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Write Better Blogs

write better blogs

The best blogs use specific techniques to make its content more scannable so that readers want to stick around long enough to finish reading each post, and come back for more.

Scannable content includes lots of “white space.” White space is what you see between blocks of text. Text-heavy blogs are hard to read and the fastest way to lose your readers.

Creating White Space

White space is your friend. You create white space by using the following writing and formatting techniques.

  • short paragraphs and short sentences
  • headings and sub headings
  • proper text formatting
  • bulleted and numbered lists
  • quotes and block quotes
  • images
  • links

Tighten Your Text

Keep your text tight. This means keeping your sentences and paragraphs short. You’d be surprised how few words you need to get your point across. This is an art that comes with practice.

Sentences should be short and to the point. Use only necessary adjectives and adverbs and not too many of them. By choosing the right words, you can write powerful sentences with a simple subject, verb, object arrangement.

Paragraphs should be no more than three sentences long. Two is even better. You can throw out your old internal English teacher when it comes to blogging. The old rule was that you change paragraphs when you change topics. This doesn’t apply in the same way when you’re blogging.

Pro Tip: Don’t bury your points
Put your main point in the 1st sentence of each paragraph. The second sentence should expand on or clarify this point. Fill in the details in the middle paragraphs. Use your final paragraph to summarize your point(s) and provide your conclusion.

Headings & Subheadings

Use headings and subheadings to organize your content in a coherent way. Make them interesting and compelling to help draw your readers’ eyes to your important points.

Your readers should know what your post is about just by reading your headings, but ideally, they will also entice your readers to go deeper.

Headings should contain the keywords and key phrases that will help readers find your post online.

Pro tip:
Use a headline analyzer to help you write the most effective headlines and subheadlines.

Text Formatting

Here are some general rules for text formatting:

  • Use bold and italic text only as appropriate.
  • Always italicize text when referring to the title of books, films, songs or other intellectual property.
  • Avoid using all capital letters as this is read as yelling at your audience.
  • And avoid using underlining as readers expect these to be links.
  • You can play with colour and fonts but it’s generally better not to overdo it.

Use a List

Whenever possible, use a list. There are two kinds of lists: bullets and numbers.

  • Use a bulleted list when you have a group of items of equal importance.
  • Use a numbered list to indicate a sequence of steps.

Insert a Quote

Quotes can be useful in adding credibility to your content as well as breaking up your text. It’s preferable to attribute your quote to its owner, but if you don’t know the origin, you can attribute it to “anonymous” or “unknown,” however, your quote will have more impact if you can include its origin.

It’s also a good idea, if possible, to link to the quote’s origin. (See more on links below.)

Example:

“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” ~Ernest Hemingway

Insert a Blockquote

In publishing world, this is also known as a pullquote. You will often see these in magazine articles where a piece of text is pulled out from within the article, made larger and sometimes will be enclosed in a box or some other graphic. In web parlance these are called block quotes.

A block quote is designed
to draw the readers’ attention
to an important idea within the text.

Note:
How your quotes and blockquotes look will depend on your website theme’s settings.

Add an Image

Images are a powerful way to add impact and understanding to your point. They draw the eye, break up text and add to your reader’s enjoyment.

Usually each post will have a “featured image” at the top which should draw the reader in and let them know what the post is about.

You may also want to add images within the post if it’s long enough and the images add to the content.

Pro Tip:
Explore Pixabay for royalty free images and learn to use the free image editing software, Canva, to add text to your chosen images. For example, you can add the title of your post into the featured image.

Make Use of Links

Links are integral to helping search engines find your posts. They also add credibility to your writing as you link readers to additional relevant resources and references.

There are two kinds of links:

  • Internal
  • external

Internal links are used to link to your other posts when another post will add value or additional information.

External links are used to link to other people’s content. These are important for attribution as well as adding credibility to your content.

Pro Tip:
When you add a link, check the box to Open Link in a New Tab. This allow readers to explore the link without being taken away from your site.

Affiliate Links

You can also use external links to take advantage of affiliate programs.

Many businesses have affiliate programs designed to expand their client base. Affiliates are a referral system that some businesses make available to current clients.

Amazon is an example. They have an affiliate program available to anyone with an account. There is no cost and you can use this affiliate program to recommend books (or other items) in your posts.

Amazon will provide an affiliate link to each book (or item) you recommend in a post so that if your reader follows the link and decides to purchase the product through Amazon, Amazon will pay you a few pennies.

This isn’t a huge income generator but the more posts you have with links to Amazon books, the greater the chance of generating a few referral dollars.

You should always provide a disclaimer on your site stating that you take advantage of these affiliate programs when they are available. A good place for these disclaimers in in the footer of your website so that it’s visible on every page.

(Example: See our disclaimer in our footer below this post.)

If you want your readers to finish reading your posts and come back for more, it’s important to make your content as enjoyable to read as possible.

Using some or all of these techniques in your blog posts will make it much easier and more pleasant for them to access and understand your content.

References

Learn more about using Images in Lesson 3 of our Free Build a Basic Website course.

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