As a writer, I’m also a reader – and I can get sucked into research and reading all the content online. How much content is thrown at you on any given day? We’re bombarded by articles, social media posts, emails, podcasts, videos etc. There is more content than we could possibly consume any given day. And chances are that a lot of it is good stuff.
As a result, we’ve all gotten pretty good at scanning and then picking and choosing what we actually want to read, watch, or listen to. And that’s why it is important to break up your content and make it easy for your readers to scan through it.
If you can’t show them at a glance what the post is about, chances are pretty good that they’ll move on to something else. Here are a couple of different things you can do to break up your post and make sure it’s easy to scan.
Use Headlines and Sub-Headings
I’m doing that with this post, breaking the different elements of making a post easy to scan down into subheadings? You can do the same with your blog post. Think of the outline of your post. Each point in your outline could be a subheading. Start with those and then fill in the content.
Or if you prefer, start with the content and then go back and add the sub headings. Create the content and work in the subheadings in whichever way works best for you. The only important thing is that they are in there before you hit publish.
Keep Your Paragraphs Short
Reading online is a lot different than reading something on paper. Books, newspapers and magazines can get away with long paragraphs. Online it’s a different story. Text is harder to read on digital devices and our attention span keeps shrinking.
One of the most effective things you can do to keep your readers reading is to keep your paragraphs and sentences short. Don’t make it much longer than three or four lines.
Use Lists And Bold Important Key Terms
Next you want to go through your content and see if there’s anything you can present in the form of a list.
- Use a list instead of several related sentences.
- Use a list to share examples.
- A list is a great way to break things up and grab your reader’s attention.
- Lists can be as long or short as you need them to be.
And let’s not forget about other formatting options, such as bold or italic for important key terms. I’d caution you about underlining since most people would think that is an active link. All of these formatting options make it much quicker and easier to scan a piece of text and figure out what it’s about without having to read every single word.
Pull Them In With Graphics
Last but not least, let’s talk about graphics. A picture is one of the best ways to convey within seconds what your blog post is about and generate interest. Just scroll through your Facebook feed and look at what’s getting your attention. Or how about browsing through Pinterest? Images hook you and grab you in. They are also a great way to break up longer sections of text. Make sure you use them to their fullest advantage.
Susan M Sparks offers copywriting, publishing services and coaching for aspiring authors. She is the author of four books, including the Amazon Best-Seller “The Student Life Jacket” and ghostwriter for many entrepreneurial non-fiction titles. Need help with your blog or book? She can be reached at Susan@ASAPWritingServices.com.