Today, I’m putting my English-teacher-meets-graphic-designer cap to give you a few tips about formatting your content.
It’s hard enough to get your copy finished, complete that blog posts or put the final touches on your website. These 5 things will help you make sure that you are getting the most of that hot-off-the-press content.
Sometimes I even see designers make these mistakes, so don’t feel bad if you’re making them–in fact, they’re pretty easy to fix. (And I’ll give you a high five, not a red circle.) Let’s help your audience understand you better and connect with your message!
1 | Use a font that is easy to read as body text.
You don’t want your content to come with a side of eyestrain! Different fonts are meant for different things. Some fonts are display fonts and you shouldn’t be using them for whole paragraphs of text.
But how do you determine if a font is good to use for paragraphs?
- Decrease it to 15px and see if you can read it easily
- Script fonts and fancy fonts are an automatic no.
- Bonus tip: don’t space out (in design terms this is known as kerning) the letters too much. Bad spacing can ruin a good, readable font. If you look inside a book, how is the text formatted? This concept goes all the way back to Gutenberg and the printing press.
- If you’re still lost, just Google “best body fonts.”
2 | Use black or grey text.
Do you know what body font color goes best with your branding? The one that people can read. Don’t use a colorful font on a white background for body text. Grey or black is always best for body text, no matter what–even if you’re a wedding planner with a light and airy style. There are some rules you should break, and other rules you should keep, especially if you want to convert browsers into customers.
3 | Format paragraphs correctly.
- Paragraphs and blocks of text always get aligned to the left. It’s trendy right now to align everything in the center, but if the paragraph is longer than two sentences, center-alignment just makes everything harder to read (and less likely for your audience to engage with.)
- Ideally, paragraphs should be about 3 sentences, 5 at the very most.
- If you’re writing a tutorial or informational post (like this one!), use headings and sub-headings to break up content into understandable chunks.
4 | Don’t make your paragraphs too wide.
This is something that is really important, but nobody really talks about. Here’s an example:
The formatting with the smaller width feels really natural to read. The paragraph on the right seems like an infinite line that might not ever end and might make your readers feel tired. Simply keeping an eye on this one thing can help keep your audience reading what you have to say.
Take a quick look at the content on your site and check these 5 things:
- Am I using a good body font? Is the color grey/black and dark enough to contrast with the background well?
- Are my paragraphs in my cornerstone articles and content aligned to the left? (If not, put it on the list for you or your assistant to go back and tweak.)
- Is my content split into readable paragraphs?
- Are the paragraphs too wide? (If yes, talk to your designer about tweaking the code on your site to fix it. Small change, big difference!)