In theory, blogging should be a really easy pursuit: all you have to do is write some posts, share them on social media and then sit back and relax – right? Well, for those of us who have kept a blog for a while, we know that it takes a little more than that to be successful.
The key to a great blog (after an interesting topic, of course) is that it is easy to read. Your readers want to be lead through topics and ideas, going from start to finish without having to struggle through an endless sentence that rambles on forever and never quite reaches a finish, with all kinds of commas, splitting up ideas at random intervals… exactly like this one in fact!
So what are the secrets to an easy-to-read blog?
Use Clear Categories
If you like to blog about a range of things, category pages are the perfect way to split your blogs up and help users navigate to the information most interesting to them. Think of it as a magazine – you are most likely to look at the contents page before you start flicking through to see which page the cover story is on, or where your favourite feature is.
You might also like to put a list of your most recent blog posts on your homepage so that regular users can see what you have been writing since they last visited. This is a nice way of presenting a few different topics and ideas and encouraging users to visit sections they might normally ignore.
Having a clear layout and web design will help your readers to navigate your site too. User navigation is one of the most important parts of any website and it is worth looking into web development services if you aren’t sure what you are doing.
Format Your Blog Posts
Now that your readers can find the blog they want quickly, you need to think about how you are going to format the blog. Lots of bloggers have different ideas about this. Some bloggers prefer an essay or article style, others like to break up the text with subtitles and headings, a bit like this one. You might also like to think about adding other media like videos and infographics, depending on what you are blogging about.
Generally speaking, short paragraphs are best on blogs. This is because when you are reading online, it can be difficult to follow large chunks of text. Similarly, keeping your sentences as short as possible is a good idea. Just glance back up to the horror in the second paragraph to see why!
Another thing to think about is how and where you include links. Adding in a link or two to your own blog is a good way to encourage your readers to continue reading another blog post and another and another. You should also include links to other relevant websites that may offer more information to your readers.
Add in Pictures and Graphics
Everyone loves a good picture and you can make almost any blog post – however dull it might be – look attractive to a reader with a good picture. You can find some great images on sites like Pexels or Pixabay, but this blog post contains an ultimate list of stock photo sites you might like to look at.
If you are trying to explain a complex idea, you might also like to use graphics to help you explain yourself. These might include charts, drawings or diagrams or could even be a series of pictures tracking a change. Sometimes words aren’t enough to fully explain an idea and if this is the case, it is much better to use another means like a graphic or video to illuminate what you are saying.
Figuring out how many pictures you need depends on the style of your website and what you are talking about, but in general, a picture above the heading is a standard. Make sure that you markup the picture using alt text to describe it using keywords and a link back to the source for credit. This is important for SEO purposes as it will help search engines to crawl your site for relevant details and rank your page accordingly.
The easier your blog is to read, the more likely readers are to stay on your site and read more, as well as share interesting and relevant blog posts with their friends on social media. Focus on clarity, keep things short and you should be on your way to an excellent blog.