While every blogger I know works on their desktop computer, almost every reader will be on their mobile phone. This is especially true when people come to your site via social media. In fact, approximately 80% of social media users are usually mobile users.
So, while you wrote your content on that gigantic screen and viewed it on your desktop blog, what really matters is how it looks on a phone.
It took me a while to realize this, but once I did, I was horrified by how unreadable my posts were. So, on my first blog, I went back and fixed all my old posts. It was a nightmare but was worth it because my traffic grew to over 15,000 pageviews per day.
So, here is how to make your content as mobile friendly as possible.
Disclaimer: Through no additional cost to you, I may be compensated from affiliate links included in this post. Learn more here.
Organization and length
Re-structuring is the biggest way you can dramatically change the readability of your content. Since a mobile screen is so much smaller, you want lots of headers and sub-headers. Under each header, you want no more than 300 words.
The traditional paragraphs you wrote in school do not apply here. Paragraphs should be very short. Try to aim for 3-4 sentence paragraphs and less than 150 words.
They can even be just a sentence long to emphasize a point.
The reasoning behind short paragraphs is that a two-line paragraph on a desktop in word now takes up 50% of the mobile screen. You want to avoid a wall of text. Spaces are your friend.
This is one that I struggle with: keeping my sentences to 20 words or less. While your sentence might be completely correct (grammatically speaking), long sentences are harder to read. The last thing you want is your reader struggling to understand your content.
The short hand version
It probably comes at no shock that not everyone who visits will actually read all your content. The majority quit “reading” after the title or introduction. Instead, they will “skim” your post and try to absorb the material without actually having to read.
Your next goal is to make your content “skimmable” because these readers are still very valuable. If they are able to digest your post and like it, then they might follow you or share the post on social media. However, if your post is only “readable” to those actually reading every word, you are losing out on a lot of valuable traffic.
Lists, lists and more lists
No post can have too many. The two ways I primarily use lists are bulleted and numbered. Numbered lists are a great way to organize articles. Since the reader knows there are x number of items, they will usually skim the numbered list. I also like numbers in a title for creating pins.
The other type of list, bulleted lists, are useful because they give your reader the content without a wall of text. Try to use these to break up sections that become too long. I use bulleted lists to:
- Recap sections
- List supplies
- Give suggestions or advice
- Link to related posts
Color is not just for your logo, use color on your headers and use a lot of headers (and sub-headers). Break up that wall of text and catch your readers eye. As the reader scrolls through your post, color can be used to get them reading again because it will stand out. Hence, why you see almost everyone using color for in-text links, which is another great place to use color.
Remember, it is important to stay on brand and use color cohesively.
Bold important phrases
One easy way to make your content readable and skimmable is to bold important phrases. You could bold anything from a few words to full sentences in paragraphs. Similar to how you add color to links to draw people attention, bolding will have the same effect.
Now it is very important to not go bold crazy. Bolding is strong, which is great, but can quickly become too much. The best way to know is by looking at your own posts after you upload them on your mobile device.
If you don’t like the look of bolding, try italics. If you are looking for it, then you will start to see that bloggers use italics throughout their posts a lot. Italics gives the text more of a conversational feel. A great place to always use italics is in the introduction where you are trying to connect with the reader.
Pictures are worth 1000 words
This saying could not be more true when it comes to the mobile reader. Not only will pictures help tell the story of your post, but they will also be key for the reader who loves to skim. Another benefit is that pictures will boost social shares, especially imaged based social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.
And trust me, you want to do everything you can to boost social shares. The more social presence you have, the more traffic and eventually the more money your blog will bring in.
How to use pictures
If possible, you want to break up your post with pictures. These pictures can be about the post, such as showing the steps in a tutorial. Other options are pictures of you and your family for lifestyle blogs. If you content is technical or challenging, adding a picture of you or your family can really soften the material and make it more friendly.
If neither of these fit you, you should always at least have pin pictures at the beginning and end of your posts. Remember to have the pin icon on the photos (find out how here).
Now, what about the content which doesn’t easily have a picture that works, such as blogging. While pins are an excellent way to incorporate images, I would highly recommend making infographics. Infographics not only inform the reader about your post in a picture, but also lead to more shares than simply a picture.
If you decide to make an infographic, I would be sure to make them in Facebook or Pinterest friendly aspect ratios. Infographics can be anything from fun statistics to the bullet points of a post. While infographics won’t lead to click throughs to your site as often as pins, they are shared and saved more often. Gaining more shares will result in overall more exposure (and more followers) of your brand, name and content.
While this is the hardest task to tackle on this list, video is useful because it results in a LOT of shares. Consider adding a video to the beginning of each post that summarizes the content. People like being able to digest the content fast and video can do just that. If they want to learn more after watching the short video, then they can read the post.
If you have no idea on what would make great video content, check other blogs in your niche to see what they are doing. I also suggest tackling this one once you feel confident that you are able to successfully do everything else on this list first.
Tell people where to go next
Once someone clicks on your post, your main goal is to have their exit from that post be useful to you. That can be anything from going to another post, subscribing, following, sharing to clicking on an affiliate link. Therefore, all of these options need to be clear and well-done on the mobile view.
Within every post, you want to aim for at least three links to other posts on your blog. Interlinking your posts will not only help your SEO grow but also present the reader with more of your content (even if they don’t click). You are showing both Google and the reader that you know a lot about that subject. Ensure your links stand out by using a color in your color scheme that stands out from the text color.
Social share buttons and subscribe forms
I see a lot of blogs that do a fantastic job on having a subscribe and follow buttons near the top of every page. They are very visible and easy to find. HOWEVER, they are always on the sidebar.
That side bar on mobile goes to the very very bottom of a post, which means only the readers who are willing to read all the way through or scroll to the very bottom of your post will find them. Now most people won’t do that. SO you are missing out.
Instead, work those follow buttons into the widget space up top if possible. Another place you want them is right after your post ends (if they aren’t already there). Another very popular way to increase social shares is to have the bottom banner be social share buttons (Social Warfare Plugin).
Now, take a look at where your subscribe options are on your mobile posts. Ideally you want them to show up in the beginning of your post (or on your top banner). While most people will want to read your content first, it is important to have your subscribe form near the top.
Have your form again near the end of your article. Since they have seen it once, they are more likely to see it again and not ignore it as an ad. If they liked your content, then you have a good chance they will sign up. Be sure to incentivize them with a good opt-in freebie and improve the look and feel of your forms.
You can’t go wrong
As I said in the beginning, almost all of your readers will be browsers on their phones. This means they want to be able to digest your content easily on their small screens. Therefore, any improvements you make to the mobile experience can only greatly benefit you.
Start by reading your own posts on your phone. Be aware of how much of a wall of text it is. Brainstorm ways to break it up such as lists, headers, and pictures.
Don’t be afraid to hit enter and use white space for easy reading.
And lastly, be sure it is easy to follow, subscribe and share on your mobile posts.
Now go and grow your blog!
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