Do you want people to stay longer in your site? Do you want them to read your content from start to finish without getting bored midway? Help them read better by having a properly formatted blog post.
This article contains tips and strategies on how to format your content using the WordPress formatting tools provided within your WordPress platform. I also left some warnings and advice when using other features, so make sure to check them out.
Format Your Posts by Using These Tools
These are the tools that you can leverage to improve the readability of your blog posts. Treat this as your formatting checklist and see how these elements can make your site user-friendly.
1. Headings and Subheadings
Help readers skim through your content by creating headings and subheadings in your article. Actually, this is the easiest thing to do because you can get this from the outline that you’ve planned prior to creating this post (do you have one?). If you don’t do this, people will get bored while reading your bland text.
I use horizontal dividers to partition the sections of my blog posts by placing them under my headings (see what I did in this blog post). I think it looks awesome because it gives a neat and fresh look every time you’re reading an entire section. See if your WP theme has a divider line and see if it looks nice in your website.
People can easily scan your content if you provide them with a list that contains useful information. The best choice would be using numbers or letters. I recommend that you use this if you have a step-by-step process (such as recipes) to share or something that requires a logical order, In HTML, it’s called an ordered list.
You can also use bullets or other special characters like hearts, checks, or boxes to create a list of items in your blog. The only difference between bullets and numbers is that the former can be rearranged in any order without changing the flow of thoughts and ideas. In HTML, it’s called an unordered list.
Paragraphs are blocks of text that you commonly see in books and articles. As a rule of thumb, don’t present your online content in huge chunks and expect readers to consume them all. Keep your paragraphs small and manageable so that they can easily scroll down through the article.
Always align left for paragraphs, headings, subheadings and lists. If you’re a typical blogger running a typical blog, then there shouldn’t be any reason to change the alignment of your content. I believe left aligning texts works very well and is commonplace in most websites.
These features are handy for emphasizing the thought that you wish to portray in your article. Use bold and italic text to highlight very important words and ideas (including list items). Use underlines for defining important terms or creating internal/external links. Use strikethrough for slashing a thought and replacing it with a better alternative.
Never ever forget adding links to your webpages because this will help readers navigate to your relevant pages. Internal links point to pages within your site and is the one thing that will really help decrease your bounce rate. External links on the other hand point to pages outside your site and is very useful for citing the sources of your information.
Choose words or phrases that you can put links to if you know of relevant pages that you think will help your readers.
9. Block Quotes
Have you noticed some phrases or even paragraphs that are indented to the right while reading a piece of content? Chances are, you’ve stumbled on block quotes, a marvelous feature used for displaying citations or excerpts from other people’s work.
If you wish to include your favorite author’s thoughts and ideas in your writing or mention powerful quotes related to your topic, then this tool is what you need.
Take Note of These Elements
That’s not all. There are special formatting elements you need to pay attention to, which I will point out in this section. So please take time to read these items and see if you are doing it right.
1. Font Style and Size
Most likely you’re using a WordPress theme for your site, which comes with a default font style and size. Unless you know how to code, please don’t tamper with the theme’s default settings. You’re better off sticking to just one font all throughout your content.
Your theme also comes with a default text color and background, which I would assume are black and white. But sometimes, it can be tempting to play with the text and background color for a while (some people even place background images!). If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might end up hurting your user experience.
That’s why you should never change the colors of your text and background if you don’t know how to properly mix them in the right contrast.
3. Images & Other Media
The way you present images and other media such as videos & podcasts is very important for your blog. For instance, how do you align your images with respect to the body of your content? What size should it be to deliver optimum results? How about videos, how do you align them and what size?
For me, I want my above-the-fold image to wrap around the text so that readers won’t get distracted by the picture. But if the images contain some useful information related to the topic, I make them big so that readers can see the details.
The great thing about WordPress is that you can add plugins to your content to help enhance your pages. You can add forms, add infographics, embed videos, or add special plugins coming from other websites. For instance, in my Jaaxy review, I have a plugin there that allows you to do keyword research through the search box provided.
The reason why I would put that plugin is because it’s a product review of that tool. The bottomline: Only add plugins if you think it’s relevant to your blog. Other than that, then it’s a distraction to reading.
5. Promotional Tools
Banner ads, text link ads, and affiliate links must be used in moderation within your content, I hope you already know this (and that you understand spamming).
If you ever include these tools in the body of your blog post, make sure the promotion is relevant to your topic. Don’t just pick a random spot and leave it there, hoping that it will convert like wild. Run dozens of tests to find the best location of your ads for maximum conversions.
Want more blogging tips? Check out these articles:
Do you spend enough time formatting your blog posts? How proficient are you in using the WordPress editor? Come share your thoughts in the comments section below and let’s talk about it.