My personal cell phone has more than 12 different apps that I use to view daily articles and blogs. Information about an endless variety of topics is right at my fingertips any time I want it, which is brilliant, because I’m an avid reader. In any given day, I may consume more than 15-30 blog posts on sites like BlogSpot or Cracked.
Multiple Devices, Multiple Sizes
There are certain websites with blog articles that I love to read that I will never attempt to read on my phone. While the content is fantastic, the formatting is too difficult to read on this little 5” screen. I think this is a problem that many businesses, especially marketers, forget to address when they start writing a blog. The internet isn’t just for computers anymore. There are tons of devices wandering the streets right now that many mobile users have admitted is their only way of browsing the internet at all, as there are still many people today who don’t own a personal computer. This is why formatting your blog is just as important as what you put in it. There are some websites that I will never view, regardless of how brilliant the content is, simply because of the fact that it is too difficult for me to read. Sure, I may get around to reading the article on my computer at home, but by the time I get there, I’ve forgotten all about it.
Back when newspapers were still the most popular way to read the latest gab, authors didn’t have to think much about formatting. The newspaper would do it for them. Sometimes their words got chopped in half, others got whole paragraphs cut off and sent to the back of section B2. Fortunately for us, we bloggers have much more control about the way our content looks, which is important, because it’s how we draw in our audience.
When you’re publishing a blog, the first thing you want to think about is how easily it will translate to other devices besides the PC. Are you using a website that will re-format it to easily fit an application that makes for easy reading on a small phone? Most websites will automatically do it for you, but if you’re creating your own website or blog from scratch, this is something you have to consider.
Fonts and Sizes
There are other things to think about when formatting your blog besides how easily it will translate. There are more things than word size and column length that can make your blog difficult to read. You want to make sure you’re using a font that translates well when you adjust for size differences on devices.
Try not to use bright colors that are difficult to read outdoors on devices like tablets and cell phones. Black is usually a good choice, but you wouldn’t believe how many authors like to use bright green against purple—not that there’s anything wrong with purple—backgrounds. I would never read a blog that was not typed in black against a white background, but that may just be a personal preference.
Say It Concisely
Another good tip is to watch your length. Blogs are usually around 500-1000 words. If you go too far over the word count, you’re writing a book. Unless your blog is particularly fascinating and you’re positive that an excessive length is imperative to your message, stick to something sweeter and much more to the point.
Keep your paragraphs short, and use columns if you can. If your reader easily loses his or her place in the blog, it will only frustrate the reader, which makes them unlikely to return to your blog to read more stories. If this entire blog I just wrote was one solid paragraph, it would be difficult for a blog reader to want to start reading. A lot of text, without pause, can be very intimidating. Many blog readers want to scan the post, look for specific key words and information, before they start reading from the top. Breaking your blog up into paragraphs can be extremely helpful to them.
I love to read blogs, and I am always looking for new ones that catch my eye. Currently, I’m subscribed to a few dozen that never disappoint. Each one of them follows these simple rules, and I’m glad they do. When the formatting is simple, elegant, and easy to read, it makes it easier to soak up the message the author is trying to convey. To wrap it up:
- Use a readable font that translates well to devices.
- Use catchy titles, but don’t oversell it.
- Stick to easy to read colors.
- Limit your word count.
- Use paragraphs or columns.
If you follow these simple tips and tricks, your blog might end up on my daily read list, and on the lists of millions of others!