"I wish I wrote that better."
"No. I think it's perfect. I'm just naive."
"Why don't I just wait and see?"
These are the kind of tug-of-war conversations that most bloggers have in their minds when it comes to writing a blog post. It seems like there is always something that is wrong - that is always nagging at the back of their minds.
You know what, though?
It is very normal to overestimate things when you are trying to write a compelling blog post.
As it has always been said, Content is King; and the moment you find time to sit down and write a post, you are trying to create content that will blow people's minds.
Let us dive into the ways you can write a blog post that will not only please you but give your readers a kick. The good kind.
1.CAPTURE THE READER WITH A GREAT HEADLINE
I have seen quite a number of bloggers on Facebook groups scratch their heads over the issue of blog headlines. Most of them don't know the process of crafting a blog headline and only do it out of the pressure of having to publish a blog post.
A headline is like bait to the reader. Without it, you are casting a net into inhabited waters.
This is usually the first thing that a reader looks at in order to judge the credibility or relevance of the article. Without a great headline, no one will care the amount of knowledge buried within the article.
Lucky for you, I have written a post on How to Write Killer Blog Post Headlines which will guide you through the steps of crafting a post title that snatches the "goldfish" attention of readers.
- Make the headline stand out. Should it be a shocking statement, a rhetorical question, a negative rant on an issue?
- Ensure it is the right length. Sentences that are too short will not include the key point while those that are too long will whittle down the information.
- Try out different formats. Use numbers, or figures of speech or phrases to maximize the effect of the headline to the reader.
2. ENTICE THE READER FROM THE GET-GO
Suppose you have successfully managed to get your reader to click on your wonderfully crafted blog headline.
Where does the focus shift?
Your reader will most likely end up reading the first few sentences of your blog before deciding to scroll down or hit the "Close Tab" button.
It's a do or die moment here for your blog. Bloggers often have the misconception that the reader will delight in reading every syllable of every word of every sentence they wrote just because of an awesome title.
Ask yourself this:
- Does my first paragraph captivate the reader? On this note, there are a few ways you can use to tick this off the list. (narrate a story, use facts and figures, ask a question)
- Have I included at least one image that draws the attention of my reader? I have always failed to understand what is so pleasing in a post that lacks images. Add one at the beginning.
- How am I personalizing the message? Write as if you were talking to your reader face-to-face. Show excitement, anger or worry as you type. You may not realize how impactful this can be.
- How do I introduce the subject matter? Do I just blatantly speak the crap out of myself about it? Is it wise enough to use my story/question to bring relevance to the topic? Make the reader feel like your article is a god-send.
3. GIVE THE READER NO OPTION BUT TO READ ON.
There's nothing as upsetting as finding out that your reader only read your enticing intro, laughed out loud and then left uninspired. A huge percentage of readers don't even cross the half-way point of your blog before thinking about some gossip to keep an eye on.
Keep the reader as engaged as possible.
Normally once someone reads the intro story, they have no choice but to scroll lower and get the gist of the matter. Here is when it can be tough to hold on to their interests.
Are you the kind of blogger who uses the tiniest of fonts, or the one who doesn't number their points or one who doesn't have graphics on their blog?
- Use a font that is easy to the eye and eligible. Remember that most Internet users are smartphone owners, therefore, you will need to customize everything from the type to the size.
- Mix it up. Use a different font size for the headings (h1, h2 and so on) to partition different sectors of your article and remain tidy.
- Don't go overboard and mix fonts within a sentence.
- Italicize the important parts of your sentence or bolden them.
- Choose a different color for your headings, subheadings or links to enhance the reading experience.
- Include at least two images in your blog to brighten up things. No one likes a dull article.
- The images should be relevant to the topic of your article. For a better categorization of pictures, try Pexels, Pixabay or these 13 Kick-Ass Websites.
- Insert a gif or a video (Not only because they stand out more than pictures, but it can help your site have an impressively low bounce rate)
4. GIVE YOUR READER SOME BREATHING SPACE
Have you ever clicked on an article only to be blasted with so many sentences and words all crammed up in one paragraph to the next?
What your article is lacking is whitespace. The regions in an article without text or imagery make up a whitespace. If you clutter this area or minimize it, your article will look like this
instead of this
See the difference?
Having a broader whitespace allows the reader to:
- easily read the contents. It adds up to the overall user experience.
- identify the call-to-action bars. A generous amount of whitespace allows you to place your CTA bars (Subscribe Below, Sign up for Newsletter, Enter a free contest) conveniently.
- differentiate sections of your article (Intro, Main Body, Conclusion)
The web content creators from Segue Technologies couldn't be farther from the truth with this statement:
A whitespace is the fundamental building block of good design.
You don't have to cram as much information in one page in fear that it will not be read. Try and segment it and give your readers
5. MAKE YOUR READERS CLICK YOUR LINKS
Every blog you have read - or written - up to now has had links in it. They are either outbound links or inbound links.
Outbound links lead to other related web pages outside the blog. Inbound links lead to pages within the blog that contain related or extra information.
There is a lot of importance attached to having links on a blog.
Links earn you authority in a niche because it shows that you have a lot of related information to refer your readers to. They also boost a blog's SEO, drive traffic to your linked posts and they also show your readers that you can be trusted to offer quality information selflessly.
Imagine the kind of opportunities you are missing if a reader misses clicking on a link? For those who attach affiliate links, that could be the end to any profit you were dreaming of making. Your reader might be missing on some very crucial information that your article did not offer.
How do you save such a sinking ship?
Allysa Barnes' article on How to Style Links so They Stand Out gives a low-down on how to make sure your readers click on your links and make it obvious that they need to. Her great tips will give you ideas for your own blog.
A brief sneak peek:
- add color to your links. Notice how the link above stands out from the rest of the sentence by using a different color.
- italicize the links
- highlight them
- Use a different font
6. MAKE YOUR READERS RELATE WITH THE POST
I would feel very sad if a lost website crawler interested in raunchy pornography stumbled into my post because they would have the shock of their life. Why? Because nothing in my blog would relate to their desires and expectations.
The situation would be sadder if someone on my mailing list felt like a post did not resonate with them. Why? Because I would be wasting their precious time.
Is your content relatable? Does it speak to your readers?
Your blog is your voice online.
When a post reaches deep to me, I tend to feel indebted to share it with my friends, bookmark it and even get inspiration from it. That's how strong your voice is to your readers.
If they can't find relatability or relevance in your post, it becomes like one of those long drawn-out sermons that don't really hit the epicenter of your soul.
Before you give up, here are a few pointers for you:
- Incorporate personal encounters and challenges in your blog.
- Make use of personal pronouns as you right. For example: "Am I right?" "I used to..." "While I always..."
- Don't be afraid to curse lightly. "Crap!" "Dang it!" "WTF!"
- Add emojis 🙂
Do you think emojis will surpass text and be used for communication in the future? Let's talk in the comments section. 😉
7. MAKE IT EASY FOR THE READER TO COMMENT
I have an issue with the bloggers who complicate the commenting procedure in their blogs. Some of the techniques just end up discouraging the reader from commenting. These techniques include captcha mode or having to sign up to a Disqus account or doing some mathematical equation before submitting a heartfelt inspired comment.
Argh. I just can't. 🙁
Seriously, if it the issue of preventing spam comments, the Akismet WordPress Plugin does more than enough. One of the serious mistakes bloggers do is try and manage the comments section by limiting the number of comments or using third-party login systems.
In 13 Reasons Why You Suck at Blogging, I discussed the reason why people comment on blogs. If bloggers understood this reasons clearly, then they would embrace the comments wholeheartedly.
How do you create a frenzy in your comments section?
Kayla Hollatz explains thoroughly in her article, How to Create a Comments Frenzy in your Blog, which I would advise you to check out.
A few takeaways from her article would be:
- Always reply to your comments. Make your readers feel appreciated for engaging with your content
- Ask for comments. Ask and it shall be given to you.
- Address the reader by their name.
8. ENCOURAGE YOUR READER TO SHARE YOUR WORK
Wouldn't it be a total bust if you wrote a compelling blog post using the methods I have highlighted so far and then get zero shares, pins, retweets or Facebook mentions?
Let me tell you. Yes. It would be bigger than a bust!
The entire point of writing a blog post is to have it shared and gushed upon. Well, not in that way. Anyway, social sharing is one of the prime things bloggers should do especially after working so hard to create a masterpiece.
According to Adweek, 43 percent of users share photos, while 26 percent of users like to share opinions, status updates, and links to articles.
So your readers want to share. But what if your blog doesn't support that very need?
Ensure you have installed the Social Warfare Plugin on your blog. Once it is installed, social sharing buttons will be visible on your post, like they are in this post.
- If your content is relatable, then it will get shared. People want to share something that touched their senses and inner selves.
- Build a social network on your strong platforms. Once people share, they will want to follow you on your social media and get in touch.
- Make friends and not followers on your social platforms. Friends engage, talk and discuss while followers stalk, snub and unfollow later on.
It's not enough to simply write a draft and then spice it up and call it a blog post without taking some things into consideration. Most bloggers don't understand that their content may one day go viral and impact hordes of people.
Impact comes with great content, though. And if you can't write a compelling blog post to be enjoyed, then the road to great content becomes paved with numerous challenges.
What was your greatest takeaway from this post? Hit the comments.