In an earlier blog posts about things I’d learned about blogging I mentioned that formatting is extremely important to me when creating and reading blog posts.
I’m not going to lie; if I click on a blog post and it doesn’t look good, I probably won’t read it.
This isn’t a post about grammar, it kind of goes without saying that if a poSt loOks like… this… then; I’m probably NOT going to read it. See? That was horrible. I hope you’re still with me. I don’t follow this to the word, but if you want a place to start on the grammar/style front; the Guardian and Observer style guide is a good place to start. This post is also not about all the customising options that are available on WordPress. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with all of that. I just try my best with that lot.
So anyway, formatting. What is it? And why is it important?
Alignment matters. It might sound really strange; but it definitely does. I like to justify my posts, which means that everything lines up nicely.
The difference is subtle between a justified sentence and a non-justified sentence is as follows: This line is aligned to the left of the page.
The difference is subtle between a justified sentence and a non-justified sentence is as follows. This line is justified.
I like the way it looks when it’s justified. To me it looks neater and I like it that way. Some bloggers like to align their words centre which I find a little confusing to the eye, but if the content is good enough I will muddle my way through. Just don’t align your words right.
That would be weird.
There are three common ways of emphasizing a word within a sentence. You can embolden, italicize, or underline a word.
Again, this comes down to personal preference, but I like to use each of those things relatively sparingly. I don’t think it looks all that great if an entire blog post is bold (the text has a tendency to blur together a bit as the gaps between the letters shrink), is italic (again can be difficult to read, especially for those with visual impairment), or underline (why would you do this?).
Please do it in moderation, and when you actually mean it, or if you’re trying to differentiate between different sections of text.
Please think about what font you’re going use on your blog. It should be clean and easy to read. On principal I am not going to read your blog if it’s written in comic sans.
Equally important is the size; if I have to squint to make out the words, I’m probably not going to bother, or if I have to scroll down to read each word, I’m quickly going to annoyed. Fickle? Probably. But hey, you’ve probably got about four seconds to grab a reader’s attention before they click off, and the ease at which they can grasp what you’re trying to say is definitely important.
See what I did there? Headings break up big bodies of text. If you’re writing an article that has different sections; please use them. It gives my eyes a break. If you’re writing fiction or longer articles where it would make sense then clearly… don’t.
I’ve gone for a relatively clean palette on my blog; a mixture of grays, pinks and the occasional yellow thrown in. I’ve tried to make it as easy to read as possible. I don’t know about you guys, but I find it challenging to read white text on a black background or light blue on a white background. It might look pretty, but does it actually help your content shine through?
Both of these would pretty horrible to look at over a long period of time, and I’m probably not going to stick through a long piece with font colours like this, predominately because it’s difficult and will probably give me a headache.
If your blog is primarily concerned with content (as most people’s are..?) then that should be your main focus – can people access and see your content easily? That’s always a great place to start.
Hope you find some of these things helpful – do you have any preferences when it comes to the way blog posts look? Let me know!