Reader-Friendly Editing

photo by Please! Don't Smile.

What makes a photograph dramatic?

How does the image draw your attention? I bet this photo is more interesting than most of the family pictures on your camera, even though you don’t know the girl in it.

But why is it so interesting?

And what does this have to do with blogging?

The things that make a photograph dramatic — strong contrast and intriguing shapes — also work to make a blog post that draws attention and is easy to read.

What makes a blog post reader-friendly?

Nothing is more difficult to read online than a long, gray block of text, but that is how most beginning bloggers tend to write. Long paragraphs are fine for a first draft, but then click Save Draft and Preview. Go back and edit your post with a reader’s eye.

You want the reader to come back to your blog and read more, right? Then make reading your posts easy and fun!

photo by *sean

White space: Use relatively short paragraphs, and put a blank line between them.

Dark balance: Use headings, bold text, and photos to further offset the gray of the text.

Scannable content: That means writing that is easy to skim and get the key points. Use lists (ordered or unordered) wherever they make sense.

What else can you think of to break up the gray? Check out all the tools on your Visual Editor. Just don’t do anything too garish like changing the text color with each word — yuck!

[To my students: Just in case that wasn’t clear enough, DON’T change your text colors! To online readers, any change in text color signals a clickable link. Let your theme do the work of making links change color the way they should, and keep all the rest of your text black, or white, or whatever color plain text is supposed to be on your theme.]

Homework:

  • Write and publish at least one new blog post. Use formatting to make it easy to read.
  • Or go back and improve the formatting of one of your earlier posts.
  • Leave a comment on at least one classmate’s blog. (The more, the merrier!)
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