Posts Tagged ‘easier to read’

Sub-heads are essential

This posting is a reply to a Linked In discussion that applies to all bloggers and anyone who writes.  The short message is simply this:  Use sub-heads.

“I’m not reading all that!”

Let me explain: I read a posting on Linked In asking why people don’t respond to blog postings.  The post was well written and made some interesting points about readers’ reluctance to leave comments on blog postings.  I was interested in the topic but,   like many other attention-deficit internet browsers, I cast one eye over the copy and said, “Augh!! I’m not reading all that!”  And I didn’t – at first.  Instead, I browsed a few of the comments and realized that I could make my response into a blog post that would benefit a number of people.

I couldn’t face it

When it came time to actually read the main posting, I read a few lines then scooped it up, dropped it into Word, where I could enlarge the type and did a leisurely read.  I simply couldn’t face reading 750 words of relatively small type in block paragraphs without a break.

Browsers are lazy

Internet browsers are lazy readers.  They don’t want to wade through blocks of 10 point type to find out what you have to say.  They want their information in short bursts that allow them to skim.  And if they’re committed enough to read every word they may be committed enough to leave a comment.  But if the physical appearance of the copy turns them off, you lose them before you have time to interest them.

Break up that copy

The solution?  Sub-heads.  Bless those sweet little sub-heads that make copy more interesting by breaking up that wall of copy, increasing curiousity and urging reader to stay with you just a little longer until . . . voila! . . . they can’t believe they’ve read the whole thing!!

Make it easy

I’ve been using sub-heads forever, first as a reporter and later as a corporate editor.  I knew my readers – particularly in the  unionized corporate environment I served – were marginally interested in what I had to say in the first place and if I didn’t make really easy for them I wouldn’t reach anyone.  Sub-heads became second nature.

Pick short phrases

And by the way, there’s no need to drive yourself crazy trying to come up with something brilliant to head every paragraph or two.  Simply read what you’ve written and pick a short phrase that lead the reader forward.

Another suggestion

Oh, one more thing.  Keep your paragraphs and your sentences relatively short.  Most of the sentences in this post, for example,  are 30 words or less (although one rambles on for 50 words).

No guarantees, but . . .

I can’t guarantee that sub-heads, short sentences and paragraphs will increase the comments left on your blog but I can assure you that they will make your postings a lot easier to read.

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About Thomas Moss

Thomas Moss is a speaker, writer and coach who provides business communications services, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area, including Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Vaughan, Brampton and Mississauga. Service is also available outside of the GTA.