Imagine standing at the bottom of a mountain and staring straight up at the sheer rock face. Climbing it would probably seem impossible from that angle, even though behind it, there was an easy walk up a ridge. If that were your only view of the mountain, you would probably give up before even starting.
That’s what you are doing to your readers when you present them with a giant block of text. Just as you looked up at the intimidating rock face, your readers scan to the bottom of the page and say to themselves, “Uh-huh…no way!” The reason is you haven’t given them an easy route to get to (in this case) the bottom.
You probably do the same every day without even realizing what you are doing or why. You open an email from a colleague and see that it’s a long, rambling discussion of who-knows-what and instead of wading through it, you close the email and move onto the next task, thinking to yourself, “I’ll read that later.”
Repeat after me: Just say, NO to giant blocks of text.
7 Simple Ways to Make Your Blog Posts More Reader-Friendly
#1: No Giant Blocks of Text – Yes, that’s what your English teacher taught you in grade school, but Mrs. Spelling isn’t reading your blog so don’t worry about it. Big blocks of text don’t give your readers any place to rest and online that spells disaster as it’s easier to lose your place on the page.
#2: Use Titles and Subtitles – This technique goes by many names, double readership path is a common one, but basically what it means is using titles and subtitles to break up the text and give the scanners the ability to read down the page quickly and get the gist of what the post is about. Leave it to the detail people to dive into the paragraphs.
#3: Pay Attention to Textography – Use different font styles, colors or sizes to make key ideas stand out. Watch for long sections where the textography remains uniform as that makes it more difficult for your readers.
#4: Add White Space – Again, remember this is not a book where your readers can place their finger on the page to keep track of their place. Give them lots of white space in between paragraphs, titles and bullet point lists to make it easier to read quickly.
#5: Use Bullet Points and Lists – Short, concise bullet points and numbered lists make it easy to share a lot of information in a condensed format and makes your document easier to scan.
#6: Keep It Short and Sweet – Cut down paragraph and sentence lengths. Half the battle is convincing readers they have time to read your entire post. Break longer discussions into short, easy-to-read paragraphs. Even if the amount of information stays the same, that one change alone will vastly improve your readability.
#7: Add Helpful Graphics – Whenever possible, break up text with images or graphics that illustrate your point. There’s a reason a picture is worth a thousand words.