Here are four ways to make posts scannable:
Use Bullet Points
This is a technique I like, as both a writer and a reader. They add clarity without adding words.
Have Numbered Lists
A numbered list also makes posts scannable. Numbered lists and bullet points accomplish the same thing in a similar fashion, so how do we decide which one to use? If we state a number of items in our post or title, number the list, else use bullets. The exception is when we have more than five items, then number them, because too many bullet points cease to standout, whereas numbered lists keep points separate.
A similar technique is subheads. I seldom do this in posts, but often do in articles, which are longer. Bloggers who pen long posts often insert subheads to break text into bite-size tidbits. However, with short posts, there’s never a need for subheads.
Bold Important Words or Phrases
In normal writing, don’t use formatting embellishments to highlight words. That’s sloppy. (See my post on creative writing.) However, with the informal nature of blog posts, the judicious use of bold can benefit. In addition to making bullets, numbered lists, or subheads bold, we can place notable words or phrases in bold – if we’re careful. Some bloggers get carried away and use bold so much that ceases to help. As a guideline, never put more than 15% of a post in bold. (Here’s an example.)
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.