One of the most important aspect in the design of a blog is readability, how easy it is to read your content.
People come to your blog to read articles, and if they are easier to read, the better. A design that obscures the content just scare your visitors.
So what can we do to increase the readability, and keep those readers reading?
30 things you can do to increase readability of your posts:
- Emphasize your hyperlinks. Readers expect that the links are underlined or in a contrast color, so do not get disappointed.
- Use appropriate space between the lines of a paragraph. A quick way to test this is to split the line height by the size of the font. Ideally you would have an approximate value of 1.5.
- Clearly separates your posts from the rest of the design. It should be obvious where it begins and ends the article. Your sidebar, comments, post data, etc. should be visually different from the actual content.
- If you use quotations, make sure they are extremely obvious and are near the top of the article. If a user does not identify you quickly, that will not be of much use.
- Keep your article short. If you write something in 50 words, you can probably write the same in only 30 words.
- Use the color contrast checker to the colors of your font and background to ensure that the combination is readable for people with visual disabilities.
- Use a structured hierarchy in your documents, for example: Title, Introduction, Text, Sub-header, text, etc. This gives your site a more logical flow.
- Refrain from advertising items dividing in the middle. This will interrupt the train of thought from the readers.
- When you put italics and bold, usually no need to change the color. Doing so will only confuse readers about what is it and that is not a link.
- Uses semantic markup as h1, h2, h3 for the headers, strong for bold, etc. Many of your readers will read your content in a feed reader, where your <span> no effect.
- Used images at the beginning of the article. In most cases, its purpose is to attract visitors to an item.
- The big blocks of text are bad. Nothing scares a visitor over a chunk of text.
- Left alignment is usually better. Very rarely centered or justified text will look good and we can not think of any time the right alignment is the best option (except few languages like Urdu).
- Beware of the wrapping. Depending on how your text wraps around an image, you may want to modify the text, or resize the image to make things feel better.
- Headers and sub-headings should be highlighted. One of the major benefits of using headings is that readers can
- look down and know exactly what this article. This only works if the headers are highlighted, so feel free to use fonts large, underlining, colors or whatever is needed.
- Know when to use a unordered list (that is points with bullets) and when to use a ordered list (like this article).
- Put your excerpts short. Show that there are only a few paragraphs, specifically one.
- If a certain image plays an essential part of your article (e.g. a chart or a graph), then center it and leave a space before and after it. This shows that the image is part of the article, not just a decoration.
- Remember that your articles may not always be read on the screen. Make a style sheet for printing so that your items look good in paper.
- When choosing which font to use, choose a common font that everyone uses. We personally think Times New Roman is not good to use.
- Put the text in italic style to clearly show which is an addendum to the original article.
- The sentences should have the same font size. Changing this will make the weight of a particular line, loses its normal flow.
- DO NOT USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IN THE CONTENT. Make all letters have a similar size reduces the difference between them, which makes it slower to read.
- Do not use images for related posts or random posts. Although this feature may seem good the first time, will become a headache the rest of the time.
- Keep lines to a reasonable length (less than 100 characters.) Variable sized templates always cause the content area is stretched in wide monitor (wide screen), making reading more difficult.
- Too many paragraphs is better than too few. When you write on paper, the paragraphs have usually 4 or 5 sentences long. On the web, short paragraphs of only 2 or 3 sentences are common because they present the argument of the paragraph in very few lines.
- Make a short sidebar or make the content area bigger. It will stop competing with the article to gain attention.
- If you use pagination (splitting an article on different pages by number, look our bottom of home page or any category page), then make sure the navigation of the item is clean and easy to use. Also, the article begins with a quick table of contents so that visitors know how to find it. Peculiarly, people clicks Next button more than numbers.
- A soft gray color works well for information that has to be there, but is not crucial (eg date, author, etc). The subdued color means that this line does not attract attention.
- Use the HTML tag <acronym> to expand acronyms that readers may not be familiar. Use CSS for styling this tag with a dotted underline (The most common convention).