Text FormattingThe ultimate secret to engaging people with awesome blog posts is to sit down and write a bunch of crappy 500-word articles about the same old stuff!

That’s according to a lot of small websites out there…

…you may not have seen or even heard of these websites, that’s because they “write a bunch of crappy 500-word articles about the same old stuff!” 

On top that, a lot of what populates the lesser known areas of the internet are articles which are, yes – 500 words, but also just a clump of text, much like below:

Block of Text

A Post of mine with the formatting removed – looking much like a lot of blogs out there!

Sure, the information you need to save your dying mother from Cancer may very well be in there, but screw reading that – we want answers fast!

So below I have some tips.  You can watch the video below to learn more, or follow the written steps below :)

Disclaimer: By watching this video you consent to the use of YouTube’s Cookies.

3 things – it has to be legible, it has to scannable and (ideally) visual.

People expect high-quality posts these days. It’s not because they’re selfish but because the big guys are soaking up all of the traffic and getting noticed more easily because they can transmit their message with these 3 principles very effectively.

People are used to quality, they see it every day! So writing an amazing article with pathetic formatting will result in your content not even being read.

Hell, even with good formatting and amazing content, there’s no guarantee your content will be read, it’s just one small chunk of the entry fee.

So how do you start?

First, make it legible.

grandma

‘Legible’ – means people can read it without squinting, pulling themselves really close to the screen or trying to decipher your writing like some kind of ancient hieroglyphics and a decoding manual.

This is where your choice of font comes into play.

I highly recommend keeping things simple, choose a clean cut font for your titles, paragraph text and avoid the fancy-pants fonts that are almost impossible to read but “look pretty”.

You can do this by sticking to the tried and true: Helvetica, Arial, Times New Roman, etc – especially for the main paragraph text and then choose a font a little bit more unique for your subheadings and the main heading, just make sure it can still be easily read!

Aim for high contrast color like black text on a white background.

This makes the shape of each letter stand out a bit more and will make everything much easier and more comfortable to read.

I also recommend a line length of no longer than 100 characters, although people prefer line lengths of 50 – 60 characters, 100 characters has been proven to be read faster.

You can lead people in with a right aligned image at the top of your content (start them off at 50 or 60 characters) and then expand to 100 characters after that. If your line length is too long, all you need to do is decrease the width of the column or you can increase the size of the text.

Increased text size will make it easier to read so I recommend going that way! Because your font cannot be too small either, or people won’t read.

Break it up, make it scannable

Break things up

This is a powerful lesson to learn as it adds a whole new dimension to how your content will be read and, to a degree, how you write it.

Think about top lists for a minute, you land, scroll down until you read a heading you’re interested in and then you go through the more in-depth information underneath. You can treat just about anything the same way.

If you’re writing about how to lose weight (as an example), you can talk about exercise first by creating a subheading called ‘exercise’, nutrition second under the heading ‘nutrition’, then sleep under ‘sleep’, and you get the idea.

Some people will want to read the exercise portion first and others the sleep portion and so on, so they want it to be scannable and have instant access to information in any part of the post.

The same can be applied to storytelling to highlight the pivotal events and break up a story (that’s why they have chapters in books, to break things up), all you need to do is give it a little thought and you’ll figure out where to put these headers.

To format them, I recommend using the <h2> (Heading 2 in WordPress, see image above) tag for your main subheadings.  

If you break things up further beneath each subheading then try <h3> / Heading 3 or use bullet points. Just make sure your headings are larger and stand out much more than your paragraph text.

You still need to break up each individual section under its heading also.

This can be done firstly by using shorter paragraphs of 1 – 3 sentences, making use of bold text to highlight sentences and phrases you want to emphasize as important.

Go Visual

Break things up with images (image from my "traffic Experts Tips" post)

Break things up with images (image from my “Traffic Tips from the Experts” post)

Well, that’s kind of the point of this whole post.

The way everything is laid out visually will have a massive influence on how much of it is read and how much of an impact your words will carry. But this final point is less about the ‘overall visual’ as much as adding a few images into certain area’s to maximize the effect of your text.

The first has already been mentioned, you can ease your audience in with a right aligned image which shortens the length of the first few sentences of your post or article.  This is a pretty handy little tip to get things started.

The second is about making things scannable.  If you have a post broken up into 3 different sections you can really break things up visually by inserting eye-catching headers above each major section which helps to identify what that portion of the post will talk about. This can be an awesome final touch to any post.

Other than that it’s important to understand when an image is going to be a better communicator than your writing.  

You’ll notice a few images in this post which illustrate certain things after I explain each item because having an exact representation of my words will give a more solid understanding of what was written.  The same can be said for anything; talking about a product, process result or person.  Add an image to directly relate to these things and people will know exactly what you mean.

What is it they say? A picture is worth a thousand words!

Once you’re done, preview and test read your content!

Broken Up Text

If you find reading your article is really quite easy and inviting, you’ve done well.  Try also inviting other people you know to read it and ask them if they feel the same way. They may be able to point out something you’ve missed.

It all comes down to experience, start tweaking, making things easier to read and keep reading the most popular blogs out there. Pay attention to their formatting for some extra inspiration. Some of these blogs are a walking example of effective text formatting, so follow their example.

Need some eyes to check out your content?

Send me a message and I’ll take a look! My only request if you do is to please share this post or subscribe to my newsletter, it’d make my day.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your day!