Most people don’t read articles. They let their eyes wander through the text hoping to spot a new, exciting idea, a handy tip, or a new way to look at world events.
As bloggers or writer, my job is to give them what they are after - quickly because if we fail to do that, they will ignore us. (Maybe for good).
Here’s how you can be insanely useful and make sure you won’t be ignored again.
Make your point crystal clear
I come to your blog and start checking out your latest post. If in five seconds it’s still not clear to me what your post is about, you’ve lost me. It’s cruel, I know, but the world is full of great blogs, so unless we’re friends, I’ll move on to the next blog.
But there are ways you can use to increase that five seconds to ten and then to reading the full post:
1. Use a descriptive headline:
This has been said many times. The headline needs to catch my attention, or otherwise, you won’t even get that five seconds I promised you just a few lines up. But if you want to be useful, that’s not enough. Make your header or at least the first sentence tell the reader the one most important idea you are going to present in the post so that she knows whether the post is for her or not.
2. Summarize your key points in sub headers:
People don’t stop to read the body of your text before you’ve convinced them to believe that it’s important. That’s why it’s important to organize your post in distinct sections so that even if someone just reads the headings, he will still get the big picture.
3. Use bold:
Highlight the most important words and sentences so that the busy reader can pick them up without reading the surrounding text. In fact, I would bet that even from this list, you’re not reading anything but the parts written in bold.
4. Use pictures:
They catch the reader’s eye, but also serve as a quick way to share a lot of information at just a glance, which is precisely what the modern reader wants.
5. Use short sentences and a lot of whitespaces:
Short sentences and whitespace makes the text look less heavy. That makes the text easier to read which in turn improves the likelihood of someone reading it.
6. Keep it simple:
A good blog post takes one topic, looks at just one aspect of it, and does that well. Besides, this way you can come up with more posts with the same amount of information you would spend to create one scary, big post with everything packed in it.
In case you missed the point while skipping over my content, here it is again:
Keep it simple. Make sure I can get your point without reading more than 10% of your words. The next thing you’ll notice, I might be reading the whole thing.
Use simple words. If your reader can’t understand the words you use to explain what you have on your mind, there is no way they could understand your idea either.