In my blog basics series, we’ve covered the importance of your audience, your layout, how to use pages and in the last post, Blog Basics Continued – The Importance of Your Blog Title, we covered why the title of your blog is so important. Now it’s time to get into some blog basics about the actual posts you write. There are some critical things to consider, things that many indie authors don’t think about. We are writers, we put words to paper (or web page). But people read blogs differently than they do books and we as indie authors need to think about how those visiting our blogs are actually reading the posts we write.
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – What Do Your Visitors Want?
Many people visit blogs for one of two things: quick answers or quick help. This presents a dilemma for authors because we want to write pithy, interesting stories for our readers. And there isn’t anything wrong with this, just remember who your target audience. If you’re writing help posts, you want to provide answers for task-oriented people who don’t have a lot of time. Your readers also need to be able to find information quickly (we’ll get into the best practices of how to do this below).
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – The Entertainment Post
If you’re not writing to help someone answer a question, you’re most likely writing a post that’s interesting, entertaining, funny, enlightening and so on. Great. Just make sure your post is interesting, entertaining, funny, enlightening and so on. Nothing kills a post (and readership) faster than if you’re not giving out information, and you’re not entertaining either. And the flip side, if you’re really good, your posts can be both informative and entertaining at once.
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – Blog Post Best Practices
Remember, in order to gain a regular following, you need to offer your readers something of value. Then, you need to make your post easy to read. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
- keep paragraphs under six lines whenever possible (for readability)
- use bullets and numbered lists to break up text
- bold and italicize key words or important phrases to catch a reader’s eye
- a smaller word count (300-500) is plenty for editorial and basic informational posts
- a longer blog post (500+ words) is for more detailed information, but you better make sure the information is valuable
- if you have a lot of information to cover, consider breaking it up into more posts
- make sure your blog has a point that readers are able to identify
- break up your post with headlines for easier reading
- it’s okay to write in an informal style, like you’re talking to someone
- make sure the font size is readable for your target audience
Blog Basics For Indie Authors – Blog Post Best Practices - The Why
Why are these important practices to adhere to? Blog readers tend to skim posts, looking for the important points. Breaking up your text makes it easier for them to read your blog. If you write one long post, you risk having your readers leave your page. Now I know this is tough for indie authors, especially if you’re telling a story. But you might consider breaking that story up into more than one post (a cliffhanger will have people coming back for more), and putting in some headlines might not hurt the flow of your story (you be the judge of that). Make your blog about your readers and they’ll come back for more.
Watch this short video for more.
What do you think makes or breaks a blog post?
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