According to Sumo's June 2018 analytical research, only 20% of your readers will finish reading your blog posts. ONLY 20%! Now, that doesn't sound like much does it?
Especially when you spent an entire day researching about the topic, writing and rewriting your blog, spell checking 20 times, gathering the right images to go with the text. You put A LOT of effort and sweat into your blogs, I am sure you want your audience reading until the end (At least I do!)
However, not all is lost!! Here are 10 tips and tricks you can start using today to change these statistics.
1. Your audience is scanning your content instead of reading it
Most of your readers are scanning through your blog posts instead of reading word by word. That is just the truth. And let's be honest, we all do it, don't we?! Unless it is a topic they are highly interested in, the chances are that they are scrolling down the page, reading your headlines and photos to get the overall sense of your article.
But don't be upset. Knowing this is an advantage! How can you make the key points of your article be understood just by scanning through your blog post? We will discuss those elements below. But always keep this important fact in mind when writing content for your blog.
2. Highlight the main concept with headlines and photos/images
Throughout your blog, you should be breaking up the text with headlines for 2 main reasons:
When your reader scans through the article, the headlines are what catches the most attention. Make them count! Can you write your headlines in a way that makes your reader want to read more?
Headlines help your SEO. Google will scan the headlines on your blog posts and match it with searches done by users. So make them relevant to your text so your blog posts can be more easily found through search engines.
Similar to headlines, photos capture people's attention when they browse through your content. Use photos, graphs, gifs, videos, ... any content that will enhance your blog post and make the reader want to know more (but remember to ALWAYS keep it relevant to what you are writing about).
SQUARESPACE TIP: if you are using Squarespace for your website, only headlines 1 and 2 will be seen by search engines and used for SEO.
3. Include lots of white space in your blog
This must be one of my favorite tips. I love white spaces (may it be in my blog posts, in my house decor, in my notebook notes).
White spaces give the eye a chance to breathe. Reading long pieces of content on the computer/cellphone can be overwhelming and hurt our vision. To create white space in blog posts:
Break up your content with headlines and images
When using images, add an extra line of breathing room between the photo and the next paragraph
Make the line weight 1.5+
Have an empty margin on both sides of your page
Have a clear division between your written content and your blog's sidebar
Prevent the sidebar from becoming too crowded and overpowering the article (choose smaller images and fonts)
4. Break up the content with bullets and subheadings
Readers are easily discouraged when they see a big chunk of plain text they have to read. They are most likely to skip on your article, even if you are telling them the key to eternal life.
Breaking up your text into headlines, subheadlines, and bullet points make the text easier to scan through and much less intimidating (plus it adds more white space). Whenever you can transform one long paragraph into five shorter bullets points, you are in for a better reader retention.
5. Use all-caps and bolding when appropriate
Since your reader is most likely scanning through your content, you want to have keywords and concepts jump out of the page. So even if they don't read word by word, they are getting the message.
Using ALL CAPS, bold, and italics, (or all THREE) will do just that. What I like to do is to first write out my blog, and then to go back and select a few works to enhance and make it easier to have my key points come across to my readers. But please, don't go overboard. The key is to be selective and purposeful. If you overuse these magical tricks, they will lose their power.
6. Keep your lines and paragraphs short
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a
chore for the reader who reads.” - Dr. Seuss
If your goal is to increase reader retention through your article, keeping your paragraphs short is key. Aim for 3-5 sentences per paragraph. When it comes to the length of your lines, staying within 50-70 characters per line is a good guideline to follow. Anything longer than that will make it difficult for the reader to keep their spot on the page when reading down from line to line.
Find your happy medium by playing with your website settings: blog page width, letter size, border thickness.
7. Keep the formatting of your blog posts consistent
All of your blog posts should have the same format. You want your readers to become accustomed to your style and to know what to expect. Do you use bold headlines? Do you always include large, gorgeous images of your recipes? Do you always add a thoughtful quote at the end of your posts?
If your readers like your content, they will want more and more of it. Find the signature key elements you always add to your blogs and keep it consistent.
8. Keep the typeface and colors simple and consistent with your overall brand
Readers are most likely to read through your articles if the design style of your blog is coherent with your brand. For example, if they have been following you on Instagram because they love your photos and captions and your overall Insta feel is "young, vibrant, fresh", and you invite them to read your blog post but the typeface and colors you are using are "dull and heavy", they will most likely not read it.
Yes, what you write about is SO IMPORTANT, but having the design of your blog match the feel of your brand through all platform is crucial. You are not only selling your content but a brand image.
(Don't let another day go by! Work with me today to create an unique and thoughtful brand and website design for your business!)
9. Test how your blog looks like in different platforms
Depending on the website platform you are using, how your blog looks on the computer screen will translate to a different format when viewed on a tablet or cellphone. It is important to be aware of how your content in translating to these different platforms. When you are done writing your content and before you share it on your social media platforms and newsletters, test how your blog posts look when you read it from your phone or tablet (or even a different computer brand as well).
SQUARESPACE TIP: If you are using Squarespace, you have visibility of how your blog will look on diverse devices as you write your article. To do so, first save your content and hover over the small horizontal line at the top of your page. It will bring down a menu with the options for you to see your content through a cell phone, tablet, or computer screen format.
10. Bring your own uniqueness
Your readers are coming to you not only because they are interested in your writing, but because they like you! When you write, your personality and unique voice come through to the page.
Don't ever try to sound like someone else, even if this other person seems to be doing better with their blogs. Your own distinct way of writing and sharing what is on your mind makes others connect to you and want to hear more. BE YOU. BE AUTHENTIC. BE UNIQUE. That's your secret weapon that no one can imitate.
Was this post helpful? What are a few tools you use to increase your blog engagement? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. I love to read them!!
Interested in working together to design your unique brand and website? Visit my Services page for package options, design process, and pricing; Portfolio to see more of my work, and Contact so we can get in touch!