There are some established guidelines you can follow to help provide a nice environment for your readers.
Formatting a post so that it reads well should always be one of your goals when writing all of your content.
Just like a book, things need to be presented in a way that people won’t get turned off at just the mere glance of your article.
There are tips to ensure this doesn’t happen and it really starts with knowing some simple basics to start out with.
A typical post should be comprised a few different components, main text, images and headings.
Where and how they are implemented are important, great content can look terrible if presented in a jumbled mess.
The Formatting Arsenal of a Blogger
Images – All posts should at least have one image. There are several reasons for this, one being that it needs a functioning thumbnail of some sort. When someone goes to share your post on Facebook links with images will be clicked on more often than ones with out.
Most templates use some sort of related posts plugin with thumbnail support. If your posts never incorporate a picture then you’ll be missing out in this area and be left with a blank default image.
Images should be properly floated to the right or left and have enough space for the text to wrap around them. It is also common to have one image placed at the very top of the post. These are known as your lead image and are always somewhere near the very top.
Images should never take over the post by clustering them every where. Exception being infographics and tutorial type posts.
- Headings – The nice big and bold text where it says “The Formatting Arsenal…” is a heading. You use headings to break down the post into different main topics and provide space, you’ll notice above my headings I have a little separator graphic, you can do this easy with CSS.
Headings are implemented with HTML using the <h2> tag but you can use the H3, H4, and so on down the line but I just prefer to stick to one. I’m not a big fan of the diminishing heading style, getting gradually smaller. In my opinion it’s much better off to stick to one and use than throughout. Some will argue over this for SEO but I really don’t think you need to go that far.
- Bold – Using bold is a great way to grab the reader’s attention if they’re a scanner type of reader and just need to find the main aspects of a post. Especially if the visitor has come from a search engine chances are they’re most likely trying to find what they need rather quickly. Thus having big blocks of text with no highlighted words is not a good idea.
You’ll notice in my last post about submitting your blog to a service to get more traffic I put some bold text near the link as most people will be looking for that right off the bat.
- Lists – You start to see where this is going don’t ya? I’m already using all of these things to my advantage for this very post. People love lists and for good reason, they’re a great way to keep your ideas organized. As you can see I’m using a list to show all the various tools one can use. Each one is in bold so you can quickly get the fundamental concepts at a glance then delve deeper if you wish.
Lists are sometimes clunky to put together in the Compose mode so to create a list using HTML follow this code here.
Basic List HTML code:<ul>
- Spacing – One thing you do not want to over look is the space in-between all of these elements. I’m constantly using as much space as possible, not to cheat to make a longer post but it makes for a quicker read which is what most readers prefer.
Visitors will appreciate the use of a consistent format and come to expect it. If formatting hasn’t been something you’ve paid much attention to developing your own style today and sticking to it will do wonders in the long run.
You may even notice your RSS Subscribers increase because poorly formatted blog posts are sometimes hard to read through RSS Readers.
So ask yourself do you follow a format every time you write?