16 Rules of Blog Writing and Layout. Which Ones Are You Breaking? [And Infographic]

Remember newspapers?

People used to get them delivered to their door and read them over breakfast. They're big, awkward to hold and they cover your fingers in black printer ink.

Plus, getting them to your doorstep takes hours so, by the time you read a newspaper, the news isn't all that new. Newspapers are going out of business because their news cannot keep up with the 24/7 news cycle that is so prevalent today.

layout and design for your blog

Newspapers have their drawbacks but one thing they do right is to make sure their stories are easy to read. By that, I mean how they actually format and layout the newspaper and each individual story. Of course, first newspapers hit you with a headline that makes you really want to read more.

Something like this headline works wonders:

THE KING OF POP IS DEAD! How he really died! 10,000 pills in 6 months

Sensational tabloids aside, the content in newspapers is usually good ~ the writing's high quality and they usually get their facts straight.

But quality content isn't all you expect when you buy a newspaper and it isn't enough for blog writing either.

All newspapers make sure their content is easy to read by constraining the width of their columns and that's what their readers expect.

Blog writers need to do the same and format their blog posts so they're easy to read. Long narrow newspaper columns mean your eye can easily jump from the end of one line to the beginning of the next without losing its place.

If the column's too wide readers will keep getting lost unless they enlist their finger to help them keep track. Even if they do that they'll get frustrated and won't enjoy the reading experience.

This is just one element of traditional media and legibility knowledge that we can use on our blogs or website layout. Newspapers follow set rules for the formatting and layout, their stories to make them easy to read and bloggers need to follow some too. Blog writing and formatting content for the Web is more complex than writing for print because how we read on a computer screen is different to how we read in print and more challenging.

Blog Rules are Based on Two Things:

People skim read when they read things on-screen

A website or blog is missing the usual cues that let us know how long an article is. Pick up a book or cast your eye over a newspaper article, and you'll instantly be able to gauge how long it is and how long it will take to read. Online the only way to find that out is to scroll down to the end of the blog post and that's what most people do. While they're at it, they'll also try to scan read the post. A long body of text is scary. Sometimes it helps to get a truly professional writer.

Even if the headline appeals to them, with no other clues about the content, people will be reluctant to start reading. By helping people scan your blog posts with a good layout and telling them more about what information they'll find in it,  you can entice them to read the post in full.

It's harder to read things on-screen than on print

Screen legibility is improving along with resolution and screen size but there are still some simple rules you need to know to help people read your blog more easily. If you want to make sure people enjoy reading your blog, tell their friends about it and subscribe then you need to make sure the very act of reading your blog is easy. No matter how great your blog content and blog writing is, if it's not easy to read, people won't enjoy it and won't come back for more.

16 Rules of Blog Writing and Layout

1. Format every blog post

Careful formatting will make your blog posts easier for people to scan. Write your posts with the page layout in mind or edit them to make sure they're well formatted for scan reading.

2. Constrain column width

Keep the blog post column width about 80 characters or less (including spaces) and your readers will thank you for it. Check out these before and after screen shots of Under the Mango Tree. I advised Stacyann to update her blog to make it easier to read and changing the column width for the main body of text was one of the first things we sorted out. Wide columns of text are an instant turn off and very hard to read. The difference is incredible and it's such a simple change.

Rules of Blog Writing and Blog Post Formatting

3. Use Headers and Sub-headers

Headers and sub-headers will break up long blog posts, help people scan read your blog and convince them to read the post. Read How to Write Hypnotic Headlines to read more about the importance of headlines and headers for blog writing.

4. Use lists

Numbered lists or bullet pointed lists help people scan blog posts fast and find the information they're looking for quickly.

5. Use punctuation

Use full stops, commas, dashes and colons to break up each paragraph into smaller pieces of information that make sense quickly. No one wants to read the same sentence several times to try to make sense of it. If you're not confident about punctuation keep sentences short. As you practice writing and start to improve you can experiment and lengthen your sentences, chucking in a long one here and there to keep things interesting for readers, and make sure they're really paying attention. Long sentences are fine but check that every sentence makes sense and the meaning is clear.

6. Short paragraphs

Because reading is harder online it's best to break text into manageable chunks. Paragraphs should be much shorter online than on paper with two to six sentences per paragraph a good guideline for blog posts.

7. Font type

Sans-serif fonts (without the squiggly bits) are generally supposed to be easier to read on-screen, in particular Verdana. Successful Blogging uses the sans-serif font Roboto (without the squiggly bits) which is also designed for easy reading on-screen.

8. Font size

Big is better. Teeny tiny writing is hard to read online, even for people with 20/20 vision like me. Make it bigger. Check out some of your favorite blogs, compare the font size they use and decide what works best for your readers. If they're older they might prefer even bigger text than the average blog reader.

9. Be bold

Don't overuse bold text or it loses its effectiveness but do use bold text to make a splash and highlight important sentences that will catch people's attention and draw them into, or on with, the blog post.

Blog writing magic ang blog post formatting

10. Drop the italics

Italics are hard to read in print. Couple that with on-screen reading already being challenging and banish italics from your blog writing. I hate them. If you can avoid italics please do.

11. Capital letters

Use capitals for proper nouns and at the beginning of sentences but avoid writing all in capitals because it's harder to read. PLUS USING CAPITAL LETTERS CONSTANT IS THE ONLINE EQUIVALENT OF BEING SHOUTED AT. Sorry, just wanted to get the point across.

12. White space

Readers need somewhere to rest the eye and a good blog layout leaves plenty of blank space. Click To Tweet Make sure your blog isn't too busy or distracting and gives readers somewhere to rest their eye from time to time.

13. Background color

Most blogs and websites get the contrast between text color and background color right, but make sure your blog background doesn't make the text hard to read. It makes me sad that a white background with black text has become the default for most blogs. Bright yellow text on a black background is easiest to read but that's a confrontational look. Dark text on a light background has a wider appeal but consider using another light color for the background as white gives off a harsh glare. There are plenty of choices which look good and are still easy to read but without the glare of white: try light grey, minty green or pale yellow.

14. Use images

blog clothesline

Good use of images will draw readers into your blog posts. Sometimes I read a post purely because I like the image. Ideally, your images will add to your blog or emphasize your message. Even if they can't do that use them to break up text, draw your reader's eye down the page and reward them for reading and spending time on your blog. Some blogs like Viperchill turn their headers and sub-headers into images which make the text look more attractive and helps people scan read.

15. Be consistent

You don't know how readers found your blog. You can't be sure if they arrived straight at your latest post, on your about page or via an archived post. You can't know which order people will read your blog in so every post you write needs to tell the same story about you, your message, your blog and your values.

16. Tell a story

Speaking of stories, every blog post needs to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Think of it as an introduction, the main information, and conclusion if you prefer. Even if you don't give use those sub-headings because, hopefully, you've come up with hotter ones, do follow the convention to avoid confusing your readers.

Blog Writing Rules Wrap Up

You've probably noticed traditional media like newspapers are struggling and the Internet's taking over. It's amazing to think that in less than 10 years you may not be able to buy the L.A. Times or whatever your favorite newspaper is. Instead, you'll download the thing to your iPad in a nanosecond and read it on the go. No dirty fingers, no struggling to read text that runs over a crease and no pages blowing down the street. I love newspapers, and I'll miss them, but I look forward to the day when every blog is formatted and laid out so it's as easy to read as one of those old newspapers.  Have I missed any blog writing and formatting rules?

Blog Writing Magic Practice

Pick one of your favorite old blog posts and rewrite it or revise the layout for easy reading on the web. Give it a new headline and repost it. Even if the blog content is the same, with a snappy new headline, some calls to action and some smart formatting, it should get more readers than it did the first time round.

Here's what to do next…

If you want to get an additional free guide to blog writing, I've got something special for you.

It's a book with more blog formatting and writing guidelines so you know the exact steps to take to write great blog posts that turn into more readers and more subscribers.

Click on the picture below to download the free PDF guidebook. Get your free guide today:


16 Rules For Blog Writing And Layout. Which Of These Rules Are You Breaking?


  1. says

    Usually I read loads of ‘how to’ posts about grammer and great content and it seems formatting for easy reading is often neglected so I was really pleased to read these great, practical ideas.
    Do you know approx how wide in px 80 characters is?

    • says

      Hi Kate, thanks for revisiting GITHS and commenting again. These are the real essentials. Even bad writers can make their posts readable with a bit of easy formatting. Anyone can and should:)

      65-80 characters seems to be the general guideline.

      • says

        Thank you for the great summary of the basic formatting rules, Sue.

        I’ve been designing websites for a while and a came up with a lot of the rules mentioned in your article, just by trial and error.

        Kate, 80 characters will fit in 600-700 px container on average. It depends on your font size and style. You can test your formatting by copying one line of your text into a word processor and getting a word/character count. If your site has a flexible layout (the width is adjustable to the users’ screen sizes), then you can’t exactly pinpoint the container size, just get an estimate or set up a maximum width.

        Hope this helps,

        • says

          Hi, Kimberly,

          Thanks for helping out! I agree – it took me a while to come up with all of these “rules” of formatting.

          Thanks for commenting!

  2. says

    I could (and should) probably work on being more consistent. In fact, two months ago I challenged myself to a blog post (at least) per day. I did pretty darn good too. It was a way for me to challenge myself to think more and put it all out there. I think it worked well, but now, I’m back to my sometimes on, sometimes off self.

    Off to think about what to write next… 🙂

    • says

      Hi Ricardo, great to see you here:) This is a tough one. It’s so personal. I’d love to know how different my blog would be if I’d posted daily but that’s impossible for me. I prefer high quality and less frequent posting:) Coming up with ideas isn’t a problem for me but sticking to a timeframe is! Hope you come up with a goodie and the Blog Writing Magic tips help.

      • Kyle says

        Hi i am a 13 year old kid i have a exam on blog writing i am just asking if it will be right to use your tips for the exam

  3. says

    Great information! Thanks so much. I’ve learned a lot of these things the hard way and I know there are blogs I don’t read because it’s too much strain on the eye.
    Thanks again,

    • says

      Hi Carol, great to see you here and read your comment. I think it is subconscious really. We try to read a blog but it tires us. I want to leave my readers feeling fresh and energised so it’s important to me that the reading process is easy!

  4. says

    Thanks Steve, no need to remember, you can book mark it and come back every time you’re about to hit publish:) Cheers!

  5. says

    Hey, you’ve outlined a great step by step process of writing a blog post.

    • says

      Hi Steven, well, I will have by the time I finish the Blog Writing Magic series. Half way through now and getting some great feedback. Thank you for stopping by, it’s great to see you:)

  6. says


    Thank you for gathering these comprehensive points on how to format blog posts. They are excellent. I certainly learned a few new and important tricks, that’s for sure.

    Overall, I rate fairly well on these, but my column width is to wide. Not as extreme as Under the Mango tree, but getting closer to 100. Plus my text background is white. I love the column width, so that’s hard to part with! I actually don’t like to read blogs if the columns get too narrow.

    • says

      Hi Sandra, glad you learned a few things. I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself for the white background. That’s quite a personal perference of mine and most people go for white. The column width though. I really recommend that one! Thanks as always for the fine feedback:)

  7. says

    Your example of column width and Stacy’s site a great one. Just from looking at it for a second it looks much more readable your way. Column width really is a great point!

    I have used italics, usually for an “internal monologue” type of quip. But you make a good point against that.

    All your other points were also great , but those two particularly struck me.

    • says

      Hi Steve, great to see you here and thanks for leaving a comment. Hope I’ll be able to help you out with more tips soon:)

  8. says


    Yep, I’d definitely be selling this Intellectual Property. It’s gold dust – or should I say silver dust! 😉

    Well done 😉

    Robin 🙂
    My sharewords: helping you succeed in business.

    • says

      Hi Robin, my gift for you:) Thank you for commenting and leaving three lovely smileys! Maybe one day it will be three gold coins. Lol:)

  9. says

    Excellent – and pretty much what I tell all writers to do, regardless of the type of document.

    After all, it’s all about the reader and what they want. Our job as writers and editors is to make every piece of writing as easy as possible for our readers to understand and respond to our call to action.

    I also like to use tables without vertical cell borders and as few horizontal borders as possible. Colouring alternate rows is often a better choice.

    So happy writing

    Desolie – sharpens your writing

    • says

      Hi Desolie, thanks for visiting and sharing your tips on tables. Sounds like a good one:)

  10. says

    thanks, great tips and guidelines.

    one other may be underlining text that isn’t a link – see this often in blogs and websites.


  11. says

    Great rules to blog by! As Robin says – gold!

    I never thought of the column width as being an issue, but just by looking at the image comparing the 2, it really does make sense.

    I don’t like reading fully justified text (straight left & right margins – not necessarily a newspaper as the columns are narrow), I’ve heard that it is easier to read text when only left justified (for reading left to right) (and only right justified for reading right to left) – what do you think?

    Sally ~ Advances Your Personal Best

    • says

      Hi Sally, there be gold there in that blog:) Thanks so much for commenting:) Oh, the kerning thing? Bad kerning is bad news. At least I don’t have to worry about that here on my blog. I don’t know the official rule on this one bu tmy personal preference is left justified…maybe because I read left to right?!

  12. Michael says

    This is superb! 16 golden rules every blogger should follow; it’s definitely given me some food for thought.

    I can’t wait to read your post on blog editing 🙂

    Happy writing


    • says

      Hi Michael, bon appetit then:) Blog editing coming. If I don’t edit it down to nothing that is…

  13. Marilia says

    There you go spilling all the secrets to blog success. Like you said in item 15, consitency is what your blog is all about (besides beeing truthfull to the other rules as well).

    Anyone landing on any post of yours will get the message you are spreading.

    Inspiring as always.

    • says

      Hi Marilia, you have a picture, smiling and playing the guitar, I love it:) Thanks for the gorgeous feedback. I’m singing along with you!

  14. says

    It took me while to work out formatting things like lists and headings. They make such a difference to the readability of your posts. One day “when I have time” I want to go back to my first year of blog posts and format them properly!

    • says

      Hi PQ, I think I need to do that too although most of my early ones are on a different topic so no longer relevant to my readers today.

  15. says

    Great post! I agree w/ you on the white background and using images. I just find it more pleasing to the eye to have a nice contrast between background and type, and I’m a very visual person so I like images. I think you can kill 2 birds w/ one stone by using images to break up the post, thus working like ‘white space’ visually.
    I think my column width is good since I moved to blogger. It was too wide on the wp blog.
    Bottom line is still and always will be… good content!

  16. says

    One thing is yet to be discussed. That is the use of American and British set of English. Both have spell variation and different pronunciation in most of the cases. People using British set of English in daily communication face problems when they compose their article in a word processor because most of word processors use American set of English and software start showing spell mistakes while actually they are not the spell mistakes. Now by making correction as per software recommendation, article becomes a mixture of British & American set of English. So it’s necessary to be stick with one set of English to make a consistency in article.
    You have written a lot on writing, what’s your opinion on this issue? Shall people, with British accent and set of English, use American set of English on web because majority of stuff on web is in American English. What’s thought on it? A detail article on it will help to clarify the issue.

    • Sally says

      Hi Imran

      I thought I’d add a comment here. I worked for a training company in a country where the population was well and truly multi-cultural and English was, for the majority, either their 2nd or 3rd language yet strangely it was widely spoken. When writing training manuals, we were directed to use British English for all words except where ‘…ize’ would be spelt e.g. instead of British ‘realise’ we had to write US ‘realize’. This mixed the two up. I had a discussion with a languages teacher about the impact of mixing up the two English’s and her opinion was that it was not helpful to the reader and confusing (even more so for those who have English as a 2nd/3rd language). So long as you are consistent with one, then use it and do not mix the two. I really struggled putting a few US words amongst the British ones as my English education has been based around UK English.

      This may be a little to the side of your comment (not directly related) but I’d thought I’d share. I get the impression that if your post/copy is targeted to a US audience only then maybe consider writing US English however with so much that is accessible practically everywhere as well as the opportunity to discuss/clarify (comment boxes, etc) it may not be necessary to change between the two variations of English.

      When I get my site up and start blogging, I will stick with British English, it’s my native, and I’ll have greater chances of LESS typos and errors, etc. (Unless of course the topic is about US English then I may sneak a few of the US words in 🙂 )

      ~Sally: Advances Your Personal Best

    • says

      Hi Imran, good question! I’d say depends who your readers are. 50% of mine are from North America and that’s my target audience so I try to be consistent and use american english spellings. I also try to tailor my language and use words everyone will understand but let a few expressions I use slip in for the cross-cultural experience:) That way people get a sense of the person behind the writing. Hope that makes sense:)

      Thanks Sally, totally agree, consistency is key, no matter which you choose:)

      • says

        Thanks for your detail comment to clarify the point. Problem is, as sally said, blogs are widely accessible and if we are not marketing some product, then we can say that we are targeting whole English speaking community inclusive of all people having English as their native and non native language. But again I have observed wide usage of American English. I am unable to understand why this is so. By doing so, we are going to be used to of mixture English. I realized this fact when I was writing a letter in my homeland to someone, where education is British English Based, and shocked to observe that usage of American English along with British became my style. I was using “z” instead of “s” and when I further probed the matter, I find that my pronunciation of words also changed to American style.
        Anyway, coming back to topic related to blogging. In nut shell, if we are targeting whole English speaking community, we shall use American English?

      • says

        Imran, yes, that’s correct. Globalization is at work! If you are targeting the whole english-speaking world then a good percentage of them will be North Americans. But you might want to focus on a particular market and keep your niche tighter…. It could make it easier for you and more appealing for your audience.

  17. says

    Great info. It never occurred to me exactly why we skim read when we read on screen… we have no sense of exactly how long the blog is. I love the logic behind it… it makes it easier to keep that in mind.

    I have a tendency to SHOUT in emails… my wife has warned me time and time again and you confirmed it.

    • says

      Hi Rob, lol, SHOUTING is quite common. I tend to avoid it online quite nicely, now I just need to focus on not shouting in real life.

  18. says

    Great tips! Most I ‘knew’ but didn’t understand why. Just tonight I wrote a post and just did not like the way it looked. I figured out I did not have any sub-headers for one thing. Once I fixed that I was able to move on with my editing! As far as pictures go, finding pictures sometimes take as long as writing the post!

    I only started blogging back in May and when I look at those early posts, I think Ugh, what was I thinking?!?

    This series has been great so far! Can’t wait for more!


    • says

      Hi Bernice, my first blog posts are badly formatted too, even though I already knew all this. My thinking was well no one ever visits my blog anyway but that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes, it takes time, esp the images! But we have to do it well:)

  19. Cate says

    a beautifully concise summary… can I buy into the ‘which English to use’ argument by reiterating your point about consistency being the important focus, and also being true to yourself.

    Semantically, I find American spelling (and grammar) a bit clumsy, but I also recognise that English as she is spoke is not the easiest thing in the world to grasp. I always like to remind people that Shakespeare employed 13 different spellings for his own name and actually invented a bit of the grammar that we ‘enjoy’ today.

    As always, love your post. Keep it up!

    • says

      Hi Cate, of course you can tell us what you think, we’re all eyes:) Hehe, I get that. I try to be consistent in the british/american english usage but I’m sure I muddle it sometimes.

      We’re not machines are we? As long as we know the rules and try to stick to them or bend them to our means I think we can make it work!

  20. says

    Really great tips! I use many of them and some are helpful for me right now.

    Thanks for sharing!

  21. says

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question, much appreciated 🙂

  22. says


    Just wanted to say Thank you so much for writing such an informative and thought provoking article!! So much valuable information!!
    Great comments by others so I’ll just say ~ *Ditto* !!
    Before I race off to tweak (read ‘fix’) my Blog; I have a question if you don’t mind ~ I’m noticing of late that many people are leaving the date off posts/articles they have written. What are your thoughts on this?

    With warm hugs and gratitude

    • says

      Hi Lindy,

      I understand it’s better to have no date as people may be less inclined to read posts in your archives if they know they’re old:) Hope that makes sense:) A

  23. says

    great tips chica…these are things I need to work at and put more effort into :)…hope all is well…

  24. says

    Beautiful list and it resonates.

    I break all the rules. Burger King taught me long ago, “Sometimes you gotta break the rules

    • says

      Hi Penelope, thanks for the feedback on the title! No more rules then… I just wanted to get a numbered list in to this series:) The book should be out in 2015.

      It is coming though! Thanks for asking and remembering!

  25. Penelope J. says

    Important tips and as usual, I got a lot out of your blog. However, while usually I read your posts when they come out, I delayed this one. What put me off was the title. 16 rules! Yikes, sounded like too much to digest. Once I started reading, I was hooked. A lot of good advice but you should add one more: Proof your blog posts for mistakes/typos that make it seem like careless writing.

  26. says

    You’re points about column width, italics, and all caps were great reminders. I had become foggy on the reasons why they’re not good for online content. I’m guilty of using italics here and there.


  27. says

    In any case, you have a fantastic thing going here! Love all the interaction you’re having with your audience. You’re a celeb!

    Gideon Shalwick

  28. Brett Vostro says

    Writing style plays a huge part in Blogging, I agree with short paragraphs – it makes content much easier to read. White space also helps as you say – things seem way to crowded if it’s just sentence after sentence.

    Good post.

  29. says

    Happy to know that I’m not breaking the rules (at least the ones that matter). HOWEVER, I do have a white background (oops! sorry about the caps). 😉

    In addition was happy you gave a shout-out to the Verdana font, since that’s what mine is in. I just thought it looked the best when I was working things up.

    You have affirmed me again! 🙂

  30. says

    I’m probably guilty of one or two of these…that aside (you know, because MY mistakes don’t count), my personal peeve is people who don’t use paragraph spacing! There’s one really popular blog springs to mind where the author doesn’t. maybe she writes her posts in Word and uses paragraph styling that doesn’t translate over to the text on her blog, I don’t know, but it makes her work really difficult to read so I don’t. I wonder how many MORE readers she’d have if she spaced her paragraphs.

  31. says

    Great post, all points are great, specially using the image because it enhances the look of the article and leaves a better impact on the mind of the reader.

  32. says

    After your visit to my blog, I followed up on your suggestion to check out these guide and I must confess it’s been very useful. I have done a total overhauling on my blog based on some of the tips you shared here. Thanks a million!
    Pls. kindly check it out my blog and let me know if there are any changes I need to still make.

  33. says

    Very good points, article formatting really differentiates the serious bloggers from the hobbyists…

  34. says

    I am only 6 weeks into blogging and I love finding treasures such as your blog to help me along. I am still playing with my first blog and am in the learning stages. Tonight I will try two new things, changing the background color of my next post and reworking an older post. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and great ideas. I look forward to more.

  35. says

    Thanks for providing textbook quality material. By textbook I don’t mean boring! This info is so easy to understand and useful that it makes one slap oneself on the head and say “Why didn’t I think of that?”.

    All these posts are being printed out and used as a reference.


  36. says

    Whenever you are writing content make sure that it is likely to be valuable for your readership. This means that you need to know what type of readers are coming to your blog and exactly what content they want to read. Make it applicable and relevant to their particular needs.

  37. Dave Doolin says

    Haha! italics are awesome!

    You should know this from copywriting: it doesn’t matter what people like, what matters is what they respond to. And sometimes, stopping them dead in their tracks with judiciously placed italics are exactly right. As you so elegantly demonstrated above.

    Ta, -d

  38. John Bosco says

    It is wonderfull and very informative. Thank you very much for providing a good article that can be of great help to people like me.

  39. says

    Thank you for taking the time to assist the nameless, faceless out there. It’s a daunting prospect, but one that anyone with a writing dream apparently needs to dive into. Thank you for making the water look a little less deep!

  40. says

    Truly great tips that helped me starting my blog, thank you! Loved the Hypnotic Headlines too

  41. says

    I read a lot of blogs, and I’m still surprized by the number of blogs that seem to post a stream of consciousness, instead of a formatted blog post. Especially when it so easily falls into paragraphs and the headings are obvious. As more and more content becomes available on-line, people are going to skim more – and if they reach an unformatted page, they’ll probably just hit the back button… I know I do!

  42. Rowlin says

    Well, this blog surely got my attention.
    I know that all beginner bloggers as well as bloggers tend to look for some information, tips and advice for their own blogs and if I must say is this the best site to come to. I simply love the way you write. It’s nice, fun and readible. Don’t forget the tips, now.
    Great post. It will surelly come in handy

  43. says

    Ohhh too much beneficial for me to read your blog.Before i have no idea to place content with formatting and how that was important in writing.Even just 5 minute before i have a blog with all italic phrases.After your suggestion i got a clear attention over how to format content on Blog.Thanks for your great and well written Article.

  44. Amit says

    Nice article..

  45. says

    Thanks, this is just what I was looking for. Been trying to figure out how to start formatting my posts for better readership results.

  46. says

    I’m new to blogging and searching to find uncomplicated information to help me get started. This post is very clear and to the point and will help me tremendously with my blogging en-devour.
    Thank you

  47. says

    Wow! Great post. I had no idea there were so much to take into account when blogging. I have been happily blogging along not knowing that i had to take background color and page layout into consideration all these tips are sure to improve my blogging and following.
    Thanks for the third time.

  48. Jason Effraimidis says

    Great post, and very informative and helpful if i may add. Some points i had been doing without readig them but some others have slipped from me.

    Good idea to rework posts, good get new readers and patch up old posts!

  49. sonam says

    Today I read about the blog writing really I would like to Blog writing, because of less information I could’t but after reading your post now I can say that I am feeling comfortable to take initiate to write blogs Thanks.

  50. Orris says

    It is a very useful article. Having heard of blog writing, i have ventured into this area for the first time. Hope to write good and meaningful blogs based on the tips highlighted by you.

  51. says

    You lead by example. I think anyone reading this blog post could skim it and learn everything they need to know about about writing a great blog post. This was very easy on the eye and the point about breaking text into manageable chunks is well made – and demonstrated.

    I’ve shared your blog on blogbods – usually we just wait for bloggers – or our users – do this themselves but this was so high quality that we didn’t want our newbie bloggers to miss out! You write simply and effectively.

    My only quibble would be that I was divided about the italics, because actually, when you used them, they really jumped out at me! So, I would have thought them quite effective (if used sparingly). But overall, this is probably the best post I’ve read…about creating the best post!

  52. says

    Thank you for your helpful guidelines. Do you have a suggestion for the most appropriate point of view to use when writing: first, second or third person? At first I would think “first” person to personalize as in a journal but I don’t think that’s necessarily a straight forward rule to use. I think perhaps it’s better to use whatever point of view is most appropriate for the context of the blog post. But I was also concerned about consistency. Any suggestions?

    • says

      Hi Barbara,

      Mix it up and play around to see what works best for your blog readers. I tend to stick to one person (first) because being personal is important but variety is good too as sticking to one format for blog post style would get boring for everyone. Hope that helps.

  53. says

    In what person should a blog be written? First or second? Is that a rule? I have taken an informal poll of peers and most say “definitely first” and always to be consistent. Although one “blog expert” commented try mixing it up for variety and do what works best for your readers. What is your opinion?

  54. says

    I’m not quite up and running yet with the website, so check back in a month or two, but I’ve been reading about blogging and need all the tips I can get. You mentioned that people can arrive at your blog from many different places and may be new to your site or to the subject of the particular blog. It helps me to read a blog in a new subject if abbreviations and idioms are defined in some way the first time they are used, so I don’t have to leave the blog to find out what they meant. I wholeheartedly agree with your points of using short paragraphs and bullet points to make the information pop. This is especially important if the subject material is complicated.

  55. Blaze says

    Great tips! I have recently created my blog, so I will definitely be using your tips. Thank you so much! 🙂

  56. says


    Thank you for your great tips! I’ve been blogging for about a year, and finally decided that I need to read about how to do it successfully. Your article is a wonderful source for new bloggers.


  57. Zarayna says

    Hi Sue,

    How hilarious! I subconsciously wondered why so many of the emails I receive are only printed on half the page – the left hand side.

    As with so many intelligent things, the answer is obvious when you are shown!

    As always, thank you for so many really useful tips and for presenting them so succinctly.

    Please accept my warm wishes for an even more successful New Year.

  58. says

    Hi Sue,

    Great article and thanks for sharing your list. My biggest takeaway is story telling. Yes, that’s insanely tough. Trust me!

    Sometime I really wish to be great story tellers like Jon Morrow, Brian Clark and Sonia Simone!

    But hey, after some years of practicing, I realized that the only way for me to ‘score’ well is by being myself. Tell a story about yourself and real things. People dig in with that!

    Thanks for sharing Sue.

    Have an awesome weekend!

    *PS How was your xmas?

    • says

      Hi, Reginald,

      Story telling is not my forte either! I like your advice, though.

      Love your new site!
      P.S. Christmas was relaxing and nice. Hope yours was great!

    • says

      Happy New Year, Julie!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting,

  59. says

    Just on the subject of people skim reading blogs: There’s no doubt that they do this a lot in the blogosphere generally. But I think it’s much more prevalent in some niches than others.

    For example, in the niche that this blog inhabits, people are looking for useful tips and guides. So they skim a lot, seeking out the core points.

    But in political blogging, for example, they’re more interested in arguments and opinions. So they read more slowly and closely, I think. That’s why even some of the most widely read blogs in that niche have less formatting of the kind you describe.
    Matt Hayden recently posted…The paradox of blogging: It’s both social and solitaryMy Profile

    • says

      That’s interesting, Matt. I had never thought about that but it makes a lot of sense.

      Thanks for sharing it with the Successful Blogging Team!

  60. says

    A great Blog post crafted on the topic of Blog post formatting. I’ve not read too many Blog posts featuring such content. I agree with all the points you’ve raised in this Blog Post Sue Anne.

    For those who use M.S. Word, I have a suggestion.

    Create a user defined template in M.S. Word, (this will be a .dot or .dotx file not a .doc or docx file).

    Add all the rules that have been suggested in the Blog post above.

    i.e. Set the correct font family, font size for the Head line, sub-head lines and body text.

    Set the head line color’s if you wish.

    Remember to set the width of the template to accommodate 80 characters as suggested by Sue Anne.

    Finally, the way to do this is to create a normal M.S. Word file BUT at the time of saving the file to your hard disk save it as a .dot or .dotx file.

    M.S. Word will save the file you’ve created as a M.S. Word template file.

    Now whenever you feel like creating a Blog post, just use the template you’ve created and type away.

    The Blog post will look exactly like as what’s recommended in this excellent Blog formatting post. Once done you can simply copy paste this into your WordPress Editor and you will be good to go.

    Hope this helps.
    Ivan Bayross recently posted…OSV Home pageMy Profile

    • says

      Great way to cure the problem, Ivan! Thanks so much – I never knew how to do this before.

      Thanks for taking the time to teach us!

  61. says

    I’m really enjoying reading your posts Sue Anne. Definitely learning a lot…

    • says

      I really appreciate you taking the time to comment, Faith!


  62. says

    Great article, Sue.

    I will consider to brush up some my older blog posts.

    Thanks for bringing amazing value as always 🙂


    • says

      Thanks, Tor. I really enjoy helping my readers get better at blogging.

      Appreciate you coming over to comment,

  63. says


    Very good and useful info. Just the kick in the rear I need to get going on my blogging.

    • says

      Good to hear, Fred! Sometimes we all need that kick, right?


  64. says

    With my 7,000 word posts these days I am so diligent in the formatting department.

    I break things up with centering sentences, headers, H2 headers, H3 headers, different colored text, and even ugly text.

    Ugly colored text and forms grabs the attention, and I have to thank Stuart Walker for his advice. He uses ugly colored and looking opt in forms and converts like mad.

    My forms may not be as ugly, nor the color of my text – or maybe it is – but darn it’s both attention-grabbing and my Hello Bar form is converting like mad.

    Our format must be readable, scannable AND attention-grabbing to work for us and for our readers.

    Thanks Sue wise points all around!

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…Review of I Will Teach You SEOMy Profile

    • says

      Hi, Ryan,

      I like the idea of “ugly” – Tony Shepherd always recommends it for landing pages/optin forms.

      Good to hear about the Hello Bar!

    • says

      I totally agree with you, Renard!

      Thanks for commenting,

    • says

      I also use infrequent italics! Thanks for the advice on the sidebar issue – I’ve been tweaking somethings on the site but that tweak needs tweaking!

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  65. says

    SUE ANNE, you got an awesome compilation of must-abide rules here. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely include them in my watchlist

  66. says

    Hello Sue.

    After reading this blog post I went to check my blog and I found out I break a lot of these rules. Is italic really so bad? I think you are right, it`s not so catchy. I also realized that my font is too small…and I don`t use bold too. 😀 I guess I`ll fix it as soon as I can, but what I wanted to say is that your blog post made me think constructively about my blog, which I really thank you for.

    I like your blog, Sue, and I love your podcast. 🙂 I started to listen to it while cooking and it`s inspiring, fun and full of information. I`m intrigued by the stories of other bloggers and how successful they became. Thank you so much for these interviews!

    Take care and have a very successful New Year. 😉
    Jane Brown recently posted…11 Fast Ways to Love YourselfMy Profile

    • says

      Hi, Jane,

      Italics aren’t that bad 🙂

      Derek Halpern says that “14 is the new 12″ and ’16 is the new 14” when it comes to fonts. Being easy to read is the key.

      Thanks for the compliment on the podcast! I love talking to these great bloggers.

      Happy and healthy New Year!
      Sue Anne recently posted…16 Rules of Blog Writing and Layout. Which Ones Are You Breaking?My Profile

  67. says

    Hi, Sue, just catching up with this now. Many great tips. Especially the need for consistency – I usually find myself introducing a slight change to my formatting and the consequence is that everything that went before stands out as old, at least to me…

    Are italics really a problem? I find them so useful, I probably have a sprinkle of them in every post, they’re not so ‘loud’ as bold is. Your view is clear but I rely on them so much I need someone to say I can keep using them!

    • says

      Hi, Donald,

      Italics are not that bad! I use them also in most of my posts. I was just saying not to overuse them. You can keep them 🙂

      Thanks for commenting today,

  68. sarim javed says

    Hi sue. Thanks for 16 rules that you have mentioned. Since I am writing a Blog for the first time. Should I follow these rules for writing or should I search for more. As my interest is more towards writing sports blogs

  69. sarim javed says

    Hi sue. I also want some guideline regarding any websites for Blogs or some format through which I can start writing Blogs

    • says

      These guidelines are a start and you can read more about it on the blog. What do you want to know specifically?


      • sarim javed says

        I want to know how to write a proper Blog .That includes the words to use ,style of writing, what sort of content to use. Can you suggest me some examples of blogs or some of the blog websites. which can be very important for an beginner like me

        • says

          Hi, Sarim,

          The first thing you need to ask yourself is what question do you solve for your readers? Once you know that, you can figure out what to write about – just work on solving the problems they have. You can have your own voice – if you are casual and informal, that’s fine. Inject your own personality into the posts. You can always check Boost Blog Traffic for great ideas and how posts should look.


          • sarim javed says

            Hi. I want to ask do I need any sort of registration for writing blogs or do I need to create any sort of my own website to write blogs. Or I can write a blog on a microsoft word and then make any necessary changes according to the rules.

  70. sarim javed says

    Hi sue. Ok thanks I will drop you an email latest by today or tomorrow. Is it Ok with you

  71. says

    Online readers vary a lot from offline readers but you can still give the examples of newspaper, as it fits very well. We can learn a lot from newspapers, such as The most important News gets the biggest heading and bold formatting in newspaper. So make your headlines prominent as they are shouting in the ears of reader.

    How important is your Blog Post Formatting?
    Actually you cannot count or measure its importance. I would just give you a clue to determine its important.
    Formatting is way more important than Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling.

    Using Images
    Don’t make your Blog look like some sort of a newspaper or a course book. Online readers like visuals and attractive images. So go ahead and include them in your posts.
    One image can speak 1000 words

    Telling Story
    Stories, Examples, Case Studies & Success Stories.People like to read them, so it is always great to start your Blog post from them.

    Title of Post
    Title is the first thing that readers read. They are the only factor that bring visitors on your Blog. Long and short, they are make or break factor. So you better spend at least 10 minutes thinking of a nice, attractive and eye-catching title.

    Thanks for touching this important topic 🙂
    YourFriend recently posted…7 Inspirational Movies that Every Blogger should WatchMy Profile

  72. says

    The first factor you would like to raise yourself is what question does one solve for your readers?

    • says

      That is the main reason you should write a post, Mercy! Thanks for mentioning that in your comment today.


  73. says

    I get pleasure from, cause I found exactly what I used to be having
    a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt!

    God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye
    all recently posted…allMy Profile

  74. says

    Yes writing blogging is the best way to get traffic on web sites,

    Most of the poeple are writing blogs with proper forms for their web sites,

    And the blog with above rules and regulations will be the best blog for readers.

    Thank you for kind informations
    Roshan14 recently posted…Philips QT4011 Trimmer Purchase with 34% DiscountMy Profile

  75. Tony says

    An important thing about newspapers is that they have a date, often on every page. It can be instructive and entertaining to read old reports and editorials in the light of more recent findings. Dates give us a framework for our knowledge, but unfortunately many pages on the internet are undated, so they will probably sink into a grey soup of contextless goo.
    I notice that your page has a copyright of 2012, but not may people would have looked that far.

    Regarding the discussion on British or American English which was introduced by someone not quite writing in either, all languages are evolving and each world region brings it’s own flavours into the simmering pot that is loosely termed English.

    • says

      Yes, this is an older post that was updated. Everyone has their own ideas on dates on evergreen blog posts.

      Thanks for your comment today.

  76. says

    Hello Sue,

    Thanks for the informative post. I was unaware of the tip about sans serif. but luckily, as I am new to blogging, I have not needed to edit many posts to change the fonts.

    Having made the changes I can already see an improvement. However, the links obstinately remain in a serif font. I need to go back now and try to sort it out, but I was wondering if anyone knows why this should be and could suggest a fix?

    By the way, I’ve never seen yellow type on a black background but it sounds pretty startling. I think I shall search for blogs using this combination and see if I can find any examples!

    • says

      Hi, Robert,

      Good for you for changing the font on all your posts! You may need to get a coder to fix the links – or clear your cache. Try clearing the cache on your site (there are free plug-ins for that) and see if you need a WP person after that.

      Thanks for your comment!

  77. says

    There is one thing that i will agree with you a 110% and that is the font used. As you have said, Roboto is the best font one to used and i will agree with that. This font doesn’t strain my eyes when i am reading someone’s article/post. One other thing that make me get interested in someone’s article/post is the flow of ideas. When one put his/her ideas in a good format, no one will resist that.

  78. says

    Hi Sue Anne Dunlevie,
    Writing attractive blog posts is one of the crucial part of successful blogging. All the rules you mentioned are very important that every blogger should know before writing a blog post. This rules helps in generating more traffic and social media shares. Thanks for sharing this awesome info…
    Abhishek Kalra recently posted…[Plugins] To Improve Security Of Your WordPress Site [Expert Pick]My Profile

  79. says

    Hi Sue,

    So nice to see your content on blog writing tips. I receive an great advice from here and is If content is not easy to read visitor will not enjoy and never come back.

    To write a smart content we have to make best width for column. Need to use sub header, bold, italic, punctuation. Here you give all the tips to write best content. Many thanks for your great effort.

  80. April says

    Thanks for your thoughts. Bloggers must know how long the article is. And needs to do the same and format their blog posts so they’re easy to read. This 16 rules of writing a blog is very informative.

  81. says

    I loved all these tips, Sue! Thank you for sharing these. Every time I do a Heading I always wonder how I can make it look better, thanks for the ideas of using images. I will have to see how I can implement that. So happy you offered a content offer. I signed up for that!

  82. says

    Hi Sue, I’m actually ticking all the boxes at the moment from what you have written. I love the infopic as a reminder. Now I just have to try to attract readers 🙂
    sue recently posted…My Aussie ChristmasMy Profile

    • says

      Remember, one baby step at a time and it will work!

      Thanks for reading and for commenting today, Sue.

  83. says

    Very helpful! Reinforced some of my own thoughts and experiences with blogging. Thanks so much for this article!

  84. says

    Thank you! Found just what I needed right here in one spot 😉

  85. says

    Hi Sue awesome post. Thanks a ton.i have just started blogging and I have a lot to convey to my audience..want to be able to do it as perfectly as possible. Your tips are simply out of the this world. I need more tips from you.

  86. says

    thanks alot for sharing. Am just new into blogging and i was just make research about writing.

  87. says

    Thank for your the tips, we are always looking for ways to improve our blog!

  88. Ganesh Garad says

    Thanks for your tips regarding to blogs. It will help me for writing good and attractive blogs.

  89. says

    Thanks for sharing this post, I have just crated a new blog and will follow your tips to write a good content.

  90. says

    Thanks a lot Sue for sharing your knowledge with us, I will implement it in my upcoming blog post and will definitely give credit to you. Thanks

  91. says

    HI Sue,
    Great list!
    The two points i agree on most here are: font size and page background.
    Some blogs (as much as i would love to read them), make it so difficult with either bright colours or miniature text size.
    I use personally use black on a light grey background. I find it easy on the eyes compared to the brighter white.
    I am however breaking rule no. 10: I use italics a lot – so i will need to reduce that habit!
    James (copywriter) recently posted…When Is The Time To Consider Hiring A Copywriter?My Profile

    • says

      Hi, James,

      If that’s the worse you are doing – you are just fine!

      I appreciate your comment.

  92. says

    You are right with all this. Lately i have been to several sites that have used bright colours for backgrounds and it has really turned me away, as much i would have liked to continue reading. I use a very pale colour for website background; as it not only helps the theme (war) but keeps away from bright colours. Font size is also a big one. I like to read easily.
    Scott recently posted…Strike And Strike Again: 455 Squadron RAAF: Ian GordonMy Profile

  93. says

    Thank you Sue for teaching me something new today. I found so much useful information here. I have spent a lot of time trying to find a good text editor for writing articles on my own blog. Turned up that it is quite difficult to find exactly what I need for an acceptable price. After few hours of exhausted searching, I have found one interesting site that lists some interesting text editors and a brief description: besttexteditor.com. It helped me discover ommwriter

  94. Himanshu Verma says

    Hi Sue, Thanks for explaining everything step by step. The information is so much useful.

  95. says

    Thanks for this wonderful article, Few things that I feel, everyone should keep in mind while writing a blog post, First recommendation is very important, always mention source of content, quote, images along with your content. Secondly never forget to use alt text tag in your content images, Alt-Txt will help google searches in indexing your blog post image into google image searches. Third point, keep doing interlinking your other related blog post among each other, so your traffic juice can transmit to other related posts as well.

    Hope you will add these points in your next topi :), Your knowledge is a clear mirror of your experiences.
    Paul Bola recently posted…How To Choose A Right Dentist For YouMy Profile

  96. says

    I teach a lot of high school students how to write for the web. This post was so excellent, I’m going to use it to teach with in my classroom. You did a great job of sharing and organizing the process. I wish there was a way I could turn your infographic into a large poster for my classroom; it was most excellent as well.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Mark “Elmo” Ellis
    Mark Ellis recently posted…What I Learned From Watching 50 Email List Building VideosMy Profile

  97. says

    Thanks for the post. Awesome guide for beginners. All the points you mentioned are correct. I knew some points before but also got new ones. Write post which provides informative, quality, motivating information which makes your blog an ultimate.

    Moreover, the headlines matter, it’s true. That’s why, try to always check my headlines. But I think On page SEO is one of the important points to remember while writing the high-quality blog post. Also, don’t forget to make your keyword research, and you need to have your own blogging/writing style.

    I believe that the quality of the content you write is more important than the number of posts or the number of words. Quality, Grammar, Easy Reading and Long text are the four pillar of a high-quality post.

    Anyways, it’s a great article and great tips for newbie bloggers…

  98. sonia says

    Hi sue,
    i am a beginner blogger who has been having troubles with formatting my blog posts.
    i found this post to be more than helpful,
    its like a new light shined upon my day
    thank u very much…

  99. says

    Hey Sue,

    Great post thank you!

    Regarding column width, I’ve been recommended to do that by someone before but I have absolutely no idea how to change that in my blog theme, is there an easy way to go about changing the column width in WordPress.org that I’ve missed or do I need to pay someone who knows more code to fix this within my theme for me?


    Gemma x

    • says

      You would have to get the code changed, Gemma. Email me and I’ll send you info on tech guys that I use.


  100. says

    Some claim that posting at least once every day is better. Some also say that three quick posts a day are far more effective than one long post every three days. So please tell me Sue Anne Dunlevie is that right? Should I follow the same ?

    • says

      I believe you would burn out doing even one post a day, Tarun! Once a week or every other week when you are a new blogger is enough. If you are already blogging once a week, the most I would recommend is twice a week.

      Thanks for your comment and question.

    • says

      Hi Tarun,
      Think of how many articles on the same topic posted every day?

      If we create articles in average quality or less, then our articles will be difficult to compete.

      To stand out among the others, you should provide topnotch articles.
      Can you provide great articles if you create 3 articles per day?

      Once a week is moderate, twice is better. Quality is much more important than quantity.

  101. says

    I appreciate the information on how to write a good blog. I agree that there is so much more to a blog than just good content, having it in an easy-to-read format can make a huge difference when people take a quick glance at your page. My wife wants to start writing a blog, I will be sure to share these tips with her.

  102. says

    Blogging seems quite easy but as you mentioned, many factors must be considered before working on the blog. The deep you find yourself in the world of blogging, the more you are gonna find it difficult. That’s what I have learned from my experience.
    Thanks for the great piece of information.
    Picture Story recently posted…Shake it, shake it like a polaroid pictureMy Profile

  103. says

    When I started doing freelance writing, I went with who I knew locally. Hooking up with some marketing companies and website designers who always had a need for copywriting really helped get me started.

  104. says

    These rules are extremely important. You have put forth them in an easy way. The infographic really caught my attention.

  105. says

    Thank you Sue Anne, for sharing your experience with us. This will definitely help newbies like me while developing a content for the blog + the infographic that you added in the post worth a lot.
    Thanks again for helping the community.

  106. says

    I have started blogging myself. I am trying to find out the basic problems that my blog is having and looking for solutions. Also, I’m searching for some basic things like themes and other stuff.
    I have read your whole article, I am looking forward to getting a positive result after performing this myself.
    Can you suggest me any basic idea that I might need in the future as a new blogger?
    Thank you

  107. says

    Hi Sue,

    Very interesting and helpful post!
    Thanks for sharing!
    I’m just wondering if there is a right amount of images for a post?
    Also, I have seen that most bloggers use one large image instead of let’s say 3-4 smaller at a time. We wanted to create posts with quite a lot photos but now that we saw most of the successful bloggers use one large in between the sentences at a time (so it looks like text image, text, image…), instead of more smaller, got a little insecure about our idea…
    I hope I could clearly explain what my issue is… ?
    Thank you for your help on advance!

    Best regards,

  108. says

    Hi Sue,
    I am starting a blog. The information you provided in this article will be of great help.
    Thank you.

  109. says

    I just noted down a few tips from your article and will try to implement them. I think I have small fonts which I am going to increase and also make the background colour somewhat like off-white. It’s truly a good article. I was just comparing my page and your page and I didn’t want to read my articles just because they were looking horrible compared to your layout. Now I understand how conversion works. Thank you so much! 🙂

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