Publishing readable blog posts

Magnifying glass on computer

Accessibility is becoming hugely important on the internet (as it should be!) and attention spans are shrinking so being able to write easy to read content is essential. This post isn’t about what you should write but instead has easy to follow tips on publishing a blog that everyone can read.

1. Use headings

Readers have extremely short attention spans so keeping your content in easy to digest chunks is key. Headings are also important for accessibility as screen reader users are able to navigate web pages by heading structure.

When you use headings, they need to be in the correct order on the page. The most important heading has <h1>, the least important heading goes down to <h6>. You should not skip header rankings (so <h1> should always be followed by <h2> and so on).

<h1>Main page heading</h1>

<h2>Sub heading </h2>

<h3>Sub-sub heading</h3>

A common mistake is using styles (e.g bold) to create fake headings, instead of using heading styles in content so screen readers are able to read content in the correct order and users can jump between sections easily.

2. Use plain English

Unless your writing a technical blog for a specific audience, keep your content simple. If a phrase or word has a simpler alternative, use it! There’s a great free content tool called Hemingway that highlights how you can improve your content.

3. Keep paragraphs short

Blog posts should be easy to skim read and shouldn’t be structured like a book. Keep your paragraphs short and break up content with headings. The Government Digital Service (GDS) recommends sentences remain under 25 characters.

4. Use meaningful link text

For readability and accessibility, you must ensure links can be easily understood out of context. For example, reading a ‘click here’ or ‘read more’ link out of context will mean nothing to the user. Ensure link text isn’t ambiguous by describing where the link takes you; e.g: ‘Bob’s study on the advantages of having an office dog’.

Ask yourself: ‘does this link text make sense on its own?’

5. Round it up

When you’ve finished your blog, ensure you have a conclusion. You could add a quick round up of what you’ve learned, some useful links to external resources or related content or even a call to action such as a contact form.

And in taking my own advice, here are some useful links with more advice on writing for the web and accessibility if you’d like to learn more.

Did you know we offer in person writing for the web training? Get in touch for more details.