The bad news is that we are living in an age of distraction. It seems everyone is in a hurry. It seems that people don’t have much time to focus on a certain thing to find its beauty.
A survey conducted by Microsoft in 2015 found that due to the widespread use of smartphones the average attention span had fallen to eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in the year 2000.
The good news is that people focus on the thing which is good looking and obvious to them instantly.
When it comes to a blog post, it is really important to format that effectively. Because people love to read well-formatted posts.
So, why blog post formatting is important!
Importance of Blog Post Formatting
Most of the new bloggers make this mistake. They just format their blog posts like print media. But, you need to understand that print media is different than the online media.
Human brain acts differently when reading things on-screen. When we read a book, we just hold the book. We don’t have any other things to read.
But, when we read things on-screen, we have the whole world on our hand. So, it is easy to be distracted here.
Ultimately there are two things happen when people read on-screen. The first thing is,
People skim when they read things on-screen.
While you read a book or a newspaper, the whole thing is visible to you. You can instantly know how long the thing is and how long it will take to finish reading.
But when you read on-screen, the thing is not instantly visible to you. You need to scroll down to see the whole thing.
You will not get the thing instantly if the post isn’t well formatted. That’s the fact. You need to format your blog post to make it attracting to get the attention of your reader when they scroll your post.
The 2nd thing is,
It is harder to read the things on-screen than in print media.
It always happens to me. I always feel this. I feel comfortable to read the printed things. Although pages of a newspaper are big, I feel relaxed reading newspapers. I feel relaxed reading printed things.
But, when I read on-screen, I feel tense.
Most of the people do so. How do I know?
I’ve talked with some of my friends and colleagues. In their opinion, it is hard to read on-screen than in print media. But, most of them said they love to read online. Even they enjoy reading online.
That’s the point. To make your blog post enjoyable to read, you should format the post. Otherwise, people will leave your post immediately.
You and I both agree that writing a quality blog post is really hard work and it takes time. After doing this hard work, if people don’t read your blog post, all the hard works is vain.
So, how can you get your readers engaged in your content?
The answer is to format your blog posts well.
Formatting a blog post is far easier than the writing of a blog post. And it won’t take much time.
So, how can you format a blog post?
How to Format a Blog Post That will Engage Your Readers
I have my own strategy to format a blog post. You can call this a step by step process. I choose this process because it seems easy to me. You can follow my process and do the same for formatting all your posts.
After practicing this process sometimes, you’ll be familiar with the process. And your brain will do the things without giving much effort.
After writing a blog post, I just left the post for the day. Next day I come back to the post and start with proofreading. I just read the post thoroughly once and then eliminate all the spelling and grammatical errors from the post with the help of Grammarly. I then focus on formatting the post.
1. Make Post Title Catchy
When I start to format my blog post, the first thing I focus on the post title.
The post title is your first marketing opportunity to get the readers to your blog post.
Before reading any blog post, we just read the post title. If the post title entices us then we click on it and start reading the post.
If your post title isn’t catchy enough, people will leave your post without knowing how good your content is.
So, spend some moments on your post title.
To make your post title catchy do the following things –
- Use numbers in your post title
- Use why, how, when
- Use strong verbs
Read More: How to Make Your Post Title Catchy
2. Make an Impression on Your Post Introduction
A post introduction is the 2nd opportunity to engage your readers in your post. If you can’t convince your readers in the post-introduction to read the rest of the post, they will immediately leave your post without reading it.
After tweaking post title I just focus on the post-introduction while editing my post.
When editing post-introduction, make sure it has the following three ingredients –
- Ability to grab readers’ attention
- The reason for existing the post
- How your readers can be benefited from the post
If your post has the above three ingredients then you are good to go.
Read More: How to write a post introduction
3. Divide Your Post Body Using Headings and Subheadings
When people read on-screen, they scroll the page and try to get the point within a post.
I often do this. I just scroll the page and read headings and subheadings of the post. If any of them catches my attention, I just read that portion of the post.
If any of the headings seem familiar to me I just left that.
If the post doesn’t have any headings and subheadings I don’t try to read the post. Because the post makes me feel overwhelmed.
This is human psychology. When we read things on the print we don’t feel overwhelmed. I think most of the on-screen readers feel like me.
So, it is very much essential to break your post body into headings and subheadings to make it easy to read for your readers.
4. Make Your Post Paragraph Short
In today’s distraction world, people are moving fast. They jump from one thing to another quickly.
When you read a book, that time you stay in your home or in a calm place. You focus fully on the book that you are going to read.
But, in on-screen reading, we normally read on our mobile or on the computer. There are many other things to do on those devices.
So when we read on-screen, we normally scan the things quickly, if it gets our attention, then we start to read. Otherwise, we leave the thing quickly.
One of the ways to make a blog post scannable is to make the paragraphs short.
The question is, How short a paragraph should be?
Although there is no standard rule about the length of post paragraph, it is said by experienced online publishers that a paragraph of two-three sentences is good to go.
But, if you keep all of your paragraphs same length, that will make your readers bore. So, do the following things when formatting your post paragraph –
- Keep your post paragraph short – two-three sentences long.
- If you write three same length’s paragraphs, make following two-three paragraphs short.
- if you write three short paragraphs, make your following two-three paragraphs long.
Smart Blogger published a nice post on this topic. You can read it here.
5. Make Your Post Text Bold and Italic
Using bold and italic sentences within your blog post will make the post enjoyable to read.
In print media, bold text is used for unfamiliar terms and italic text is used for words from foreign language and book titles or magazine titles.
But in online media, this rule is more flexible. You can use bold and italic text as you wish. But doing it unwisely can be harmful than beneficial.
Then, when should you use bold and italic text?
I personally apply the following rules in my post –
- If I ask any question to my readers, I make it bold.
- If I write an answer to any question, I make it italic
- If I want to emphasis on any sentence I make it bold
- If I define anything, I make it italic.
One important thing to remember here is that don’t overdo it. Overdoing can be irritating.
6. Use Numbers and Bullets
We all love list – either in number format or in the bullet.
At this moment I don’t have enough data to show you how to use number and bullets in your blog post.
It can be learned by practice. The more you practice writing the more you will be mastering using bullet and number in your blog post.
You can take this post as an example, for instance, to get some idea how I used bullet points in this post.
7. Optimize Your Post Ending
It is said that not only first last impression is also a matter when it comes to a blog post.
So, when formatting, format your post conclusion too to make it impressive.
Do the followings –
- Be concise
- Summarize your post
- Express your personal judgment.
I’ve talked about this before on “how to end your blog post”.
8. Use Images
The ultimate purpose of using images within a post is to give readers a break.
So, if you publish the long form of content you can use more than one image within your post.
If you want to give your readers more fun, you can make your post image funny and attractive.
You can also use infographics to go a step further.
Using image within a post depends on your purpose. For example, if you want to make your blog posts Pinterest-friendly you need to use the vertical image.
Read More: How to Use Image Properly in Your Post
It seems that formatting a post is a lot of works. But, it isn’t. If you start practicing, it will be easy for you after a few days.
The ultimate purpose of formatting a blog post is to make it easy, scannable, and enjoyable to read.
So, whatever it takes to format a blog post to engage your readers, do that tirelessly. After all, this is your business.
How do you format your blog posts to increase reader engagement? Please share in the comments below…