Easy On the Eyes – The 7 Deadly Post Sins

As you may well know, good content is the key to successful web logging. Got that? Ok, now it’s time to make it readable. After all, what’s great content if it’s hidden beneath not-so-transparent layers of garbage?

One of the distinguishing factors between good and great blogs is the readability factor. Here are some tips I’ve come up with to help push your site to that next level.

Letter Spacing

    Adding a little extra space between your letters is one of the easiest things to do – and it’s one of the best ways to make your posts more readable. Too often, sites leave the default spacing on letters. This, combined with smaller font sizes and serif fonts, leaves readers squinting to make out the difference between “rn” and “m”.

Line Spacing

    Along the same lines (ha! how appropriate) as letter spacing, line spacing allows you to open up your content and let it breathe. This adds just a touch of whitespace in your actual post, which can make your page feel cleaner.

Break Up Those Paragraphs!!!

    Nothing is worse than going to a blog where the author has neglected to break up content into paragraphs. Nothing. This is why newspapers have columns filled with blocks of text – often spread across multiple pages. Here’s a secret – people don’t want to read a lot, but they will keep reading if “a lot” is split up into more manageable chunks. I mean, seriously – you know what I’m talking about, right? Blogs where authors ramble on about nothing in particular, while not once hitting the “enter” key? Blogs that go on and on and on and on and on about personal stories, detailing every single bad thing that happened to them, using run on sentences, improper grahmerr and lots and lots exclamation marks!!!  Honestly, relationships are tough, but that doesn’t mean that I need to go to your page and read about them.  I don’t have time to spend reading your life story, about how he dumped you and you cried, then you dumped him and he cried.  I honestly don’t even care that you both then later dumped each other and cried together – I have things to do.

    See what I mean? I hope I’ve taught you a lesson, and that you’ll never commit this atrocity against a poor, unsuspecting reader.

Use Decent Grammar

    I’m not a great writer. I’ll be the first to admit that. My old English and Rhetoric teacher, J.P. Stephens will be the second and my old British Literature teacher will be the third. Either way, most of the time I am able to use somewhat decent grammar.

    Using decent grammar isn’t difficult. Basically, it goes something like this. If you’re unsure whether or not to use caps on something other than a proper name or the first letter of a sentence – DON’T DO IT. If you aren’t sure whether to add a fifth exclamation mark to your sentence – don’t do it!!!!! If you’re tempted to use some sort of abbreviation in your writing – omg, please don’t do it.

Use That a:hover Carefully, Mister

    Never ever make the text size in your link hover class bigger than a normal link. When someone hovers over a link on your site, be it text or an image, nothing on the page should move up or down.

    Great hover effects make the user mouse over your link again, just to see it. Nobody will admit they do this, but they do. Hover effects should add to the flow and balance of your page, just like your content, images, and colors.

Be Consistent

    This is by far the area in which I struggle the most. Pick something and stay with it. Readers want consistency (unless it’s consistently bad), and well designed, easy to read posts will keep them coming back.

Think About Where Your Blog is Being Read

    If you’re serious about blogging (and even if you aren’t), chances are you have an RSS feed, which means that not everyone is reading your blog on your website. Different readers can render content differently, so it’s important to keep in mind how some of the more popular RSS readers may format your posts.

And that’s it for now. Now, keep in mind, I am by no means in a position to give instruction to bloggers, as I am not successful by any stretch of the imagination. However, from observation and personal experience, these have been some of the most helpful and effective ways to make your posts more readable.

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