How to Encourage People to Read Your Blog Posts

Posted on Posted in Best of, Blog Tip, Blogging
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This is a guest post by Phyllis Zimbler Miller,s co-founder of the social media marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com, where she also writes a blog.

All bloggers share one main goal – having as many people as possible read the blog posts. Leaving aside search engine optimization, links from others blogs, etc., what is the number one way to encourage people to read blog posts?

Make reading those posts as easy as possible, which isn’t always as automatic as it sounds.

The truth is that bloggers are often unaware that their posts need to be served up with elements that encourage people to actually read the posts.

Here are recommended steps on which elements should be used to encourage people to read your blog posts:

Step 1: Make the font size large

No matter what a website design book says about how big the font size should be, you should choose a font size that is easily readable.

I once had trouble reading the content on someone’s blog and politely emailed the site owner suggesting larger type. I got a nasty reply saying that 11 to 12 pt. type was recommended and her type was 11 pt. and it was fine.
In truth, what is fine is font size that is easily readable, not a size that a reader has to work to read.

Step 2: Short paragraphs make reading easier

I know that many bloggers believe that they use short paragraphs on their blog posts, but in reality they don’t. This is because what is short to the blogger is not necessarily short to the reader.

The problem is that a dense block of type appears difficult to read and thus discourages reading. The line of space between paragraphs actually helps the eyes focus on the content.

Recommendation: Write what you think are short paragraphs. Then go back and break most of those “short” paragraphs into two paragraphs. Your readers will be glad you did.

Step 3: Subtitles effectively break up blocks of content

Subtitles, as above, break up content into more easily digested pieces. Not all blog posts need subtitles, although these are very good at organizing a blog post such as this one.

Note that the subtitles above provide the important info even if a person only reads the subtitles. In other words, don’t use these subtitles:

Type size

Short paragraphs

Subtitles

The subject is announced but no information is provided. See how much better these subtitles are:

Make the font size large

Short paragraphs make reading easier

Subtitles effectively break up blocks of content

Step 4: Write blog post titles with keywords

Write blog post titles with keywords to attract readers and search engines. The more specific a title the more likely to attract readers who want to know about that specific subject. Which title is better?

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Step 5: Be careful of your use of “big” words

I am not recommending that you write simple sentences. I am recommending that there is no need to use, for example, the word “multimodal” in a sentence when you can use a word or description that can be more easily understood.

Keep in mind that you want people to read your posts. If they are suddenly distracted by not understanding a word, they can easily click away to another site (probably a site where they can more easily understand what’s being said).

Step 6: Always provide value in your blog posts

I often recommend to clients that they lose their first paragraphs. You know the first paragraphs I mean. The ones in which the bloggers explain why they are writing on this topic, what they had for lunch while writing the post, etc.

The first paragraph of the blog post should communicate what the post is about (in conjunction with the blog post headline). The paragraphs following the first paragraph should provide the information connected to the topic.

A few paragraphs into your blog post you can add personal comments. In this way readers have already gotten a large dose of value and are probably now interested in knowing a little more about you or what you think of the topic you’re writing about.

In conclusion, run spellcheck and then proofread your post for spellcheck errors (right for write, etc.). If you have a hard time spotting these errors, read your post aloud. This will usually make it easier to pick up on errors.

In conclusion, run spellcheck and then proofread your post for spellcheck errors (right for write, etc.). If you have a hard time spotting these errors, read your post aloud. This will usually make it easier to pick up on errors.

Oh, yes, one more important recommendation

Keep it short. You’re not writing an ebook – you’re writing a blog post.


Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is co-founder of the social media marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com, where she writes a blog as well as blogging on several other sites. Her new FREE report is “Twitter, Facebook and Your Website: A Beginning Blueprint for Harnessing the Power of 3 for Your Business” – download the report now from www.millermosaicpowerof3.com.

11 thoughts on “How to Encourage People to Read Your Blog Posts

  1. Thanks a lot. There are a lot of stuff i was over looking. but, step one is the most obvious and i didn’t even pay attenion to it. Hopefully applying some of these tips will help. Thanks again.

  2. The article you have written is very imformative. I realy like the part about starting the frist paragraph. It has enlighten me. Thank you for this very important insight on “How to encourage people to…”

  3. Great post confirms what i’m doing at the moment is on track – which is useful to me, though i do tend to go into to much detail in my Photography Tutorial posts so will change that maybe make two posts out of one?

  4. From my own experience the most productive blogging conduct pattern that entices people to comment is commenting on other people’s blog as well, letting the subject line of the post open to further debate and last but not least ask a question as the ending paragraph for each post

  5. I’m a visually challenged blogger and I find your list to be a good one. In fact I’m bookmarking it and will be using it as a checklist when creating my own posts.

    Themes ought to be considered as frames for content. Dark backgrounds, busy photo or fabric like backgrounds with fonts that lack enough contrast to be easily read are a put off. Loud neon colored fonts are likewise visually challenging. Don’t choose to use them.

    Advertisements are distractions that draw the readers’ eyes away from your content. Including any advertising at all at the beginning or end of a post is a bad move. Keep your advertsing out of the blogging space.

    Yes, it’s important to be personal and it’s important to draw your readers into discussion structure your posts in a manner that makes it clear you are seeking feedback. In its simplest form this can be done by asking questions.

    Lastly, when previewing your posts prior to publication make sure all the links are working properly. Nothing is more annoying to a reader than clicking on a broken “404″ (not found) link.

    Thanks for providing me with an opportunity to contribute. I appreciate it.

  6. Very helpful, thanks so much. I especially liked the tips about spacing out your text. As a graphic designer, I think that’s one of the most important ones out there – who wants to read a full page of text with no paragraph breaks or sub-headers? Not me.

  7. That’s is the problem with some of the Blogs out there .Sometimes I really spend my efforts trying to make out what the writer wants to convey to the readers.
    Also I came across one blog where the write up was written very nicely but the language was so watertight and technically jargoned that I could not make out what the writer had written about ! I read through till half article though. Most people don’t have much patience or time.
    Your details are worth considering for anyone out there who want to exist meaningfully on the “www”. 🙂

  8. I would add that you should proof read the post as it actually appears and not just in the writing screen. So preview it. Then check how it appears to your e-mail subcribers. The font size can be smaller in a reader.

  9. …. nice article about “How To Encourage People to Read Your Blog Posts” and I agree with everything you’ve said, thanks for your post !!

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