As blog readers, we are shallow. When you land on a blog post or article, it’s very rare that you immediately read from beginning to end. Instead, we judge web content the same way we judge that hot piece of meat walking past us in the grocery store–from top to bottom. In just a few glances, we determine whether to pursue or hit the back button. In this guide, you’ll learn how to take your content from drab to fab.
One of the best ways to discredit your article is to use Comic Sans (or Papyrus). Typography can have an impact on how believable your content is to readers. Stick to traditional, no frills fonts such as Times New Roman, Franklin Gothic, Arial, Helvetica, etc. Don’t make your readers strain their eyes, use appropriate font sizes.
Pro-Tip: For optimal readability on the web, sans serif fonts are best to use in body copy. For optimal legibility on mobile devices, use a base font size of 16 CSS pixels.
Aside from complementing your written content, incorporating images into your blog post assists in segmenting areas of text. When landing on an article, most people skim the page before committing to reading the first paragraph. Not only do images capture people’s attention, but they can help reaffirm a person’s expectations about that content. Images also create natural breaks for the reader and encourage them to keep scrolling down the page.
Pro Tip: Can’t find any good images for your post? Take interesting facts or excerpts from your blog and turn them into an image by placing them on top a colored background or picture.
Caution: Make sure you do not use copyrighted images! Unless you enjoy being sued.
Paragraph breaks are very important when it comes to blogging because they increase readability. Seeing large blocks of uninterrupted text is discouraging to readers. It’s best to start a new paragraph after each complete thought.
Titles should be both descriptive of your content and eye-catching. Think about what your audience might search for to stumble upon your post and incorporate those keywords into your title and keep them closer to the beginning of the title if possible. Titles should be kept below 60 characters (512 pixels to be exact) so that your blog post title isn’t truncated in Google Search. Lastly, be creative with your titles and make them enticing without succumbing to click bait tactics.
Pro Tip: After you have carefully crafted your title, copy it and paste it into Google to see if any similar titles appear and to get a sense of what kind of content appears in the search results.
- Internal Linking: Internal linking refers to adding hyperlinks that point to other pages the same website. Exposing readers to similar content within your blog post is a great way to increase engagement and has positive SEO implications as well such as decreasing bounce rate and increasing crawlability for search engines. This is an internal link.
- External Linking: External linking refers to adding hyperlinks that point away from your domain to a different site. This is an external link.
- Anchor Text: Anchor text is the clickable text you use to embed a hyperlink. Anchor text should be limited to a few words and should be relevant to the content you are linking to.
Pro-Tip: Code external links so that they open in a new window when clicked so that you are not taking people away from your website. Do do this, simply add target=”_blank” after the URL source. So it would look like:
<a href=”http://www.externallink.com” target=”_blank”>anchor text</a>
One way to make your post look monotonous is to completely disregard formatting. Here’s the low down on what you should use and when:
- Bolding: Use bolding to emphasize the importance of a word or short phrase, or to create a subheading.
- Italicizing: Use italics to indicate names of books, articles, songs, episodes, editions, ect. It is also best to express words or phrases in a foreign language in italics. Here’s a cheat sheet on when to use italics.
- Headings: In HTML, headings range from an H1 to an H6. Visually, the H1 has the largest font size and H6 has the smallest. To a search engine, the H1 is at the top of the hierarchy and is seen as the most important, followed by H2, H3, etc. Generally, you stick to using primarily H1’s and H2’s. A practical example of using headings might be:
- Unordered Lists: Use unordered (expressed in HTML as <ul>) lists for listing out bullets that do not need to be in sequential order. Lists are great for breaking up content that is thematically similar and making it easier to read and understand.
- Ordered Lists: For lists that need to be in sequential order to make sense, use ordered lists (expressed in HTML as <ol>). Each item will be listed with a numerical value instead of a bullet point.
- Block quotes: Use block quotes to draw attention to an important quote, phrase, or excerpt.
Pro Tip: Editorial content should be aligned left instead of justified. Justified text makes it difficult for readers to transfer from one line of text to the next.
Remember, blogging is like dating. If the content doesn’t look good at first glance, it doesn’t matter how great it is because your readers are likely to run the other way.