Blog Formatting Frickin' Matters!
We’re living in a time where everyone has got some pretty short attention spans.
We’re bombarded by so much content every single day, we can’t possibly read, consume and digest it all.
To adapt to the content overload, most people (at least, me!) have developed a strategy to scan things over quickly before deciding if we want to invest the time it takes to read an article, watch a video, or listen to a podcast.
That’s why it’s important to format your posts in a way that makes it easy to scan, get a quick idea of what the post is about, and then make a decision about reading it. And hopefully, that decision is in your blog’s favor!
That’s where formatting comes into the picture. It’s an important step in the blogging process that you don’t want to ignore.
Add to that the fact that blog formatting is also an important part of on-page SEO and you KNOW it’s a must-do before you hit ‘Publish.’
Blog Formatting For Your Fabulous Readers
Always start by formatting for your readers.
While search engines are important, they won’t do you any good if you can’t convince people to read your post.
- Make It Easy To Scan the Content
The most important thing you can do for your readers is to make it easy to scan the content.
Use headlines, break up text, etc. to make it quick and easy to scan the post and figure out what it’s about.
Of course, your headline and your images are a big part of this.
- Break Up Your Blog Post into Bulleted or Numbered Lists
Break up thing like tips, ideas, etc. into lists. Depending on context, those could be bulleted or numbered lists.
Lists are easy to read, quick to scan and help readers easily consume and digest your content.
- Keep Your Paragraphs Short
Reading online is different from reading a print book or newspaper.
Online reading is much harder on the eyes, and since we’re taking in so much online content on a daily basis and scan a lot, our attention span when it comes to reading has gone down quite a bit.
Make it easy on your fabulous readers to read your posts by keeping your paragraphs short. One to three sentences is usually all you want in each.
- Be Bold – Bold Print, That Is!
Highlight the most important concepts or keywords of your post by making them bold print.
That’s gonna help your readers find the important concept you’re trying to convey and it also helps with scanning before they commit to reading your post.
Formatting For Search Engines
Now that your post is formatted pretty and easily scanned by humans, let’s talk about formatting for search engines.
- Use H Tags
Using H tags like <h1>, <h2> etc. show search engines what words on the page are important. Use an H1 tag for your post title. If you’re using blogging software like WordPress, your theme should take care of this for you.
But don’t stop there.
You can use various other H tags throughout your content.Let’s say your blog post can be split up into two major sections like this post for example. One section is about formatting for readers, the other for search engines. Under each section, I mention a few tips to format for either one and I use the H3 tag to start each tip.
- Bold Key Words
This blog formatting tip is super easy.
If you haven’t already done so for your readers, find your main keyword and make it bold.
This will also show search engines this particular word or piece of text is important.
Don’t overdo it though!
- Use Alt Tags in Blog Images
As you’re adding images, include text in the alt tags that describe the image, but also includes your main keyword. As with the other tags and formatting tips, this will help with ranking. Depending on your blog's platform, when you upload your picture to your media library, you can add the Alt Txt in the same area you add the pictures title, caption, and description.
- Use Your Keywords in the Text
Finally, give your post a quick scan and make sure you’ve used your keyword several times in the main body of your post. Again, it’s important to strike a good balance here. Don’t overdo it, but also don’t forget to include it. In a post that's about 1000 words (like this one!) using the keyword about 5-6 times is a good general rule of thumb.
Personally, I don’t have to worry about any of this since I use the WordPress plugin, YOAST SEO PREMIUM. If I leave out any of the important formatting tips I’ve mentioned that search engines are looking for, it tells me and advises how to fix it.
Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without it!