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How To Format A Blog Post For Success

Creating a blog post seems pretty simple, but time and time again I see poorly formatted blog posts being shared and pushed across social media. Learning how to format a blog post is key for content blog success. Typically, most of my clients are using WordPress to blog about their areas and educating their clients and guests. But, most of the sticky principles of a well-executed post apply to any content management system that you may be using.

By default, WordPress themes typically have a pretty good setup for cleanly formatted posts, but there are some things that you should keep in mind for content success.

Headings Help Break Up Text

Using Markdown is great for writing with headings.
Using Markdown is great for writing with headings.

Above is a <h3> tag — use them! So many hard to read blog posts that I read have a bunch of text without breaking anything up. Don’t do that! Instead, use heading tags between major sections of your text or images to make sure it’s easy to scan. In general, your photos can live under the headings and you can do well with formatting the posts in this way.

Images Should Be High Resolution, But Small File Sizes

sunset-photo
Sunset photos are always a good thing.

The most common visual no-no I see is poorly formatted images. Typically, one of the following mistakes pops up:

  • Small images expanded to be too large (causes pixellation)
  • Large images that don’t get web optimized (slow loading times)
  • Images of all different sizes that lead to a puzzle-piece appearance
  • Too stock looking images (authenticity matters)

Luckily, all of these image faux pas can be fixed. Here’s that to look for when adding images to your blog posts:

  • Check the width/height of your images before uploading (800px/400px works well)
  • Aim to keep your file size of the images under 100kb
  • Keep your images a similar ratio to each other
  • Always use local photography when possible (give credit & ask first, though)

Keeping all of these image guidelines in check are helpful to making sure your blog post has the right visual pop. In addition, I recommend you upload the proper Facebook sized image for the og:image tags to insure you’ll get a nice appearance when sharing your blog posts on social media.

Use the Yoast SEO Plugin to access this useful feature.
Use the Yoast SEO Plugin to access this useful feature.

Longer Posts Need Structure

Built a post the right way with post formatting.
Built a post the right way with post formatting.

If you’re publishing some mega-huge content, it can become overwhelming to your guests to check out the whole thing. Considering using anchor links and a table of contents plugin to organize your post headings (see point #1 above).

Social Sharing Should Be Tasteful

For my Genesis fans.
For my Genesis fans.

Often, I find social sharing icons to be almost impossible to do flawlessly. From buttons that load too slow to icons that look dated, I’ve found very few icons plugins that do the part well. Lately, I’ve found that a small number of plugins have done the job well enough to be mentioned: SumoMe, Swifty Bar & Genesis Simple Share. All of these allow clean social sharing icons that don’t clutter up your reading environment and work well on WordPress.

Clickable Images = 🙁

Clickable images in WordPress are on my default.

I have no idea why.

By default, clicking on nearly all images in WordPress is silly – a new tab opens with just the image open in the browser window. It’s rare an image is so large that you want it to open up, so don’t. When uploading new images in the post or page editor, use the following option to make sure that you’re just displaying the image, not making it clickable.

link-to-none-wordpress

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