What if I told you that the single biggest factor impacting the number of blog readers you have has nothing to do with your content?
You could write the absolute BEST post ever, full of witty comments, helpful stats, quality content with a unique voice… all that jazz. But no one could read it.
It all comes down to formatting.
Formatting your blog post to be easily readable is SUPER important. I cannot stress this enough.
The key to getting more people to read your blog is to make your content easy to read (no Shakespearean language like ‘furthermore’ and ‘perchance’). And the best way to do that? Make it skimmable.
Skimmable is the new black when it comes to content.
In fact, visitors only read about 20% of the text on a webpage. 20%! So you better make your point obvious, and hook ‘em early, yo.
How to Grow Your Blog With Skimmable Content
Here are some surefire strategies to make your blog posts easy to read.
Use a Maximum of 2-3 Sentences Per Paragraph
Yep, include LOTS of line breaks to keep everything separated. The extra white space keeps the user’s eye moving down the page easily.
A good rule of thumb? If it feels like you included too many line breaks, then you probably have enough. Lol.
Studies have shown people read content in an F shape, suggested that their eyes move from left to right, gradually dropping off later in the article. Could be loss of interest, but more likely it’s because they got tired of reading and searching for the answer to their question in the endless paragraphs of text.
People are searching for answers to their problem or question QUICKLY. So, deliver it to them quickly.
The most skimmable content format alive is a list, so make good use of them if it fits your topic.
For example, I could have made this post a list… haaaa. It kind of is. But even better than sections broken up with headings is a bullet list to capture your key points, like this:
- Sour Cream
- Mini Eggs
- …aka my dinner tonight ????
Break up chunks of content with visuals — images, videos, infographics, etc.
People love visuals. They’ll stop skimming a post to register the visual, and it helps give the rest of your post context, as well as separate key areas.
I like to do this by incorporating GIFs… because I’m a nerd.
If you’re talking about data, make it into an infographic! People love seeing visual data, and it’s great for sharing on social media too.
You don’t have to be a rockstar designer to create infographics. Free online tools like Canva and Venngage let you easily put together pro looking infographics.
Like this one… (I didn’t make it.)
Use Headings and Subheadings
So, you need to break up your content into short paragraphs of a few sentences each. You also want to break that content up into sections.
You can do this by including headings and subheadings. That’s what I’m doing here. “Use Headings and Subheadings” above is a heading.
Headings are also great for SEO, as you can use your keyword in it. Search engines love to scan H1 and H2 tags to look for key phrases. For example, my keyword for this post is “grow your blog”.
A good rule of thumb is that your blog post title is your H1 tag, and headings within your post are H2s.
If you use WordPress, here’s what those options look like in your post editor:
Bold the Important Info
Nothing’s more skim-friendly than bolding, pal!
Without overdoing it, you want to bold certain phrases in your content that are super important. Like this sentence here.
See what I did there.
It draws the reader in, and makes them stop skimming – even just for a moment – to read that sentence. It must be important if the author took the time to bold it, right?
Use bolding sparingly. Using it well will make your readers love you for drawing their attention to the key points, quickly and easily.
I haven’t always focused on being skimmable — some of my earliest posts last year use big long paragraphs because I treated blog writing like academic or professional writing. It’s not!
Yes, you can write about academic topics and professional topics, but blogging is not essay writing.
Blogging, in most cases, is for quick consumption. People are searching for a question and want an answer NOW.
There are many cases where longform content works in blogging – real journalism focused sites and stories, for one. (Psst – one of my faves is longreads.org!)
But for most applications, especially B2B businesses, blogging needs to be concise, actionable and skimmable.
Try out these formatting tips and watch your audience grow. 😉
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