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6 Quick Content Formatting Tips That Will Energize Your Page

Content formatting examples and tips

You pour hours into researching, writing, polishing, and promoting your content.

But there’s one crucial task you must master if you want people to actually read and absorb those words you’ve written … content formatting.

How to make a sensational first impression (and grab skimmers by the eyeballs)

6 Quick Content Formatting Tips That Will Energize Your Page 1
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The moment they arrive, your site visitor’s fingers are still hovering over their keys, ready to click away.

How will you keep them there?

How will you invite them to stick around and read a while?

My friend, it’s easier than you think.

Today, I’m going to show you how a handful of simple content marketing formatting examples that will help you design a page that looks inviting, engaging, and authoritative.

It doesn’t take long to polish your content in this way, especially once you make it a habit.

Let’s get you into the habit of formatting your website text like a pro.

Why formatting content for the web is different than formatting text for print

Web content formatting is different than print formatting in almost every way.

The main reason is because of how users read on the web.

Rather than holding a tangible page in their hands, they’re skimming over a slick surface with no beginning and (sometimes) no end.

That can make it tough to capture and hold attention.

Print design focuses on economizing paper — you want to fit as much information as possible on every page without making it look too crowded. Paper and ink cost money!

Online we have two superpowers — unlimited “paper” (screens) and “ink” (pixels) at our disposal.

Let’s talk about how to wield these powerful elements so we can keep people on your page.

6 content formatting examples that encourage reading on the web

Here’s how to make your content easy to read on the web (examples below):

  1. Add white space to your page by writing shorter paragraphs
  2. Incorporate subheads to make your page easy to skim
  3. Add bulleted lists anyplace you share consecutive information
  4. Weave in blockquotes to emphasize memorable ideas
  5. Add links for both visual interest and search engine optimization
  6. Use at least one image to add meaning to your words

Let’s look at each of these individually — see the examples in each section.

1. Add white space to your page by writing shorter paragraphs

On the web, people skim text — they don’t read word for word.

With the overabundance of information available online, if your page looks too dense and difficult to read, your site visitor will move on to a page that seems easier.

That’s where white space becomes essential.

Adding white space between the thoughts on your page makes them faster to skim and absorb. It makes your whole page seem friendlier.

Your return key is your ally in this fight.

Here’s an example without many returns:

Back in 2017, I developed an approach to online business building that I tested with my private coaching clients. They loved it. As a matter of fact, because I coach by video, I was able to witness the moment when the weight was lifted from their shoulders. They looked lighter. Relieved. Happy. That’s when I knew I was on to something.

So I built out the concepts and started teaching them to anyone who would listen. The approach I created is called Plan & Grow BIG. Plan & Grow BIG recognizes an important truth. Building a successful online business happens in distinct stages. And — surprise! — you only need to focus on the stage you’re in.

To help you cut your to-do list down to size, I’ve created my “one-page wonder,” the Online Business Roadmap. This single page maps out the exact steps to building a powerful online business using my Plan & Grow BIG approach. Print it out and keep it by your side — it will help keep you focused on what needs to happen right now. More importantly, it will help you ignore what’s not important during the stage you’re in. Welcome to a much shorter to-do list, my friend. How will you use all the extra time you’re going to have?

Here’s the same text with plenty of returns (and a little extra formatting):

Back in 2017, I developed an approach to online business building that I tested with my private coaching clients.

They loved it.

As a matter of fact, because I coach by video, I was able to witness the moment when the weight was lifted from their shoulders.

They looked lighter. Relieved. Happy.

That’s when I knew I was on to something.

So I built out the concepts and started teaching them to anyone who would listen.

The approach I created is called Plan & Grow BIG.

Plan & Grow BIG recognizes an important truth.

Building a successful online business happens in distinct stages. And — surprise! — you only need to focus on the stage you’re in.

To help you cut your to-do list down to size, I’ve created my “one-page wonder,” the Online Business RoadmapThis single page maps out the exact steps to building a powerful online business using my Plan & Grow BIG approach.

Print it out and keep it by your side — it will help keep you focused on what needs to happen right now.

More importantly, it will help you ignore what’s not important during the stage you’re in.

Welcome to a much shorter to-do list, my friend.

How will you use all the extra time you’re going to have?

If you’re not used to writing short paragraphs, or you’re finding it difficult to shake the “Official Rules of English Composition” you learned in grammar school, use this rule of thumb:

Every time your ideas “turn a corner” and head in a different direction, trying hitting the return key and starting a new paragraph.

There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, the internet wasn’t around when you were in grammar school! That means you learned how to write for print, not for the web.

Take some time to adapt your writing style to this new environment and don’t be afraid to shake off rules that don’t work.

2. Incorporate subheads to make your page easy to skim

Online, readers tend to skim the page — oftentimes deciding at a glance if they’re going to read the whole page or not.

Your subheads — when they’re done right — can be outspoken allies for your article in this make-or-break moment.

The best subheads:

  • Are smart and promising: they deliver information and incite curiosity
  • Appear every few paragraphs: use your subheads to lay out the article’s premise, one step at a time
  • Use numbers if you’ve written a list post: numbered subheads help the reader feel a sense of accomplishment as they move through your content (see this article for an example of this)

In my book Master Content Marketing, I teach how subheads play an important role in content creation which goes beyond helping the reader. Subheads help you as a content creator, too.

Subheads are an essential step in the “4-Day Content Creation System” I teach.

Well-thought-out subheads help content creators structure their ideas. Grab Master Content Marketing to learn more about how to create content using the 4-Day Content Creation System.

Need an example of subheads in action? See the numbered subheads in this article. They provide structure and give the reader a progress update every time they move from one subhead to the next.

3. Add bulleted lists any place you share consecutive information

People are intimidated by bulleted lists! Maybe they think they’re the sole territory of copywriters?

I’m happy to say that writers of all abilities can wield the power of the bulleted lists easily. The first step is knowing where adding a bulleted list makes sense.

My rule of thumb?

Any time I find myself writing a sentence or paragraph that has consecutive information, I put together a bulleted list.

Here’s what that looks like:

I really like to eat sorbet, especially when it’s warm outside. My favorite flavors remind me of my favorite tropical fruits, like sweet mango, ripe pineapple, tart passion fruit, and zesty lemon.

Notice that the previous sentence contains a list of items separated by commas? That’s a signal to create a bulleted list. Here’s an example of how to format the same text:

I really like to eat sorbet, especially when it’s warm outside. My favorite flavors remind me of my favorite tropical fruits, like:

  • Sweet mango
  • Ripe pineapple
  • Tart passion fruit
  • Zesty lemon

Adding this short bulleted list injects ample white space around the text. It’s inviting and super easy to skim.

A few extra tips for bulleted lists (in the form of a bulleted list!):

  • Start bulleted lists with the same part of speech. This helps create symmetry and flow that makes them easier to read.
  • Aim for no more than 6-7 bullets. More than that and you risk creating a tedious list.
  • Consider adding formatting to give your bullets extra style. Notice how I’ve bolded the first part of the bullets in this list? This makes them faster and easier to skim.

If possible, get into the habit of using a bulleted list at least once in every piece of written content you create. They get easier to put together the more you use them.

4. Weave in blockquotes for emphasis and visual interest

Not sure what a blockquote is? Take a look:

A blockquote is a simple way to highlight important parts of your text so that people pay extra attention to it.

One of the best things about blockquotes is that they’re designed with space above, below, and to either side. So adding a blockquote automatically injects extra white space.

Save blockquotes for standalone thoughts or ideas that you want people to remember.

Once you become comfortable using them, you’ll find yourself writing memorable one liners with blockquotes in mind!

5. Add links for both visual interest and search engine optimization

Links on your page represent potential — every link gives your site visitor a way to learn more about your topic.

They also add visual interest to your page because they appear in a different color or style.

And of course, they’re important for search optimization! For every piece of written content you create:

  • Add links backward to previously published content that supports the topic you’re writing about now.
  • Add links forward from previously published content to your current page or post. This is one way your well-ranking existing content can support your newer content.
  • Add links outward to authoritative online content you’ve found that supports the information in your post or page

People don’t often think of links as a formatting technique, but they add visual interest and have powerful search engine advantages, so be sure to add them when you format your content.

BIG Brand System is a website devoted to helping people build online businesses they love. You’ll find information for every stage of your business growth here, from planning your brand based on your brand personality, to launching your website, to creating your first offer.

Here’s the same text with enticing links that invite you to follow them:

BIG Brand System is a website devoted to helping people build online businesses they love. You’ll find information for every stage of your business growth here, from planning your brand based on your brand personality, to launching your website, to creating your first offer.

6. Use at least one image to add meaning to your words

Images communicate through a part of our brains that is entirely separate from where words are processed.

And they communicate fast — images get their meaning across in about 13 milliseconds.

That’s 13/1000 of a second …

That, my friend, is some serious firepower!

That’s one reason you see so many online content creators using powerful images alongside their content. In conjunction with the headline, images are an excellent way to grab and hold attention at the top of a page.

Just look at the difference. Here’s that information in words:

“… a team of neuroscientists from MIT has found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees for as little as 13 milliseconds — the first evidence of such rapid processing speed.”

Here’s the same information in graphic form:

6 Quick Content Formatting Tips That Will Energize Your Page 2

Which one do you think you’ll remember? The words, or the blue pie graph with the teeny-tiny millisecond-sized slice?

There’s a lot more to learn about images.

Have you seen my free visual marketing workshop? I go into detail about how to pair images and words to get more attention on your ideas.

If you haven’t watched it yet, register here — it’s free!

6 Quick Content Formatting Tips That Will Energize Your Page 3

Make time to sweat your content formatting

For the most part, I espouse a “don’t sweat the small stuff” approach to business.

Over the years, I’ve met too many people who are held back by their need to make something “perfect” before they publish it.

But when it comes to taking a few extra minutes to polish your page or post with formatting?

Sweat the formatting.

Use the content formatting examples here to inspire you to build a little extra time into your content creation schedule so you can:

  1. Add white space to your page by writing shorter paragraphs
  2. Incorporate subheads to make your page easy to skim
  3. Add bulleted lists anyplace you share consecutive information
  4. Weave in blockquotes to emphasize memorable ideas
  5. Add links for both visual interest and search engine optimization
  6. Use at least one image to add meaning to your words

It might seem like a tall order, but once you start consistently formatting your content for readability, you won’t be able to publish pages without taking this extra step.

With the content formatting examples here, go forth and make your pages beautiful!

Keeping people reading is easier than you think! Get into the habit of spending a few extra minutes polishing your page to maximize content readability — it\'s easy with the six tips (and content marketing examples) in this article! #contentmarketingtips #readability #visualbrand

Pamela Wilson

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8 thoughts on “6 Quick Content Formatting Tips That Will Energize Your Page”

  1. Like this however my free blog spot won’t let me do that. Getting ready just to go with word.docx and learn how to make a free ebook.

  2. interesting article Pamela.

    for people like me its difficult to explain these things to freelance writers. as they are most of the time in a hurry to just finish the word limit given to them and don’t think about formatting etc. now i can direct them to this post 🙂

  3. You’re a natural teacher Pamela! In the 1972 when I went to Teachers’ College to learn how to teach/ become a teacher, I was taught to tell what you’re going to teach, teach it then summarize what you taught.

    It has worked for speaking and writing both!

    Thanks again for this article.

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