5 Ways Formatting Can Improve Your Content for Web & Print

October 3, 2013

You’ve just hit “publish” to send your baby out into the world (wide web). Your blog article is snappy, informative, and drips with pure, creative genius. You even selected an eye-catching graphic to give your readers a little something extra when they sit down to read your post.

But, days go by, and nothing happens. No one is reading your post, which you worked so hard on — what gives?

These days, busy and impatient readers need more from their content than mere information or entertainment. They need something quickly digestible that can be consumed on their smartphone while standing in line at Starbucks.

The best way to make your web content more user-friendly is to format it to the hilt, making it pleasing to the eyes and easy on the brain. Take some of the work out of reading your content with these five formatting tips for optimal usability.

1.  Give them a break

Break down content — especially complex content — by inserting lots of white space. This white space will appear less daunting to your readers. Stick to one idea per paragraph, and keep your sentences short.

2.  Organize with lists

Readers love bulleted lists, and here’s why:

  • They want to see what makes the cut and in what order.
  • They can easily scan the information, even while multitasking.
  • They like the visual break in your content, so they are more likely to keep reading.

See how well that works?

3.  Link it to them

Create internal links within your content, leading readers to your most important archival content, to keep them on your site.

Create external links to show you’ve done your research and to want to give credit where it’s due.

Linking wherever you can will build credibility and showcase your previous work.

4.  Compel them with subheads

Writing “mini headlines” keeps readers moving through your content, and keeps them engaged. Prepare them for what they’re about to read, especially as you transition from one point to the next.

Write compelling subheads, but don’t overhype what will follow — be sure to deliver on your subheads’ promises.

5.  Captivate with deep captions

Web users tend to look at images first, so if your content includes images, use deep captions to deliver information at the first point of contact.

A deep caption is two or three sentences long, and it entices readers to check out the rest of your article.

These easy tips will help readers move through your great content with ease. Did I miss any formatting tips you use to engage readers? Share your best formatting tips in the comments section below.


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