Make Your Readers Uber Happy
A bit of a snoozer – formatting pages and posts right? But did you know there are some established tricks to make them easier to read and increase comprehension? Zzz – what did I just lose you?
Let’s try that again – how about "pages that get read" and "awesome posts". Here are a few tips.
- Honor thy theme stylings. Use the theme styling set for paragraphs, titles, block quotes and colors. Consistency is key with keeping an organized easy to read layout.
- Do left align the text – it is the easiest to read alignment.
- Paragraphs should be relatively short and one topic.
- Use bulleted lists to impart lists and info – users love love love them. Your theme hopefully is putting a line between lists otherwise it’s a giant paragraph.
- Use titles to announce new subjects, this will guide the eye down the page more effectively than paragraphs. It’s easier to read than a "sea of text".
- Quotes look great with the blockquote function in WordPress and help break up the text. A lot of themes will be pre-styled for quotes.
- Use restraint with bolding and italics, it should be the exception not the rule.
- Underlines on websites are a no-no. Underlines mean one thing – links.
- Link your URLs using a word or pic, not www.anywhere.com. Your site visitors know what a link is and this is not a print document.
- For adding pictures inside bulleted lists – align right. Left aligned pictures with bulleted lists look messy and many themes have no margin established for that format.
- "Click here" is out. People are more sophisticated these days, they get what a highlighted linked word is.
- Avoid red text emphasis – unless it’s part of the theme palette. Ignore marketing gurus on this, they are not usability experts. A high contrast color that matches your theme palette is sufficient.
- Don’t override alignment with centering, it’s rarely needed and will be tough to read.
- Don’t justify the text. It will look like a sea of spaces and studies show it slows reading comprehension. The web is not quite there yet with justification – but soon.
- If centering a picture, make sure it’s more than 1/3 width of the content box area. But normally, resist the urge to center.
- Keep it readable. Don’t reduce the font size below 16 pixels (not points). This is the standard size now for the multiple devices your site will be viewed on.
And of course – use an AWESOME picture with your post to emotionally engage your readers. Not sure about images? I wrote some tips for that.