Keeping Your Blog Readers’ Interest in a Sea of Text
So far in this series, we’ve talked about why you should blog, shared with you a proven technique for finding blog ideas and showed you how to get and keep your audience’s attention. Hopefully, your blogging stress is now firmly under control.
In this post we’ll show you a few ways to make your blog easier to read, which encourages your audience to actually read it.
Make It Easy to Read
The typical blog reader is a skimmer, at best. They are unlikely to read your entire post. Make it easy for your readers to get the main points by using the following tactics:
- Keep your paragraphs short – 2 or 3 sentences are ideal.
- Keep your sentences short – break up longer sentences by using semi-colons or dashes, as appropriate.
- Use bullets and numbered lists – they make your content easier to scan.
- Draw attention to key points by using bold and italics.
- Use sub-headings in your post to bring your readers’ attention to sections of interest more easily.
This means that you should include pictures, graphs, infographics, videos or other visual content. There are 3 compelling reasons to make your blog visual:
- A 2013 study from Pew Research found that 47% of internet users have reposted photos and videos that they have found online.
- In a February 2014 report, Citrix reported that 63% of social media is made up of images. This means that people prefer images and will share them.
- The human brain processes visuals considerably faster than it does text.
Some examples of visuals are:
- Slides (embed a link to SlideShare in your blog)
- Videos (embed a link to your YouTube, Vimeo or other video channel)
Beware of Breaking the Law
Images abound on the internet; it’s fairly easy to find images to use in your blog posts. Whether it’s legal for you to use the image is another matter. If you aren’t using your own proprietary images, the image you use is someone else’s work. Avoid legal entanglements by following these simple rules:
- Use original images from your own stock or royalty-free images.
- If you must use others’ images, give them credit.
A great place to find royalty-free images is on Flickr.com and Google Images. Go to Flickr.com (you don’t have to sign up), type in your search term then click “Any License” and select “Creative Commons Only” or either of the appropriate sub-options.
You can also Google your search term then select “Images”. Click on “Search tools” then “Usage rights” and select the appropriate option.
In our next post, we’ll talk about getting your audience engaged and talking about your blog.
How do you reduce your blogging stress? Where do you find images to use in your posts? How do you keep your blog visual? Share your ideas with us in the Comments section below.