On average, internet users spend less than one minute on a web page. With so much content available online, you might struggle to grab a visitor’s attention and encourage them to read your posts from start to finish.
The solution is to ensure that your content is both engaging and easy to read. A well-structured post can help you attract and retain visitors, and build a community of loyal followers.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of readability for your blog. We’ll then offer some tips to help you make your content more approachable.
Readability refers to the quality and legibility of a written piece. High readability means that readers can more quickly and easily process the information in front of them. Essentially, it is a measure of the efficiency with which you deliver your message to your target audience.
Improving readability can help you reduce bounce rates. This is because well-written content may encourage users to check out other posts on your blog.
Additionally, it can lead to higher engagement rates. For instance, readers might leave comments on your posts and share your content on social media. This may in turn improve your rankings in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
The way you structure your posts can also influence their readability. A good flow can keep readers engaged throughout. Additionally, incorporating visual elements such as images can make your posts more digestible.
Writing clear and engaging content can help you increase user engagement, improve your SEO, and make your blog more successful. Let’s take a look at some actionable tactics you can implement when it comes to structuring your posts.
While some blogs benefit from a conversational tone, you’ll want to be careful about too much buildup or empty prose early on. Your readers will want to get the answers they’re looking for quickly:
A lengthy introduction can turn readers away. Most users don’t want to wade through long paragraphs to get to the main topic. Getting right to the point will help you grab readers’ attention straight away and encourage them to continue reading.
This is also true for every section of your post. Leading in with relevant information or a quick overview of the section can help readers hone in on the areas that interest them. A few tightly-written paragraphs should be sufficient. Get too much longer, and you risk burying the lede.
Clear writing is a byproduct of clear thinking. If you’re not sure what you plan to write before you begin, you might struggle to create an article with an easy-to-follow structure.
The solution is to start every blog post with an outline.
An outline doesn’t need to be complex (though it certainly can be, if you find providing more detail in your outline is helpful when you start writing). You can start with the following basic elements:
Here is an example of what an outline might look like, using this blog post you’re reading right now: Topic: This blog post is about how to structure content for easy readability. It should tell the reader everything they need to know to make sure every blog post they publish is easy to read.
This is simple enough, right? To make things even easier, here is a template you can copy and paste into your writing app of choice (edit as necessary to fit your own needs):
You can use a plugin like Yoast SEO to check the readability of your WordPress posts:
This tool highlights issues that make your content difficult to read, such as long sentences and paragraphs. It also gives you a Flesch Reading Ease score and offers suggestions for improving your writing.
Walls of text aren’t very inviting. Breaking up paragraphs with images or videos can help improve the flow of your article and make it more engaging:
If you have content that combines text, images, and video, all the better. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but videos can be even more effective. Readers who don’t have the time (or patience) to read the entire article can watch the video instead. If they find it informative, they might share it with others or comment on your post.
With more users accessing blogs from mobile devices, you’ll want to ensure that your content is also digestible on smaller screens. Mobile users might get frustrated if they have to scroll through huge chunks of text to get all the information they need.
Moreover, a healthy mix of text and media can help you appeal to different types of viewers. One visitor might be looking for a quick answer, so they just skim through the text, while other users might be more interested in viewing your photos. Generally, including a visual element every 200 to 300 words is a good goal to aim for.
Using concise language can also help improve readability. Some bloggers opt for a more conversational tone, where detours and side stories are part of the charm. However, too much ‘fluff’ can prompt readers to look elsewhere if they think they can find the answers they want more quickly.
You’ll also want your blog posts to be skimmable and readers to feel like they’re moving quickly through your content. One way to achieve this is to use shorter sentences and paragraphs. Keeping sentences around 25 words or less and paragraphs to only two or three sentences will help your audience speed through the page.
Additionally, you’ll want to use short yet descriptive headings for every section of your site.
This is not only useful for SEO, but it also helps skimmers navigate to those parts of the post that they’re most interested in.
As a blogger, you might be tempted to use a creative typeface to make your blog stand out. However, fancy fonts can do more harm than good.
We recommend that you stick with common fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, and Trebuchet. These types are clear and crisp, and can therefore make your content easier to read.
Fonts that mimic cursive writing are more difficult to read. The same applies to colored fonts and busy backgrounds. If you’re sharing valuable information, you want that content to be abundantly clear and accessible.
If you opt for a non-standard font, it’s important to ensure that it’s legible on different devices, especially mobile phones. You’ll also want to make sure the text contrasts well with the background, and avoid stark colors that can strain the eyes. For maximum readability, we recommend that you use black text over a white or light gray background.
You might be tempted to use complicated words and phrases. This might be okay, but only if your audience will understand what you’re trying to say. So, how can you avoid jargon that might confuse readers?
Using too many text sizes can create a disorganized appearance that’s hard to read. Follow these simple guidelines to make sure you use subheads appropriately:
That’s it. It may be acceptable to use H4 subheads if it’s really necessary, but sticking with H2 and H3 subheads will help make your content easy to read. This blog post you’re reading right now is an example of an article that uses subheads this way.
In some cases, the goal of a blog post is to direct the reader somewhere else. This might be a product page, another article, or a different website.
Adding a clear Call To Action (CTA) can help you prompt the reader to perform a desired action:
Providing clear instructions, as well as a link to the desired destination, can make it easier for the reader to accomplish the task. Sometimes the CTA is as simple as asking your audience to subscribe to your newsletter, or leave a comment on your post.
Ideally, the CTA should be placed at the end of a blog post. If you add it to the introduction or halfway through the post, it might disrupt the flow of your content and distract the reader.
Readability is a key component of your blog’s success. Well-structured posts can lead to lower bounce rates, increased user engagement, and contribute to better search engine rankings. When content is easy to read, readers will be more likely to stick around, and read even more of your content.
To recap, here are nine tips for creating more readable blog posts:
Now it’s time to apply what you’ve learned and improve your blog post structure. Best of luck!