You’re burning with ideas you want to tell the world. At the same time, you also want to build an audience. There’s nothing more depressing for a blogger than to think all that passion is going on a one-way trip straight into the void.
A 2013 Slate article shows that most visitors to online sites will scroll through at most only 60% of a written post. Ten percent won’t even use the scroll function at all. They’re on a page for a few seconds then before you know it, they’re off to the next one.
So what’s the best way to do both, knowing that website visitors scan without reading?
The answer is actually a lot simpler than you think.
But first: put yourself in the shoes of Internet surfers. They’re visually consuming huge amounts of data to locate exactly what meets their needs. Your job is to make that search as easy to digest as it is fun and informative to read.
The best way to do this is to ask yourself: what are your words saying and how do those words look on the page?
Begin from the end
It may seem counterintuitive, but try stating the point of your blog in the first paragraph or even better, first sentence. That way readers won’t have to wade through an argument to get to the nitty-gritty and assess the value of what you’re offering. They want everything up front: details are for later.
Use short sentences and paragraphs to craft your posts. At most, they should be no longer than 3 sentences long. Cut out all non-essential descriptive filler (aka fluff) and use bullet points to highlight important points.
Also consider distilling one idea into a single-sentence paragraph, just as you might do for a Twitter post.
Say it with headlines
Use subheadings as a way to summarize the main point you want to make in each section. This will help readers move through your content more quickly and decide if they should spend more time on your site.
Talk to your people
You’re an expert, but you’re also a friendly guide, so keep the tone conversational. Address your audience as though they were in front of you and think of your post as an invitation to dialogue further with you.
A good rule of thumb is to bold headlines and key words/phrases to catch readers’ attention. Your goal is to help readers find what they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Italics differ from boldface in that they tend to add emotional emphasis to words or phrases. If you get confused, you can think of it this way: boldface is for your readers while italics are for you.
Use both sparingly.
Link it up
Sure, you’re an expert. But you need to demonstrate that you’re also someone who’s up to speed on conversational currents as they pertain to what you’re saying.
You do can do that with links to quality sites that build their own reputations by publishing articles by people with extensive experience and/or education in the topics they discuss.
Crafting a good blog post is about about knowing what your audience needs. When you take the time to do that, you lay a foundation for the trust, loyalty and community that benefits everyone.