The Fairy Blog Mother is always open to questions about blogging, so when one client showed me a draft post she had compiled to go into her new blog (which I have been designing for her) to ask for my approval, I realised I could share them with you too. Here they are listed below:
1. Short and snappy: I know people do write long blog posts (I know, I’m guilty - there are plenty of examples in this blog) but a good rule is to keep your post to within 250 words (or if you can’t visualise that, about three good sized paragraphs will do) to maintain the reader’s attention. Since a blog is really a conversational medium, it’s not really suitable for long articles with deep intricate discussions, so these are better off posted in article directories.
2. Capture their attention: A good headline is vital on many fronts. It is usually the first point of call for your posts, so should be designed to draw the punters in, say exactly what’s on the tin, and can be enhanced by being stuffed full of keywords for Search Engine Optimisation purposes, especially as it also doubles as a link when used within a RSS feed.
3. Be up front: Explain exactly what the subject of your post is in the first paragraph, ideally within the first sentence. Research has shown that people usually only read the first 25% or spend an average of 96 seconds on a blog post before they decide whether it’s of interest or whether it’s worth reading – therefore don’t leave the most important or most interesting part until last, in case your readers never get there!
4. A quick read: Most people scan a blog post to get the gist and make a decision to read further. Sub-dividing your post into bullet points or subheadings to help towards maintaining short attention spans, facilitating skim reading habits, enabling subject recognition or just break up over-long text. Numbered posts like this one at good, as they aren’t difficult to write, and can very easily provide your reader the information they crave.
5. Command a response: Blogs thrive on reader interaction which in turn provides links, another vital element. Each comment’s link is a gateway for internet spiders, as well as new material (or spider food) for the search engines. Comments can be stimulated by controversial, confrontational or poignantly educational posts (like this one?), or you could pose a question or statement to invite a comment, just like the one below:
Can any of you think of more pointers to add to my list?