May 26, 2010
terez wrote this at 12:55 pm
If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!When you sit down to read a book, you read from left to right, paragraph to paragraph, page one to page two. That’s how I read a book, anyways.
When you read a blog, how do read it? I scroll like I’m looking for something, even if I don’t know what I’m looking for or what I’m going to find. I go up and down like a yo-yo, deciding whether or not a post is worth my time to read it. I check out subheadings, bullet points, bold characters, italics, a discernable font, and I love short paragraphs.
Time for a new paragraph. That last one was getting too long for my eyes. Why should you care how people read blogs?
First impressions – the worst impressions?
Because if readers don’t like the way your blog looks, even if you’re a first-rate writer, they are not going to read what you write. I do it all the time. I discover a post with an interesting headline and excitedly click on that link. When I see huge clumps of text and yellow-colored, size 8 font on a black background, I’m done.
It doesn’t matter what that blogger wrote. I’ve made a judgment call. Slap my wrist and tell me that I’m wrong. I don’t care. I’ve decided that if that writer doesn’t know the basics about blogging, then he/she couldn’t possibly have anything worthwhile to say.
It’s not the nicest way to be. I wasn’t always like this, tough. I’ve stumbled upon poorly constructed blogs that I have attempted to decipher. A deeper dig reveals typos galore, poor English and terrible content again and again. So why waste my time trying to translate?
You never get a second chance to make a first impression
Make a good first impression on your readers. First and foremost, you need original, well-written content. That is the foundation of a great blog.
Second, and this may seem ridiculous to say, but please make sure that people can read the size and style of your font. If you try to be too fancy, say with a script-type font, people will click away. If your words are too small for the average pair of eyes, people will click away. If the font is too big and overbearing, people will click away.
Either while you write or after you write and edit, you should try to include:
- Subheadings. These break up text and summarize what readers can expect as well as build anticipation.
- Bullet points/numbered lists. These are my favorites to read and write. They, too, break up text so well. I notice that if I read nothing from a blog post, I will read the list.
- Bold, italics, underline, etc. Pepper your post with these font features when you want to stress something. But do not inundate a post with them. No need for the entire post to be bold.
- Short paragraphs. Don’t write an entire blog post with just one paragraph. Staring at a computer screen with one long block of text is rough on the eyes. You can’t see anything. Experienced bloggers recommend three to four sentences per paragraph.
Use common sense
When you write for blog readers, don’t be a stickler to any rules. You’re thinking, And what’s the reason for this post if I can do whatever I want?
Well, of course you can do whatever you want. I’m saying that you don’t have to count the number of sentences per paragraph or include a bulleted list in every single post. Be natural. Think about your audience. Remember, write how you read.
A computer screen looks much differently than a book. Make it easy for people to read your blog.
How do you write for blog readers?
Terez Howard operates TheWriteBloggers, a professional blogging service which builds clients’ authority status and net visibility. She regularly blogs at Freelance Writing Mamas . You’ll find her on Twitter @thewriteblogger
–ME “Liz” Strauss via successful-blog.com