Writing great content is, of course, incredibly important. But even if your content is substantively great, if you don't know how to format a blog post, that content might not get read.
Here are a few crucial rules for how to format a blog post.
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Why blog post formatting is important
Let's start here. Over 55% of readers stay on a page for 15 seconds or less. That is not a lot of time.
People reading on the internet skim and scan. They don't sit down and read thoroughly top to bottom.
So while of course having great content is a big part of the plan, you should also be following certain blog post formatting rules to catch the reader's interest and keep them on the page.
“So while you’ve crafted the perfect headline and you’ve written a quality piece of content, if your formatting is all sorts of chaos, your reader will likely jump ship before they even give your content a shot.”Blogging Wizard
So let's talk about how to format your blog posts.
Blog post formatting tip 1: Use headings in your blog posts
You should be used headings in your blog posts.
And to be clear, I don't mean manually making text bigger and bold. I mean using the proper formatting buttons to code them as Heading 1, 2, or 3 (which will also make them look big and bold).
This serves two purposes.
First, it makes your content easier to read for people who are skimming it. It also makes it more visually interesting.
Second, when text is coded as a heading, it signals to Google that it's important. So headings are a great place to put SEO keywords. This can not only help with your blogging format, but can also help you rank on Google.
“When you break your post into sections with different headings, readers can quickly scan to find the section they’re interested in reading. Or they can get the gist of the article without reading the whole thing.”11web.com
You should not write a blog post without properly formatted headings.
How to insert headings into a blog post
Formatting text as a heading is easy.
Just highlight the text you want to format. Then you'll see a menu like this pop up:
Press the ribbon icon on the left side and you'll see an option for “Heading.” Click that.
It will automatically format is an H2 heading. But if you want it to be an H3 heading, highlight it again and then click the H2 icon in the middle of the toolbar and select H3 instead.
When should you use different headings?
Heading 1: Your blog post title will be automatically formatted as H1. This should be the only H1 heading, do not use any others.
Headings 2 and 3: H2 and H3 are the ones you should use in your blog posts. Use H2 to break your text into sections. And if you have subsections, use H3. (See what I've done in this blog post section as an example for your format).
Headings 4-6: WordPress offers you six headings, but you should really only use the first three. Using more than that just makes things complicated and there's really no reason to do it.
Blog post formatting tip 2: Use short paragraphs in your blog posts
You probably learned in 8th grade language arts class that proper paragraphs are 5 sentences long.
I regret to inform you that that is not the way things work online.
Your blog post paragraphs should be 1-3 sentences. Period.
People skim and scan when they're reading stuff online, and a huge block of text will just get skipped right over.
So break things up. Stick to 1-3 sentences (like I'm doing here).
This is a blog post best practice that takes some time to get used to.
Blog post formatting tip 3: Use images in your blog posts
It's always a good idea to include a few images in your blog post.
It helps break up the text and grabs the reader's attention.
Plus, some of what you're saying might actually be benefitted by an image. But even if it's not, throw in a stock image once in a while. (I highly recommend Pixistock for this…amazing stock photos and TONS of Canva templates).
Most blog format examples you'll come across will include a few photos per article.
Blog post formatting tip 4: Format your text in other ways
You should take advantage of other ways to format your text.
Here are some ways you can do that:
- Use bold and/or italics for emphasis
- Use a bullet point list (*cough* like this one)
- Use a numbered list
- Use a stylized quote (you can see some in this post)
Not to be a broken record, but these kinds of things catch the reader's eye and stop the skim.
I use formatting wherever I can to grab the reader's attention and keep them on my page, getting the insight they need from my formatted blog post.
Blog post formatting tip 5: Use a readable font in your blog posts
This one probably goes without saying, but you'd be surprised how many times I've clicked on an interesting post on Pinterest and been taken to a blog post where the font was basically unreadable.
For obvious reasons, this is only going to hurt you.
So, first, make sure the actual font is easy on the eyes. Don't use a script font for your body text.
Second, make sure that the font size is legible. Blog post best practices say to use front above size 12, preferably at size 14 or 16.
And third, make sure that the color is legible (no super light grays or fonts that blend into blogging format backgrounds).
For safety, ask someone else to look at it before you launch.
Blog post formatting tip 6: Use links in your blog posts
Your blog posts should always contain both inbound links (links to your own site) and outbound links (links to other sites).
Including these types of links is good for SEO.
Plus, including inbound links (like to your other blog posts) is a good way to keep the reader on your site for longer.
So those are the rules for how to format a blog post! Hopefully that helped!
Let me know in the comments if you have other rules you follow!
More blog tips you'll love:
- How to Create an Online Course: 7 Tools You'll Need
- How to Create a Resource Library on WordPress
- What To Do Before and After Publishing a Blog Post
- The Best WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
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