Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you tips and tricks for being your own content marketer. Today’s post is all about what it means to have white space in your blog posts and why you need it.
Almost every article I’ve seen about how to write great blog posts tends to mention the fact that you should leave plenty of white space, so I thought I would take a little time to explain exactly what that means and why it’s important.
What Do People Mean When They Tell Me to Include White Space in My Blog Posts?
Essentially, it means you need to use short paragraphs. No more than a few lines each, and don’t be afraid to have paragraphs that are just a line or two. You can have as many paragraphs as you need to cover whatever topic it is you’re covering, but try to keep those paragraphs as short as possible.
It makes it easier to read. When we see giant blocks of content, we tend to feel overwhelmed and our brains have to work harder in order to process the information. A lot of people who see large paragraphs will decide they don’t have time to get through it all and click away. In many cases, there will be a certain amount of mentally “checking out” before they start reading, even among people who do decide to dive in and read the post.
By contrast, when we see short paragraphs (and short sentences) we know we can handle that much content, so we breeze through it. Once we’ve digested that information, we can move on to the next paragraph. If it’s another short one, great. Take it in and move right along. This keeps people reading, which leads me to the final (and most important) reason you need short paragraphs in your blog posts.
Because shorter paragraphs are easier to read, people are more likely to read through the full post. Thanks to the fact that people are scrolling through blog posts, it’s no longer a matter of how many pages an article is, but how much of it they see on their screen. If they only see a few short paragraphs, they know they can get through that quickly. Once they do so, they scroll until they see the next few short paragraphs and the cycle continues. If you have consistently short paragraphs throughout your blog post (and great content, of course), it will help you maintain a lot of readers.
What that means is readers will spend more time on your site, which boosts your SEO. Google doesn’t just keep track of the number of visitors to your site, it also keeps track of how long each visitor stays on your site. The longer they stay there, the more valuable the content must be. Longer visit times = higher rankings.
Mix It Up
That said, be realistic. Don’t just make every sentence it’s own paragraph, because readers will see right through that and they won’t like it. Keep the paragraphs short, but do it in a way that feels natural.
And don’t be afraid to mix it up. A few long paragraphs won’t hurt your SEO if they’re not too long and you have plenty of short paragraphs. This is especially true if the beginning of your blog post is made up primarily of short paragraphs to get readers hooked and motivate them to get through the long paragraphs that come later.
That’s it for this week. If you like what you see here, you can sign up for my newsletter at the top of this page to make sure you never miss an update. If you still have questions about content marketing, let’s chat.