If you want to improve your Google rankings and get more of your customers engaged and ready to buy, you need to make sure you’ve got your formatting sorted.
Although formatting might seem like a very inconsequential detail that only matters to marketers and proofreading nerds (I’m not admitting to anything!), it’s not.
It could potentially make the difference between your content going viral and crashing into obscurity.
Just ask SEO experts, Yoast;
“If visitors can’t quickly find what they’re looking for, they’ll probably leave your site and look for another answer to their query. This is why text structure and heading use also impact SEO.”
In short, by making your blog posts look pretty, you’ll also be working plenty of other marketing magic.
With that in mind, here are a few pro tips that will help you format your blog post better and get the results you deserve.
1. Use short sentences and short paragraphs
Forget those boring rules of grammar composition that were forced down your throat at school. None of that matters much when you’re writing for the web.
Although you shouldn’t completely throw the rule-book out of the window, you absolutely should bend the rules to suit.
Instead of rules, you should keep engagement at the front of your mind.
Don’t drone on with facts and figures and endless text.
Make them stand up and listen.
Make them pull out a pen and paper and scribble down what they’re learning, or share your post with their friend.
How do you do this? You keep it all short and sweet.
Slash the length of those sentences, aiming for between 15-25 words max.
The same goes for your paragraphs- they should be short, snappy and have maximum impact. (Even the UK government do this- see here.)
Use your judgement, have fun and divide and conquer!
2. Use the power of headings
Imagine that you’ve been searching high and low for information on a specific topic such as how to master content marketing.
You finally find a promising article and click the link only to find page after page of text looking something like this:
Even if the blog contains some really interesting and useful stuff, you’re likely to get tired of struggling to get through it and just click away to another blog.
If you’re the person who wrote the blog in question, you’ve lost a reader, potentially harmed your business and maybe even lost a customer too.
The solution should be clear by this point. 🙂 You just need to break up that text by using subheadings.
They will help guide the reader effortlessly through the text, add tons of beautiful white space and help group your content in a logical way that flows down the page.
When you do your formatting correctly with H-tags (H1, H2, H3), you’ll also improve your SEO and help the search engines to find you and rank you more highly. Awesome!
[When uploading your blog posts, you should see formatting options somewhere on the page which offer these options. Just highlight your text, choose the correct option, then voila!]
3. Add bullet points or lists
If you have several snippets of information to add, it’s a good idea to throw in some bullet points or a list.
As a result, your audience won’t have to do battle with a huge chunk of text (see above) and they’ll get the info in a nice, bite-sized piece.
Here are some more benefits of using bullet points:
- They’re easier on the eye
- They make more sense
- They better organise the text
- They stand out and encourage you to read more
See what I did there? 🙂
4. Use bold
Use bold in your content and you’ll help draw the reader’s eye to the information that you most want them to notice.
This technique can work like magic when you’re creating marketing content like sales emails and newsletters that you want to have better effect.
Just be careful not to overdo it though. Don’t bold whole sentences or paragraphs but stick to just a word or two for maximum effect.
***BONUS TIP: Some marketers also like to use highlighting to help key information stand out. It’s also a technique you’ll notice Google using when giving search results. Although it’s effective, it can sometimes be overkill. Use with caution!***
5. Keep it narrow
Yes, it might be tempting to opt for a website design that ditches the traditional blog sidebar and allows your text to spread horizontally across the page like this:
But, as you can see, this only makes it harder than ever for your website visitor to read your content.
“If your blog’s grid width is too large (especially if users are on larger screens) will create readability trouble for your users,” say business marketing experts IMPACT, “It risks them losing their place as they read line to line, while also making your content appear shorter and awkwardly spaced.”
Even if you want to use a full-width website template or design, make sure your website content fits neatly into a space in the middle of the page with generous borders.
6. Add visuals
Make your posts zing by adding high quality images, videos and other graphics that will illustrate what you’re talking about and get your audience engaged.
Wherever possible, choose visuals that feature you, your business and anything else that relates to what you’re talking about.
As Ann Hadley says in her excellent book on content writing, ‘Everybody Writes‘;
“The problem with stock photos is that they often look like stock photos. In other words, they’re not all that unique.”
This will help your audience relate to you much better, showcase your authenticity and help your business to thrive.
Pop a featured image at the top of your post and aim to include an image, infographic, graph, screenshot or something similar at least every 300-400 words.
When you’re writing your blog posts, it’s super important to bear these best practices in mind.
This will make it easier for people to read and enjoy what you’ve created, get search engines to notice you and help build your business.
If you’d like more help creating correctly formatted, highly engaging blog posts for your business, head to my store and hire me today.