Five ways to hold your readers’ interest in your blog posts

Kitten

This post is as much for myself as for my readers.

I’m beginning to take notes as things work and as things don’t as I blog on the blog hoping to help myself and anyone who reads this compendium of evolving experience on writing as I grope my way through the blogosphere.

So here are my words of wisdom to myself.

Use lucid and concrete language: The dictionary says lucid means easily understood and clear. Blogs seem to be to the world of written forms what M&M’s are to the world of candy. Even people otherwise used to involved logic and extended arguments may not expect it or like it on blogs. Concrete can mean  vivid imagery, anecdotes and clear stories (or direct information) as compared to abstract ideas. More points if you can add and pull off some whacky humour.

Use web-friendly structure: The structure of the post is very important. Both in terms of language, chunking, layout and images/visuals. I wrote about it a few days back.

Avoid wordiness: This is important in any genre but in blogs there is no forgiveness for talking more than necessary. If you take too long to make your point or have too many redundant words, readers have a million other links to click on and windows to open, some of them with no words at all. Garrulousness is the blogger’s suicide weapon.

Use clear signposting: Many people will tell you that headings, subheadings, bullets, chunking of ideas etc. are terribly important. I’ve said so myself. But the truth is, your form has to be true to your style and readers will be receptive to that style even if it does not follow conventional wisdom. What you need to really do is weave in some signposting–make it easier for the reader to know, right at the outset, and periodically from then on, what to expect in whatever way suits the post.

Present a light, attractive surface but point towards depth: Remember that lightness of tone and subject matter underpinned by seriousness is a must. This is really the most important quality I’ve found in good blogs. They sound simple, often conversational with an engaging tone but gently point towards more important issues or ideas. The subject is not treated in depth in a blog post but if there is no indication in the post that the writer has an in-depth knowledge of the subject, his/her merely attractive surface does not work. Or at least does not work for long because the person soon runs out of ideas.

©bottledworder, 2013. https://bottledworder.wordpress.com
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49 thoughts on “Five ways to hold your readers’ interest in your blog posts”

  1. Kittens do it for me… Garrulousness is a sin of mine (probably one of many), and thanks for the tip about sub-heads and chunking. Lots of good advice here. If I ever get 77 likes, or 4,000 follows, I can die happy…

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  2. Thanks for visiting my blog today, and for sharing some great advice here! When I first started blogging, I had no clue what I was doing. It was all trial and error for me, and it was very frustrating. I’m not very “techy” or “computer savvy”, so I literally blundered along blindly around the blogosphere, learning a little here and a little there. Wish I could have read your posts back then! I’m still learning, but at least now I know where to look for good advice. 🙂 Hope you have a great day, and thanks again! – Amber

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  3. Very informative as I only began re-blogging about a couple of weeks ago. For the longest time (about a year now) my blogsite sat idle because I really didn’t know what to talk about or what to use the site for. But now that I’ve gotten some concept about the whole blogging purpose, I’ll definately put it to some good use!

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  4. Thanks for the visit. I’ll think about your points here (particularly the last, light but deep, difficult to attain but, indeed, quite attractive!). I wonder re:length what the optimum falls near? You’re probably right that it’s style/content dependent, but, at the same time, I wonder if blog reader’s don’t naturally gravitate to posts of a particular “size”. Cheers and keep up the great site!

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  5. Good post with enlightening advice. I particularly like the last one. I don’t mind reading “fluff” blogs…profoundness doesn’t happen everyday. But I don’t like reading textbook style articles. If I wanted to read a textbook or research I would go to scholarly journals or the library. But, that doesn’t mean i don’t like to read insightful, educational things either. the combination of “lightness” with a subtext of knowledge is a good compromise especially for the audience of bloggers.

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  6. I’d think honesty deserves a spot on your list. People can tell when you write from the heart, and that’s what makes me read people’s work. Hence my comment here. 😉

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  7. I know it when I see it and don’t come back. I’m attracted to certain kinds of blogs–I think we all are. And I’m sure that all the things you listed above are there in the ones I come back to–like yours.

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  8. That last point is particularly interesting to me. Hard to define, but definitely present in a “know-it-when-you-see-it” sort of way on good posts & blogs. Love these pieces you have been writing, thank you.

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  9. Thanks for this useful and interesting post. I would add the following. Make it clear in the title what your post is about and, if possible use a title which will grab the readers attention. Make it clear in the first paragraph (preferably the first line or so) where the post is going. There is, in my experience nothing worse than having to read halfway down a lengthy post before it is clear what it is about. Finally it is important to use tags which will draw the readers attention to the post in the first instance. So if your post is about books you might tag it with “literature, novels, stories etc).

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