Blogging in a Busy World: Tips for Keeping Your Readers Engaged
Over the past several years, I have written or edited hundreds of blogs. I have spoken with many who find it difficult to get readers to invest the time to view their posts. When writers are juggling reader interests, keywords, analytics and relevant content, it is understandable why many feel frustrated with low readership. Why put the work into writing if no one is going to read it?
These tips can help you use your time more efficiently as a blog writer, and to keep readers from skipping your post:
Make your headline stand out: We live in a busy world, which means most blog readers are distracted before they land on your site. That’s why cliché and vague headlines won’t grab attention. If you get stuck, you can find great resources to help with writing headlines. Keep in mind, a solid headline won’t make up for poor content. Write for your audience.
Edit. Then edit some more: Don’t just focus on grammar, spelling and punctation. Savagely edit your content. Why? Redundancy. Many times the first paragraph of a blog is simply restated in the second or third. While this may be how we were taught to write for academic purposes, it is not effective for blogging. The ideal post is between 300 to 1,000 words. Choose these words wisely. If you’ve read your post so many times you develop tunnel vision, have someone else look it over.
Get to the point: Don’t make your reader wade through your entire post to understand your topic. State your topic or position early, and stick to it. Not doing so will cause confusion or boredom, and can affect your credibility (it’s difficult to trust someone who is “wishy-washy” or vague).
Use keywords. The right way: One of the most difficult aspects of blogging is including relevant keywords to guide traffic to your blog. While it may be beneficial to add words your readers may search on Google, keep in mind these keywords only work if they actually flow in the post. If you continuously include a word stew to your posts for traffic’s sake, your readers will catch on and check out. A great way to see what keywords are most effective for your site/blog is to check Google Analytics. Be sure to also choose relevant tags.
Check your links: Links are a reliable way to add depth to your posts, and can help draw traffic to your post. After you hyperlink your text and publish your post, make sure you check the link is working properly. It is frustrating when users get 404 errors or are sent to spammy sites. Though time consuming, periodically check links in your posts (especially if you see a surge of traffic to a particular one) to make sure your link hasn’t moved or broken.
Though not exhaustive, these recommendations should help the blogging process go more smoothly and help your readers tune in to your message.