How to format an article?

If you are blogging, then you probably know the feeling when no one reads a cherished, born in hard work article. And you cannot understand the reasons. It seems that the theme is chosen correctly. And the style is adequately selected. And the words used are exactly the ones you need! The article is written interestingly, and, undoubtedly, it should be useful to a significant part of your key audience ...


You are ready to take it and treat it adequately if you yourself feel where you made a mistake and where you openly cheated. You know that the article does not reach the level of your usual publications. But if everything seems to be done correctly, you can even get into a deep depression due to a lack of understanding of the reasons for such a failure. I will not say that the motivation for further blogging evaporates in proportion to the number of such “unnoticed” publications.

Desperate for failure, you conclude that you should continue to work on your copyright (writing) skills. And perhaps in 2-3 years your articles will finally begin to notice ...

In reality, the decision can be much simpler and have nothing to do with writing skills. The main reason for the "invisibility" of your article may well be a misunderstanding of the specifics of perception of content on the Internet.

Traditional Books & Internet Content

Of course, you have heard that the behavior of the reader on the Internet is significantly different from the behavior of the reader offline. The way we read a paper book is not at all like reading updates to our favorite blogs in a reader.

The fact is that in books, as a rule, proven and high-quality content falls. Yes, and books do not come to us all in a row - but only selected ones. Those for which we were ready to pay money, which means we are confident in the value of the information they carry.

With Internet content, it’s different. Web 2.0 made the Internet accessible to everyone, which could not but affect the quality of the content that is published here. Reading another article in one of the millions of blogs, you can not be sure that this article will be interesting and useful for you!

Preliminary selection of high-quality blogs and subscription to the best ones with the help of an RSS reader corrects the situation a bit. But such a solution gives rise to new problems. If earlier you only read what you found on Google, now the reader constantly reminds you: you have 100, 200, 300 ... 1000 + unread entries. And you begin to feel obligated to review them. After all, it is not for nothing that you subscribed to these blogs. The probability of potentially interesting and useful publications among their list is quite high!

The specificity of the perception of content on the Internet follows from its features. There is much more information to which the reader has free access than offline. But no one guarantees its quality. The only way to make sure that the selected content will be interesting and useful is to check it yourself. The problem is that with all the desire, a person cannot read not only several thousand, but even several hundred publications a day. And there is only one alternative ...


Do not underestimate the influence of the specifics of perception of information on the Internet on the promotion of your content.

Even if you are now doing exactly what most online readers do — that is, scan an article instead of reading it — anyway, I’m sure that you paid attention to the word “scan” in the previous paragraph!


The answer is obvious! Since it stands out from the rest of the text and even highlighted in a separate paragraph. In a word in a paragraph! Undoubtedly, this is very important.

Proper formatting

Here are a few more techniques for making your texts scan-friendly:

  1. Use short paragraphs and leave at least one blank line between them. This banal and simple technique makes your article much more “friendly” to the reader. If books still use the traditional technique of separating paragraphs by indenting the first word by several letters, then this is not enough on the Internet. You must add at least one blank line between paragraphs. Again - it helps scan!
  2. Do not neglect the attractive subtitles. If I understand anything in the reader’s psychology, I can guarantee that he will read the subheadings. Just as you just read the subtitle of this paragraph, although you may not read these words.
    At its core, the subtitle is no less important than the title of the article and belongs to the type of content that will be read first. Therefore, do not regret spending a little more time on it and taking care of the attractiveness of the names! They will make the reader “put off" other blogs and decide to read your article from beginning to end.
  3. Lists and Lists. Despite the sincere hatred of the lists of some authors and readers, their effectiveness is obvious! And the main advantage of such formatting as a list is again the simplicity of scanning: mileage on the items in the list - and you have an idea about the article.
    The problem with lists and lists is not that they are "bad" in themselves, but that, carried away by this technique, the authors try to apply lists even where they are contextually inappropriate. And the banal and uninteresting filling of the items on the artificial list can once and for all turn the reader away not only from the article, but also from the resource on which it is published. Therefore, do not abuse them.
  4. Images and image captions. Studies show that articles that use images attract readers more often than publications without illustrations. But what became a real discovery for me is the fact that image captions relate to content that is read at the level with headings. Therefore, if you have something to illustrate, take advantage of this advantage and use interesting and informative signatures.
    Useful links increase the attractiveness of content and motivate the reader! Internal links to your best articles not only contribute to the formatting of the publication and make it more favorable for scanning, but also encourage the reader to stay on the site longer and “wander around” the archival materials. The likelihood that a casual reader will become a constant increases with each subsequent click on such a link. After all, this means that your publications really interested him!
  5. Color and visual formatting. In order to emphasize an important concept, you can use bold or even a different color. But remember that this practice cannot be abused. Otherwise, its effectiveness will be zero!

Formatting and content (about thoughtful readers)

It is time to share with you a revelation, which may not be obvious from the previous text, but if you do not understand it, you can safely forget about a successful blog and loyal readers: formatting can stop the visitor’s eyes on your article for longer, but the main thing has always been content remains. And the content does not depend on formatting!

Formatting in no case should justify the lack of content or the absence of the main message. If you have nothing to tell the reader about, no formatting will fix this situation.

Despite the importance of formatting for simply scanning publications, your loyal readers are those who do not scan, but read from cover to cover. One such reader is more expensive than a dozen random “scanners”. Therefore, formatting is not a panacea - but just a useful tool that helps casual readers decide whether to pay more attention to your article and blog.

It is by scanning the article that the reader makes the decision to bookmark it, so that later, after finding free time, he read carefully and thoughtfully. You are hunting precisely such - thinking - readers. But if you hadn’t used the correct formatting, it’s very likely that such a reader didn’t even look at the article. His time is too valuable to spend on searching for key ideas that you, as an author, could so easily highlight using formatting ...

Remember this when you write the next article on your blog or on Habr!

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