Bold, Italics and Underlines: How to Use Them Effectively?

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Should I use bold, italics, or underlining in my blog post?

Can you really tell a difference between the three things when it comes to engaging your readers?

How is bolded text different from italicized?

How about both of them combined with an underline?

What do they mean and how are they used effectively in blog posts?

This article will answer all your questions and more.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Benefits of Bold, Italics, and Underlines

  • Content will be more scannable –  When you use bold, italics, and underlines properly it will make the content more scannable to readers. They can easily identify words and phrases that carry more weight in the content.
  • Increase comprehension –  By engaging readers and making them focus more on specific words you are increasing their comprehension rate.
  • SEO advantage – When people stay longer on your site your search engine ranking will increase as well. Google can tell that people are engaging with the content and will rank it higher.

Where to use Bold, Italics, and Underlines?

Bold or strong

Bold is used to highlight the text and capture the readers’ attention. It could be used to draw extra attention to something important, describe emotions, or indicate actions.

The bold tag is used for strong emphasis. When you feel like emphasizing something, you need to first consider using the italics, only use bold text if you are not satisfied by the emphasis the italics did to your text.

Some people, I call them over-emphasizers, have the habit of adding bold or italic tags to an entire paragraph or using bold-italics together.

Don’t be like them.

Because, if everything’s emphasized, then nothing is emphasized.

When you feel like overusing bold tags, most of the time you may want to use bullet points!

The following are some reasons why you might want to consider bolding parts of your text:

  • You want them to have extra emphasis on a sentence or two –  This will help make them stand out from the rest of the blog post, and in this case, it should be used sparingly.
  • You’re writing about an emotional response –    If you’re writing about a really strong emotional response, then bolding the word or words most associated with that response can help readers feel a certain way.  The stronger the emotion, the bolder you should make your text.

Italics or emphasis

Here are the common uses of italics.

  1. Italicized text might be used to show a word’s definition or a technical topic.If you’re writing about a new technique or something that needs extra explanation, italicize the words so readers know they need to take more time to read it. For example: SEO stands for search engine optimization.
  2. Used to highlight names of books, blogs, newspapers, etc. Notice how the italics make the words “search engine optimization” stand out!
  3. Conversations or dialogues – It can be used when quoting somebody else’s dialogs from television shows, novels, movies or plays: “I’m sorry,” he said.
  4. Imagination or story (One day I was walking… blah… blah…).
  5. When you want something to stand out, either because it’s an opinionated statement or just because it’s particularly interesting, italicize the words so they can be easily noticed.

They are also used to emphasize a word in a sentence. When it comes to emphasis treat italics as a weaker emphasis when compared to bold. Use italics first, if it doesn’t feel good – kick in the bold tag.

For example, “It is recommended not to drink coffee more than twice a day”.

While reading the above sentence, readers may filter out the word ‘not’ if it’s not italicized.

The italic words catch the eyes instantly when used with sans-serif typefaces like Georgia, Times New Roman, and others. They don’t tend to stand out much relatively in the case of sans-serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Verdana, and others as the slant will be less.

Underline

In web content writing, underlines are used for displaying links. It is common to see this in blog posts and on web pages.

Be sure to research your audience before going overboard with underlining content.

Some people don’t like it and prefer bold or italics instead (because underlines are typically used for hyperlinks), so take that into consideration as well:

  • Underline words when they are linked to another page on the same website. Example: Click here to learn more!
  • Underline words when linking to a separate website but make sure you also add text formatting such as a hyperlink; otherwise, it will just look like your text is underlined and not clickable. Example: You can learn more about national parks at the National Park Service Website.

CAPS

Do you know that many writers and bloggers including me occasionally use CAPS to denote shouting or screaming in the blog posts?

  1. While including acronyms (like SEO – Search Engine Optimization)
  2. While denoting shouting or screaming

Other than denoting the acronyms, you should totally avoid using the CAPS. Except when it is absolutely needed to denote an extreme emotion.

Final words

Bold text is used to describe strong, clear words.

Italics can be used for giving certain emphasis on a particular word or phrase and it should be used sparingly.

Don’t overuse italics as they will make your blog posts look cluttered, so only use them when you really need to stress something out.

Underline content in web pages for ease of reading and navigation (example: links).

Know what kind of audience that you are writing for because some people may not like seeing underlined text at all (like me) and might find it distracting.

Akshay HallurAbout me

Hi, I’m Akshay Hallur. The founder of this blog BloggingX and many other online ventures.

I’m a professional full-time blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I’m here to help bloggers like you to create an outstanding blog and earn money from it.

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29 thoughts on “Bold, Italics and Underlines: How to Use Them Effectively?”

  1. The importance of Bold, Italics and Underlines in improving SEO cannot be denied. They are helpful for increased engagement and scalability. Yes, applying these strategically in keywords, sentences and important terms is important!

    I have shared this same comment in kingged.com where this post was shared and “kingged” for internet marketers.

  2. Hi Akshay Hallur!

    Love the topic, huh!

    Well, I admit how poor my knowledge about text formatting tags and its simple basics. I know I was using these text formats way back a couple of years when Friendster still exist to make my Social media page stand out and attractive.

    I know these are important stuffs and the crux of the matter in blogging, that bold, italics etc.

    There are proper uses of these, I know and I just do not know how to stand out exactly.
    So thanks for sharing this with us!

    I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the Internet marketing social bookmarking and networking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

    1. Text formatting tags certainly make the content stand out.
      The basic knowlege of using formatting tags should be known to everyone. It greatly reducesbounce rateand other user interactions.
      Thanks.

  3. My take with ref to bold, if you are using wordpress and do strong html to make the word look bold, it will only impact readability.

    But if you if you use tag then it impacts your bold and is a seo signal to the Google bot.

  4. There is Huge Importance of Bold, Italics in SEO.
    Thanks for such a Informative Article my friend, Akshay 🙂

  5. Great post i think we must bold our important words in the article and no care about SEO because we want our users to have good experience and we generally scan the web pages so it’s great to bold important points not just only keywords

  6. So if I want to highlight a keyword I can bold it. But what if I want to highlight a keyword — oh, then I can italicize it. And what about highlighting a keyword? Ah ha, I’ll underline it.

    This article has no content regarding the typography of using bold, underlining and italics and when they’re appropriate from a reading and publishing point of view.

  7. I did not use this tactic before. However, in the last post, I used bold, italic and coloured fonts to highlight my keywords and LSI keywords. I don’t know if I have over utilised it but it was very appealing visually.

  8. That is really attention-grabbing, You’re an overly skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and sit up for seeking more of your excellent post.
    Additionally, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

  9. Soumitra Chakraborty

    Hi, Just wanted to know if there is any way to highlight/ change the color of texts typed in any webpage editor/ composer. For example, as I am typing this here, is there any App/ software that can help me to change the font color or highlight the text just before posting?

  10. My family every time say that I am wasting my time here at web, but I
    know I am getting knowledge everyday by reading thes nice articles or reviews.

  11. Hi Akshay sir ,
    I read everything whatever was there , i understood each and every concept like Italics but please post some formats also as where to use it ,i will be grateful if you will post formats of these concepts of compuer.

    Thanking you
    Anushka

  12. Thanks for talking about the BOLD – ITALIC and Underlines affecting SEO but how many BOLD – ITALIC can be used on a page?

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