Friday, January 05, 2007

Making your blog posts easier to read

Reading online is harder, slower and more uncomfortable than reading on print. By following these easy tips your blog posts will be better laid out and more concise, and your readers’ experience more pleasant. Here they go:
  • Write less: Use 50% less words than you would use in print. Once you finish writing, go back and try to further reduce your word count.

  • Use plenty of contrast: black type on white background always works best.

  • Use headlines to break the discussion into several paragraphs. Breaking the discussion into small, manageable chunks makes things much easier for readers.

  • Web users don’t read: they scan. Use elements that facilitate scannability: bolding key words and phrases, and using bullet points are two examples of this technique.

  • Don't make your lines of text too long. With today’s high resolution screens, text that runs from one side of the screen to the other is very hard to read. Using a page layout with columns is a good way to keep the content area down to a width that makes reading comfortable.

  • Try to convey one idea per paragraph, three to four lines each.

  • Use hyperlinks to present complementary information instead of trying to include everything in the body of your post. Good bloggers use this technique a lot, not just to make their posts easier to read, but also to point readers to valuable resources and to give other bloggers credit for relevant content.

  • Don’t use a font that is too small. I recommend using 10pt. or higher, and using font types that have been specifically designed for reading on the web, like Verdana or Georgia.

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