The 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.
Also, 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Break up your content. Use:
- numbered lists
- bulleted lists
- Keep your paragraphs short. Only cover one idea and utilize newspaper journalism’s inverted pyramid method of writing.
- 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?