You’re writing your first blog post for a promising new client and you want it to be perfect. Maybe you’re starting a blog of your own and you’re not sure how the posts should look. In either case, how you present your blog is just as important as the words you say. Keep in mind that people typically scan written information visually for a few seconds before deciding if they want to invest time in reading the whole thing. You need to format your blog in such a way that it will capture and keep their attention.

There We Go Talking About the Title Again

As you might suspect, the first thing you need to consider is the title. For suggestions on coming up with an attention-grabbing title, see our blog post entitled Writing a Headline is Like Going on a Blind Date. Try to keep the title short for maximum impact. If having a short headline just wouldn’t do the blog post justice, try to include strong action words in the first couple of words.

Keep Those Paragraphs Short

Problogger.com advises bloggers to keep their paragraphs short and punchy. Have you ever tried to read a paragraph that’s several hundred words long? It makes you tired and your eyes and brain need a break between all those words. Personally, I aim to make paragraphs less than 100 words. That’s about four to six sentences.

Subheadings: Don’t Be Afraid to Use Them

After writing 257 words for this blog post, I’m already using my third subheading. That’s the thing you see right above the first sentence in this paragraph. Subheadings break up the content for your reader and allow him or her to scan for main ideas. It works, too. When I look for interesting content online, I don’t bother with blogs or articles without subheadings. This requires me to read the whole article to find what I want and I don’t often have the time to do that.

Lists, Bullet Points, Italics, and More

When you want to summarize or highlight certain information in your post, be sure to take advantage of all the tools available to you. A top-10 list, for example, is a great way to summarize the things you have said so far in order of importance. Bullet points are excellent for listing bite-size pieces of information and are easier for the reader to retain. Here is an example of a bulleted list of what I have covered in this post:

  • The importance of a good title
  • Keeping paragraphs short
  • Subheadings
  • Special formatting features

Like subheadings, numbered and bulleted lists help the reader scan your blog post for the most relevant information. Putting something in italics shows that it’s especially important as well. For serious emphasis, consider using a text call-out box. My personal favorite is bold text, which I normally reserve for subheadings.

An Image is Worth More Than a Thousand Words

The writing website Writtent.com recommends that your blog post have at least one image. This may not apply to you when writing for clients, but you can always offer to find an appropriate image for additional pay. The image can be a stock photo, graph, meme, infographic, or slide share. The image you select should match the tone of both your blog post and the website it’s hosted on. Graphs can be quite eye-catching as well, particularly when you want to convey statistical information without coming across as boring.

Tell People What You Want Them to Do

Known in the content marketing world as call to action (CTA), your final paragraphs should instruct your readers on what to do next. After all, you had a reason for writing your blog post. Typical CTAs include:

  • Comment on the post
  • Request additional information
  • Download a free eBook
  • Share this post with your friends

And that’s a wrap. Please share this post with your friends.