Despite a writer’s best intentions, blogs can sometimes be intimidating for readers. Insurmountable walls of text rise up out of nowhere. Points and takeaways are twisted and convoluted to the point of indecipherability. Jargon and industry speak fortify the post with an impenetrable barrier of required knowledge. You’d have more luck breaking into Fort Knox than infiltrating some blog posts.
If your blogs aren’t being read, you can bet they aren’t being shared. If they’re not being shared, they’re not adding value to your SEO. Over time, this will flatline your site. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to make your posts more accessible for your audience.
Here are five of our top blog formatting tips on how to start welcoming readers with open arms.
1. Break Up The Text
Want to know how to make your blogs more digestible? Our number one tip is to break up your text wherever you can. No one likes gigantic walls of text (except maybe literature students).
Liberal use of subheadings, images, diagrams and bullet points is encouraged – anything that adds colour and space to your post or improves its flow.
2. Keep Sentences And Paragraphs Short And To The Point
Short sentences are where it’s at. Unless you’re James Joyce, no one’s going to applaud your long sentences. Use short ones. The shorter the better. They’ll give your writing a natural rhythm. They’ll also encourage your readers to keep reading. This is the name of the game.
In fact, if we switch back to longer sentences after using a sequence of shorter ones, we think that this will illustrate what we’re trying to say better than any other example ever could, while also making sure you don’t miss the point. Get it?
3. Cut Out The Jargon
Your blogs need to be accessible to everyone, not just those who are au fait with your industry. Always opt for the simplest way of explaining something. Unless a piece of jargon is super relevant and clearly explained, ditch it.
For example, we could tell you that for the best writing rhythm, you should try to utilise iambic pentameter. But most people won’t know what this is and that’s absolutely fine (unless you’re writing a blog about Shakespearean sonnets, of course – we hear there’s a good buck in that racket…), so we generally stick to terminology that’s clear and commonly understood.
4. Dip A Toe In The Warm, Inviting Waters Of Metaphor
This is one of the top formatting tips for blogs. Metaphors are a great way to keep your writing dynamic and interesting. They can also help to get a point or idea across, making it easily graspable for your audience. We used one in the intro of this article by comparing badly written blogs with impenetrable fortresses. There’s another in the title of this section.
Metaphors can be your best writing friend. They can also be your worst enemy if you overuse them. Make sure your chosen metaphor underlines the point you’re trying to make, rather than convoluting it like an unfinished motorway junction at an extremely busy intersection (technically a simile, but the point still stands).
5. Hit Up Hemingway For A Helping Hand
No, not Ernest. The app named after him. This handy little tool will highlight any grievous writing errors of which you’ve fallen afoul.
Reading your work back to yourself will only get you so far. If you want some genuine peace of mind or feel like writing isn’t your strong suit, chuck it all into Hemingway and scrub it up ’til it’s sparkling clean.