Giving your online presence a reputation of being informative, visually appealing, and easy to read is achieved by learning how to properly format your content. Whether your viewers are reading your content on a mobile device, laptop, or desktop, —the tips below will help you understand when it is best to use list format, and when it is best to bit the proverbial bullet and stick with traditional paragraphs.

When writing online content it is important to communicate the key points you will be covering within the first few paragraphs —so that you capture a reader’s attention right off the bat. However, if you have multiple key points or topics that you would like to touch on, —you will need to find a way to draw your reader in.

If your key points can easily be communicated in one or two short to medium sized paragraphs, headings may be enough to separate your key points and make your content easy to read. Ensure that your headings are bold in font, possibly larger font, and clearly set the expectation for what information your reader will learn when reading each paragraph.

Basic ListsAce
Within your paragraphs there may be information that you would like to convey that includes a list of information. For example, if you are writing an article about 10 foods that are high in fiber, you may opt create a list. The list could include high fiber foods, and could even have a sentence after each list item of examples of how to prepare each food on the list. If you are only going to list a few items, you may choose to separate them with commas. However, if your items begin to feel like a run-on on sentence—, you may opt for list format. When creating a list consider alphabetizing the items on the list.

Tips List Or Checklist
Another excellent time to utilize list format is when you are creating a checklist or a tip list for your readers. While tips lists can be separated by headings and paragraphs, list format may be fitting if the tip has minimal detail. You can further format checklists so that list items can easily be crossed off as you go.

Making Your List Easy To Read
There are several ways you can make your list easy to read. Depending on the type of list you create you may opt to use one or several of the formatting options below:

  • Bold Font—: Bold font is not always appropriate for list format, but may help to make your list items standout, or easier to read.
  • Cells Or Boxes: —If your list has multiple components, cells and boxes can be quite helpful. For example, if you have created a list for a clothing item the first cell could have the type of garment, and the next few boxes could have information such as brand, color, and size.
  • Alignment—: Your list may be best suited being centered, aligned page right, or aligned page left. You may even utilize the tab key to separate horizontal line items.
  • Visual Features:— Your list may also benefit from changing the size, style, or color of the font of your list items. Also consider utilizing bullet points or other features in your bullet library.

Breaking Up Lengthy Or Detailed Content
Another time that list format may be appropriate is when you need to break up lengthy or detailed content. The list format can make it easier to create easy to read sections on the page, and break details into bite sized chunks.

While there are many benefits to using list format, overuse of lists can make content too busy. Try to balance paragraphs that are short and to the point, with lists that communicate more detailed information. The tips above will help you to organize your content in an easy to read manner, and to decide when it is best to use list format.