Today I talk about a seemingly trivial topic but I’ll be honest, figuring out to properly format my blog post took over half a year to figure out.
Having a properly formatted post has many benefits that aren’t really apparent at first. Although creating a blog post on WordPress may seem like exactly the same as how you’d write a document in say Word, it’s actually a bit more involved than that.
Not quite like Microsoft Word
Alright so let’s go back to my example of writing any sort of document in Word. You typically have a title, maybe some headings and then your content right? In Microsoft Word, this is extremely simple.
You want a title with a bigger font? Well you highlight the text, change the font size and make it bold. Done.
You want to create a sub heading? Same thing. You highlight the heading, change the font size and make it bold. Done.
Sounds pretty logical right? I was doing exactly this when I first started blogging. I went as far as finding a plugin to do the same type of font and size formatting. My blog posts looked fine and I never batted an eye as to this being the wrong way to go.
And then I started looking into SEO and well just about how everyone else was doing it.
Basics to formatting your blog post
The focus is on headers. You’ll actually notice that WordPress doesn’t give you a full text editor suite of options. Instead, you have a drop-down that defaults to “Paragraph”. To create headers, you’ll want to highlight the header text and click on one of the “Heading” options that you see.
The next question you probably have is what heading you should select? Well, you should know that the title that you give your blog is always given an Heading 1 tag or <h1> in code. So what I’ve been doing with all my blog posts is use Heading 2 or higher. Main section headings get Heading 2 and sub-heading are Heading 3. I usually don’t go higher than that and if I want further breakouts I’ll just use bold or underline.
Here’s an example from last week’s Travel Blogger’s Toolkit on Facebook groups you should know about:
In reality, what I’m talking about is quite simple. You write as you normally would but when you get to a title or subtitle of sorts, just make sure you use Heading 2 or 3.
Why having a properly formatted blog post matters
There are really 3 reasons why it makes sense to basically leverage these things in the drop-down of your WordPress editor.
1. Make your post easier to read
Instead of going through a long rambling post, break it up into different sections and give you reader a little hint about what you’re going to talk about in the header. It’s great for those skim readers too. Hook them in with a great header line and get them to read the content underneath.
2. Streamlined design and consistency
The beauty of using headers is that it’s centrally controlled with CSS stylesheets in your theme. If one day, you decide that “man, that heading 2 formatting is ugly, let’s make it bigger and a different color!” Well you can by just going into the stylesheet and changing it accordingly. Now all your blog posts that use the headers will automatically switch over. If you did your headers manually, you’ll have to go into each post and change them one at a time. Not cool.
The grand daddy reason of them all. Using headers is a way to let search engine crawlers know what the important pieces of your post are. If you’re being strategic here, you should be using keywords in your headers to signify its importance to your post. Think about this. Your core content is filled with tons and tons of words. If you can make it easier for a crawler by summarizing key topics of what you’re going to be talking about in a section by using header tags, then the crawler can more easily know how to rank you.
I’ve talked about the what SEO is in the past and this takes it a step further.
- Use headers to format headings and subheadings
- Don’t do headers manually. Save the headache that I once had to go through.
Want to know more about how to set up your blog up in less than a day or what the heck are Twitter cards? Just head over to the main Travel Blogger’s Toolkit page to find out all the secrets to take your blog to the next level.