How to Make Your Blog Posts Visually Appealing- Part 2 Text and ContentThursday, August 08, 2013
So here's part two of my newbie blogger series "how to make your blog posts look visually appealing." As with part one most of these are things I was guilty of myself when I first started out, and hopefully it will help you from making the same silly mistakes. In fear of sounding like some kind of blogging police, let me just say that your blog can look however you want- but these are things that personally put me off sticking around to read someone's content (and so will probably be putting other people off too). You can check your 'average visit duration' on Google Analytics, if you find people are quickly leaving your blog it might be worth seeing if a few of these tweaks make a difference. Although your actual content is always the most important thing you'd be surprised how many people wont stick around to read it, if it looks like too much hard work.
Centre or 'Justify' Your Text and Split it into Paragraphs
Which of the above looks easier, and more appealing to read? Large chunks of unformatted text is one of the number one ways of putting people off reading your content. Depending on the type of post, 'centre' or 'justify' definitely looks best. Even with just a small amount of text it's better to split it into relevant paragraphs, lets face it, we all like information in bite size chunks. As a general rule start a new paragraph every time you make a new point, and a paragraph should be at least four lines long. If for example you're writing a post about multiple products, it might be better to write a separate paragraph for each, with a subheading for each in bold. This allows a reader to easily see what the post is about and is much more appealing than one big paragraph of text. I never use the 'heading/subheading' option in Blogger because I find it can look messy, I simply use the 'bold' setting for titles.
Length of Blog PostsThis is one I'm guilty of, and know I tend to write longer than average blog posts. But if you notice that your post on a topic is starting to get very long you can always split it into 'part one and part two' or turn it into a series much like I've done with this topic. Also if you make sure your content is displayed nicely in relevant paragraphs it makes longer text much easier on the eye, and allows people to skim for exactly what they're looking for if they don't want to read through the entire post. On the other hand I think there's such a thing as blog posts that are too short as well, if you only have three lines to write on a topic it might be worth reconsidering. Regardless of how many words you intend on writing, a post that has an introduction, a middle and a concluding sentence or paragraph is well balanced and should give a reader all of the information they need.
Use a Font/ Colours That Are Easy To Read
Hyperlink TextIntegrating links into your text rather than typing out full website addresses makes everything flow much better. To link to another page, highlight the text you want to make clickable and click on the 'link' option in the toolbar in your post editor. It's also a good idea to tick the 'open in a new page' box too- that way people are not completely leaving your blog when checking out your links. If you're writing about a product, it's definitely beneficial to include a link to where a reader can buy it from if they're interested, so your posts should include useful links- be careful not to include too many though as it can look spammy. Linking to relevant previous blog posts you've written is another way to get older content seen, for example if you're mentioning a product in a post but already have a full review of it written up definitely use that opportunity to link to it.
Ask a Question at the End of Each Post
This encourages readers to get involved and comment on your content. It's also a nice way to sum up a post, usually I include a separate line at the end of each blog post with a question then a little image of my signature. I created my signature by writing my name on a drawing app on my ipad, but you can create any kind of post sign off on any basic photo editor.
Proof ReadI can't stress this one enough. Always proof read your blog posts, a couple of times if you can. We all make mistakes; whether it's silly typos, spelling and grammar errors or writing things that when you read them back just don't seem to make any sense. My posts are always full of mistakes before I proof read, and while a few will undoubtedly slip through you can correct the majority of errors just by having a quick read through. I know when you've written a post most of the time you're eager to get it published, but it only takes a few extra minutes to make sure you haven't written something silly and to make it as good as it can possibly be.
Do you/ did you do any of these things? What's your best blogging advice to someone first starting out?