A lot of people wonder how they can create a Breakout Blog that will help build platform and connect them to their audience. This series on Blogging Tips looks at ways to maximize blog performance to reach these goals.
We’ve talked about how good titles and the use of pictures can really help your blog post draw interest, and how short, effective posts can keep readers reading. But what about writing the text itself…are there any do’s and don’ts?
Here’s a few things that might be worth keeping in mind:
Use BOLD to highlight key thoughts. This makes the main ideas stand out and can convert ‘skimmers’ into readers by showing the value inside a post! Less is more, however…if every other line is bolded, the effect is lost.
Short Paragraphs. Tighter paragraphs means more white space. Reading feels ‘quicker’, which is attractive to people who have only so much time to read blogs. It also indicates to new visitors that the poster can get to the point rather than ramble.
Use headings or bullets. Adding a little structure to a blog entry with several points to consider will break the text up into bite-sized pieces AND show that the poster is organized and succinct.
Make links stand out. When linking to other websites or older posts, make sure the hyperlinks are visible. People like links…they add value and provide a direction if a reader needs more information. Pick a link color that is easily spotted within the text.
Choose a background that’s hard on the eyes. Some blogs set their text boxes to ‘invisible’, allowing the design to bleed through. This can make posts harder to read. Ditto with poor color contrasts. If squinting readers have to practically make out with their monitor to read a blog’s acid green text on the purple background…how often will they return?
Use a font that is difficult to read. Fonts are fun and can personalize a blog. But fonts must be READABLE. If they aren’t, deciphering posts can be a chore. Readers have a lot of other blogs to choose from, so we need to do everything we can to keep them at ours. 🙂
Get too crazy with colors. I’ve seen blogs with each paragraph written in a different color, or even each sentence. Some blogs can get away with more text color because it fits the blogger’s style–fun, laid back or whimsical. But if the blog functions as a resource/authority on a particular subject…the rainbow effect may send the message to not take content too seriously.
Use tiny print. This can be a challenge, because the size of text is not always easy to figure out. Becca and I have driven ourselves mental when we notice that to her Mac or my PC, the text size appears too small or too large on a post. We have tried different things that sometimes fixes it, other times it doesn’t. Do your best to make the text size large enough for people to read easily. If you’re uncertain that what you see is what readers see, ask!
So…what are your Do’s and Don’ts? Please list them in the comments! And if you ever notice anything about this blog that hampers your reading experience, please say so. Becca and I are all about learning and improvement, and we want your visits to be as enjoyable as possible!
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Lisha Fink says
I would like to shout the “don’t use tiny print” point from the rooftops. Or Twitter. My aging eyes just can’t muscle through 10 pt type any more.
Good points – all of these. The biggest blog turn off for me are those way-too-long posts.
These are all helpful tips, Angela. I’ve made lots of the mistakes, but have corrected most of them! Thanks!
Cynthia Chapman Willis says
These are so helpful! Great tips (and hilarious photos for the dos and the don’ts). My biggest groan is when I come upon a blog that goes on and on and on. It is probably interesting, but time is always an issue.
Martha Ramirez says
NOTHING here hampers my reading experience. I absolutely love your guys’ blog!
Graet tips! Good to see I was on the right track:)
Super tips, thanks ladies!
Traci Kenworth says
Great advice!! Especially loved the carrot top!! Lol.
Great tips. I’m definitely going to bookmark this blog and catch up on all of the tips. ^_^
I’ve been wondering how I can improve my blog content…
Kelly Hashway says
Great tips! Especially the don’ts.
Karen S. Elliott says
Do promote others and have guest bloggers (this has made a huge difference in the readership of my blog). Don’t only promote yourself.
Clarissa Draper says
Awesome tips! I try to use all of these but it’s a nice reminder.
Eve S Nicholson says
Thank you for the tips! I especially like the photos you used to prove your point.
Diane Fordham says
Always enjoy reading your posts. Great tips here – I’ve been driving myself nuts trying to work out how to increase my blog following. Yours is off the planet – well done!
Loree Huebner says
I always add my own photos.
Sunny Smith says
I don’t like if I’m reading a new blog and the writer makes a reference to something they’ve blogged about in the past and doesn’t include a link. Call me lazy, but I don’t enjoy sifting through archives to get the joke or figure out what’s going on:)
Great tips, Angela! My crit partner gave me the tip about white space, and she also mentioned that pics are great with longer posts. I use a lot of pics with Thriller Thursdays, and I’ve noticed a big difference in the number of responses.
All amazing advice!
I don’t feel qualified to talk about what to do, but a couple of pet peeves for me (apart from white text on dark, which has been covered already):
Sidebars so stuffed with flashy graphics that I have to wait each time I want to scroll down the post.
Posts that give just the first paragraph and then require me to click a link to see the whole thing. If I didn’t want to see it, I wouldn’t be there in the first place!
Nick Rolynd says
Great tips! I always make sure my color scheme and font allows everything to be easily read. I shudder at some designs, especially things like bright neon text.
Jeff King says
Great tips as usual… thx.
A few of my Dos/Don’ts:
Don’t post after 9pm (or whatever time your brain turns to jelly)
Do think about your blog when you’re not blogging… Jot down ideas during films, at the grocery store, where ever.
Don’t apologize for yourself. (i.e., “Pardon me if I ramble, but here goes nothing…” etc)
Do write about topics you care about.
Karen Lange says
Excellent tips, thanks! I like blogs that are easy on the eyes. Our eyes are busy enough through the day without having to struggle through quirky fonts, colors, and text. I’m for short posts and white space too – it just seems so much more friendly.
Ann Herrick says
Great ideas! Thanks so much! 🙂
Shannon O'Donnell says
These are all spot-on for me. You n ailed all the biggies I think. 🙂
Anne R. Allen says
All excellent tips. I agree with Michael about music or animation or anything showoffy that slows down the load and annoys the reader.
Angela Ackerman says
Thanks everyone for the additional don’t! 🙂
I agree, Lisa. I covered this in another post…I think I even used those words, ‘Content is King’ LOL. 🙂
Lisa Hall-Wilson says
All the tenets of good writing still apply to a blog. Content is still king. If you haven’t bothered to learn grammar, how to write tight, etc. then all the formatting and design tricks in the world won’t help. IMO
Michael Offutt says
I hate blogs that have things flying around on them or that have automatic music or videos that start playing.
Susan Flett Swiderski says
Super duper tips. (as always)
Gail Shepherd says
White text on black background is my number one pet peeve; I simply cannot read a blog that’s colored that way. Thanks for the reminder about using bolds and subheds; I forget that sometimes. I will read long posts if they’re particularly well written, but let’s face it, few of us are crafting our best work on our blogs (myself pointedly included).
Becca Puglisi says
DO..gouge out my eyeballs after seeing that picture of Carrot Top. Thanks, Ange. Otherwise, great points, lol.
I’m going to second the light-print-on-dark-background problem as my biggest peeve, and add another: too many font sizes. People can get a little crazy with not only the colors, but the size of the print. Feels like I’m getting yelled at, which I generally am not a fan of.
Kelly Polark says
Excellent tips, Angela!
I like Stina’s addition, also the reminder to spell check!
Stina Lindenblatt says
There’s nothing worse than when someone mentions a link but it’s the same color as the result of the words in the sentence. You have to click on each word to find it. Eeek!!!!!
Awesome advice, Angela. 😀
Lisa Gail Green says
Awesome tips! Now if only everybody followed them… LOL!
Carrie Butler says
I’m sorry. Did you say something? I can’t get past the guy you told me to DO! 😉
Holly Ruggiero says
This is a must read for every blogger in the world!
Leslie Rose says
Thanks for the checklist. You just but highlighting and bolding on my blog-dar. Love the pix.
Lenny Lee* says
hi miss angela! wow! this is good stuff for sure. for me mostly im not gonna read a way loooooong post. im thinking i do mostly all the stuff you said for on my blog.
…hugs from lenny
Excellent advice! No matter how great the content of a blog is, if it isn’t presented well and is easy to navigate and read, then chances are I don’t go back to it. Every blogger needs to read this!
I just used color for the first time ever on my last post. I was very conservative-thought it worked well.
Totally agree on tightening and not over-writing on a blog. Short and sweet.
What’s that word? Pithy. My best posts are pithy.
(Well, either funny OR pithy.)
Angela Felsted says
Do keep it short, but still do say something meaningful. And please, no more cat pictures.
Nicole Zoltack says
Great tips! This is really useful.
SP Sipal says
All great tips. And I like Ava’s addition of light text on dark background as being hard to read. Mine started out that way and when I changed, I got a lot better response.
Angela Ackerman says
Aw you guys–thanks! I’m glad this helps. 🙂 And all of you, great adds! Some of these are ones I wanted to cover in upcoming posts, and some I hadn’t thought of. You all rock!
Wild About Words says
Stuff it with great content, um, exactly like you two amazing bloggers do. Thanks for all you do!!!
DON’T have video or audio clips that automatically play when the page loads, especially if the reader can’t turn it off. That drives me crazy.
DO try to keep to a regular schedule. It’s not always easy, but I think people like the feel of a ‘routine’.
Ava Jae says
Great tips! I’d add DON’T use light font on a dark background–it makes it much harder on the eyes and turns a lot of readers away.
Matthew MacNish says
This is all great advice. As far as my preference goes, I’ll put up with almost anything as long as it’s IN THE ACTUAL POST.
It’s all the sidebar crap and playlists and things like that that quickly turn me off a blog.
Anne Gallagher says
Great tips, I use them all.
My biggest thing is spelling. If you’re trying to shoot for a professional looking blog and not the greatest speller, do use the spell-check. There’s nothing worse, (as a writer) reading another writer’s work and seeing misspelled words all over the place.
Lydia Sharp says
I agree with all of this. Thanks so much for a great, helpful post! 🙂
Laura Pauling says
Post something that people will want to read. 🙂
Seriously, great tips!
Jessica Subject says
Do: Keep posting excellent tips. You two are the best! 🙂
Sarah Pearson says
Some great tips here. There is not enough bold in my life at the moment 🙂