I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to tear my hair out to get blog I’ve written formatted properly before publishing! It looks just dandy while I’m typing away in WordPress, then I hit “Preview” only to reveal wonky spacing, strangely bolded text, or some random issue on how an image lays out. UGH!
Formatting your blog properly is almost as important as the quality of your content. I know, that may sound silly but for the majority of readers (I think) this really rings true. While the quality of your content should really speak for itself, a majority of us are visual creatures and our eyes are immediately drawn to things that offer ease and appeal when it comes to processing written information on the internet.
While the formatting of content as a whole should present your message in an appealing manner on all points of collateral (including your website, social media, and printed materials) there’s one place in particular that you’ll want to give some extra love to on a regular basis – your BLOG!
The Use and Formatting of Heading Tags
In a previous post I touched base on the use of heading tags in blog posts, but let’s dig a little deeper into the formatting of them. One of the number one things to remember with heading tags is that regardless of the size you choose, these lines of text should always reside on their OWN line in the body of your blog with a “hard return” space before and after. There are several reasons for this:
#1 – From an SEO perspective it will help search engines to pick up on this content as a relevant and easily searchable highlight within your blog. Search engines recognize heading tags so make sure the sentence or phrase contains the appropriate long or short tail keywords to strengthen the presence of your blog on the internet.
#2 – The “hard return” not only offers a nice pad of spacing between paragraph content, but if you’re working in WordPress and do a “soft return” you could end up with all of your text in the preceding and subsequent text becoming one big heading tag, which won’t help visually or from an SEO standpoint. If you prefer closer spacing than your template will allow it might behoove you to up the ante and learn some basic coding skills so you can create the spacing you’re hoping to achieve – our team likes to use Code School!
And lastly, reserve the H1 tag for the title of your blog – a lot of times your template or platform will automatically determine this so you really don’t have to do anything with this one. The H2 tag is the second tier down and the tags that follow suit decrease in size all the way down to the H6 tag. How these visually layout depends highly on your platform and template, so play with them, click the “Save Draft” often, then “Preview” to find the size that looks best.
Blogs in List Formats – The use of Bullet Points, Numerical Lists or Dashes
In the visual presentation of your blog the consistent use of these can make or break whether or not someone wants to continue reading your blog. Here’s our best advice:
- Bullet points tend to look visually cleanest in a list formatted blog. These can be used for full sentences, or phrases. The use of a punctuation is optional as it depends on how the content is being presented but it’s best to stay consistent throughout a single particular blog.
- Numerical lists are best reserved for content that needs to be presented in a specific sequential order such as a recipe or ‘top rated’ list.
- Dashes are often used in place of bullet points for a visual variance, and we really like this idea. Regardless of how and where you use them make sure to be consistent. Try not to use both dashes and bullet points in the same blog for the same purpose.
Agency Tip: From a branding standpoint, it’s a good idea to determine the usage of list formats and best practices, and if possible call it out in your brand and style guide so there’s consistency across the board. Recommend this to clients as well!
The Spacing of Your Blog
In general, we recommend the following when it comes to content spacing in your blog:
- Use a double space in-between sub-headers and paragraph text.
- Make sure any line of text that you’d like to highlight as a “heading tag” resides on its own line.
- Images should also have a “hard return” space before and after to allow for padding in-between text.
- Use a “hard return” when using a colon to create some padding that will lead into the subsequent list – an example would be this section here!
The Use of Bold Text and Italics in Your Blog
- The use of bold is great for headers and sub-headers (if you’re not using the heading tags), or for sentence fragment call-outs.
- The use of italics is great for tips, asterisked references, and even the “info blurb” that tell people a little bit about who you are at the end of each blog.
Agency Tip: If you work for an agency make sure you log how much time you spend not only writing your blog but make sure to account for image curation and resizing, adding image heading and alt tags, optimizing and of course, formatting! This needs to be factored into your pricing.
What if You’re Not Using WordPress?
There are a lot of different management systems and templates out there which makes relaying this information a bit of a challenge when it comes to the “how to” of consistent formatting across all platforms – the best advice we can offer here is that it takes practice within the platform you’re using. While we use WordPress for our blog, we have clients who use different templates and platforms that require some finessing when it comes to consistent content formatting.
Whichever platform you’re working with remember to click save and preview often to see if your blog visually lays out the way you want it to. It’s also a good idea to ask the opinion of a trusted friend or colleague (who has a great eye) about the layout of your blog.
Lastly, if you have to copy and paste your content from a Word or Google Doc into your platform, we always recommend pasting the content into a Text Editing doc and convert to plain text so you can correct any potential formatting errors, then copy and paste that content from the text editor into your actual blog.
If you found this information helpful, be sure to check out our post “Heading Tags in Blog Posts“. Organik SEO is passionate about helping businesses grow by tapping into the power of social media and SEO. To discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us today!