You know your message is valuable and if people would just stick around and read it they’d see you have nothing but their best interests at heart. But how do you convince visitors to keep reading? Maybe it’s not what you’re saying, maybe it’s how you’re saying it. Here are seven tips to make your blog posts more readable.
Answer One Question
I follow a couple of bloggers who just don’t know when to stop. They start off answering one question and by the time you get to the end of the post they’ve covered every category on their blog. I don’t know if they think I really want all of this information or if they’re just trying to show off. Either way, it’s too much information. It’s more than I need, it’s more than I want, and it’s too much to absorb in one sitting.
Choose one question to answer and stick to the subject at hand. If you want to talk about something else, put it in another blog post. Too much information makes it difficult for your visitor to find the answer he’s looking for and, if he’s like me, he’ll just give up and go somewhere else.
Use Headings and Sub-headings
Break up large blocks of text with headings and sub-headings. Most readers are only going to scan your article and these bolder fonts make it easier to see your most important points. They also provide a visual breath of fresh air and give your reader a mental “bookmark.”
Explain Industry Jargon
Your goal should always be to attract new visitors, so it’s important to keep in mind that those first-time visitors may not be familiar with the industry jargon you use. However, you also don’t want to bore your long-time followers by repeating information they already know.
The solution? Briefly explain industry jargon in each post and then refer your new visitors to blog posts that explain it in greater detail. Your long-time followers aren’t bored, your new followers get the information they need, and you’re building a strong internal linking structure – all at the same time.
Limit Your Links
It’s definitely important to link out to relevant content, both your own and on other blogs. However, personally, I can’t stand reading a blog post that’s nothing but a list of links. Give me at least a brief recap of what you’re linking to, or even a relevant quote, and if I want to, I’ll visit that link for more information. But don’t force me to click on a link to find out “the rest of the story.”
Write Your Title First
I find it helpful to write my post titles first. I know there are plenty of bloggers who write the article first and then give it a title, and if that works well for you then that’s great. However, try it my way once or twice and see if there’s a difference.
I find that if I write the title first then I know exactly which keyword I’m going to focus on and exactly what question I’m going to answer. In other words, I’ve basically already mapped out the whole post if I write the title first and I don’t end up with one of those long, rambling blog posts that leads to nowhere.
Proceed In An Orderly Fashion
It may help you to outline your posts before you start writing so you can present your information in a more coherent fashion. Read over your How-To posts. Are the steps in the right order? Even if it’s not a How-To post, are you leading your reader to the answer or are you hiding it somewhere in your article, forcing your visitor to hunt for it?
Keep It Short And Sweet, BUT…
You’ve heard this one before – keep it “short and sweet” because people who read stuff online don’t have a lot of time and blah, blah, blah… There’s a certain amount of truth to that statement. However, that doesn’t mean you have to sound like a textbook.
Getting “to the point” is certainly important, and if you follow all the other tips on this list you should be fine. But don’t overlook the reason people like to read blogs:
Blogs are less formal than textbooks or news-type websites. People like to read blogs because they feel like they’re making a connection with a real human being. So don’t be afraid to let the “real you” shine through in your content. That may be the only thing necessary to make your blog posts more readable.