8 Blog Post Formatting Tips to Increase User Engagement

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Do you have a problem on your blog with user engagement?

Do people land on your blog posts and click away before they’ve read the first line?

If so, you might want to consider making your blog look more attractive. More appealing. More welcoming.

After all, you’ve spent hours researching, gathering data and finding/creating images. You deserve some recognition for all that hard work.

Let’s take a look at eight formatting ‘tricks’ you can do to make your blog look more appealing.

(If you already do these things and nobody sticks around, you have some serious issues to fix.)

1. Write short paragraphs

Keep your paragraphs short and easy to read. Two to four sentences in each one is a good benchmark. If you’re a wordy writer/blogger you may struggle with this at first, but it gets easier with practice.

Why do you want to keep the sentence count low? Because it’s easier on the eye.

Massive blocks of text are difficult to read. People will take one look at it, think “Nah!” and click the back button or swipe to another site.

When people surf the web, they’re typically searching for information. They don’t read every word on a page. They scan. They want to find what they’re looking for and move on. They don’t have time to read every word. They want clues and hints.

It’s our job to do what we can to make their life easier. We want the people who land on our pages to stay and read what we’ve written. We don’t want them to take one look at the page and click back to Google to rerun their search query. If this happens too often, it will hurt your rankings.

On the upside, if people stay on your site and don’t return to Google, it should improve your search rankings. Which means more traffic. Another reason for making your pages look good.

2. Use relevant images

Use images in your posts. I like Pixabay. It’s my first port of call when I need an image.

You might like to have one at the top of the post, under the first paragraph or after every subheading.

You have a whole arsenal of image styles to choose from: stock photos, screenshots, infographics, quotes, memes, diagrams, your own smartphone photos. You can use tools like Canva to create images too.

Some of the images could also be used for sharing on social sites like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Choose your images carefully. You want to convey the right message. If you’re writing a tutorial or a how-to guide, images are invaluable for people who prefer visual learning over reading instructions.

Want an image with a bit of movement? Use a GIF like this one from Giphy.

via GIPHY

Additional resources

Places to find free high-quality images you can use without breaching copyright laws:

Places to find infographics:

The best place to find animated GIFs:

Apps to create your own animated GIFs:

3. Use subheadings to introduce new topics and ideas

Subheadings quickly guide people to important areas of your posts.

Easily break up long pages into smaller sub-sections by using subheadings to differentiate between one subject from another.

Using subheadings to guide them, impatient readers can quickly scan your content and skip to the juiciest bits.

I know you want people to read every word you write, but it’s not about you. It’s about them. And unless they’re really interested in what you’re saying, they’re not going to do that.

Put subheadings in heading 2 tags so they’re larger than the rest of the text. Heading 1 tags are usually larger still, but it’s bad practice for a web page to have more than one heading 1 tag. Heading 2 tags are standard practice for subheadings so you can use as many as you like.

header 2 tag

4. Prefix subheadings with numbers

Prefixing subheadings with numbers helps people measure their progress down your page.

This is really useful if you’ve written a post that promises the 10 best solutions for hair loss or 25 places to visit in London.

5. Use bullet points instead of large blocks of text

Everybody likes a list.

The internet is awash with top-tens, top-twenties and even top-one-hundreds, but that’s not the type of list I’m talking about here.

What I’m referring to is a numbered list or bulleted list.

What’s the difference between a numbered list and a bulleted list?

Take a look:

Numbered List:

  1. Lists are great for summarising information
  2. You don’t have to write whole sentences
  3. Just cut to the chase
  4. And they’re very easy to scan (which is what most web users do)

Bulleted List:

  • Lists are great for summarising information
  • You don’t have to write whole sentences
  • Just cut to the chase
  • And they’re very easy to scan (which is what most web users do)

Use a numbered list to describe a step-by-step process such as a recipe or method for replacing the screen on a smartphone.

Use a bulleted list when the order of the items in the list doesn’t matter so much. Typically, bulleted lists feature the most important stuff at the top and work down to the least important.

6. Use videos

Add a video to your blog post to add more value. You could use your own video or somebody else’s, as I’m doing here.

The video could be about the exact topic you’re writing about or it could be related to the topic you’re writing about. Like this one by Pat Flynn on how to write the perfect blog post.


Pat Flynn’s YouTube channel

7. Use bold and italics to add emphasis

Remember, people scan your pages. They’re not reading every word. Bold and italic text helps them pick up words and phrases you consider important enough to emphasise.

Whatever you do, don’t use too much bold text – it looks terrible.

Use it for emphasis and use it sparingly.

8. Use blockquotes

WordPress makes it easy to embed quotes into your posts. Usually, they’re styled differently too. And the styling changes from theme to theme.

Here’s a quote I really like. I found it on Inc.com.

Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practised, and mastered–just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.

It’s by Barrie Davenport.

To convert text into a quote, highlight the text you want to use and click on the speech marks in the WYSIWYG editor.

Blockquotes in WordPress

Wrapping up

There you have my suggestions for creating an interest looking page.

I know it’s about your content and your message, but if your page looks terrible people are more likely to leave before they read your opening line.