Post 1: Focus on Paragraph Size & Headings

This is an H2 Tag – become friends with it

This is the Intro Post to a short series on crafting an aesthetically pleasing, mechanically sound, search engine friendly post. In other words – the perfect THW post. Over the years we’ve learned what works well. Some of the concepts are common sense while others have some tie-ins with Google that you may not have been aware of. I’m going to break these down into easily digestible posts and ask our new writers to only focus on one or two key elements in each of their first 5 posts. After that, strong formatting will be second nature.

This post will be focusing on the mighty paragraph.

In our view each paragraph, or often group of paragraphs, should have a Heading – a short phrase describing what the reader is about to come across. He can then make an informed decision on whether he should continue with this paragraph or skip to the next. The nature of a Web Reader is that he will do more scanning than reading. There’s no reason to assume they will sit down with your post and read it like a book. Doesn’t happen that way and instead of sticking our heads in the sand we should make things easier for the user.

Now there has been some debate over what weight, if any, a Heading has with search results. Let’s assume none and just do it for the reader. One thing that does carry a little weight is an H1 Title heading – but we needn’t worry about that as the system takes care of inserting it at the top of every post. Hurrah WordPress!

We don’t need a Heading Tag for each paragraph but we do for each main point of your post. Typically this will be 2 – 5 Headings per post.

Heading Mechanics – easy peasy

 

Paragraph Sizing

Paragraphs are like the walls to your home. Ideally they should be just the right size. Enter goldilocks. I’ve seen some sports writers try to get all poetic, stretching their creative energies by crafting single line paragraphs – Fail.

On the flip side – a Wall of Text is also not good. There’s no specific length of a good paragraph – let’s just say that it encapsulates an idea and a typical post should cover at least a handful of ideas. So – in general you might be looking in the neighbourhood of 4 or 5 sentences. Here’s a nice example.

To Wrap Up

  • Don’t be overly creative with your paragraph sizes. No single line paragraphs and no giant walls of text (those walls will scare readers).
  • Do use a handful of H2 or H3 headings to group your paragraphs into the articles main points.

********

Starring in this post:

  • The automated yet still important H1 Title
  • Mr. H2
  • his little buddy H3
  • a youtube video
  • a little row of stars
  • some bullet points
  • a bolded line
  • an italicized line with his on-again, off-again companion – the underline
  • Links
  • and one “Hurrah WordPress!”

– this just to point out that a little variety is nice (even if you didn’t really notice).

Bruce Hollingdrake

Bruce Hollingdrake

Founder/Editor-in-Chief at The Hockey Writers
Serial entrepreneur who started building websites in 1995. Founded The Hockey Writers in Jan. of 2009. Off to see the world in 2016.
Bruce Hollingdrake
Looking for a San Jose Sharks writer to join our team, come see what we're all about: http://t.co/VLGdBgQvWI - 3 hours ago
Bruce Hollingdrake
Bruce Hollingdrake

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