Your attempts to provide value to your audience with your content will be to no avail if you’re not mindful of how you format text content. After all, you can’t expect readers to reap the benefits of your content if they’re having a hard time reading it. With that being said, here are a few tips that will help you format text content in a way that will notably improve readability.
Utilize Headers and Subheaders
An impenetrable wall of text is an absolute reader-repellant, so unless your goal is to encourage your audience to press Ctrl+W moments after viewing your content, you have to utilize headings and subheadings. By doing so, you help pace and present your content in a spruce fashion.
Using headers and subheaders doesn’t only grant your website great visual appeal, it also helps make your content more skimmable, offering readers the ability to scan through the text and find the bits of information that are of utmost value to them with ease.
The use of headers and subheaders in web content is definitely a lot more forgiving than writing a thesis, for example. However, that doesn’t mean that you can just go haywire on your headers in terms of letter capitalization. Spare yourself the hassle and use Capitalize My Title.
Space Your Paragraphs Properly
Proper spacing between paragraphs is another way you can avoid the dreaded wall of text. But you need to pay close attention to where you separate your paragraphs. Put differently, try your best not to leave readers cliff-hanging at the end of a paragraph. Paint a perfect picture!
If you’re using a blog/website editor, you may find that the editor defaults to using single spaces in between paragraphs, which may not be very convenient. If that’s the case, you should opt for manual double-spacing. Alternatively, you can just change your editor’s default settings.
There are cases where hitting Enter in the text-editing box can result in large spaces in between paragraphs. If this sounds familiar, then it’s about time you use line breaks. All you need to do is hold down the Shift key as you’re pressing Enter, which will result in proper line spacing.
Avoid Formatting Inconsistency
The way your web content is everything for some readers. In fact, some readers find it annoying to read a piece of text that isn’t consistent in its formatting. For instance, if you choose to write a phone number like this: (555) 555-1234 (note the parentheses and dashes), then stick to it.
Another example is when you choose to bold, italicize, or underline specific headers, then choose to not bold, italicize, or underline other headers of the same type in the same post. By sticking to your formatting choices throughout, you help make things look neater and more cohesive.
Paste Your Text Into Code View
Many of us prefer to write our drafts in different software of choice before sharing it on our sites, which is fine and dandy until you paste your content into the text-editing box where things begin to get pretty messy. This happens due to certain software like Word using hidden formatting.
The way you avoid such a hassle is instead of pasting your content into the text-editing box; you want to paste it into the Code View of the text-editing box. Sometimes you won’t need to use the Code View, as some text-editing boxes feature the “Paste from Word” option.
Bullet Points and Numbered Lists
Using bullet points and numbered lists prevents your copy from looking like long blocks of text. It helps present your content in a more digestible fashion. Using bullet points to summarize certain aspects of your post or to list the pros and cons of a certain product is highly advisable.
As far as numbered lists, you should use them if you’re trying to present a number of points in a sequential fashion where the sequence of numbers is vital. You can use a numbered list to point out the steps one should take to assemble a certain product, for example.
Don’t Go Berserk With the Fonts
When it comes to fonts, simple is more appealing than complex. It’s also necessary to know that standard fonts are more compatible with web browsers than their complex counterparts. Using a bunch of wacky fonts will only confuse your readers. Check out web-safe fonts to learn more.
Steer Clear of Words in All Caps
Writing text content in all caps is a complete no-no, as it’s pretty hard to read, and you definitely don’t want to torture your audience’s eyes. Utilize all-caps text sparingly in headers shorter than one line, captions, footers, and other sorts of labels. Aside from that, abstain from all caps.
Bold the Key Parts of Your Posts
If you’re trying to emphasize the importance of certain parts of your post, such as key phrases or words, we highly recommend that you put them in bold font. The use of bold font also makes the post more skimmable and enhances readability, so don’t shy away from using it.
Mind the Contrast on Your Page
Would you like a surefire tip that will ensure your audience never rereads your content? Use a dark background while writing in light text. This is a one-way ticket to headache land. Keep the background light and the font dark to improve readability and reduce the consumption of aspirin.
Careful With Wraparound Texts
Using wraparound text is fine, but when you try to wrap text around a large image, what ends up happening is that the image pushes the text into a corner in the form of a slender column, which doesn’t look very appealing and some readers may find it downright annoying.
Now we’re not saying that you shouldn’t use wraparound text at all, we’re just saying that it must be used with images that are sized appropriately so that it doesn’t take away anything from your content’s visual appeal and so that it’s easier for your audience to read.
Proper presentation is half the battle when it comes to sharing quality content on the web, as it’s a deciding factor in how your audience is going to receive your content. Using the tips we’ve just pointed out, formatting text content should be child’s play for you from here on out.