In my last post about Blogging I covered Hooks, PAS & Call to Action.
In this post I will cover text layout, pagination and a few more things which lose readers if you do not get them right.
I know some of you have written books and are using Blogging to help promote and market them, while others only write Blogs. The common factor is that people from both camps, the experienced and amateur writer, frequently write blogs appallingly, some get it so wrong that you just cannot read them.
A well written and formed Blog is a discipline all of its own!
I shall try and explain, without getting too technical, where you could be going wrong and how to make your Blog more appealing.
But first let’s take a look at something simple, the Blog layout, or as it is called here on WordPress the ‘theme’.
In the publishing industry the ‘page layout’, includes text, titling, sub-headings, numeric, and images. Deciding on this ‘layout’ is an important factor in the success your Blog will have.
WordPress and other Blogging sites often have templates to assist with this.
Clearly the theme you choose has to suit the type of Blog you write. The various posts you produce must not only sit comfortably with the page format, but should be easy on the eye of the reader. This sounds obvious, but honestly so many Blogs are confusing or distracting to the eye.
Here are my suggestions for a clear, easily read Blog layout which will make it effortless to read and keep people engaged for much longer.
- To start with a pure white background can be glaring and harsh on the eye, so choose a soft palate, pale or pastel shades work well.
- Try to avoid black or very dark colours which necessitate reverse print. (e. white text on black background). Again this can cause eye strain and can be disquieting.
Ok, you may have a fantasy or vampire Blog and want to portray a dark mood, but please try a mid-grey or maybe a lighter red. You can still create the ‘mood’ with good graphics and images.
- Next choose a font for your headlines and sub-headings. Keep the same typestyle for both throughout your post, just alter the font size.
Then select a font for your main text.
Try and keep to just these two fonts, (The heading / Sub-heading and body text), use a third if you think it is really necessary but bear in mind that using more font styles will only make your post look messy and amateurish.
When using just these two font styles you will be able to play about with them in many ways; Bold, Italics, Underline, Strikethrough, block quotes, and font sizes (Point size).
This should give you a mass of flexibility whilst maintaining a smooth uniform and professional look to your post.
- Consider also how your words will look on the page as a whole. Take a lead from the newspaper and magazine publishers. Break your Blog into two (or three) columns. This makes it far easier to read. I know this from my experience of working on high end glossy magazines such as the Conde Nast Vogue, Vanity Fair and others like Boat International and Robb Report.
While two columns mean your reader will have to scroll back to the top of each page to continue reading, this is an intuitive reaction and does not detract from their overall enjoyment. Whereas trying to read elongated lines of text from page edge to page edge is not such a natural act, it is more akin to standing near a large poster and having to twist your head to read it all.
- Break your text up occasionally with a relevant picture, sketch or diagram. Images attract and hold attention and create curiosity by those ‘scanning’ the page. You are more likely to gain and hold people’s attention when you include images. But do make them relevant and, unless you have a pure pictorial Blog, do not over do it!
Once again take a lead from the professionals, look at both print and online magazines to get ideas that you can employ on your own site.
- Unlike newspapers and glossy magazines online publications have the effect of ‘cramming’ the written word. This is why all publishers like writers to submit their manuscripts with ‘double –line spacing’.
A constant and consistent block of words on a computer, tablet or ‘phone screen is very difficult to read if not spaced and ‘broken up’ into bite sized pieces.
You will note that I have done precisely that within this post.
If this post was intended to be printed, say in a paperback book, then my paragraphs would be longer and not divided into these smaller clusters of a few sentences for each paragraph.
- Another consideration for this is that many people do not have excellent eyesight, or suffer with varying degrees of dyslexia, whilst others may not read English, or whatever language you write in, as their first or primary language.
By breaking your paragraphs into small sections you are helping to be inclusive of these conditions or learning needs, which I think is a good thing.
- If your post has an instructive, educational or coaching bent, as does this, then using ‘bullet points’ is a great way to determine each subject change within the string.
Otherwise employ the use of block quotations to highlight or firm-up your major opinions or facts.
- Lastly consider the length of each post. You will not hold everyone’s attention for ever!
So if you do have a lot to say, or a large amount of information you wish to share, consider dividing your subject matter into two or more posts.
I do hope you find the above some use when considering writing your next Blog, especially when taken in conjunction with my previous post ‘Stop writing boring Blogs’!
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