Your blog content might be fantastic, but terrific blog writing is more about how you present your information to your potential readers.
Sure, your writing skills are vital and so is your writing style. But you need to connect with people very quickly through your words.
When you start a blog, you like many bloggers probably think that writing blog posts and tons of them will result in lots of search engine traffic.
Yes, you will undoubtedly get some search results, but successful blogs get a mountain of organic traffic every day.
If you are only getting traffic from friends and family, it is time to make some changes.
A good blog is centred on a niche topic. Your blog topic can be anything you like, but stay laser-focused on your subject. Wandering off to unrelated themes or ideas will confuse your readers.
For instance, if your blog is about growing and caring for roses, don’t wander off to petunias and recipes.
Choosing a topic for your blog that is strictly defined will allow you to become an expert. Readers love experts on a topic. They will return over and over again if they know you are a reliable source of sound advice.
If you are already on-topic with all your posts, and traffic is still disappointing, it might be about how your blog posts look and read on-screen.
What makes the difference between a blog post and a great blog post?
Sometimes it can be as simple as the decisions you make when you create a blog.
Your choice of theme can make a huge difference. Dark, deep and mysterious are not visual qualities for a blog.
Nor are annoying pop-ups, overlays and well, anything that flashes, blinks or slides. All of these interrupt reading.
Successful blogs and websites are almost always light, clean, easy to read and full of white space.
In other words, a great blog should of high quality and be pleasing to the eye.
Writing great content takes a long time. But it can be time wasted if readers find it difficult or uncomfortable to read your post.
Ease of reading is particularly important for smartphone and tablet readers. On top of that, they need space for their thumbs to scroll as they read.
If readers are not engaged and leave after only a few seconds, your blog will suffer from a high bounce rate, which will negatively affect your SEO and search ranking.
Aspects you should consider are your choice of fonts, font size and colour
Check your blog theme and look for changes you can make to your typography to make it more readable.
Sans serif fonts are much easier to read on a screen. I use Raleway as my default font and dark grey for text.
But for headings, I change to black.
Serif fonts are not as pleasing and are more suited to old-fashioned printed newspapers.
Black is often a default setting on blogs, but it can become a strain on readers’ eyes.
Fancy fonts and colours might seem like fun but are not suitable for a serious read.
Check the size of your fonts by viewing your blog on your phone.
Is your text too small?
Is your text too big?
What do you want your choice of font to say about you?
Avoid white text on a dark background whenever possible. It is too difficult to read.
Auto-settings for bullet points can also cause problems.
- Check your font.
- Check the line space.
- Is the paragraph setting different?
Very often it is better to create bullet points manually to fix the problem.
1. Now I have my default font.
2. Now my line space is better.
3. I can set the indent to where I want.
You might be able to change your typography settings, but you could also consider changing your theme if you want to have more control and choice.
Creating blog posts that are pleasing to read
When you sit down to write blog posts, get your words down in either a word processor or in your blog editor.
Concentrate on your content and your blog post ideas or any calls to action that you need to include. After you finish writing, take a look at the text you’ve written.
If it looks like this, you have some work to do.
It is probably in large chunky paragraphs that are full of long sentences that are not easy to read because readers can lose track of where their eyes are at in the text, which is not good at all for comprehension. Paragraphs should be avoided and instead, replaced by single sentences, or at the most, two short sentences that will make reading and understanding much easier and give you a better chance of getting your message across to your readers. As a blogger, you want to build trust with your readers, and you can only do that if you are giving them valuable information, which, however, might not happen if they have difficulty reading and understanding that what you have to say is really important and can solve a problem for them. Clearly, you have some work to do before you can publish your article. You should also avoid using full justification, as it tends to create weird word spacing that can be disconcerting to read. Use left justification, and your text will flow naturally with natural word space.
Look at each sentence and reduce any that are long. You can always do this by chopping a sentence up into shorter pieces. You might also want to reorder them for better understanding.
Your article is full of chunky paragraphs. The sentences are too long, and not easy to read.
Readers can lose track. So you should shorten your sentences for better comprehension.
Use no more than two sentences together.
Always left justify your text, so it is naturally word spaced.
You want to build trust with your readers. But you can only do this if they can read and understand that you really can solve a problem for them.
When you have finished, your first draft is ready. Now it is time to go through your editing and proofreading routine before hitting publish.
I always use Grammarly at this stage, but there are other excellent online grammar checkers.
Some online writing checkers can give you a Flesch–Kincaid readability score too. It is an important SEO (search engine optimization) factor, and you should be aiming to have a score that is at the right level for your target readers.
After a couple of careful proofreads, you are almost ready to turn your perfect text into a great post.
Every post needs images
When you write a blog, it is about delivering your message to your target audience.
Every post you write must have a featured image at the head. It gives a reader an instant first impression of what your article is about and should attract their interest.
Of equal importance is that your featured image will appear on social media and be the hook to gain reader attention. On social networks people click images, so make them want to click.
Within your article, any time you notice that your text is running on for more than fifty or sixty lines, you need to give it a break.
Inserting headings is the quickest and easiest way to break up a long text. Using H3 headings is also very good practice for on-page SEO. Your headings help a reader navigate your text better by highlighting important information.
Images can do the same, but can also give a short period of relief for your readers’ eyes.
You can create a little mood within your content by adding images that tell a bit of your story. Adding space before and after an image is sometimes a good idea too.
Feel free to express your self a little.
Select images that suit the look of your blog, and always resize them to fit your theme format.
Standardising your image sizes is also a good idea because it adds uniformity and appeal.
But make sure you have the necessary rights or permission for all images you use.
If you have Google Adsense on your blog, another way break up your text is with native ads.
You can style these ads to the same or very similar typography as your blog. You can insert them at appropriate places, similar to how you would decide to add an image.
Take the time to do a short step by step audit of your blog
Great blog writing is all about the way you present your words to your readers. You want to make it a pleasure for them to read and enjoy.
Before you start writing your next post or content marketing article, look at your blog and think about what improvements you could make.
You could get some ideas and inspiration by checking out popular bloggers such as Neil Patel or Harsh Agrawal. Both of them have different, yet appealing tastes in blog design.
Ideas for your blog audit
1. Look at your theme, honestly
Have you used the same one for years? There is a good chance that it is out of date or slow to load. Why not investigate new themes and see if you can make your blog look much better.
New themes can also give you faster page loading as well as more up to date options, especially with premium themes.
If you don’t have a responsive site or access to Google Fonts with your current theme, it really is time to make a change.
2. Select your fonts, size and colours
In most modern themes, you can change all of your default font settings for every style you use in your blog. You can even style your comment sections to make them more appealing.
Try different combinations or copy styles from sites that you like. When you think you have made good choices, don’t forget to check what your text looks like on your phone and tablet.
3. Check your existing posts
When you change your theme or fonts, your old posts are going to look different too. Check that everything looks good.
There might be a few small issues you need to correct because of your previous formatting.
If you are using WordPress, having a Sandbox is a huge advantage for major theme changes.
4. Refresh your old content
You existing posts are a potential goldmine. Before you start writing a lot of new content, think about updating your old content with better text layout and spacing and adding some images.
It is a quick way to turn a good blog into a fantastic blog!
5. Eliminate unnecessary distractions
Do you really need a sidebar?
It is one part of a blog that can get overcrowded with useless bits and pieces. Do a stocktake of your sidebar. If a widget is not there to increase your page views or make money, remove it.
Remember that sidebars only appear after your post and comments on a phone, so it is not great value there. But you might want to keep it for desktop readers. But again, style it to look great.
It does not take much work at all to make a blog easy to read and to look great.
Check your theme and your typography settings first.
Then, next time you write a post make sure you keep your sentences short and allow plenty of white space for your readers.
Lastly, add images to every single new article.
Now you know how to write a blog post and present it beautifully. Your readers will love you for it.
I started my working life as a lithographer and then 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 the Alps.
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