Don’t let the heavy lifting of drafting content go to waste. Simple tweaks to your blog post’s structure can help you get readers to read your content and increase your readership.
Your blog is not the diary your 13-year-old self-kept hidden under your mattress.
It’s intended to be read. But after you carefully craft each post and press ‘publish,’ what happens?
No one reads it. It doesn’t get shared to Facebook. No one tweets about it. Any organic traffic you do drum up ‘bounces’ right away.
Luckily, increasing your readership might be easier than you think. These 9 practical tips can help you attract and hold your reader’s attention through your entire post.
1. Use Line Breaks Like a Boss
Every paragraph must be a complete thought, right? Wrong! In the land of the ‘Intererwebs’, line breaks are your friend.
Line breaks give the reader time to process. This can make even incredibly complex points easier to understand. Aim for your paragraphs to be no more than four sentences.
And, don’t be afraid to throw in a one-sentence paragraph on occasion.
Think your paragraphs look short in your editor? Don’t forget to read your post from a phone during your review process. A “short” paragraph can be deceptively long on a mobile device.
Aim for paragraphs to be no more than 4 sentences to improve reader retention on the web.Click to Tweet
2. Put You Content to the Subhead Test
Sorry to break it to you, but the vast majority of readers won’t actually read your content. They’ll skim it.
Incorporating headers (like the ones seen here) help draw the reader’s eye. They give them a quick, ‘Here’s the main point’ blurb. But, this only works if your headers flow one into the next.
Before you publish, read only the title and headers of your piece. Does it make sense? If it doesn’t – rework your headers so it does.
One way to get headers into your routine is to outline your post before you start writing. You can always refine the messaging, but it will get your content framed.
Put Content to the ‘Subhead Test’ (reading just the subheaders) to determine how scan-friendly it is.Click to Tweet
3. Highlight Key Points
In the same way, headers help break up text, highlighting key points helps attract the reader’s eye. One of the best ways to highlight key points is by bolding them.
It allows scanners to quickly build upon the point you made with your subheaders.
Just don’t over do it. Remember the boy who cried wolf?
4. Create Bulleted Lists
Lists are easy to consume. And, readers LOVE them.
Lists are scannable.
Lists visually break up your text.
5. Breakup Text Visually with Relevant Images & Captions
As readers scan, images help grab their attention. Images also help them retain information. Place images near their relevant subheader. This allows readers to subconsciously receive the message in two different ways.
Additionally, adding captions to your images can help retain reader attention. Make sure the captions are relevant to the image and the piece.
And if appropriate, consider including a hyperlink to one of your cornerstone content pieces. (See Tip 8 for more details about cornerstone content.)
Use relevant images help maintain your reader’s attention span and increase retention rate.Click to Tweet
6. Make Numbers Work for You
Numbers help your reader make a commitment to at least scroll and skim to the end your post. You tell them in the beginning how many points you’re going to make.
They decide to scroll. And, they want to see every. Single. Point.
NOTE: Not every post lends itself to being a numbered post. That’s okay. But, when appropriate, it’s a great tactic.
7. Place a Summary Paragraph at the Opening
Most folks searching for an answer, want it immediately. They don’t want to read through multiple posts. Putting a summary paragraph at the opening can make it easy to folks know, ‘this is for me.’
In some instances, your summary paragraph will be your opening. If this is the case, great.
If it’s not, make sure it’s clearly separated from the rest of the post. You might do so by incorporating a horizontal line or changing the font, size, or color of the text.
BONUS: A summary paragraph is another great way to incorporate your post’s number one keyword at the top of the piece.
8. Link to Cornerstone Pieces
The idea is to always to deliver the most value possible to your readers with each piece. If you’ve already published a relevant article that would be helpful, link to it within your post.
This has the added benefit of keeping visitors on your site for longer.
9. Provide Additional Reading Links
Placing additional reading links at the bottom of your post is another great way to deliver more value and keep visitors on your site for longer.
We like to include a hyperlink featuring the title, along with a short description.
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