With high quality content playing an increasingly important part in search rankings, blogging has become a key part of almost any company’s marketing strategy.  

But writing interesting content is not enough in itself. You might have the best article in the world, but if it isn’t presented in a user-friendly format then nobody is going to read (or share) it. 

I may be inviting criticism of our own site (and this article), but I wanted to explore some of the key things to remember when it comes to creating a brilliant user experience on your blog page/post.

1. Use subheadings

Break up your posts into manageable sections. You’re not writing a novel or a newspaper article here, and the majority of people will not want to tackle an enormous block of text. 

Some people might read the whole article, but many will just want to skim through and pick out the parts that are relevant or interesting to them. 

Using subheadings brings structure to your post and makes it easier for the reader to navigate. 

I’ve used a list post format for this article, partly to demonstrate this technique (as if anybody isn’t already aware of it) but also because I think the content works well as a checklist (and 12 is a nice number). 

Whatever format you choose, the important thing is to make sure you have lots of relevant subheadings that tell the reader what to expect under each section. 

2. Create white space

White space is your friend. Create lots of it. 

White space on blog post

Write in short paragraphs of only two or three sentences and use plenty of line breaks. This is particularly important in long posts or reports where there is a lot for the reader to take in. 

Present each idea in its own paragraph rather than trying to cram multiple points into one block of text.

This helps readers digest individual thoughts and avoids confusion, and it naturally creates a lot of white space. 

3. Use bullet points

Bullet points are effective for the following reasons:

  • They help the reader easily digest points.
  • They are a great way to present lists of points under the same idea (like I’m doing now).
  • They are visually pleasing.

Use them at will. Your readers will thank you for it.  

4. Use imagery

All blog posts should contain imagery, whether it’s photos, videos, gifs, screenshots or embedded social media posts. 

Not only does this make the post more interesting, it also breaks things up nicely and makes the whole thing easier to digest for the reader. 

Images and videos can also be a great way to put points you’ve made into context through visual examples (as I did under the previous subheading). 

Plus it makes the whole post more visually pleasing, like this picture of an Indian sunrise.

Indian sunrise

5. Include internal links

It’s important to link to other pages on your site with descriptive anchor text.

This gives visitors relevant further reading options, encourages traffic to other areas of your site and can also help with search rankings. 

From a user experience point of view, you can direct people to another piece of content that expands on an idea without having to too far off topic in the current post. 

Remember: the link text should read naturally and actually relate to what you’re directing people to. 

Good: Many marketers struggle to make a business case for blogging.

Bad: Did you know that blogging regularly could actually help with best SEO tips Aldershot?

Try not to include too many internal links. Two or three per article is fine (although for longer posts you might want to include more). 

6. Highlight key points

Again, don’t overdo it, but if you make an important point you might want to make it bold.

One example of this might be a stat that backs up what you’re saying, such as 66% of people remember stuff better when it’s in bold.

Obviously I just made that up. 

You might also want to block out quotes to make them stand out. As in:

72% of people remember quotes better when they’re blocked out like this, and I obviously made that one up, too.

7. Don’t use silly fonts

Funky fonts are great for logos or your 15-year-old self’s MySpace page, but they have no place on your blog. 

Stick to simple fonts that are easy to read. Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri, that sort of thing.  

Comic sans? Just no. 

8. Include sharing buttons

Somebody enjoyed your post so much they want to share it. Great news. Make it easy for them to do that by including visible share buttons on your blog page. 

Sharing buttons can also be a good form of social proof if they include a counter.

If people see a post has been shared multiple times they can only assume it contains mind-blowing content that must be consumed at once. 

Sharing buttons

9. Allow comments

It may be tempting not to allow comments given that you’re opening yourself up to potential criticism. But comments encourage people to engage with your post and, even better, to keep coming back.

But there’s more to it than that. By including comments you’re turning it into a two-way dialogue rather than a dictatorship. Surely the former is the kind of relationship you’d rather have with your customers?

The example below shows how some really interesting conversations can begin in the comments section, often adding additional content that wasn't covered in the original post.

Comments section

The comments section below, incidentally, will probably be filled with people pointing out various hypocrisies in this post, such as its distinct lack of user-friendliness. And that’s absolutely fine.

In fact, I encourage it.

10. Go easy on the acronyms

This one is, TBH, more of a personal gripe than anything else, but if you’re going to use acronyms in your post then at least write them out in full the first time so people know what you’re talking about.

What may seem obvious to you could be baffling to your reader, and you will lose their interest very quickly if they have to start searching on Google for what things mean. 

11. Keep your language simple

On a similar note to acronyms: don’t use a long or obscure word when a short and common one will convey the same meaning (think Orwell or Hemingway over Will Self).  

Keep things simple, particularly if you work in a highly technical industry. Don’t fill your sentences with confusing jargon or business speak. You won’t impress anyone and your reader might just switch off and go elsewhere.

Reading this list of words that are banned on the Econsultancy blog might help, but please don’t tell my editor if you spot any of them in this post. Cheers. 

12. Finally: be yourself

One day, in a future populated with self-eating dinners and apps that spend quality time with your spouse so you don’t have to, machines will power journalism. Articles will be pumped out at a thousand words per minute using complex data-fuelled algorithms.

That will be a sad day, so let’s make the most of the present. Nobody wants to read something that sounds like it was written by a computer. 

Don’t be afraid to write in your own voice. Use humour. Tell stories. Put your personality on the page. Relax. You’re not a robot. 

Even in the B2B world (that’s business to business if I don’t want to be accused of hypocrisy), it is people who make buying decisions. Make sure your style appeals to human beings.

Jack Simpson

Published 29 June, 2015 by Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (7)

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Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff, Editor at Methods Unsound / Search Engine Watch

Rick-rolled again. When will I learn?

over 2 years ago

Jack Simpson

Jack Simpson, Writer at Econsultancy, Centaur Marketing

The lyrics are actually one giant anagram for some really handy Aldershot-based SEO advice. Astley was ahead of the curve (in a weirdly specific way).

over 2 years ago

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Krithika Rangarajan, Writer at NA

Haha - Your ending made me smile!

That should be No. 13: Slay your audience with a memorable - and FUN - conclusion ;)

Thanks a lot, Jack
Kitto

over 2 years ago

Geraldine Jones

Geraldine Jones, Director at Every Word Counts Ltd

Teehee, love a bit of Rick (the 80s rocked!).

Enjoyed the post. No big reveal but I didn't really expect one. Useful reminders though re. use of white space and bold (something I tend to forget to do in my own blogs). I agree about comments - nothing more frustrating than reading a blog and not being able to give feedback to the author/publisher.

over 2 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

Great advice for big companies. For small fry, maybe not.

If your turnover is less than say $500k, like most companies, then blogging is probably not for you except as an ego thing - stick with facebook and LinkedIn.

And you probably don't need comments or sharing buttons. I comment quote a bit and usually my comment is the only one, which suggests strongly that most websites get too little feedback to matter. Present company excepted of course.

over 2 years ago

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Chris Monkman, Web Developer at E-Dzine

I wouldn't be so quick to throw out blogging, it's worked for our small company site on a local level for SEO purposes, and since I've cut down a bit to focus on a large scale system I'm working on there's been a noticeable dip in traffic.

As for readable fonts. I've become a fan of ubuntu font recently (which is open source and hosted as one of the google fonts) for that subtlely different (without being stick thin and unreadable on a windows box but looks great on a mac.....helvetica light i'm looking at you)

over 2 years ago

Tess Agnew

Tess Agnew, Search and Social Media Marketer at Bozboz

A quality Rick-rolling there Jack, well done :)

about 2 years ago

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