7 Ways to Write Blog Posts that Get Read

7 Ways to Write Blog Posts that Get ReadThe other day I shared a link on Twitter to a new blog post. Someone tweeted back, but their response only answered the question in the title of my post, which I had shared in my tweet. Their response had little to do with the post itself, making it obvious they hadn’t clicked on the link and read my work.

That’s the point of all this blogging and blogging books, isn’t it? We want our blog posts (and blogged books) to get read. Ultimately, we want our published books to be read. Beyond that, we might even want our readers to know, like and trust us enough to buy something else, like a course we’ve created, or to hire us. But it all starts with getting read.

How to Know if You are Getting Read

Beyond tweets like the one described above, how do you know if your blog posts are actually getting read?

The amount of reader engagement provides a clue. If you get a lot of comments on your posts, that means people are reading. Yet, some blogs don’t garner comments even though they get read.

To discover if you have readers, check your analytics. If you have a large number of unique visitors, or users, as Google Analytics now calls them, and they spend time on the site—as seen by the average session duration, your posts are likely getting read.

GA_for_4-22_HTBABAlso, a low bounce rate means readers are staying on site. A high bounce rate means that once they land on your blog they pretty quickly “bounce” off the site. Having relevant content to their searches, and content that delivers on the promise made in a headline or a social media share, can prevent this from happening.

Take a peek at your pageview score to know how many pages are getting read. Compare it to the number of people on site on that day. Divide the number of users by pages or sessions to get an idea of how pages they read.

pages-session_users_HTBAB_2-24-2Don’t just rely on Google Analytics, though. Also use your hosting company analytics.

Write Easily-Read Posts

Remember that Jakob Nielson’s seminal web usability study from 1997 showed that 79% of web users scan rather than read. Even though you might be blogging a book, here are six ways to create blogged content with this in mind.

  1. This means each blog post, or installment of your book must contain scannable text. Use boldface type to highlight keywords and keyword phrases. Your hyperlinks also serve as a form of highlighting, as do your subheadings and variations in colors in your text.
  2. Use relevant blog titles to grab readers attention and get them to the site, but be sure your content delivers when they arrive. If it isn’t doesn’t, they will immediately leave—and they may never return.
  3. Use subheadings to compel readers to read the text of your post. Write meaningful subheadings that promise answered questions, solutions, interesting information, and necessary topics.
  4. Break up your content. Use:
    • numbered lists
    • bulleted lists
  5. Keep your paragraphs short. Only cover one idea and utilize newspaper journalism’s inverted pyramid method of writing.
  6. Keep your posts short. Google seems to still require about 250-300 words if you want your posts cataloged—and you do. So write at least that much, and try not to write more than 1,000 words. I recommend 300-500 words when at all possible.

Write for Your Readers

Above all else, write for your readers. This seventh method requires that you know who your ideal reader is and what he or she wants, needs or desires. Then you can provide that content.

This is why you create a business plan for your blog or book (or both) first, and get clear on how to target your market. Write for the people you want to attract to your blog and to your book.

Do you know if your blog or blogged book is getting read?

Photo credit: Ian Sane via photopin cc

Comments

  1. says

    Dear Nina,

    This post was especially chock full of great advice. Your website has been incredibly helpful to me and I tuned into your webinar last Friday and you are also a fantastic speaker! If you see the name of my website/blog you may recognize the name structure. Actually many of the names I wished for the Site were taken and this came to me after days of agonizing over a name. So thank you for your inspiration in picking a name. Hope you are not angry with me. Take care.
    Joe Dixon recently posted..Rutgers Students Fight Obesity: Projects from Our Class: Obesity: Biology, Behavior, and Management, April 26, 2014

  2. says

    Google Analytics don’t (doesn’t?) work on free WordPress blogs, so I watch the Site Stats, and I can tell which posts get the most attention.

    It is a late-night curiosity exercise – and occasionally something sticks out. One day last week, someone read every single piece of my posted fiction, and a great many of my blog posts – in a single day! (http://liebjabberings.wordpress.com/2014/04/23/readers-the-drug-of-choice/)

    Tonight I had someone who went to my blog from a post here, in April – of last year!

    At that point I had posted Chapter 3, Scene 2 (IIRC) of Pride’s Children, my mainstream novel, on my blog. I thought I should drop by to mention this – and that I’m up to Chapter 13, Scene 1 – at the rate of a polished scene every single Tuesday since I began posting in February 2013 – including Christmas and New Year’s.

    The point: you never know when something you wrote will attract someone to your other writing. Thanks for the review of tips for writing good blog posts.

    My ultimate aim for blogging has always been to finish PC – but I have had such fun along the way, met so many wonderful people, had encouragement for every posted chapter, acquired a wonderful beta reader, and accumulated lots of posts which will end up compiled into something like ‘How to write fiction when the interior of your brain doesn’t store things: a compendium of quirky things which work.’ Or some such. With much editing-but it only contains information which I couldn’t find anywhere else, so I had to figure it out and write it.

    And last, but not least, some people say I’m funny. I may unleash that part of my personality on the public if it flies.

    Best.

    Alicia
    Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt recently posted..The noise-sensitive writer and the Basketball of Doom

  3. Nina Amir says

    So exciting that someone followed you from here to your blog, which is why you leave blog comments and list your blogged book on my list! And if you are funny, check out the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. I spoke there this year…great resource.

  4. Nina Amir says

    Thanks for your kind words of praise, Joe! Not angry at all…how to books and blogs should say what they do. How to Cure Obesity is perfect! Glad to have inspired you in any way at all. Good luck, and come by and comment again!

  5. says

    Alicia, I love what you wrote. Very encouraging. I started a blog September 2013. . . intending it to be an online interactive place for people to post their writing and receive comments. It’s been very slow . . . not much action! sighing. I would love for you to be a guest blogger. . .and write a post about “How to write fiction when the interior of your brain doesn’t store things: a compendium of quirky things which work.” . . .or something encouraging/inspiring for writers. If you are interested: http://thewritespot.us/marlenecullenblog/

    I sincerely enjoyed your post. . . gives me hope!

    Hi Nina: Safe travels!

  6. Nina Amir says

    Marlene,
    I changed Alice to Alicia. I think that’s what you meant…

  7. says

    Alicia,
    Thank you for your suggestions. Like Marlene, I found your post very encouraging. I tend to write short or medium blog posts and was contemplating the idea of book blogging and have found your advice very useful.

    I write like many other bloggers because I enjoy it and love to share and read the work of other writers.

    Wish you all the best.

    April Showers
    April Showers recently posted..20 Steps on How to Succeed with People by Paul McGee

  8. says

    April: Thanks for reminding me that I want to do the analytics for my blog. I enjoyed your blog. . . lovely pictures and especially enjoyed the learning styles. Good info here! Alicia will be my guest blogger on June 20, right, Alicia? April: Would you like to be a guest blogger on The Write Spot Blog? About 600 words – something informative or inspirational for writers. Fine to tweak something you have already written. Hey, we’re building a nice community here. Thanks, Nina! http://thewritespot.us/marlenecullenblog/

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