Most people don't read web sites in the typical sense. People scan articles from top to bottom and catch headings, bullets, images, keywords and phrases that they are watching for. If you'd like to improve the way readers consume your content, there are ways to optimize your layout.
- Put dark text on a white background. Other soft background colors might work, but contrast is key, with the font being darker than the background.
- Try larger, well-styled fonts. I like ‘Lucida Grande' because it has serifs. There's evidence that people read by word shape, not by letter, and that serifs actually improve the ability for increased comprehension.
- Try increasing your line-height using CSS to provide enough room for readers to follow a line of text without accidentally jumping up or down a line.
- Proportion your whitespace logically. The space in each sidebar should be equidistant from your content. The space between posts should be more than the space between a heading and the post it belongs to. The fonts for your content should be larger than the fonts for your blog's other miscellaneous features. Whitespace is key to a good site with great readability.
- Utilize headings, bold, italics and bulleted lists properly. An article with overly used bold text actually takes away from the experience and dilutes the importance of the bolded phrases. Provide users with the tools of the trade to optimize their reading experience. Bulleted lists provide content that's easy to read. A list such as this provides a mental checklist for the reader.
Key to good retention and growing readership is the ability for your readers to retain the content they've discovered at your site. Your layout, use of whitespace, and proper use of writing tools are important elements you should not overlook.