When you write a blog post or article you want people to read it. But what if they don't?
When you write, you write with passion...you plan, you write, you amend, you critique and you finally publish.
You know in your heart it's a great article and it's targeted at the correct audience...and then no one reads it, no one comments on it and no one shares it!!!
How Devastating it feels!
You get down on yourself and perhaps you treat yourself a little harshly, blaming yourself for not being good enough. STOP RIGHT THERE!
It's not you, well not entirely...you simply need to chalk it up to experience and make a few adjustments, a few tweaks for next time.
Writing a little less, condensing your words and breaking the text into more easily readable chunks, will help keep the readers attention.
What does the reader want?
Actually, think about what you want when you read an article or you're searching the Internet for information.
What you want is what the reader wants, so let's look at how you can make some simple but highly effective changes to your article or blog post that will improve readability.
1. Instant Gratification.
The reader wants a solution as quickly and as hassle-free as possible without having to search through a multitude of websites. So, how do you keep them engaged and not look elsewhere?
2. Be Quick about it.
In our informative years we were taught to expand on our ideas and explain in more depth. Unfortunately, that doesn't work when someone wants an answer, RIGHT NOW.
The fact is, people will scan through a document to find the information they want. Don't fight the unwinnable fight...make it easy for them. Give the important stuff at the beginning and let them decide if it's worth digging deeper.
A great tip from Jakob Nielson, structure content in inverted pyramid style, which means start at the conclusion and work backwards from there to support your argument. This way the reader gets the important stuff at the start, and can decide if they'd like to delve deeper for a more comprehensive understanding.
3. Break It Down.
Like MC Hammer...someone's showing their age!
If your article is about a complicated or involved subject, think about breaking it down into separate blog posts.
This is also a great way to leave the reader hanging, and want to come back for more.
4. Embrace the (white) Space
I'll always remember at school, some kids while writing their English assignment, would use spacing to maximum advantage to make their assignment look longer than it actually was. While that may have been considered a bad thing by your teacher, it is in reality an essential concept.
White space is your friend and makes articles so much easier to read; even more complicated ones.
5. Use Subheadings to Break Up your Article
Strong headings, as they have been employed within this blog, helps to attract the readers initial interest, then helps to keep them engaged to want to read more.
Headings need to intrigue and inform, but must always be relevant, realistic and reflect the information within the article. NO B.S. headings or over the top promises that you can't live up to.
6. Use Bullet Points for Effect
Bullets points help to break up your text and draw attention:
7. Use Deep Image Captions (Infographics)
Studies by researchers show that images with captions are some of the most highly read content on a page. See Square2Marketings' 8 Benefits of Infographics
Using a strong image with a caption of 2-3 lines can help to clearly demonstrate a message and encourage your reader to look deeper into your article.
8. Use Links to Help with Understanding
Using both internal and external links can do two things:
9. Bold Text Helps to Highlight Important Details
Including bold text draws attention and assists the reader to scan through your article to find key details. Be frugal though, as over-use of bold text has the same effect as no bold text. Understand?
10. The Power of Numbers
Adding numbers next to headings and lists help engage and capture attention to assist your reader in keeping their bearings within your article, so they don't get lost.
How often when you search for a solution on the web do you see titles like this?
11. Check Your Formatting
One of the most important things, and often over-looked, is to check your formatting before you publish your article or blog.
Check headings, bullet points, numbers and highlighted text to ensure your message is clear, concise and flows naturally to allow ease of reading.
12. Just Walk Away
Lastly, be patient, take a break, give it a little time to review before you publish. You'll always find after a few reviews of your article that you could have written it better.
Follow these great tips and you'll have more people to read your content, stay longer, return for more, be more likely follow you and share your content.