Bullet Points: When and How to Use Them in Your Writing
If you write for an online audience—be it as a blogger, email marketing copywriting specialist or website content provider, you understand that writing online content is different from writing academic papers, correspondence or other forms of written communication. One of the biggest differences you will find when writing online is that you must utilize white space. White space breaks up the content you provide into easy-to-read chunks.
When website visitors read text online, they do not want to work too hard at the task. When reading online, many people skim online content, rather than read word for word. Because of this, you want to do everything possible to draw the readers’ eyes to the most important information. One of the best ways to do this is by using bullet points.
Using bullet points is a great way to present a list of facts, important data or to give instructions that do not need to be given in a numbered list. If you write regularly, you will find other times to use bullet points too. However, when you do use them in your online content, it is important that you follow proper procedure. Consider each of these tips for proper use of bullet points, adapted from Oxford Dictionary and presented in (of course) a bulleted list:
- The text that is used to introduce a section of bullet points should end in a colon.
- When the information provided in bullet points is a complete sentence, it should begin with a capital letter and end with proper punctuation.
- Bullet points do not necessarily have to be complete sentences.
- For the biggest impact, bullet point statements should be relatively short.
- While it is not necessary, you can add to the impact of the bulleted list by starting each statement with the same part of speech.
Using bullet points is a great way to add interest to an article, blog post or other piece of online content. One caution is that you do not want to overuse them. While they can be a great way to break information up into easy-to-read sections, bullet points are not appropriate for every project. Carefully consider your document, the potential audience and other facts before you decide whether using bullet points is appropriate. Utilized properly, bullet points will make it much easier to write for the fickle and hard-to-please online audience.
Tracy S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.