Mar 31 2007

Here’s a quick way to make your long posts more readable

I do it, Bob down the road does it and from time to time I’d expect you do it.

That’s right I’m talking about the long post.

It may be you’re just really enthusiastic about the topic you’re writing or the topic itself may deserve the length. The other week I wrote a particularly long post (a lot of my posts are quite long but this one more so than others). It was a subject that I’d been thinking about a fair bit and I wanted to get my thoughts out there.

A delightful lady commented on the post mentioning that she usually doesn’t read such long posts but managed to make it all the way through this one. The reason why was simply the article was interesting to her.

Your average reader may not be as willing to go down the long post path with you even if they are interested in the content. So how can you help your chances? The answer may be as simple as headings.

Why use headings in your longer posts?

A heading helps the casual reader by visually marking particular sections and ideas. It means that within a glance the reader can see what you are talking about and find their way around. Most importantly it breaks up long stretches of text that are miserable to read on the computer screen.

The thing is headings also help you the writer as it will contribute to you keeping to the topic being discussed and if you write your headings before instead of after they can give you a roadmap to get your ideas down.

Things to remember when writing your headings.

  • You have to set them apart from the rest of the text. Do this by bolding them or perhaps using the html tags such as h2 h3 etc.
  • Use the same format throughout the post otherwise it will just become disorganised looking.
  • Don’t go nuts on the headings either – too many will look silly and contribute to an unreadible post.
  • Make sure the headings are self-explanatory. I could have used the heading tips instead I wrote things to remember when writing your headings so anyone would know what this section is.

Looking back at my post.

In my original post I didn’t use headings to help readers and I wonder how many actual readers I turned off from the post. I did however have some graphics that did help break up the text but the next time I have something like that on my mind (and I think I may have another in me for sometime later in the week) I’m going to definitely use headings and see if there is any difference in the comments.

Try it out on your blog with your next lengthy post and let us know if you notice any difference in the writing or the response!

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9 Comments on this post

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  1. Best of 2007 on Blog about your Blog wrote:

    [...] Here’s a quick way to make your long posts more readable [...]

    December 30th, 2007 at 5:15 am
  2. Bloggin-Ads » Blog Archive » Quality Over Quantity, Is It Optional? wrote:

    [...] Quick way to make your long posts more readable [...]

    February 19th, 2008 at 6:33 pm
  1. Jennifer said:

    Wow…. I am honored to be a delightful lady. I do think some would argue otherwise, but yippee. LOL..

    April 1st, 2007 at 6:20 am
  2. Jennifer said:

    I have another question though. Why aren’t your paragraph breaks and links coming through to your feed?

    Your feed of this post is straight text no breaks, not links, no headings, no anything…just 10 pixel straight text that is about 6 inches long.

    I thought your feeds used to come through as paragraphs…did you change something?

    April 1st, 2007 at 10:08 am
  3. Matt said:

    Im working on fixing that, I have no idea why it does that. It is delaying our “subscribe to our feed” contest =\

    Any tips would be welcome, I’ve changed some settings on feedburner, hopefully I fixed it. Otherwise I’m gonna search around google to see if I can find the problem

    April 1st, 2007 at 10:36 am
  4. Jon Lee said:

    I try to point form a lot of my posts as well as include a short summary at the end for those too lazy to read the whole thing :D

    April 1st, 2007 at 12:47 pm
  5. Lee said:

    LOL – Of course you are Jennifer!

    Jon – the short summary is a good idea too – also I’m geek enough to have smiled at your hashing picture!

    April 1st, 2007 at 8:37 pm
  6. Overwhelmed With Joy! said:

    Hmmm…headings, I’ll have to try this. Sometimes my posts do get lengthy!

    April 24th, 2007 at 1:25 pm
  7. Lee said:

    Joy – it’s a good way just to organise your ideas too! Thanks for commenting!

    April 24th, 2007 at 5:12 pm

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