Do you make these 5 formatting mistakes?
January 6, 2017
Keep people on-page longer with simple scannability
Sometimes, it’s not what you say — it’s how you say it.
Does your blog or site have a high bounce rate? It’s possible readers have trouble scanning your content.
These days, folks just usually skim a piece so they can find the details they’re most interested in. Help guide them through your piece, and you’ll keep them on the page.
Here are some easy formatting tips:
1. Hook readers with a great title
Most folks judge a blog by its title. They share articles with juicy headings, but sometimes don’t even read the content! It’s all about that snap judgement.
Think long and hard about that blog title— it could determine whether or not people share it.
Here are some handy rules of thumb:
- Always focus on the benefits to the reader. How will this piece help them specifically?
- Use enticing adjectives. Words like secret, exclusive and astonishing create a sense of intrigue.
- Be a little vague. Don’t give your details away. Tease them.
- Seduce readers with valuable insider knowledge, like an easy tip or a local perspective. Something useful, but different from what they’ve already seen.
- Imply that readers can avoid something negative. People are more motivated to avoid negatives than gain positives, so ease their pain points.
2. Bait your audience with headers
They clicked? Great. Now you need to convince him to keep going.
Concise headers can guide a reader through the page. For one thing, they space out content and prevent text chunks from looking too overwhelming. And, they sum up sections of content. Busy readers love that extra help to find what they want!
3. Break it up
Lengthy paragraphs are great for novels or biographies, but they don’t translate well online. In fact, computer screens tire eyes faster than printed media.
Keep your readers’ batteries charged with bullet points or numbered lists. They help with easy scanning, break up paragraph sections and enhance your page’s visual appeal.
4. Paragraphs need styling, too
What if you don’t need a list? That’s OK, but you still need to consider how paragraphs look.
Here’s where you won’t go wrong: keep your content left justified. Content that’s left justified keeps readers on track. Readers can easily find the next sentence— unlike centered paragraphs, for example, which have ragged lines.
And forget that juvenile high school rule about standard paragraph length. 1 good sentence can stand on its own.
5. Bold is best
If you want to call attention to a point— and you should, to help your key ideas stand out— avoid italics. Slanted text is difficult to see. Also, some fonts blend letters together.
What’s the most effective solution? Bolding key text is your best bet. But as with most things, moderation is key. Try not to highlight too much, or too frequently.
For more advanced formatting tips, try these topics: