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Lily / a self taught WordPress designer who helps creatives overcome technical and mental blocks when it comes to WordPress and negative thinking through sharing what she learns.
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When someone chooses to read one of your blog posts, it’s a big deal. Think about it. A blog post can be a pretty personal thing – it’s your voice, your ideas, your opinions, and your thoughts… and someone chose to read it. So, you want to make sure to engage them from the beginning and keep them reading!
You may have amazing ideas and thoughts within your content, but your readers don’t seem to be commenting or sharing. Content is important, but I am sure you know that it isn’t everything. When someone visits your blog post, you want to make sure they stick around a while, and maybe even share some of that genius hidden in your post! If your blog post format is readable and engaging, the reader will be more likely going to stick around longer.
Here are 10 things you can do to your blog post to make sure it is set up to attract engaged readers.
1. Compelling Title
Please, for the love of all things blogging, do not write a deceiving title. “MAN HAS DISCOVERED THE MEANING OF LIFE”. *Click*
…and it’s an article about living a healthy lifestyle.
I know you wouldn’t do that. I just felt obligated to mention this. :) Make sure your content lives up to your spectacular title so that you are attracting and engaging the right readers.
Some good titles start with “How To” and “10 Ways To”. These types of posts portray actionable, informative, and helpful content. Using numbers, keywords, adjectives (free, must have, no nonsense), and trigger words (why or how) are always good directions to go when thinking up a title.
2. Lead Paragraph
Write a little “hello, welcome to my blog post” paragraph before you start diving into your content. Overview your post, address a specific problem, or tell a tiny personable story. This will pull the readers in, and they’ll want to continue reading.
An ideal blog post contains a ton of information, and a lot of readers (myself included) tend to scan the post for what they are looking for. So creating headings will allow the reader to easily find what they are looking for and get an idea of what your post is about, without having to read the entire thing. Guide the readers through the post, and create a heading for each new idea.
4. Short Paragraphs
Just like headings allows a quick scan of the blog post, short paragraphs allow the readers to go more in depth into one of your ideas without feeling the overwhelm of one long huge paragraph. Scanners (let’s just call people like myself scanners) will most likely not read the whole post, so you want to cater towards them. The non-scanners will be reading the whole thing anyway. Those nerds. (I’m just kidding you guys are amazing I can’t do that).
You can also include numbered lists, bullet points, quotes, visuals, and charts to create a more readable and scanner friendly post. This will allow readers to pick out important points quickly.
5. Personal Voice
Tell some stories, make a joke or two, just be personable and relatable in your posts. Write how you speak. You are not a text book, you are a human.
People like to feel related to. Writing in a relatable way will create a connection between you and your reader, and they will want to come back for more!
6. Related Posts
I use a plugin on WordPress called Yuzo Related Posts that places related posts (with similar categories and tags) at the end of each blog post. You can also just link to another post or page in your website from right inside your blog post. For example, if you write a post about ways to stay sane when you work from home (see what I did there??) and mention listening to music, link to a post about your favorite playlists to work to! It will have readers interested and clicking around on your site longer, thus discovering more of your hidden gems.
Readers remember visuals, especially if they are good ones. Images or even videos will make your blog post a more memorable one. You can also use images throughout your blog post to break up the text. Make sure the images on your blog post are good quality, and related to your post and brand. You also want to make sure to rename the image files to contain keywords, so that they will show up in google images.
If you don’t take your own photos for your blog, make sure you are using high quality stock photos so you don’t run into a copyright problem.
Check out my favorite free stock photo site – allthefreestock.com.
8. Ending Question
Encourage connection and engagement at the end of your blog post by asking a question and asking the reader to respond in the comments. Make sure to always reply to their comments and be available to your readers.
9. Call to Action
Do you have a newsletter? A related ebook or course? Put it at the end of your post! Make it clear what the users will get and make it easy for the users to get that thing. Don’t oversell and turn the readers off – merely make a suggestion. But if your readers were engaged and got to the end of the post, they have a chance of being interested in your call to action without you overselling your thing anyway.
10. Sharing Icons
You worked hard on that darn blog post, so make it easy for your readers to share it! Put sharing buttons at the end of your post, at the beginning, on the side, or… do all three!
Do you have any special tricks you do to each of your blog posts to increase readability and engagement? I want to hear! Write a comment below!