Why are you reading this? What attracted you to the post?
Sure, you might have been enticed by the topic at hand. It might solve a problem that you’ve been wondering about for quite a while.
But there’s something else going on—something unconscious—that draws you in.
I’d love to say it’s the raw, unadulterated power of my words, but in truth, it’s something much simpler than that: formatting.
Formatting Attracts Online Readers
Formatting for the Internet is as much art as it is science, and it’s always important. A properly formatted post or ebook encourages readers to continue reading and return to your site or books again and again.
On the other hand, an improperly formatted post or ebook discourage first-time readers. Readers of your already published books know, like and trust you and, therefore, might ignore a poorly formatted post or ebook. Visitors who have no other basis upon which to form their opinion of you will see poor formatting as a reason to leave your site, put down the book, and never give you another chance.
In short, formatting matters. Here are three formatting tips to help you do it the right way.
1. Find the Standards—Then Adhere to Them
Let’s say you’re formatting a book for publication on Amazon. What would you do? Would you format it the way you want to see it, or would you care enough about the end-reader experience to seek out Amazon’s standards?
My recommendation: Do the latter. Those standards are there for a reason, and it’s not for your health. It’s to help enhance readability when someone downloads or purchases your book.
The same is true for your next blog post. Pay attention to what your old posts look like. What works? What’s pleasing to the eye? What do you need to do less or more of?
Or look at the posts published by successful bloggers. How do they format their posts? Take note, and then implement the formatting rules on your site.
Those simple questions will help you nail down a formatting standard that will have your future blog posts looking polished and clean.
2. Break it Up
Maybe you have the proper fonts, margins, and spacing—but if the words themselves look cluttered and unreadable, no one’s going to keep reading your blog or book.
You have to give the reader a break.
How do you do that? Look at this post for the answer.
The post is divided into segments so the thoughts are clearly organized and topics easily found. You can refer back to old ideas by following the subject headings. No one paragraph dominates. Instead, the content moves from idea to idea at a steady pace—while also giving you time to breathe.
Break up your content into small pieces. A post on the Internet needs to be scannable. It should look easily digestible even before the reader checks out your intro.
The readability of books and PDFs also benefit when you break up content.
3. Promise Something
What’s the promise of this post? Three tips. If you read to the end, you’ll understand three new ways to format your online content properly.
With a properly organized blog post, you will deliver that promise by the end. The reader should not only feel like they’ve gone on a journey with you but that they’ve arrived at the promised destination—and done so without encountering detours or potholes. And they want to see a clearly marked path from point A to point B.
Formatting is Great Signage for a Post
Think of formatting errors as misleading signs along the road. And vow never to mislead your readers.
Instead, make sure your content is consistent with the standards of your blog, break up the content, and deliver on your promises. Accomplish those three things and your blog will be much more readable—and much more enticing to your audience.
What other post formatting tips do you have? Tell me about it in a comment below.
About the Author
Dan Kenitz is a freelance writer and ghostwriter from Wisconsin who helps individuals and companies build their brands through valuable content. www.empirewriter.com
Image copyright: georgejmclittle/123RF.com