How to make your blog posts super reader-friendly

Welcome back to my on-going Blogger Series, where every Thursday I upload a post with information and tips for those who interested in starting their own blog.   This week’s post is about the blog post itself.

Blogger Series: How to make your blog posts super reader-friendly. What to consider with your blog post layouts

This article is mostly focusing on the body of the blog post.  I will cover specific aspects, such as titles, tags and pictures, in later posts so I can go into more details with them.

Include an Introduction

An introduction to the post should be short, sweet and give the reader a quick idea what the post is going to be about.

Try not to start your posts with long-winded stories that take forever to get to the point.  Just a few lines are enough to introduce the blog post.

You may notice I have an intro to my blog posts.  I like to have these above the image.  The reason for this is when you search a blog for a topic, the articles can be listed with the title and the first few lines.

See the example below:

Example of what is shown when you do a search in a blog. This is why an introduction on the blog post is important.

If the image had been put first, there would have just been a title and no description of the post.

Just something to consider.

Make your paragraphs easy to scan

We are a society of scanners.  Most people will scan an article before they fully read it (if they even decide to read it at all).

Make sure your post is accessible and easy to read.  To do this, you want short paragraphs of just a few lines each.

No-one and I mean NO-ONE likes being faced with a wall of text.  Even if, in terms of correct paragraph structure, your paragraph SHOULD be 20 lines long, we still don’t want it.  Don’t allow the correct paragraph structure to make your blog unreadable.

If you read my blog on a PC or laptop you will mostly notice that my paragraphs are no more than 3-4 lines long.  I almost never go past this.

Firstly, short paragraphs are nicer, bite-size chunks that people can scan or read quickly.  A quick pass over the article shows there are no long-winded paragraphs that are not easy to read on a screen.

Secondly, and more importantly, if you write long paragraphs… just imagine how big those become when viewed on a mobile device.  We must always consider our blogs via other devices.

Make use of Headings

Like short paragraphs, headings make a post easy to scan.  They break up the text and should give an indication of what the next section is going to cover.  This allows the reader to skip ahead if they wish to.

However, while they do add a style and different font size, headings on a blog have another function.  They are important to search engines.

When Google scans a website or post, it searches the Header tags for relevant keywords.  This is why headings should be used and also why they should indicate what the following section is about.

Simply put, headings have an SEO value that helps your content during ranking.  (I will cover SEO in more detail in a later post).

A heading is not just some bolded text.  It is specifically tagged text.

To add a heading, simply type the text you want to be a heading and highlight.  Now, go to your blog post menu.  You will see the text structure format option is usually set to Paragraph.

See the example below (highlighted in red):

Image of a blog post menu bar in WordPress.com

Click this and a drop-down menu will show you the heading options you can select.

See the example below:

Image of the blog post menu showing the header options.

It is suggested that your main headers be Heading 1 (H1) with the other headers used as sub-headings to break down the section and give further clarification.  It’s also recommended you shouldn’t need more than 3 heading sizes.

Also, the heading sizes should be used in this order so if you use H2, then H3 and H4 should be your sub-heading sizes.

Personally, I don’t use Heading tags as well as I should as H1 should be the main heading size.  However, I made the choice to use H3 for my headings as I found H1 and H2 were too big and ruined the look of my posts.

I am aware this may have affected my SEO but that was a choice I made and I’m happy with that.

Consider adding a colour scheme

Adding a colour scheme to a blog post can also make your post reader-friendly.  Like the short paragraphs and the headings, colour allows you to make these breaks in the text that make scanning the post easier.

I use colour in my headings as well as my intro and footer.  I personally like how this looks because it brightens up the post, draws the eye and easily identifies the specific areas.

If you decide to add colour, I suggest you stick to no more than three and use them carefully.  I use a specific shade for my headings, another for the intro and footer and another for small sub-headings etc.

I also use different colours for different post categories.

Blue – This colour scheme is used in my Guest Post articles.

Red – This colour scheme is used on my Monthly Goals articles.

Green – This colour scheme is used on my World Building series.

The Read More Tag

Depending on the length of your blog posts, you might want to consider inserting a Read More tag.  This is where only part of your post is visible on your blog timeline and the rest can be accessed via a link that says “continue reading”.

See the example below:

The Read More Tag. Continue reading tag. Image showing what it looks like.

This is how my posts are set out.  Intro, then the blog image and then the Read More tag.

From this, I get a nice consistent look on my blog timeline and if anyone is scrolling they can read the intro and decide if they want to read on, or just continue scrolling to the next article.

If you have a long article and no Read More tag, then people have to scroll through the whole article to see the previous post.

To add a Read More tag, simply decide whereabouts on your post you want to insert it and place your cursor at that point.

As mentioned, I like it just after the image without further text as the intro can be enough to catch a reader’s attention.  To do this, I place my cursor on the line just below the image.

Then select the Read More tag option from the blog post menu bar.

See the example below (highlighted in red):

Blog post menu image highlighting the read more tag option

While you are in your blog editor view, the Read More tag will appear as a dotted line.  It is only on the published view that it shows as a link.

See the example below:

Image of the Read More tag as seen within the blog post editor

Add links to your posts

If possible and only when used in context to your current post, include links to other posts you’ve written.

These are considered internal links (External links are when you link to websites outside of your own blog).

Internal links can be a useful tool.  Firstly, to your readers, as they don’t have to search for related topics so improves navigation.  Connected topics can be linked into your blog post allowing them to read more on the subject.

Secondly, as with so much, it’s great for SEO as it can have an effect on the way search engines view your site and improve ranking.

Thirdly, internal links give people more incentive to remain on your site.  The longer on your site, the more likely for engagement and interaction.

Things to consider in regards to adding links:

Context is key – As mentioned, you must include links in context.  Don’t just fill a blog post full of numerous internal links that have nothing to do with the current post.  That is most likely to drive a reader away.

Avoid “click here” – Always write out a sentence of the original blog post title you are linking too.  Avoid using “check out this post here” or “click here” or anything else that does not state what the article is about.  Again, it’s not SEO helpful.

Link to words, not URL strings – Your link text should be words, not a long URL string.  For example, if I wanted to link to my Facebook Author Page and an article on creating an author website, this is how it should look:

Facebook Author Page

Create an author website

The links to these two pages are connected to the simple words.  Nice to read, good for SEO.

What you don’t want to do is have a long URL tag as the link.  See below:

https://www.facebook.com/writerarimeghlen/

https://arimeghlen.co.uk/2016/08/05/how-to-create-an-awesome-author-website/

These are ugly, not easy to read and not SEO friendly.

When to open in a new tab – If you are linking to an external site, always select the “open in a new window/tab” option.  This makes sure your blog is still open so the reader can quickly come back to it.

If you direct the reader to an external link which closes your blog and opens the new website, the chances are they won’t come back to your blog.

To add links to your blog post, simply type out the words you want to be a link, highlight them and select the link icon in the menu.

Image of blog post menu with link icon highlighted

This will open up a new dialogue box.  There is a URL box where you would paste in the full URL of the website or blog post you want to link to.  The Link Text is the text you highlighted and then there is a tick box option for Open in a new window/tab.

See the example below:

Image of link dialogue box on blog post

It will also give you a list of your posts in order that you can select if you don’t have the URL copied.  Though unless I’m linking to a recently written post, it’s quicker just to have the URL copied.

Blog post length

There has been a lot of changes in the blogging world over the last few years.  One hot topic that keeps cropping up is blog post length.

Originally it was considered that smaller posts (300 – 700 words) were best and any topic too long should be broken over several posts.

In the last year or so, however, there has been an apparently shift.  Analystics are now showing longer posts (over 1K at least and anything up to 4k) are preferred by readers.

Now, here is my opinion on this.  I personally could not get through all the blogs I read if every post from every blogger was over 1K words.  I just don’t have that kind of time to dedicate to reading blogs.  (Or writing blog posts that long either!)

Also, it has been said that for Author Websites, readers don’t want constantly long posts.  So things like niche can play a part too.

However, on the other side of this is the idea that SOME posts should be long.  Take this post for example.  I am already up to 2000+ words and that’s okay.  (Kudos to all of you who have read this far!)

Most of my blog posts are between 400 and 700 words (closer to the 700 mark) because that is what my readers seem to enjoy.

However, the more detailed I need to go, such as this post where I am covering a lot of specifics, longer is better (especially if broken up with headers!). 

By mixing long and short posts throughout my blog, I am covered with search engines who are apparently prioritising longer posts without overwhelming my readers every time I post.

A quick look at consistency

Consistency is my go-to buzz word at the moment.  But it’s a good thing to keep in mind.  I’ve already discussed the importance of consistency in my 8 things you need to know before starting a blog post for things like posting frequency.  Now let’s consider it in layout terms.

I keep my blog posts as consistent as possible.  Everything from an intro, headings in a specific colour, layout with my Read More tag to the image placement and the footer/sign off.

My readers know what to expect, there’s a familiarity with the layout and look.  It all adds to that my branding.  So, consider what you want your layout to look like and consider remaining consistent with it.

Lastly, encourage interaction with a call to action

Just something as simple as including a question of your readers at the end of your post or asking them to follow or share if they like the content.

These can be the triggers that encourage engagement and start interactions, which is what you want.

Did you find this useful?  For those seasoned bloggers, did you learn something new or do you have some advice of your own to share? 

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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To everyone who made it all the way through this article, thank you so much!  Your support and encouragement mean the world to me.  I am having a blast with these Blogger Series posts.

I’ll be back tomorrow, see you then.  As always, leave me your thoughts in the comments below and if you want to see something specific on this blog, drop me a message.

Happy writing

Ari

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14 thoughts on “How to make your blog posts super reader-friendly

  1. Pingback: How to write powerful blog headlines to attract readers | Ari Meghlen – Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

    • It’s not the size, it’s the heading tag.

      I believe the seo importance is put on H1, heading 1 tags which is the largest size as it’s designed to be the main heading, with each subsequent size designed to be sub headings, sub-sub headings, etc

      I

  2. Thank you, Ari. This is incredibly informative. This will be bookmarked. I am still in the learning phase. Whenever I see something that I can improve on is a huge plus. Thanks!

    • Aww thanks Bryan I appreciate your comment. I am glad it was informative, I wanted to out everything I’d learnt into that post which did make it pretty long but at least it covered everything I wanted to 😊

    • Hi hun, thanks for your comment. I am glad you like the tips and I hope they help.

      I know how you feel, I had been trying to up my blog game for a while and it wasn’t really until last year that I was about to really give it a kick in the right direction.

      Blogging takes so much work, but at least it’s fun

    • Thanks for reading Yari, I know what you mean. When I went back through to update all my old posts (which has been a massive job) I realised how little colour there was.

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