3 Simple Guidelines for Beginning Bloggers
Writing a blog post is a unique skill. It isn't like writing a college essay or a book chapter.
It's far more immediate than that.
People tend to scan and scroll online. They browse for information that might help them right now. If they find it, they'll go back up to the beginning of the article to read carefully and in earnest.
They'll stay awhile and may even read some of your other articles. If they like what you provide, they'll subscribe and perhaps buy one of your products.
If they don't find what they're looking for, however, they'll bounce off your website within seconds and likely will never return again. Thus, it's critical to write in such a way that convinces them they're in the right place.
There is a lot to this topic, which we'll be sure to cover in future articles. However, effective blogging starts with three simple guidelines.
1. Accurate Title
There are dozens of places online where you can find ideas for writing compelling headlines. They are important, to be sure. A good headline can get more readers to click on your title link in Google search and on social media.
But more important, by a long shot, is writing headlines that reflect what the article actually says. If it doesn't match your article – or if it loosely matches – then your readers are going to feel manipulated.
They're also going to feel as if you cheated them. You promised one thing but delivered another. This also signals to Google that you're not worth sending traffic to.
I worry less about how compelling the title is and more about how accurate it is. And so should you.
Subtitles are easy to scan. They give readers a simple way to do what they're already going to do naturally, enabling them to make a quick decision about whether your article is worth their time to read.
Readers appreciate this and are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.
Subtitles are also persuasive, especially if they promise to answer the question inherently posed in your title. They preview for the reader what they should expect to learn from reading your article.
Much like your main title, your subtitles need to accurately reflect the text below them.
More than any other format – books, newspapers, magazines (those that are still alive) – a blog post needs room to breathe. It needs lots of white space. Not only does this add to the ease of scanning, but also it makes your writing more interesting.
Varying sentence and paragraph lengths are also a good idea because they're more pleasing to the eye and brain. Reading, especially while staring at a screen, becomes less daunting. It adds a relaxing rhythm and quality to the experience.
Short, five or six sentence paragraphs work well. (Like this one).
They give the mind a break and naturally pull the reader along to the next sentence. Subtitles, while they don't need to be used all the time, also help provide more space for the reader.
A blog post, especially if your blog is informational, should get right to the point. Length is less of a factor than providing benefit.
Think in terms of writing densely helpful content. Cut out all the fluff and anything and everything that doesn't directly support your mission of helping your reader.
Make sure your post matches your title as closely as possible. Plain and short tend to work best. Provide subtitles if your content makes more than one key point. Finally, let your words and paragraphs breathe.
Make it easy for the person who lands on your site to stay and learn from you. Make it easy for them to subscribe and return again and again.
Do this, and you will grow.
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