I don’t mean whether or not your content is any good. For the moment, I’m assuming it is.
If your content is good but it’s horrific to read, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
Here’s the thing, if you’re trying to run a business online, you’ve probably gone to the trouble to design a decent website. You update it regularly, hopefully, and maybe you’ve even ventured into the big bad world of SEO to attract more web traffic.
But the painful truth is this – if your blog content, or your site content, is just plain difficult to read, nothing else matters. There’s plenty of great content that’s presented well out there, and it’s easy to find. If they have to work to read your content, well, they just won’t.
Unless you already have rock-star status in your field, the appearance of your website content is every bit as important as the actual words you put on the page.
3 Tips For Making Your Blog Content Attractive
1. Forget Everything Your English Teacher Ever Taught You
I’m sure she was a nice lady. But remember all of those rules of writing she taught you? Chances are pretty good that if your blog is a pain in the rear to read, you need to ditch the rules. I’m living on the edge, I know.
What rules am I talking about?
Things like trying to make your sentences more complex to make them interesting. Your audience doesn’t want interesting. Okay, I lied. They do want interesting, but not when it comes to creating long sentences with multiple beautiful clauses. Make it short and sweet.
Keep your sentences and your paragraphs short. Paragraphs can be just a few lines long. Make it easy for readers to keep reading from one sentence to the next and one paragraph to the next.
And – I’m sure you heard once that you should never start a sentence with a conjunction. Technically you shouldn’t. But rules were made to be broken, baby!
Here’s the real reason it’s okay to include conjunctions at the beginning of your sentences. In most cases, unless you’re writing a super dry technical blog, it’s how your audience speaks. So using a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence from time to time makes your writing sound more natural. It sounds like something you’d say if you were talking to someone in person. That’s one of the secrets of insanely great blog posts – it sounds like the person is talking only to you and no one else.
2. If It’s Important, Use Big Pictures and Little Words
It’s sad but true – if you have something you want people to remember, keep your words to a minimum and remember to use visual content to help illustrate your point.
For example, I could tell you about the benefits of infographics and how they help you understand and retain information better. But if I were to include a picture of a brain scan and talk about exactly how infographics work from the perspective of cognitive neuroscience, studies suggest you’d be more likely to believe me. And if I didn’t include any image or variation in text color at all, you’d probably have just clicked away by now.
If your content doesn’t have images and it’s filled with jargon, your bounce rate is going to skyrocket.
3. Take a Lesson From Japanese Art
You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate that there’s a very different appearance to Japanese paintings – in some ways they seem almost bare to a Western aesthetic. There’s a great deal of space present within the artwork. It’s intentionally left there for a variety of reasons.
Do you leave any white space in your blog posts?
Keep your sentences and paragraphs short (again, apologies to your English teacher). Use visual features like indentation and bullets to make it easy for someone to go from point to point in your blog content and get to the main idea quickly.
Format your posts to keep people moving along rather than getting stuck on any one part because it’s unclear.
Take a look at your website and the site of one your larger competitors. Which is easier to read? What could you do today to make your content more pleasing (and less painful) to read?
Pauline believes in great coffee and brewing craft beer, along with the value that top-notch content brings to relationships with your customers on your website or blog and on social media.
Latest posts by Pauline Magnusson (see all)
- How to Use Email Marketing In Your Content Strategy – September 23, 2014
- Content Marketing: Is Your Message Clear? – September 10, 2014
- Content Marketing and Brand Trust Can Co-Exist! – August 21, 2014