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Comprehensiveness and ease of reading are the cornerstones of any successful blog post. Besides these two parameters, you have to reel in the reader and make their reading experience as worthwhile as possible.
Using simple English, short sentences, proper punctuation, and a few quirky jokes are some of the things you can do to improve the reader experience.
The following are 10 things that I always consider to ensure my readers read through most if not all of my blog posts.
1. Using Simple English and Avoiding Jargon
We all get tempted especially those who write blogs in serious niches like health, money, etc—to use big words that’d make us come off as experts in our field.
However, this approach never really works because most readers are simply looking for answers online as quickly as possible.
Making them have to look up a word in the dictionary is one sure way of sending them away from your content. Remember you’re not writing for your professional peers but for ordinary people!
Look at these two examples of sentences trying to convey the same message and tell me which of them drives the point home more easily;
My friend here needs to make his point clear by laying out all the available evidence before us.
My friend here is obligated to elucidate his ludicrous claim…. (you get the point)
Always put yourself in the readers’ shoes before clanking away on that keyboard!
2. Having a Good Command of English
The total opposite of the first point. Be fluent in your writing. One of the other things that’ll turn readers away is the moment they realize you just can’t write.
Poor grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure send a message of incompetence in whatever you’re writing about. Who would want to read anything wreaking of incompetence? No one, that’s who!
If English isn’t your first language like yours truly, always strive to keep on learning to hone your mastery of the language. Read as many books as possible, write more and your English will get better over time.
I’m not perfect but I’m for sure much better than I was two or three years ago.
3. Using Active Voice Over Passive Voice
Minimize usage of passive voice as much as possible. You can still use it every once in a while but always strive to use an active voice.
Active voice makes reading much smoother for the reader but passive voice may disorient a reader by throwing a simple idea all over the place.
Here’s an example of the two voices used to convey the same message:
Passive voice example: The experiment was conducted by the scientist.
Active voice example: The scientist conducted the experiment.
You can see how much easier it is to read a sentence written in active voice.
4. Writing in First-Person and Second-Person Perspectives
One mistake that I see many writers making when writing blog posts (myself included sometimes) is writing in the third-person perspective.
This perspective isn’t wrong and may be necessary sometimes but it always misses the opportunity of forming a connection with your readers.
The first-person perspective (I, we, us) comes in handy when you’re trying to teach or voice your opinion to your readers. They’ll feel like a real human is talking to them as they read.
The second-person perspective (you) also has a similar effect—you’ll have the readers’ attention since you’ll be referring directly to each one of them.
5. Making Good Use of Headings and Subheadings
Headings and subheadings are essential as they break down a blog post into different sections. Not only is a post with subheadings more organized but also easier in the eyes of readers.
Having sections separated by headings gives readers a break especially when reading lengthy and detailed posts.
I always try to have as many relevant headings as possible because they are good for search engine optimization. Headings are a common thing as snippets on Google’s result pages.
6. Using Relevant Images Whenever Possible
Just like headings, images also subdivide lengthy blog posts which makes it easier for readers to go through.
Display ads and affiliate banners can also be substitutes for images—which means a double win for you if your audience engages with the banners. However, don’t get carried away and stuff a blog post with too many ads.
One after every 300 words or so should be good enough.
7. Using Short Paragraphs
Reading chunky paragraphs can be tiring. You should always stick to having 2-3 sentences per paragraph. The frequent white line breaks after every short paragraph goes a long way in enhancing your blog post’s readability.
Each sentence should also not be too long. 20 -25 words should be the maximum. The end result should be about 3 lines per paragraph on PC and 5 lines maximum on a standard mobile device.
This post that you’re reading right now is the perfect example of the usage of short paragraphs. Leave the bulky essay paragraphs to the academics (nothing against them by the way).
8. Proper Punctuation Is a No-Brainer
I must admit I struggle a little bit in this department but I always try my best. Improper punctuation may throw off a reader which may result in a misunderstanding of a point for the reader.
Commas make it easier to read a lengthy sentence. Too many commas in one sentence interrupt the flow of the reader. You need to know when and where to use given punctuation marks. Remember to add question marks after questions.
9. Not Plagiarizing Other Blog Posts
Plagiarism is one of the cardinal sins when it comes to blogging or any other form of content creation. It’s basically theft.
You wouldn’t want to be called a thief, would you? Or even worse, get your articles penalized by Google.
Always use your own words when you’ve borrowed an idea from another source. Citation and paraphrasing simply don’t cut it these days.
Being as unique as possible is a critical requirement if you want to get ahead of the competition in the blogging industry currently.
10. Proofreading My Work
Proofreading is arguably the most mundane and boring task when preparing a blog post. Imagine having to read each word on a 3000-word long blog post.
Sounds like hell but you just have to do it. Getting rid of an error or two may be the difference between you and your competitors on search result pages.
To make this task easier. I’d recommend setting up a specific day for doing it especially if you work with scheduled blog posts.
Alternatively, you can try proofreading your work right after typing the last word before doing any other task like inserting images. You’ll still have a little bit of momentum from writing going (it works for me).
All the above are the things I consider when creating a blog post to ensure the best quality possible.
Feel free to try them out if you find yourself struggling to come up with a quality blog post every time.