Have you ever landed on a web page, faced a wall of text and clicked back to your search engine of choice for an option that’s a bit more scannable? Big blocks of text are hard for online readers to consume. The way you format content within a page or blog post could mean the difference between someone taking the time to read your thoughtfully written content or jumping ship and clicking off the page.
To make sure that doesn’t happen on your nonprofit’s website, format your content within the platform’s content editing system before you publish a page or blog post. We’ll walk you through how to use the editing system as well as some formatting best practices to keep in mind.
Where Do I Add Content?
The sidebar on the backend of your website has both a “Pages” and a “Posts” section. Posts allow you to add and edit blog posts, and Pages house other pages on your website. You can add a new page anytime.
Click through to a specific page in the Pages section to see the content editor for that page, and do the same within the Posts section to view the content editor for specific blog posts.
Copying content into the editor
If you have your content ready to go in a document, you can simply copy and paste that content directly into the content editor. However, since different types of documents, like Microsoft Word or Google Documents, can carry their own formatting along, it’s best to remove any outside styling when you add it into the content editor.
To do this, we’d recommend selecting the “Paste as Plain Text” button from the toolbar before you paste in your content. It will clear all of the formatting, allowing you to start fresh and use consistent styling across your whole site.
Using the Toolbar
If you’re not sure what an item in the toolbar does, hover over it with your mouse and the purpose of the tool will display. There’s a lot you can do right from the toolbar in the content editor. And all of these common formatting practices and more can be used by highlighting the affected text and selecting the corresponding tool.
- Bulleted list
- Numbered list
- Add quote styling
- Align text left, center or right
- Insert a link
- Add a horizontal line
Formatting Best Practices
The goal with any formatting best practice is to create content that’s easy for online readers to consume and that looks clean on the page. Review your content for these quick formatting upgrades.
Use headings to break up content
Make it a priority to ensure your content is easy to scan. Most readers scan for lists and headings before committing to reading whole paragraphs of content. Whenever the topic on the page shifts, use a new heading.
Never use Heading 1 as that is the styling for the page name and should only ever be used for that one purpose. Start with Heading 2, found in the dropdown within the toolbar, and work your way down numerically for sub-headings of similar points that you’d like to make on a certain topic. For example, on your history page, you might use Heading 2 for “Early Years” and then Heading 3 for “2013” and to dive further into each specific year within that section.
Use bullet points for lists of three items
To make lists easier to scan, break out lists of three or more items with bullet points or with a numbered list.
You can format your text and images in columns using a simple shortcode. Columns are helpful when your lists get very long or you want to list different options with icons.
Link related content
To allow your readers to learn more about a particular topic discussed in greater detail elsewhere on your website or even on another website, use links to direct them there. This will help you avoid including the same content on multiple pages of your website.
If you’re linking to a site that is not your own, be sure to select the “Open link in a new tab” checkbox as you’re adding the link. This way, a new tab will open for third party information, and your site visitors won’t leave your site prematurely.
Online readers are visual. Whenever possible, add intrigue to your content by including things like photos, videos, buttons and icons. This also helps to break up the content so visitors aren’t faced with a wall of text when they land on a new page.
Use quote styling
If you have quotes or important statistics in your content, give them some visual interest by adding quote styling. To do this, make sure the quote or statistic is in its own paragraph, highlight the text and select “Blockquote” from the toolbar.
Add the Read More tag to blog posts
To control the snippet that displays along with posts on the main landing page for the blog, add a Read More tag after the amount of text that you’d like to display. Oftentimes, that will be at the end of the first paragraph. Without the tag, a specific amount of characters will pull to the landing page and the cut-off point might not make sense or might be in the middle of a sentence.
To add a Read More tag, click right after the text that you would like to pull through and select the “Insert Read More tag” button from the toolbar.
Create a Style Guide
While there are certain best practices that can be applied to any website, there are also lots of formatting choices that can fluctuate based on your organization’s preferences. To ensure your formatting is consistent across your whole site, as well as to make it easier for multiple people to enter content on your website, consider creating a simple style guide to note all of the above best practices and formatting preferences specific to your organization.
You could include things like when to use bold or italic text and the placement of buttons or images within the content. Having a standardized way to format text using the tools provided can ensure that your site as a whole appears more cohesive.
Still Have Questions?
Reach out to us within your Dashboard. Log into your website and then fill out the Website Support form. You’ll hear back from one of Wired Impact’s team members within one business day.