First impressions are lasting impressions.
Online, first impressions begin with your design.
Your blog’s format and layout is one of the most important, but overlooked aspects.
It really can make or break you.
Because people scan. They’re distracted and stressed. So they will only read something that piques their interest.
You have to grab their attention immediately. And then keep them engaged.
That won’t happen unless your blog makes them drool.
Here are 5 tips of how to format your blog.
1. Inverted order
Most media writing is in the inverted pyramid form.
This puts the most important point at the beginning, and then goes on to give more detail.
Basically, it tells the story backwards. It gives you the punchline, and follows up with the supporting information.
2. Short lines and paragaphs
It’s always best to use short lines. It makes it easier to read quickly.
If it was good enough for Hemingway, then I think it’s good enough for us.
Short paragraphs are also important. They help readers scan text and consume content at a quicker pace.
Most people glaze over when they look at large blocks of text. They’ll usually only read the intro and ending.
3. Narrow columns
Narrow columns refers to the width of your text.
You want to make the actual lines of text shorter to keep people engaged and reading quickly.
The best widths are somewhere between 500 – 800 pixels. Shorter is better (100 characters per line), but not always practical. Combined with short lines and paragraphs, this makes your content so much easier to read and scan.
4. Large text
Larger font sizes on the internet also work better. Feel free to go up to size 14 or 16.
Again, this makes it much easier to read your text and simplifies what people are focusing on.
A good example is the new Forbes website. They use large text and minimal design to help people focus on the actual content first.
5. Headings, Breaks, Bullets
Headings, line breaks and bullets all help to break up the text and help people scan.
Headings break your work into smaller chunks. It’s much harder to keep reader long prose without knowing where you’re going.
Line breaks actually create more white space in between parts of your content. I like to use them before Headings, and after images to give more “breathing room” to each chunk of information.
Bullets help people skip to the details and let people acquire information in sequential format. This improves reading speed and retention of your information.
When all of these things work together, you give readers the best possible position. Low commitment to investing time in your work, and the upside of high rewarding content.