Last week, I came across a blog post by someone new to blogging. I had a hard time reading it because there were no sub-headings or paragraph breaks. It was just one big chunk of text and the text was so small and the line space so tight I had a hard time taking my eyes from one line to the next as I read.
As a website designer, constantly on the lookout for web design inspiration, this wasn’t the first time I’d come across this either, so I decided I would write the following six tips in the hopes of helping others make their blog posts and web pages easier to read.
I don’t profess to be the best writer in the world, and my grammar may not always be perfect. However, I do have quite a bit of experience with what works and doesn’t work in terms of readability.
I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty about responsive design, font choice and text size, nor am I going to talk about grammar, spell check and editing. Instead, I wanted to provide the following six tips to help new blog owners and those just starting out in the world of content writing for their own websites. Hopefully, these tips will help you make your web content and blog posts easier to read.
1. Use a bold, attention-grabbing headline that clearly indicates what’s in your content
Let your potential readers know what the post or page is going to be out. Write your main heading so it grabs the reader’s attention, but don’t be tempted to make it out to be more than what it really is (there’s nothing worse than click bait). Instead, decide on a topic and ensure your heading clearly indicates what the topic is. Include keywords too, as these will help bring traffic to your page or post.
2. Use sub-headings or bold punch lines to break up your text
Most people don’t have time to read an entire blog post or web page, and instead just scan read, looking for the outline or main points. By using sub-headings or bold punch lines, you’ll be helping them get the gist of your content. They can then decide whether the rest is worth reading and bookmark it to read later. Or they may decide that they’ve learned enough just by reading the sub-headings and punch lines. Either way, they are more likely to share your post or page with others.
3. Use small paragraphs to make large chunks of text easier to read
Large blocks of text are very hard to read, especially on wider devices or where text is small and line spacing is tight. Be sure to break up large paragraphs into bite size chunks of text to make it easier to read. Look to see where you’ve changed topic slightly, or where you’ve started a new point. Insert a paragraph break before each new point. Your readers’ eyes will thank you for it.
4. Use bullet or numbered lists ahead of your content
If you have a long page or post with lots of information under each sub-heading, use numbered or bullet lists after your introduction. This way, people can quickly see the key points and what type of information you will be providing in each section. Again, they can decide whether to read the entire page, select specific sections to read or perhaps the list has provided them with enough information already. You could even make it easy for them to navigate to each section by putting a hyper link on each item in your list to take them to the corresponding section.
5. Emphasize important points using a bold font
Sometimes sub-headings and lists may not be appropriate in your blog post or on your web page. Perhaps your blog post is only touching briefly on a subject, or it could be comparing two points of view. Using bold on the key points in your post will make them stand out to readers, indicating that they are important. As well, if those points are also keywords that search engines are looking for, using a bold font will also indicate to search engines that they are keywords for that page or post.
6. Start with an intro and finish with a conclusion
An introduction lets readers know whether what they are about to read may solve their current issue (what they were searching for in the first place), while the conclusion will highlight all the key points of an article and hopefully provide the solution. Together with your sub-headings, bullet or numbered lists and your key points in bold, your introduction and conclusion may therefore provide enough information for readers who can’t digest too many details or who don’t have time to read an entire article.
If you’re a newbie to blog writing or you’re just starting out in business and need to write your own web content, I hope these 6 tips have helped you in some way. The main thing to remember is your readers want to get the gist of your content quickly and easily and if they decide to read the entire post, they want it to be easy to read. You can help them by writing a clear, attention grabbing headline, using sub-headings and lists, emphasizing important points, breaking longer paragraphs into smaller ones, and including an introduction and conclusion.
Let me know in the comments if this has helped you.