Should you go bold?

Bold type, which is thicker than regular type, can make it easier for readers to grasp your meaning. This happens only if you bold wisely. Go overboard with bold, and you may lose readers.

When to bold

Here are three ways I’d use bold in a blog post:

1.  Bold your headings or the first part of your numbered lists. I’m a big fan of headings as visual indicators of your main points as well as your shifts from one point to another. This goes for bolding new points on your list, but only when the bolded text is followed by plain text. A whole block of bold text is hard to read.

2.  Bold the key sentence in one or more paragraphs. Michael Katz of Blue Penguin does this well in his newsletter.

3.  Use bold for one key sentence. It could be the eye-catching content that draws readers to your blog post. Or the “call to action” that invites your readers to contact you.

Bold vs. heading format

Your choice of how to highlight your text may affect how well it is picked up by online search engines.

Some folks have told me that any bolded words are given more weight by search engines. On the other hand, Beth Graddon-Hodgson of WriteSourcing told me this only applies to text that is emphasized by a heading tag, so the text is treated as a title. However, this “subject is highly debated,” said Graddon-Hodgson. “Some people believe that ANY changes to text make a difference with SEO since they incorporate different coding.” Check with your SEO expert for the latest opinions on this debate.

Used wisely, bold can boost the impact of your writing. Give it a try!