Content Marketing

The Importance of Visual Formatting in Content Marketing

Table of contents:

Users spend an average of 37 seconds reading a blog post. More than ever before, visual formatting is essential to keep your readers on screen and engaged.

Easy on the eye: the importance of visual formatting in blog content


37 seconds. That’s how long you have to captivate, educate, and ultimately provide value to your blog readers. Users spend on average just 37 seconds reading a blog post. Make it through this introduction, and you’re in the minority. 


When it comes to blog posts, the writing is the most important part. Fact. But it needs to be more digestible than ever before. Attention spans are dwindling — people want the important information and fast


If the information isn’t easy on the eye, it’s not easy enough to consume. 


Enter, visual formatting. 


Publishing a blog post without visual formatting is like serving a meal without seasoning. The main ingredients might be there, but your audience won’t be coming back for round two. 


Let’s take a look at how to make your blog content easy on the eye. 


Why is visual formatting important in blog content?

Think back to the last time you read a blog post (or even this one). 


Was it easy to navigate around? Did it break down the key points? Did you manage to find the information you wanted without having to read every word?


Let’s face it, most people do not read a blog post word for word. They’re more likely to skim-read, pick out the information they need, and fill in the blanks at a later date. 


43% of people admit to skim-reading blog content. We’re lazy readers, so we need as much help as possible to keep us engaged. 

Visual formatting helps your content to draw in your reader. 

It highlights the most important information that your reader's eye will jump to first, and can help signpost the reader as to where to go next. 


Creating content that is easy on the eye also means creating content that is accessible for as many people as possible. 


Accessible content includes images, colours, text indentations and anything else that may help those who have trouble reading regular blog posts. This could be as simple as eliminating large blocks of text and separating paragraphs clearly. 

Search engine optimisation 

Formatting your blog posts can also help to increase your search engine optimisation (SEO). Keyword-rich headings and image metadata help tell Google what the content is about — while also making content more digestible. Win, win.


Google also loves long-form content of 2000+ words, meaning you have to make that worth reading. A 2000-word wall of text is enough to make even the best of us shudder. 


How to format your blog post for maximum impact


Below, you will find our recommended formatting ways for any blog that are the most popular and searched for. Using all of them together will ensure your blog post is a key feature on your website. 


  1. Choose short paragraphs

 At Scribly, we try to keep paragraphs as short as they can be. 


A couple of sentences per paragraph is enough for readers in one go. Any more and they will start to snooze, no matter how good the content is.


  1. Only have one H1 heading


You don’t need more than one H1 heading. 


In fact, it should be the title and nothing else. Your headline will be the first thing that readers see when they click on your blog page, whether it’s a blogroll or the blog post itself. It needs to catch their eye.


  1. Use subheadings to break up the text

To avoid your blog post looking like a dissertation, use subheadings to break up the text. H2 headings should be used for main subheadings, with H3 headings for breakdowns within any H2 section, such as lists. 


Subheadings should summarise the key point before adding additional detail underneath them. 

This allows readers to pick out the relevant headings to them without having to read entire paragraphs.


  1. Add emphasis to key points


Throughout your blog post, you will make statements that are more important than others. Use bold text to highlight them —- this will draw the reader's eye. Don’t overuse it, as it can dilute the impact of your key statements. 


Italics are also a great tool when used sparingly. They should be kept to a minimum as they can be difficult on the eye in larger sections. 


Never, ever, use ALL CAPS. It’s shouty and best avoided. 


  1. Break up paragraphs with bullet points


Think back to the last time you read a listicle blog post. Chances are, you skipped the introduction and went straight to the list. And you’re not alone. 


A bulleted list underneath a subheading is an easy way to keep readers engaged. You can explain each point in depth under the bullet, or the reader has the option to scan the points in one go if they are stretched for time. 


  1. Add in a table of contents for long articles


If your blog post is longer than 1500 words, you should include a table of contents at the top of the page. It can mean that readers skip to the relevant parts to them but it can be used as a reference tool for many. 


It is a necessity for navigation and accessibility and is an aesthetically pleasing addition to any article. 


  1. Use embedded images


While headings and bullet points do break up the text, they’re still text! 


Images help to add a visual cue. Articles with images get 94% more page views than those without so it’s definitely worth adding in a handful of them. However, it needs to be a sprinkling of images, rather than a photo diary.


Add in relevant images under key points.


  1. Make links clear


For good SEO practice, you should always try to include a combination of both internal and external links. These should be easily distinguished from normal text. Every business will do this differently, for example, at Scribly, our hyperlinks are purple and bold. 


Minimise external linking to just one or two sources and try to use an internal linking strategy to maximise your SEO. External links should open up in a new tab, whereas internal links shouldn’t.


  1. Be consistent


Consistency is key for all forms of communication, written or visual.

Create a style guide for writers and designers to follow so everyone sticks to the same standards. This is vital for businesses that outsource their writing as well as for anyone in-house.


Your style guide should include anything you can think of that makes your formatting unique (such as everything listed here).

If you’re looking to create content that’s not just easy on the eye, but that hits the right note with your customers, we can help. Let's talk about your content.

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