How To Write A Blog Post For Busy Online Readers

Snap Your Writing Rules

You need to write a blog post that people can read quickly.

Blog readers are not going to read your blog posts and articles like a book.

They are going to skim, scan, scroll and only absorb the information they want or need.

It’s rapid-fire reading that requires a different writing technique and style to create a great post.



Forget all you know about paragraphs

Paragraphs are online reading killers. So ditch the long seven sentence paragraphs in your blog content that your writing teacher told you were perfect.

Long passages of text with no space require concentration to read. Readers on mobile phones especially have no patience for that.

Successful blogs dump paragraphs and replace them with a maximum of one medium sentence, or two to three concise sentences.

White space is vital for reading ease. So go easy on your blog readers.


Short and sweet

When you write a post, keep your sentences short. Very short. In fact, you can even use sentence fragments.

Again, this is to accommodate the reading style a lot of people use online. They want information, and they want it quickly.

Don’t write this.

What you need to do is ask someone nicely if they can possibly assist you in proofreading your writing.

Write this instead.

Get a proofreader.


Give your blog readers visual guides

The best way to do this is to use bold headings that give a clear basic outline of the text that follows.

In a way, these become paragraph markers for your readers.


Similar to your post title, clear headings allow readers to navigate quickly to a part of a text that interests them.

Often this could be the search topic they used to find your blog post. So you are helping your readers find the answer to their question as quickly as possible.

It doesn’t mean that they will leave immediately, though. If you can guide a reader to what they are looking for, there is a very good chance they will value your blog as a great resource and continue on your site to discover more, or perhaps bookmark it.


Should you or shouldn’t you contract?

Writers know that contracting in formal writing is frowned upon. But in blog writing, you can use both. However, never mix the two styles.

If you’re after a relaxed, personal writing style, then don’t be afraid to contract all the time for your readers. They’ll love it.

But if you want to keep to a neutral or semi-formal writing style, that is fine, and your readers will also be happy and grow to like how you write.

The main feature of a high-quality blog is consistency. Keep to your blog writing voice, and your readers will get to know you through your writing style.


Do you need an introduction and conclusion?

Perhaps not.

What is important is to get to the nitty-gritty of your blog post immediately. Do not waste your readers’ time with a lengthy introduction that gives them very little information.

A great blog post goes straight into the topic.

If your article is about the use of commas, start writing about how to use commas more accurately in your first sentence.

The same applies to a conclusion. Is it worth repeating what you have already said? Probably not.

Using a bold conclusion heading can be useful, however. Just make sure that it contains concise decisions or a call to action, and is very short.

There is no defined introduction, middle and conclusion in blog writing. Only useful or entertaining information that will encourage your blog visitors to read the post.


Oops, a typo, or two

There is one thing that can lose blog readers in a hurry. Typos and mistakes.

Grammar errors, spelling mistakes and clumsy typos stand out far more than in a book because the text is on so much white space.

Because of the use of short sentences with no real paragraphs in blog writing, errors stand out much more vividly.

Take extra care when proofreading anything you post online. But be especially careful with your blog posts and articles before hitting publish. Make sure it is perfect.


Give them pictures

On The Phone

Images are vital when you blog online. Think of them as a book cover.

Your featured, or main image should tell your readers a little about what they are going to read.


This image is also critical in gaining readers when you promote your blog post on social media. Your featured blog image will show on all your social media posts and sharing.

If you have written a long article, also consider adding a couple of images to break up the length of the text and give your readers a rest. Landscape images work best for this use.

Google advertising, which is all about making money, takes enormous advantage of this fact with between paragraph banner advertising.

These ads are very often colourful or even video and offer an invitation to the blog reader to take a rest from reading a long text.


How long is long or short?

The ideal length of a blog post depends on a lot of things.

If you are primarily looking for organic search traffic or content marketing, then search engines, and Google, in particular, gives ranking preference to long-form articles.

The right content length, in this case, could be between 1,000 and 1,500 words. Some pro bloggers are now moving to even longer posts of around 5,000 words by combining their existing blog articles.

However, long-form articles can stretch an online reader’s attention span too far. It means that they might only read part of the article, get bored, and then leave.

In this case, you can improve your retention by using internal links between sections of your articles.

But you might find that articles of 500 to 800 words work far better for you.

My rule is simple. When I sit down to write a blog post, I know I am certainly not going to write a book chapter. But I want to cover the topic thoroughly. Generally, this means between 800 and 1500 words.

One lesser-known fact about blogs is that your comments section adds to your word count. This is very good for ongoing SEO. So always allow and encourage comments on your articles.

If you are thinking about starting a blog, try writing a few new blog posts. Then ask your friends and family to read them on their phones and get their real-life feedback.

Then you can start building and writing your new blog with readers in mind.


 Wrap up

Online blog readers are busy people who want what they want, now.

For writers who are keen to learn how to create a blog that will gain the maximum amount of attention, there are only a few key rules for preparing a good blog article.

Select your blog post ideas carefully.

Style your writing to be very easy to read.

Design your blog, so it is very easy to navigate.

Give your blog readers pictures.

And most importantly, give them plenty of white space.


Derek Haines

A Cambridge qualified CELTA English teacher and author of 18 books with a life long passion for publishing in all forms. I started my working life as a lithographer and spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business. Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.

2 thoughts on “How To Write A Blog Post For Busy Online Readers

  • February 17, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Glad you found this useful, Dave. The article is a little over 1,000 words, and the headings are 34px, or around 16pt.

  • February 17, 2018 at 5:41 am

    Great advice! What size are the bold headings you used? They broke the post up beautifully, making it easy to breeze through. How many words was this post.


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