Nobody has time for your crap anymore! They don’t have time for my crap either. As a whole, the world just doesn’t have time anymore.
You don’t have time for my crap. And I don’t have time for yours. Right?
The entire world prides itself on being the multi-tasking, hard-working alien race from the planet of GottaGetShitDonemcburgsville.
So trying to get someone to read anything you write is practically impossible.
Any little thing can grab their attention and that’s it. Done deal. They might never return to your blog again.
They will never know the infinite wit and charm of all your other content if you can’t even get them to read your blog posts.
There are a lot of different methods you can use to effectively craft content for online readers.
We are not going to go over every single one here, but I am going to show you how to put together blog posts that are easy to read so you can finally get the attention you deserve.
Make it Easy to Read
A lot of writers tend to forget that people read differently online than they do in books, newspapers or magazines.
Most of what is taught about writing in schools isn’t going to apply online. But that’s how I see so many bloggers do things.
If you write in different mediums it can be difficult to remember to switch up your styles. For example, if you’re an author and a blogger it’s easy to write everything the same way but you can’t do that.
It’s important that you craft your text a little differently when you come back to write on your blog.
When you’re writing for the web, you don’t want big chunks of text. Your readers need a bit of whitespace. By creating shorter paragraphs you’re giving them that whitespace, which allows the eyes to flow down the page.
Not to mention it caters to readers on mobile devices.
Most of your paragraphs should be two to three lines, four lines is the max and should only be done occasionally.
And it’s good to throw in a one-liner every now and then.
Lots of bloggers only write in one line paragraphs. I think that’s going a little too far, but there’s really nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want to do.
Big paragraphs scare readers away.
When an online reader sees a huge wall of text they think of the time it will take them to read it. Unless it’s something they really want to know, they’ll skip right over it.
Even if it’s just a three-second commitment.
So instead, you have to get them to commit to one or two seconds at a time.
Sure, the overall time is the same, but breaking it into smaller commitments makes it easier to commit.
That’s the reason newspapers are laid out they are.
Have you ever noticed that newspapers write their text in narrow columns?
That’s because they’re trying to get readers to commit to shorter sentences. They don’t have unlimited space like we do on the web, so they shorten the lines.
Pretty smart, huh?
The one thing they don’t do enough of, which you can also see in the image, is add images and whitespace.
Then There’s the Myth of Perfection
Blog posts don’t have to be perfect. They just have to be helpful, entertaining or inspiring.
I once got a comment from a reader who was so angry with me that he wrote a 500 word comment about how stupid I was and how much he hated me.
He cursed me and told me every mistake I had made in this one blog post. His whole problem was that I had a few misplaced commas and two (two!) typos.
He was “disgusted” by me because he was a much better writer, yet he had no readers and no clients — no one was paying attention to his blog.
His words not mine.
He couldn’t understand how someone so bad at writing could have a blog and paying clients.
The guy really got to me. He made me feel terrible. Mostly about my problems with commas. I felt so bad I decided I would try to help him out.
A quick search on Facebook allowed me to find his blog…where he had written three posts in one year. Each post with huge walls of text, no images, no headings or subheadings.
Just walls and walls of text.
He had put more effort into telling me how much he hated me, than he had into his own blog.
This is a perfect example of how the myth of perfection can cripple you.
The things you write don’t have to be perfect. You owe it to your readers to try to do everything you can. But you also owe it to them to actually publish something.
If it’s not perfect don’t worry about it.
Your writing will get better with practice. But you have to write and publish.
Using images is important. The web has become very visual.
Everywhere you go online you see images. They might be videos, GIFs, family photos, screen-captures or stock photography but you will see some type of visual element on every website you visit.
Your website should be no different.
If you don’t accompany your writing with visual elements your readers are going to have a tougher time enjoying your content.
There is no specific rule when it comes to this. Just be sure to use visuals where you can. And be sure they are relevant to the writing.
You may choose to only use one image per post, and that’s fine, lots of blogs do it. But you need to make sure it’s an attention grabbing image that helps your message in some way.
You want to be creative with the visual elements though.
Images are more likely to be shared than just about anything else on your blog. So if you’re using stale, boring images you’re not going to get much attention from your visitors, especially ones that come from social media.
Try to think about what everyone else is doing, and then do something different.
If you’re not using any visuals at all right now, then don’t try to get too creative. Just do something. But, I think most bloggers (myself included) can do more to improve the visual elements of our sites.
If everyone else in your niche is using regular images, you might stand out by using infographics or GIFs. Of course a lot of bloggers use those too, so try something different.
Here’s a few ideas for images that go beyond the average use for most bloggers
- Have readers post drawings of your character’s if you’re an author.
- Use GIFs as short tutorials instead of videos
- Use cartoon drawings (surprisingly few bloggers do this)
That’s just a few ideas I came up with in a couple minutes. Anyway, I’m sure you get the idea.
When you really think about it, everything discussed so far is related to improving the visual side of your blog; short paragraphs, headings and subheadings, the use of Bold text etc.
It’s all about relaying your message in a way that’s easy for people to consume. If you don’t do that then your message will never be
heard read seen.