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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Create Easy-to-Read Blog Posts

Tips to Writing a Blog Post That's Scan able

One of the realities of writing content for the web is that people don't stay on any page for very long. Typically, web surfers scan a page and determine within a few seconds if it's worth staying on that page and reading further or if they should click away and try the next page they can find. With that in mind, your blog posts should be written and formatted in a way that makes them not only visually appealing but also scan able. Make sure your visitors know what you're writing about within a couple of seconds by following the tips below for creating scan able blog posts:

1. Pay Attention to Titles

The first thing your visitors will notice are your blog post titles. While it's great to use clever titles sometimes, make sure you have enough clear and concise titles, so visitors don't have to search very far to know what your blog posts are about. Also, remember that search engines weigh your blog post titles heavier than the content of each post, so take some time to consider search engine optimization when you name your blog posts.

2. Use Headings

Using the "heading" formatting options in your blog post editor not only makes your content scan able because it breaks it into smaller pieces with clear headlines for each section, but search engines also weigh text published using a "heading" format heavier than non-formatted text. Make your headings relevant, clear and search engine friendly.

3. Make Lists

Bulleted and numbered lists work equally well in turning text that could be published as long paragraphs into easily scan able content. Use lists whenever you can to break up long blocks of text.

4. Use Bold and Italicize - But Not Too Much

Bold and italics work very well to draw attention to specific text within your blog posts, but when they're overused, they become useless. Instead of drawing attention to the most important parts of your post, they make your post cluttered and more difficult to read.

5. Go Easy on the Links

Links can be very helpful in directing your readers to more information. They're also helpful in search engine optimization because search engines weigh linked text higher than non-linked text. However, too many links can have a negative effect on the readability of your blog just as too much bold or italics can. Use links but don't overuse them.

6. Use Images

Images are a great way to break up a text heavy blog post. They can help to draw attention to a specific post, add color to your blog, and help with search engine optimization. Don't use too many images though, or your posts get cluttered and your text gets harder to read rather than easier. Also, make sure you only use images that you have permission to publish on your blog. There are many websites that offer free photos to use on your blog. Take some time to learn about copyright and fair use laws before you publish images in your blog posts.

7. Write Short Paragraphs

Blog posts are easiest to scan and read when paragraphs are short. In fact, one or two sentence paragraphs are perfectly acceptable and usually welcomed by blog visitors. Short paragraphs add white space and visual relief to text-heavy blog posts. Remember to keep your paragraphs short.

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