The thing about blogging is, it doesn’t matter how well you write if the reader doesn’t understand your message. On the other hand, if your writing doesn’t immediately engage your reader he’s not going to stick around. So which comes first, the flowery prose or the bullet points? Here are six very official ways to improve your writing and keep those readers on your page.
1 – Don’t Try So Hard
Your average blog visitor reads at an eighth grade level so stop trying to impress him with 10-syllable words. Those big words make you sound like an expert but your average reader most likely won’t get their meaning. And if your reader doesn’t understand what you’re saying you’ve just wasted his time and yours.
2 – Eliminate Unnecessary Words
The average online reader will only be on your page long enough to read approximately 400 words. Of those 400, he’ll only really absorb about 240 words. So it’s important that make your content easy to read and that you make every word count. Eliminate all unnecessary words. So far, in this post you’re reading now, I’ve eliminated a full paragraph without lessening the post’s effect.
3 – Improve Your Vocabulary
Improving your vocabulary helps you eliminate unnecessary words, and it also helps you make a stronger statement while you’re using fewer words. For example,
“You could tell she was really mad by the way she stomped across the room.”
“She flew across the room in a furious rage.”
How do you improve your vocabulary? Read. Read books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, even cereal boxes if that’s all you have handy. Bookmark an online thesaurus and dictionary and start looking things up. Get yourself one of those Word-A-Day Calendars and incorporate a new word into your blog posts every day.
4 – Edit, Edit, and Edit, Again
Before you publish, read every word to make sure it’s spelled correctly and it’s used to it’s best advantage. Then, read every sentence to make sure it flows properly, and go back over it one more time to make sure your paragraphs are all constructed properly. It’s not about each individual word that you write, a well-written article flows smoothly from beginning to end.
5 – Read it Out Loud
Read your post out loud to get the full effect. If it’s a How-To post, follow your own directions. Did you include all the information the reader needs? Did you skip a step? And how does it sound? Is it a dry, boring read or will your reader be hanging on every word?
6 – Write For Your Reader
Online readers will only scan your content, picking out the key points of information. Regardless of your prose or your writing style or your “voice” they will only think your writing is “good” if it they can understand it and it answers their need. So, while your writing style and voice are important because they give your content an element of uniqueness, it’s also important to learn to write for the online reader.