Doing This Only Takes Five Minutes, But it Will Make Your Blog Posts Look Twice as Good

In eight years of blogging I wrote over 2,500 blog posts and articles. I also worked one-on-one with over a hundred different bloggers, reading their content, giving them advice on how to turn mediocre content into phenomenal pieces that get liked, commented on, and shared by their readers.

And oftentimes I stumble upon articles that could have had twice the impact the did, if only the blogger had spend an extra five minutes on properly formatting their blog posts.

Here are four tips that will help you make your blog posts look twice as better with only a bit of effort.

1. A picture’s worth a thousand words. But you still got to choose the right one.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read fantastic blog posts that have no images or images that are irrelevant to what the blog post is all about.

And the truth is that you can add some beautiful images for free with tools like Unsplash, Rawpixel, or Pixabay.

Take your time with this. Think of what image is going to best convey what your post is all about.

If using stock photos is not your thing, you can find a ton of public domain art that you can use in your blog posts. Paintings, drawings, sketches, etc.

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, but you must be careful what those words are.

2. Format your headline as an actual headline.

I almost never click on blog posts that have headlines formatted like this:

This is a headline but I was too lazy to capitalize the right words

Just invest the 10 seconds it takes you capitalize the words in your headlines, okay?

Okay, Now This Is a Proper Headline

Next to your image, your headline and introduction are your only chance to convince visitors to read your blog post.

If you don’t make the most of those, why should we expect anything beyond them is worth reading?

3. Break down those paragraphs…

Sometimes I stumble upon a blog post that looks like this:

This is a paragraph. You can even feel that it’s going to be extremely long. A long, long wall of text that makes you dizzy. You’ve just go to deal with it, and use your fingers to not lose track of where you’re at. If I feel like being a jerk, I might also write extremely long sentences that are going to confuse you ever more, while making you wish you never clicked on my blog post. If I keep this up, I’m going to make you feel that you should never, ever visit my blog again. Because I don’t like to break text into manageable bits, I like to write a huge paragraph that makes me look like the blogging equivalent of a person who talks a lot. Fast. Without even listening to what others are saying. Someone who talks really, really fast. I’m running out of words, but I’m still going to write a few more sentences, so you get the idea of how difficult it is for a reader to follow through if they stumble upon an immense paragraph. What point was I trying to make? Oh, yes, it was about paragraphs, and the fact that you should break them down into bits and pieces that help your reader, rather than make them regret the fact that they ever learned how to read. Here, let’s write a few more sentences. I’ve just finished formatting this post and decided to add a few more sentences to this already extremely long paragraph, so you can see how jarring it can be. My head is spinning, and I’m not even sure if it’s all worth it. Writing the damn thing, I mean. I also think a few of my brain cells just abandoned ship because I keep adding words to this huge block of text. Okay. That’s it. I should have lorem ipsum’ed this entire paragraph, but I do like to punch those damn keys, so…

Ouch. This paragraph literally hurts your eyes, doesn’t it? Why would you hurt your reader’s eyes? Be gentle. Break down those paragraphs. Let your writing breathe. That’s what blank space is for.

The same way we don’t like someone who talks until they run out of air, we don’t like huge chunks of text.

Other things to consider when formatting your paragraphs:

  1. If you have a list of points, try to format them as a list of points.
  2. It’s okay not to use subheads, if you feel your story does not need them, but always break down the text.
  3. If you must have a long paragraph (because you’re explaining a concept, for instance) then you must use a subhead to tease your readers, and make them want to invest the time and effort to go through such a long paragraph.

And one thing that you must always be careful is to:

4. Never abuse options such as bold text, italics, or exclamation points.

A blog post is not a comic strip.

Also, even though your intention is to clearly show the bits that are important, abusing blog text is going to throw people off.

Yes, it attracts attention.

But use it again and again, or for entire paragraphs, and it loses its power.

What’s important here? It’s nearly impossible to tell.

If every sentence you write is either underlined, bolded, or italicized, then how can yoiur readers tell what’s important? What are the key elements of your blog post?

Every bit of text you highlight is a piece of information you tell your readers it’s important, and if you do this for half of your blog post, it feels like a belittling experience.

We are perfectly capable of figuring out the parts that are important from the rest of the damn post.

Of course, there is a time and a place for bolding, italics, and quotes, but if you’re not intentional about it (and use it sparingly), you’re going to piss off a lot of your readers.


Doing all this takes but five minutes of your time.

All it takes is you scrolling through your blog post, maybe even taking a step back to see how it looks from afar.

Does it look like it make sense? Does it look nice and tidy? Can you get a sense of what the piece is all about from the headline and image? Do the subheads tease the readers to stop scanning and start reading?

Great.

Now you can click the publish button.

30 thoughts on “Doing This Only Takes Five Minutes, But it Will Make Your Blog Posts Look Twice as Good

  1. Great tips. In addition to images, I like to make infographics that convey the main points of my articles on Canva. They‘re easy to share on social media – but unfortunately, they do take longer than 5 minutes!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Kathrin,

      Big fan of infographics myself, but they take an awful lot if time to get right.

      Canva is a great tool. You might also want to look into Adobe Spark as well. It’s free, and it does the job quite well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the tip. You’re right, they are so time consuming, I’ve just spent over an hour on mine. But I’ve had some people share some of mine on Twitter – if this is done often enough, it could potentially make a big difference to blog traffic.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great advice, and my problem is using that exclamation point too much! (See?) You make so much sense that it loses it’s effectiveness and I’m really going to watch it. Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Thank you, Chris, for I agree, I didn’t consider the importance of the picture kind I use and my introductions and i would bold writings as I pleased thinking that I am highlighting important points. Thank you, Chris. My headlines have been pathetic paragraphs.

    I will just do my do and write my write. on the way, destiny helpers like you will surface and I will be connected to divine mentors who will mentor me into the master blogger I was born to be.

    You senior bloggers have gone before us in blogging and you committed blunders and mistakes and you are here to groom mentor and coach us in not repeating the mistakes you guys made in your early years of blogging. thank you, Chris.

    Liked by 2 people

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