The key to a writing a successful blog post is to inform readers about a topic, and position EPMA and the author as thought leaders. You cannot do this if people leave the site right after they land on it. I will share five tips that will have an immediate impact on creating better blog posts by making your post more readable.
When you write short, and to the point, readers will comprehend information quickly. An editor of the Chronical gave me this piece of advice for better writing, write your article short and concise then rewrite it with 25% fewer words.
Look at these two examples, which one is easier to read?
- With my future on the line, dreading how a failure on the GMAT will set me back on my career path, I nervously go and take the test that could give my future career the AX, as I step into the testing center that will be my home for the next two hours.
- Despite my preparation, I was nervous when I entered the testing center for my GMAT test.
Like most people, you can agree sentence two is better with the benefit of not sounding like a drama queen / king.
But why stop there let’s make it more concise.
- I was nervous when I showed up to take my GMAT.
When writing blog posts remember write shorter. Make it easy for your reader to read quickly, remember they have busy lives to live too.
Paragraphs long or short?
I know that your English writing classes taught you to put in 4 to 5 sentences in all paragraphs. If you wrote an assignment that was too short, the teacher would lower your grade. I remember writing more words just to get to the minimum required length of the assignment so that I could get the best grade possible. Our writing classes are standardized as we all have taken similar classes and would have the same habits. And this is an approach that I notice is used quite frequently while editing your blogs.
Now ask yourself the following questions about the above paragraph:
- Did you find the last paragraph a little hard to read?
If you are the like the average person, the answer should be YES and that was likely the scariest paragraph you have read so far in this post.
- We are engaged in writing blogs, so do academic rules apply?
They do NOT! Long paragraphs quickly scare potential readers away. And blog failure is when readers do not stay on your blog to read it.
Write your paragraphs to the points you are trying to convey. If they are two to three sentences that is ok and do not be afraid of putting one sentence paragraph on a blog. As long as that sentence is clear and concise to the point you wish to convey.
One paragraph one thought because two thoughts confuse
Another thing I notice is when a paragraph goes in a different direction than where it started. To many readers it is like riding in a boat on the rapids suddenly the boat goes one way while they go another. Unlike a rafting trip, they can leave immediately! So keeping visitors on the website with a well written post with bullets is good for EPMA and you.
Did you catch that the last sentence in the paragraph above does not support the first sentence or the previous sentence? Rather, it introduces a whole new concept and should actually be another paragraph.
Do your readers a favor and hit return when starting your next idea. Or go back and push the return key if you did not push return when you started your next thought in a paragraph.
Appeal to the skimmers with plenty of section headers
Let readers know what’s coming with a simple section header.
They might have been looking for a specific nugget of information after reading other poorly written blog posts on other websites. When they come to your post, let them use the section headers to find what they need quickly and efficiently.
ALSO, section headers can help you with your goal to help people find your blog post more helpful than other blog posts on the web.
Please just give me the bullets
Bulleted lists that is, and please keep your Grand Theft Auto flashbacks to yourself.
Using a bulleted list is a quick way to convey lots of information very quickly to your readers. And in this skimming world we live in this technique works very well.
To recap so far
- Write shorter to keep readers from getting bored
- Use short and friendly paragraphs
- One thought per paragraph
- Use section headers
- Use bullets
Now you are thinking, why didn’t I just start with these bullets, aren’t you! In twenty-two words, I summarized all the action items in this entire blog post.
These are the top five points things I noticed when editing blogs. So, please keep these points in mind to improve the readability of all the blogs we write in the future.
For a good book recommendation where I got these ideas and others not mentioned (a few of which might be the subject of my next blog post.) is:
Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean by Josh Bernoff.