When it comes to increasing engagement on a website, you’ve probably heard of the usual suspects:
- Create website content that stands out
- Include relevant visuals that complement the content
- Respond to all comments
Are those important?
Do they work?
But here’s the issue:
As important as those are, there’s one thing that always gets overlooked. And even though it’s usually behind the scenes, it still plays an important role in keeping your readers glued to your content.
What is it?
In today’s post, I’m going to show you exactly how you can use it to give your content a competitive edge.
Why does formatting matter?
It’s tough keeping readers engaged.
In fact, due to various factors, the human attention span has been decreasing since the year 2000.
Meaning if your content doesn’t look appealing from the very beginning, chances are your audience won’t read it.
That’s where formatting comes in.
With the right formatting, you can change your content from this:
Into something more readable:
See the difference a little formatting makes?
Because when you format your content like the second example, it makes it appealing to the readers — AND the scanners too.
That being said, here’s a few formatting steps to consider every time you create a new blog post or webpage.
Step 1: Emphasize what you want your readers to feel
In your normal day to day life, how do you communicate with people?
Do you have actual conversations with them? Do you talk in a monotone? Or is there inflection in your voice?
Yes. Maybe. And yes.
There’s a saying in content marketing that you need to write like you talk. But that alone isn’t good enough.
You want to make sure your words are felt wholeheartedly. You want t make sure that what you say is appreciated. More importantly, you want to make sure that what you say actually gets your message across.
Let’s do a quick exercise.
Can you tell the difference between these two passages?
Similar enough, right? The words are all the same.
But look again. Notice the bolded words in the second example?
Could you feel a stronger tone in that passage?
I wanted certain words in that passage to stand out because not only would I talk that way if we were face-to-face having a conversation, but I wanted the message to be understood.
And the message is that blogging is a lot of hard work.
How does adding emphasis increase engagement?
When you emphasize certain words by bolding them, capitalizing them, or italicizing them, you alert the reader that they should pay special attention to a certain point.
Not only that, but remember what I said about having a conversation?
You want to make your words jump off the page and mirror a natural face-to-face interaction.
NOTE: Use bolding, italics, and capitalization in moderation. You don’t want to do it all the time or it will lose its effectiveness. But when used occasionally, it really sticks out in the mind of the readers.