4 Ways To Format Your Blog For Easy Reading & Increased SEO
August 14, 2022
Do you ever suffer from content overload? Every day we log in to the internet and are bombarded with blog posts, social media posts, emails, podcasts, videos etc. There is more content at our disposal than anyone could possibly process. Sure some of it is trash but there is a lot of awesome information at our fingertips.
How do we handle the avalanche of content? Most of us have become very adept at scanning quickly and choosing which content deserves our time and attention. This is exactly why you need to break up your blog posts to make them easy for your readers to scan.
You need to show them in a quick glance what your post is about and why they should give it a place in their limited schedule. If they don’t get it immediately they’ll move on to something else.
Here are a four ways format your blog posts so they are easy to scan.
Use Headlines and Sub-Headings
If you outline your posts before writing, you can quickly see how to break it down. Each point in your outline could be a subheading. If you don’t outline your posts and instead jump right into the content, you can add your subheadings after you write your post, whichever works best for you. The only important thing is that they are in there before you hit publish.
An added bonus is, if you use header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc) for your headlines and headings, it will help search engines read and understand your text. They use header tags to understand the content of your blog post which helps them determine whether or not your blog post is relevant to a user’s query.
The better search engines understand your blog post, the better they are able to determine which search queries your blog post should rank for. This has a positive effect on your SEO and traffic.
Keep Your Paragraphs Short on your Blog Posts
Have you noticed you read differently online than you do on hard copy text such as books, newspapers, and magazines? In a book or magazine, you have large blocks of text and will read each word. Online or on digital devices we tend to have a short attention span.
“Research has revealed that human beings are, indeed, lagging behind the goldfish in terms of being able to focus on a task or object. The average human has an attention span of just 8.25 seconds according to recent studies — 4.25 seconds less than in 2000.” (From Cross River Therapy)
The solution for your blog posts is to keep your reader’s attention with shorter paragraphs and sentences. Ideally, your paragraphs should not be much longer than three or four lines.
Use Lists and Bold Important Key Terms
Another way to hold your reader’s attention is to present your content in the form of a list. This may include lists of several related sentences, lists to share examples or a list of key benefits.
A list is an effective way to break things up and grab your reader’s attention and they can be as long or short as you need them to be.
Don’t overlook other formatting options. Emphasize key terms by using Bold, Italics, and Underline.
All of these formatting options make it much quicker and easier to scan a piece of text and figure out what it’s about without having to read every single word.
Use the Attention-Drawing Power of Graphics on your Blog
When we first learn to read, we are drawn to graphics. In children’s books, they often tell the story. So it makes sense that a picture is one of the best ways to convey, within seconds, what your blog post is about and earn the interest of your blog readers.
A picture REALLY IS worth a thousand words! If you need more proof, scroll through your Facebook feed and notice which posts get you to pause or even stop your scrolling. Or look at the top social media sites — Pinterest and Instagram, are graphic based sites. Graphics will hook your audience and maintain their attention so your blog posts get read!
Find an image that tells the story of your post. The image should tell at a glance (with the help of the post title) what the blog post is all about. And you’re not limited to just one image. If it fits the topic, grab a few to illustrate what you’re talking about or show step-by-step progress. A good image will stand out and draw people in. Without it, your chances to get the click and more importantly the read and interaction on your blog are slim.
But it doesn’t stop there. As you get traffic to your post, readers will be more likely to share your post on social media if it has a good image or two. Of course, making it easy to share with social media buttons is essential as well.
The most time and cost-effective method for most of us is to use stock photography. You can find high quality images on Pixaby, Canva or Unsplash. If you have a marketing budget, sites like IstockPhoto will sell you the right to use an image on your blog post. Since they are huge sites that connect you to thousands of photographers, you can find images on just about any subject with just a few keystrokes.
Use these four tips to format your blog posts and your readers will appreciate it, stay on your site longer and share your content.
If you are unsure of how best to optimize your blog posts, I offer blogging posting services as part of my virtual assistant services. Contact me to discuss how we can work together. Prefer a DIY approach? I’ve got you covered! Grab my ebook, Step By Step Guide to Blogging for Entrepreneurs.