Content Is King, But Only if You Clothe Him in White Space

A guest post by Sherrie Hurd

Writing great blog posts require more than great content and a catchy title. Content may be king, but (as in the lesson of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”) how the king is dressed will make a big difference on whether people keep looking or turn their eyes elsewhere

There’s a secret to successful posts. It’s called formatting.

The secret to good blog formatting? White space!

Formatting augments the appearance and the flow of the piece, to create an attractive piece of work that grabs attention. After all, the objective is the keep the viewer on the page long enough to finish the post and devour the subject matter.

The Art of Dressing with White Space

A successful article must be attractive to the eye and form a successful composition, just like a piece of artwork or music. Space is as important as color and line. The rests in a musical piece are just as important as the notes.

The first step in creating white space comes from avoiding long paragraphs! Large blocks of text will put the audience to sleep before they reach the last sentence

Unlike school assignments, which consists of walls of words, an attention grabbing article is constructed in the opposite manner.  In order to hold attention throughout the article, each paragraph should contain no more than two or three sentences. And, yes, it can be just one single sentence. No rules against that!

Two or three, not ten!

Short paragraphs keep the subject matter interesting without overwhelming the reader with too much information at once. Too much is just too much; one or two spoonfuls, then let them take a breath of…white space. And keep those sentences short too. Otherwise they’ll lose their train of thought trying to keep all the words tied together in one string.

Accessories that Grab Attention

Nothing grabs attention like a bold sub-headline. Just when you think the article could be nearing a monotonous pattern, you get a much-needed subtitle that opens your eyes and freshens your interest in the information.

Bam! Change in direction…

To produce a worthy sub-headline, select formatting, then Heading 2 which will insert an H2 tag in the title text. This move not only changes the formatting to grab the reader’s attention, but will grab the attention of search engines as well (an important place to insert keywords). Those subheadings also add a little bit more white space and contrast to your article, dividing it into smaller bites.

And one more tip!

There are other ways to grab attention, hold interest and “wow” the audience. A simple way to do this is by using bold, italics and underline.

Using bold for sub-headings, as you can see, is a perfect way to get noticed! Underlining the title and adding italics makes it stand out too. If you’ve got the formatting know-how, change the color for more pop.

Appetizer anyone?

A tried and true way to write a successful post is by using bullet points or a number list. This always catches the eye and draws it down, point-by-point.

  • It grabs attention, yet again!
  • It creates a list of points, obviously.
  • It separates a few quick thoughts and keeps them bite-sized!
  • It looks good too!

So, let’s review what we know. For a successful blog article, we should use one to three sentences per paragraph, leave a blank line between paragraphs for ample white space and use attention grabbing sub-headings, bullet points or numbered lists. And let’s not forget bold, italic and underline for added effect!

Clothe your content in white space, add a few eye-popping accessories and your article should be a smashing success. Try it, and see how it works for you!

One more thing…let your personality shine through. Someone will love your voice and hang on your every word.

Sherrie Hurd is freelance writer, author and artist. Follow her on Facebook.

Other guest posts by Sherrie

3 Comments Content Is King, But Only if You Clothe Him in White Space

  1. Stephen

    This is an excellent article. I don’t know about everyone else, but I quite often get wrapped up in the words in my own head and they run wild on the paper. See I just did that. As you said, “keep those sentences short too.” A good rule of thumb and part of a good readability test is to keep sentences less than 20 words.

    I never realized that until I added Yoast’s SEO tool to my WordPress site. Yoast’s readability score shows your score. I am not promoting Yoast, just the need to keep your sentences short. Take a look at my second sentence. It is 27 words. If I leave off the, “I don’t know about everyone else, but”, which really adds nothing, it is exactly 20 words.

    Thanks Sherrie, I will certainly be looking forward to more of your advice.

    If you are having thoughts about making freelance writing a career or a part-time boost to your income, I encourage you to read Kathleen’s book, The Fast Track to Freelance Success Online. That’s how i got started.

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