How to Optimize Your Blog Posts and Articles for Smartphones
Here’s how to make sure your content looks great on the small screen
It has gone beyond thinking that you need to make your content mobile-friendly. Mobile users now account for the majority of digital users. It’s time to format your blog posts and articles with mobile viewing as the top priority.
According to Statista, as of 2019, “mobile devices accounted for 48% of web page views worldwide.” In the U.S., 77% of online minutes were spent using a mobile device.
Articles and posts that look great on a desktop or laptop may cause a mobile user to click away. So what can be done? Take a look at some tips and tricks to optimize your content for mobile viewing.
Long paragraphs turn into big walls of text on a smartphone. In school, most of us were taught that you begin a new paragraph with a new line of thought. However, these old rules for paragraphs no longer work when everyone is reading on small devices. Long paragraphs can cause users to grow distracted and click away.
Paragraphs can now be as short as one line.
See how that works? A single sentence creates a pause and a little bit of white space for the eye. Use this technique sparingly to emphasize a single point.
What you don’t want to do is have a very long paragraph that goes on for a long time. Like this one does. Even if it’s filled with insightful information that you have lovingly pored over to get the prose just right — the sentences shouldn’t keep going on and on in your paragraph. How long is too long? It’s subjective. I think this paragraph is getting a bit long. If you’re reading this on your mobile device, your eyes may be getting weary of this wall of text. You might have reached the point that you are no longer reading it, but your eyes are quickly scanning through. Does this seem long to you? At ten sentences, this paragraph is most likely too long for a mobile device.
Most mobile-friendly paragraphs are two to four sentences. It’s not a hard and fast rule. They can be longer or shorter than that. It’s best to have a mix of longer and shorter paragraphs to help with flow, style, and to keep the text more engaging.
White space is the space between text and design elements. It doesn’t have to be white, it can be a color or background image.
The element of white space is why you want to keep paragraphs short. The white space between the text prevents a reader from feeling bombarded by information. White space is calming, it lets you digest what you are reading and leaves you wanting more.
Mobile users are doing a lot of scanning for pertinent information. And white space helps them to do that.
Web designers consider white space as a tool to make their content look elegant and to balance their design elements. A webpage with no white space looks cluttered and overwhelming. Avoid overwhelming your readers by breaking up chunks of text with small paragraphs, images, and section breaks.
Using images in your articles has the following benefits:
- It breaks up long streams of copy by creating a pause.
- You can use it as a teaser for your next point, to keep your reader interested in what is to come.
- If you’re trying to explain complex facts, diagrams and charts can be invaluable in helping your reader understand your points.
When you’re using images, make sure you do the following:
- Use clear images of high quality.
- Use images that load quickly. Mobile users don’t want to wait around for your image to slowly load.
- Only use images that you have the right to use. There are plenty of great resources to obtain beautiful images online for free, such as Pixabay and Unsplash. Don’t forget to cite the source in the caption.
- Bright colors and beautiful images attract readers. However, make sure your images relate to the text. A generic stock photo that doesn’t add anything to your story won’t keep readers engaged.
Subheadings and Bulleted/Numbered Lists
Don’t neglect to use subheadings and lists. They look great on a small screen, as well as being another way to create white space.
- They make it easy for the reader to scan your article for pertinent information.
- They create white space and provide a visual break in the text.
- They draw attention to the information that you want to highlight.
Preview Your Article on a Mobile Device
Don’t overlook this simple step. If you’re writing your blog post on your computer, check it out on your mobile device before you hit publish. This is the best way to see what others are seeing. Cut down on long paragraphs, add some white space, and adjust your image placement.
Sometimes viewing your text on a different device helps you to see it with fresh eyes. I’ve caught many mistakes that Grammarly has missed by checking over articles on my phone before publishing. It also helps you to catch awkward phrasing and complex sentences.
It’s a competitive world online and smartphone users, in particular, are bombarded with countless distractions. It’s your goal to hold their interest while they read your content.
Fortunately, there are ways you can do this. Use elements such as white space, short paragraphs, subheadings, lists, and images. And always do a final check on your mobile device. These tips will help your content stand out, and it will keep your readers hooked.