When writing blog posts online, it’s important to make sure your content is easy to read and digest. Why? Because people read things online differently than they would read something in the “real world”, like a book or a newspaper article. Rather than reading something from start to finish, they often scan for answers to their questions. They jump around throughout the text to find whatever it is they need. Not only that, but they also tend to understand content better when it is written specifically with them in mind. What sorts of things can you do to make your blog posts more friendly to your readers? Read on to find out!
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Open up your content for your audience
When writing anything for your website – whether it’s landing page content or blog posts – you need to keep your audience as your focus. You need to pitch your content at the right level for your target audience. Sometimes, if your audience doesn’t know as much about your topic as you do, this means opening up your content by using simpler language your audience can understand. For example, if you write about holistic health and your content is aimed at people who are new to the lifestyle, then you should avoid using jargon and complex language. On the other hand, if your audience is scientists with a Ph.D., using that type of language would be quite appropriate.
That said, keep in mind that the tips in this blog post are general guidelines. You know your audience best, so use your best judgment when applying these tips to your own content. After about 6-9 months, check your analytics to see if you are getting the results you expect. If not, go back in and readjust!
Tip #1: Set up a clear structure
Before building a house, the architect always has a set of blueprints to follow, to help him build it correctly. In much the same way, your blog post needs to have a clear structure if you expect people to understand it and read it to the end. And this helps boost your post’s SEO! Not only that, it makes writing the blog post easier for you, since you already have a good idea of the topics you’ll be covering and in what order you’ll discuss them.
Take some time before you write to make a list of the different topics and sub-topics you want to cover in your blog post. Naturally, these topics should address different aspects of whatever keyword you are focusing on in the article. Once you have a list, the next step is to bundle those topics together, so you discuss topics that relate to each other in the same section of your post. When you’re finished bundling topics, you’ll need to order them. Below is a table listing the different ways you can choose to do this, depending on your topic.
|Thematic||Ordered by theme or topic|
|Chronological||Oldest to newest|
|Didactic||Easiest to hardest|
|Problem- Solution||Introduce the problem and then possible solutions|
|Inverted pyramid||Start with the most crucial piece of information, then add details and background information|
Finally, after ordering your topics, write a topic sentence for each one. After finishing these sentences, you’ll have a basic outline for your blog post that you can refer to while you write.
Tip #2: Add a Table of Contents
Most people don’t read blog posts from start to finish; instead, they scan them. Adding a table of contents provides a cursory view of what your article is about, so your readers can jump to the sections that matter most to them. This is especially important if your blog post is on the longer side, as it helps organize your content for your readers and make it easy to navigate.
On WordPress sites using the Block Editor, you can add a [TOC] shortcode block at the beginning of your post and add anchor tags to all of your headings (we discuss these next). If you have Yoast SEO Premium on your site, you can use their TOC block instead!
Tip #3: Use headings
Another great way to make your blog posts easy to read is to add headings to divide your content into sections. Along with a table of contents, your headings allow your readers to quickly scan your text and decide which parts they want to read. We recommend using headings in the following cases:
- Above very long paragraphs
- Above a series of shorter related paragraphs
- Whenever you switch from one topic to another in your post
The outline you created (if you followed Tip #1) can help you figure out where your headings should go and what their titles should be. When crafting your heading titles, make sure they accurately describe what you will be discussing in the paragraphs that follow.
If you aren’t quite sure how to implement headings inside the WordPress Block Editor when writing a blog post, Yoast has a great guide to help you out!
Tip #4: Write clear paragraphs and use white space
Keep in mind that the sentences you group into a paragraph should form a thematic unit. In other words, all the supporting sentences should be focused on addressing whatever you stated in the topic sentence for that paragraph. Then close the paragraph with a summarizing sentence, if necessary. If you write your paragraphs like this, you can help your readers grasp the main message of your blog post, just by reading the first sentences of your paragraphs.
Try not to let your paragraphs be too long. Seven or eight sentences is usually long enough for online writing, especially if your sentences are on the longer side.
We also recommend utilizing white space to help your readers visually distinguish your paragraphs from each other. On our website, we put about 30 pixels of white space at the end of every section in our blog posts, with about 20-25 pixels between paragraphs within a section. Play with the white space a bit on your own website to see what works best. As always, keep your audience firmly in mind when deciding how much white space to use.
Tip #5: Write short sentences and use simple language
Keeping the majority of your sentences on the shorter side makes them easier to understand. This means keeping your sentences around 20 words or less most of the time. Not every sentence needs to be less than this. It is okay to have a handful of sentences on the longer side; sometimes you cannot avoid it!
Along with shorter sentences, also try to use simpler language and avoid difficult words. A difficult word would be a word with four or more syllables. Keep in mind that reading online from a screen is harder for everyone. So if you can, avoid these kinds of words whenever possible.
Sometimes the nature of your topic requires you to use more difficult words and complicated language. In cases like this, simply do the best you can to simplify things. And where you can’t exchange a different word, perhaps try shortening your sentences and/or paragraphs to make things a bit easier on your readers.
Tip #6: Use transition words
You can make your blog posts easy to read by using transition words (sometimes called signal words). These words help to explain the relationships between sentences, which in turn helps your reader better understand your content and how the ideas you’re discussing all fit together. For example, they can show the reader you are summarizing, comparing, contrasting, concluding, etc. The University of Wisconsin Writing Center has a great list of transition words that can help get you started.
Tip #7: Keep things interesting
Our last tip involves style more than anything else. When people read a text, they expect there to be some variety in your sentences. Of course, there are times when you can use repetition as a stylistic choice, for emphasis or poetic effect. But most people find repetition boring.
To keep things interesting for your readers, start your sentences with different words and make them different lengths. Even better, try to use synonyms if you find yourself using certain words all the time. For example, instead of saying ‘and’ and ‘too’ all the time, mix in words like ‘also’, ‘moreover’, or ‘additionally’. This can make your writing more attractive, and also easier to read!
Read More: 5 Tips To Improve Your Blog Writing Skills
Making your blog posts easier to read can help improve your overall SEO, because well-written content keeps your readers engaged and coming back to your site in the future. The longer they stay on your site to read your posts, and the more often they come back, this sends a signal to Google that your site is helpful and relevant. And Google will likely rank your site higher in the search results.
To make your blog posts readable, remember our tips! Plan out your posts with a solid structure, and make that structure easy to follow for your readers with a table of contents and headings. Keep your paragraphs clear, your sentences short, and your language easy to understand. Use white space and transition words. And last, but not least, keep things interesting for your readers by using a variety of sentence structures and synonyms.
Read More: Why Every Small Business Should Start A Blog