I’m a huge fan of simple, efficient and uncomplicated blog posts. In today’s post on blogging tips we’re going to look at the winning formula behind blog post layouts. The truth is that we’re all guilty of skim reading online, and with so much information being fed to the internet on a daily basis, that doesn’t look likely to change any time soon. So when a new reader arrives on your blog for the very first time, they not only expect a great article with useful information and beautiful photos, but they also expect a seamless process that allows them to decide in 20 seconds or less whether they will read the post in its’ entirety, save it for later, or click the ‘x’ in the corner of the screen. So now you’re probably wondering how to ensure they don’t opt for number three? Here are the best tips for laying out your blog posts to ensure readers love what they see!
1. Format Each Blog Post
Lets start with an obvious one, but just as obviously the most important point to make: formatting your posts. Before you even begin to write your post, no matter how instant the surge of inspiration comes to you, it is important to create a quick (even if it is in dot points for the moment) format of your blog post. Just as you would write an essay at school, you will need a beginning, middle and end of your blog posts. That means a quick but handy overview for an introduction, a body of useful information, and a conclusion to wrap up or give your readers a call to action. Within the body of the post is where you will place your imagery, headings and subheadings.
2. Constrain Column Width
This point is not so much within the blog post itself, but concerning the formatting of your blog as a whole. As your readers and potential readers will likely skim an article before devoting the time to read it, you will need to have a clear, slim area where the actual blog post will appear (beside the sidebar). By constraining the column width you are making it easier for readers to keep their pace of reading and not get lost in a long puzzle of text right across the length of the page.
3. Break up with Headers & Sub-headers
Another point on skim reading is that a reader will be looking for key topic headings to know where to get the information they are looking for. By way of example, if you read a post on this blog about a destination, the contents of that blog post will be split up into useful transport information (i.e. the basics of getting to and fro), accommodation, food, activities, and adventures beyond that destinations. That way, readers can go straight to the piece of information they are looking for if they are only interested in reading about food or accommodation, not the entire destination as a whole.
4. Use the right photos
Your blog photos are perhaps the single biggest tool for a reader to determine whether or not they would like to read your post (combined with a catchy title). When a reader arrives on your blog post (assuming the title and display image caught their attention), they will then proceed to skim through the article and if the photos catch their eye, they will continue to read the article in its entirety – thus showing the importance behind those blog images.
5. Keep it simple & concise
There are great places for essays and novels but realistically, that is not (generally) on a blog. Be sure to edit your writing style down to a clear, simple and concise word limit so that your readers feel as if they’re getting all the information they need in as little time as possible – its a winning formula!
6. Choose your font carefully
The colour, size and font family on your blog should be easy to read, easy to follow, and visually aesthetic. Never choose something to fancy that isn’t easy to read.
7. Consistency is Key
Now that you’ve got readers loving your new articles, you’ve got to work to keep them there. That’s where consistency comes in to play and believe me when I say these three all-too-important words: quality over quantity. It is important to note that while consistency is key, you should never publish something you aren’t proud of as it could very well be the last article a dedicated reader ever reads!
8. Find your voice
Blogs are supposed to be fun, personalised experiences that leaves the reader feeling connected to the blogger (after all, building a community is what it is all about!) Thus you should try to sound as much like yourself in your writing as you do in person. If you’re witty, great! Use that wit in your writing and remind readers every day why they love to read your articles – because of your personal touch!
9. Use Lists
Lists are a pretty hot topic of debate – are they substantial enough or are we saturating the internet? I’m of the opinion that lists are great as they allow readers to skim articles and jump straight to the section of the article that is most important to them. Lists are also a great way for you to produce content in a clear, concise manner and not get bogged down in the text of the blog post.
10. Finish with a call to action
One of my favourite ways to end an article and subsequently what has allowed me to connect with readers on a much deeper level is to finish my articles with a call to action – that is, asking them for their contribution. This not only lets the reader feel more connected as they’re chatting back with you in a two-way conversation, but also allows you as a blogger to get feedback on your posts and know what readers are most interested in reading about next!
So with that, over to you! Have you recently started a blog? What blogging tips would you like to see next on World of Wanderlust?