Ever felt like you’ve been transported back to the 90s’ just by clicking a random result on the 10th page of Google?
Sometimes, no matter how good the content is, you just can’t get past the weird formatting. Aesthetics matter.
When blog posts don’t look professional, people are more likely to click off. They don’t trust it.
Did I click the wrong page? Is this information as outdated as their layout?
To make matters worse, the quick exit can increase your bounce rate, damaging your SEO.
But you’re not going to have this problem (not after reading this!).
In this post, you’ll learn the 10 common mistakes health businesses make when formatting blog posts.
#1 Not Using Photos in Blog Posts
Photos help break up content so your reader isn’t just looking at a giant block of text. A page of just paragraphs can be overwhelming, while images can help draw a reader in. You can insert an image after every subheading (as I’ve done in this post) or you can simply insert a few throughout the post where it makes sense. Another option is to add in an infographic or chart to help visually relay your information.
Royalty Free Blog Photos
With that being said, you can’t just save and upload any photo you find on the internet. Most images are copyrighted and are illegal to reuse without buying a license for it. Of course, you can take photos yourself. But if you don’t have the time or resources, you can use these sites to find free images:
- Pixabay (more selection)
- Pexels (high quality, professional photos)
- Unsplash (a more curated, visually appealing selection)
- Google images > Tools > Usage rights > Labeled for reuse/reuse with modification (sometimes better for finding specific images not available on other sites but can be lower quality)
Design trends change and that includes the preferred look of blog posts and websites. Some blog designs lend themselves to different photo formatting settings. But in general, images in blog posts look best when center aligned by itself (not with text wrapped around it).
#2 Not Making Title Images
This tip may not apply to your blog, depending on your business type and content marketing efforts. You’ll probably notice that many of the posts you read these days have an image at the top featuring some version of the title. One reason is that it’s visually appealing. If the text is a version of the original title, it can also act as an extra incentive to keep the visitor reading. Another purpose of title images is to use them on Pinterest to get more post views.
Even if you’re not the best at design, making a title image can be easy and free to do using Canva. Choose an image that is high-quality, aesthetic and represents your post. Use that photo and the “Pinterest Graphic” template to create something visually appealing. Play around with the colors and fonts to find something that fits your brand. You may also need to rewrite your original title into a shorter version. For design and headline ideas, search to see what similar businesses are doing on Pinterest.
#3 Avoiding Headings and Subheadings
Coming up with headings and subheadings before you write your post can give you an outline to follow. However, you also need to format them as headings once you paste your text into your content management system. Headings have a couple of purposes:
- Visually appealing and helps break up text
- Easy for a reader to scan
- Keyphrases in headings improve SEO
Once you paste your text, highlight your heading and format it using:
- H2— Subheadings (ex. “Medications for Alcohol Dependency”)
- H3— Secondary subheadings (ex. “Naltrexone”)
- Bold— For some blog designs, headings look better when they’re also bolded. However, some themes don’t allow bold headings.
#4 Using Wide Blog Post Layouts
If you’re just starting to blog (or just starting to care about design), you may notice that your website theme has different options for your blog page. This decides the overall look of every post. These options depend on your theme, but may include the default, left sidebar, right sidebar, full width, full width with content centered, etc.
Mobile responsive blog posts are displayed in one column, with a few words making up each line. Since our eyes aren’t getting lost, it’s easy to read. We want the same to be true for desktop readers. If your paragraph spans the entire width of the page, it’s typically harder to follow and less visually appealing. For example, look at the two photos above. The first is “No Sidebar Full Width” and the second is “Default Layout”. Which one looks more scannable and appealing? Most people will probably say the second.
Play around with your settings and see which looks best and is easiest to read.
#5 Making Paragraphs Too Long
A long blog post that looks like a long blog post is intimidating and difficult to scan and read. Similar to separating blocks of text with headings, you can break up content by using more paragraphs.
Instead of having one long paragraph covering the screen, turn it into several shorter blocks. When a break makes sense or where a topic slightly changes, press enter.
The optimal length of your paragraphs depends on your layout, business, tone of voice and sentence length. Some blogs keep their paragraphs 1-2 sentences. Others hate this casual, snappy style and write up to 8 sentences. Recommendations vary, but between 2-5 sentences is typically okay.
#6 Spacing Inconsistent and Awkward
I’m not sure about your content management system, but spacing on WordPress can drive me up a wall sometimes. It can be finicky, making the spacing process even more tedious and time-consuming. Spacing your blog post correctly may seem like a small step, but it’s a big visual factor.
If you’re simply copying and pasting your content from a Word document onto your blog, you’re probably doing it wrong. The spacing is likely too much, too little or all over the place.
Consistently having the same number of spaces between elements allows a reader to quickly can a post. You may take this for granted because all of the popular blogs seem to do this effortlessly. However, if you’ve stumbled upon a less professional blog, you may notice that spacing issues can cause confusion. Are we still on that subject? Where’s the piece of info I was looking for?
The number of spaces between each paragraph, heading, subheading and photo should be the same every time you use that element. For example, perhaps your post looks best with 2 bare lines before each new heading. In this case, use 2 bare lines after each heading in every post you write. If the photo below your heading looks best without a space between, don’t start randomly adding spaces; keep it uniform.
How Many Spaces Should I Have Between Elements?
The correct number of spaces and what looks professional depends on your specific theme or website design, so it’s impossible for me to say here. For example, your blog may look best with one space between each heading and text block. However, the font type and size of another blog may cause a space between to look awkward. It may take some time and irritation, but find what spacing rules look good for your blog and stick to it.
#7 Jumping Straight Into Intro Text
More often now, bloggers are adding an “opening line” to their post that appears bigger or bolder than the regular paragraph text (scroll to the top for an example!). This can function as a tool to draw readers in or as a signal to tell them that they’re in the right place to learn about the topic.
Some copywriters choose to write this line as a traditional grabbing lede. Others use it to summarize the contents of the post. Whichever you choose, keep it to one short-medium length sentence. The formatting you should choose depends on what looks good with your layout/theme. Some simply choose to bold the sentence. Others (like me) make it an H3 heading.
#8 Pretending Like Bullet Points Don’t Exist
Some posts may not require bullet points, but try to work them in when you can. Here’s your options:
- Bullet points
- Numbered lists
Here’s a few ways you can use points:
- Types of something
- Counting down or up (the top x products, apps, etc.)
- Steps or process
- A comma-separated list in paragraph form
- Listing pros and cons
- Listing resources
#9 Assuming Mobile Blog Posts Look the Same
Most people now have mobile responsive websites, but, unfortunately, that doesn’t always ensure your blog post looks the same. Your post may look great on desktop where you posted it, but may have spacing issues or strange photo formatting on mobile. Sometimes themes don’t translate content as effortlessly and other times, the problem is a formatting issue you only see on mobile. Once you click publish, check the post on your phone to make sure it looks good too.
#10 Ending Post Without a CTA
A business blog post wouldn’t be complete without a call-to-action (CTA). End your post with your offering. This could be:
- Free quote
- Free session
- Free eBook
- Course sign up
- Product link
- Signing up for email newsletter
The CTA could simply be a short and snappy H3 line. A more visually appealing option is to make it into a clickable image (like the one you see at the bottom of this post).
Formatting a blog post correctly takes extra time, but it’s worth it. An aesthetically pleasing page is easy to scan and trustworthy, making people stay on your page for longer. Using headings, photos, bullet points and title images is a good idea. However, be on the lookout for spacing inconsistencies, long paragraphs and wide blogging layouts.