a long website page to read text, then track back to the next line. As you format your blog, size your columns and page so that no line has more than about 75 characters. This is a good practice for your website as a whole.
Readability is key when choosing the font for your blog. Go with something that has clean lines and is easy on the eyes. Stay away from italics or a script font on your post, which is difficult to read. And limit your fonts to two—one for the body and one for the subheads. Online, underlined text indicates a clickable link so avoid using underlines on text and utilize bolding to emphasize text instead.
Above all is consistency. No matter what font, image style or overall formatting you choose, keep it consistent. Your loyal readers should take a look at a blog post and instantly recognize the look and feel of your website based on the colors you use, the photos you choose and even the way you write.