When it comes time to format content at your blog or website, let’s be honest…most of us simply do not take the time to do this correctly. Online reading is much different than reading a newspaper or a book. When people read online they often don’t read at all, they scan. They look for keywords and ideas that grab their attention; much like sound bites.
Most likely, you probably read the same way.
The next time you pull up a blog post or an article, pay attention to how you read it.
Are you reading every sentence word for word, or do you scan it and try to pick up the main points quickly?
I’m betting that you scan and look for the main points. Why? Because we all do it. We’re busy.
We lead busy lives, and reading an full article word for word doesn’t offer any more value than simply scanning it for the highlights.
What it Means to Format Content as a Website Owner
It’s important for you as the website owner, because it means you need to give your readers information that is easy to scan.
- Highlight the key points in your blog post or article.
- Call attention to your content with your formatting.
Make your article so easy to read, your visitors quickly get the gist of your article and take action on it.
Simple Formatting Means Success
Take a look at how this article is formatted. Go ahead.
You’ll notice short sentences.
You’ll notice short paragraphs.
You’ll also notice several other things, and these are key.
You’ll notice that I use bold formatting for my headlines and subheadings – notice that I am using subheadings.
Headlines and sub-headlines are great places to put key information, ideal for scanning and for search engines.
You’ll also notice that I use bullets or numbered lists. Like the following…
5 Simple Ways to Format Content for Easy Reading
- Short paragraphs
- Short sentences
- Lots of white space (Break it up!)
- Bold lettering – used sparsely but with impact in mind
- Bullets or lists to provide a quick list of the key points
Here’s a bonus tip…
Use graphics whenever it seems appropriate to help make your content visually interesting.
Add a photo, chart, graph or even a relevant screen shot.
Pay attention to the articles and blog posts you read online and how you read them.
Write your content in a way that makes it easy for your readers to enjoy and absorb.
In addition to the way you format content, test and track which content is read the most often.
You may find that your readers respond to certain formatting styles more than others.
For example, they may like lists or tips instead of “how to” articles.
This is a golden nugget of information, because you can then modify your content style and formatting to fit your audience’s preferences.
What about you?
What do you do to format content that keeps your reader’s reading? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments!
If you’ve struggled in this area, I’d like to hear your story as well.
Until next time,