Almost every week, I tell a client that their marketing content has a major flaw.
It's not the topic, the writing style, the grammar, or even the typos.
The issue is that their content is simply difficult to read due to the formatting.
I've seen websites with excellent content that were simply unreadable because of poor formatting.
You've spent a lot of time writing a blog post or a service description, but no one reads it.
You, the author, are probably unaware of it because you are too close; you lack objectivity.
The good news is that it is simple to improve readability.
And once you realize what you're doing wrong, you'll never do it again.
The following are seven arranging mistakes that make it difficult for readers to read your content.
I'm going to concentrate on formatting content for websites and blogs because that's where we read the majority of online marketing content.
1. text that's too small
This is the most common type of text formatting error. You have a problem if someone has to squint to read your text.
And did you know that more than half of all people now use mobile devices to access the internet? This makes reading small amounts of text much more difficult.
With the migration of websites to WordPress, page widths are wider than ever before, so small text gets lost in the vast expanse of the screen.
What size text should you use? My preference is for no less than 16px, but 20px is becoming more common. A larger IS is preferable.
2. text that's too light
This is entirely the fault of the designers. The lighter text is appealing. I'm not sure why this happens, but it does...
Worse yet, the text is both small and bright!
But, even if you make a good first impression with your website, can anyone read your text?
They simply cannot!
Your readers are unfortunate! They are unable to read what you have written.
What color should your text be? I recommend using no less than 85% black. This will make your text slightly brighter and less garish (i.e. cooler) than if you used 100% black.
3. text that's too wide on the page
Format your text from edge to edge now that you have a large, wide page to write on!
Please do not attempt this.
Adding large blocks of text to small, light text is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, some white space is required to narrow the text blocks on the page.
The font size on Medium.com (which has millions of readers) is 21 px, and the margins on each side of the text take up approximately 50% of the screen space.
Another method for reducing the size of your text block is to have a narrow left or right margin and then a wider margin on the opposite side with graphical content or page menus.
4. paragraphs that are too long
Long paragraphs pose the same challenges as smaller, lighter, or wider text. On the web, large sections are notoriously difficult to navigate.
A web page is not like a book. Furthermore, similar section rules have no effect.
Short paragraphs are acceptable.
Even one-sentence paragraphs are acceptable.
Do you get what I'm saying?
Paragraphs should be no more than five lines long, in my opinion. Readership will skyrocket if you pack just one key idea into each paragraph.
5. poor choice of font
This is more difficult because there are so many fonts available nowadays.
I usually suggest a legible serif font, such as "Georgia," or a sans serif font, such as "Open Sans."
However, when combining fonts, use caution. You don't think your website should appear to be a payoff note.
It is customary to use a bold serif or sans serif font for headings and a sans serif font for content.
This is where a designer can come in handy, giving your web pages a consistent, professional appearance.
6. missing bold print
This is my go-to technique for increasing readability. This isn't seen nearly enough on the internet.
There is no focal point to draw the eye if your text is just black/grey text with no variation.
This is what happens:
A reader arrives at your page and sees only solid color text. Nothing catches the eye.
The subconscious informs us, "What happened to the good stuff? Is it necessary for me to sift through all of that text to find it? This is too exhausting; take me somewhere else!"
However, highlighting the first few sentences (or even the first few sentences) in bold draws the eye and pays immediate dividends.
The reader is focused and understands what your content is about right away, and is encouraged to continue reading.
If you use a lot of bold in your text, the reader will be able to quickly find the meaning. Even if he doesn't read the entire page, he understands the gist.
One thing to remember about bold: you should almost never bold words or phrases in the middle of a paragraph. That simply makes it more difficult to read.
Italics should be used to emphasize something in the middle of a paragraph.
7. don't use subheadings
Another effective way to improve readability is to divide pages into subheadings.
These are simply larger fonts that are often colored and/or bolded, as I have done in this article.
Subheadings help to organize your content's most important sections.
All of this improves readability, which is what you want when someone visits your website, right?