Readers are getting more impatient these days.
Have you noticed that?
With all of the social media accounts they have to maintain to “keep in the know.” The sea of emails they have to sift through and delete — maybe even unsubscribe from because it’s no longer relevant. Even the blog posts they not only have to thoroughly research, but write and then promote.
They have a lot on their plates — and this is causing them to grow more and more impatient. Especially when it comes to reading content on other blogs.
Can you blame them?
Have you seen some of the blog posts that are out there?
Anyway, the point is, since readers are getting more impatient, you have to make sure you keep their attention from the moment they arrive on your blog post.
And if you don’t, they won’t hesitate to either click the back button or simply type in another URL. Because it goes much deeper than writing about topics they’re interested in.
You not only have to provide them with the information that they want, but in a manner that they’ll enjoy and appreciate.
Sounds challenging, doesn’t it?
Not so much. As long as you take the right approach with your blog posts, you’ll always have their attention.
The Most Overlooked Aspect Of A Blog Post That Cripples It (and Scares Readers Away From Even Reading It)
Think about that for a second.
What egregious error could you make that not only damages your blog post, but deters readers from even reading it?
Come on. Don’t be shy. Throw out a couple guesses. 🙂
What’s the first thing that pops into your head?
Headlines? Good guess.
And yes, a bad headline can damage your post and cause readers not to read it, but that’s not something that’s overlooked.
Far from it.
The topic? Again, a good guess.
And if you continuously blog about topics that no one wants to read and isn’t interested in, you’re certainly doing more harm than good to your blog.
But that’s not it either.
Good. Now let me fill you in. The most overlooked aspect of a blog post is …
I know. That was your next guess, right?
But seriously … Let me ask you a question.
If you visited a blog for the first time based on the “irresistible” headline, how likely would you be willing to stick around and read the post through it’s entirety if the formatting is garbage?
Unless you actually knew the blogger, the chances are probably slim, right?
No shame it admitting it.
Many bloggers just overlook formatting because it doesn’t get as much publicity as headlines, CTA’s, etc. But the reality is, if you’re a blogger, this is a serious issue that your readers probably aren’t telling you.
And it’s something you’ve got to come to grips with and resolve … or risk irrefutable damage.
Why Blog Formatting Is The Backbone Of Each Blog Post
It’s frightening, I know.
Here I am, sounding all doom and gloom about this topic that half of you never even thought about before. But I’m doing this out of the goodness of my heart.
Blog. Formatting. Matters.
And I’ll even own up to the fact that I didn’t know how much it mattered until I read a post that Pauline Cabrera wrote.
In it, she had some well known bloggers share their thoughts on a lot of blogging issues and blog formatting was one of them. Let me quickly share what some of these bloggers had to say.
First, here’s what the queen of traffic, Ana Hoffman, had to say about blog formatting …
Did you read what she said? Pretty interesting stuff, won’t you agree?
If an established blogger like Ana feels that strongly about the formatting, do you really expect your readers to feel any different?
How about what Marko Sarik had to say …
Pretty revealing response, right?
Do you have large blocks of text in your posts? Hopefully not.
How about what my buddy, Marc Andre, had to say …
Let me repeat a key point he raised that you should pay attention to. He said, “If I see a long post of text with no bold text, sub headers, bullet points, or anything else that can help me scan it, I am more likely to leave.”
How many of your readers do you think feel the same way?
Probably a lot!
It’s pretty obvious that the way you format your blog posts has a HUGE impact on if your readers will keep on reading.
Which means all of your efforts to create the most captivating headline. All of your hours spent coming up with the “perfect” bribe to turn visitors into subscribers. All of the research spent to write the most detailed blog posts on topics your readers want to know about.
All of that means nothing if your formatting isn’t appealing to your reader.
And that’s not what you want, now is it?
Of course not.
The 3-Step Plan To Use To Give Every Post A Fighting Chance Through Formatting
Blog formatting is of the utmost importance not only when it comes to blogging, but also keeping readers interested in your posts.
And when you can consistently keep their interest, they’ll become easier to convert into loyal readers and subscribers.
That being said, here’s a few things to consider doing on each post you write:
Step #1: Emphasize What You Want Your Readers To Really See And Feel
In your normal day to day life, how do you talk when you’re with people?
Do you have conversations with them? Do you talk in a monotone voice? Is there infliction in your voice?
Yes. Maybe. And yes.
Well, you’ve probably heard the whole speech about blog like you talk before. And, before I read this post by Carol Amato, I would have agreed with that completely.
But more that just your typical verbiage, you want to make sure that what you say gets your ultimate message across. You want to make sure your words are felt. You want to make sure your words are not only felt, but appreciated.
Let’s do a quick exercise.
Can you tell the difference between these two sentences?
|Sentence #1: Blogging is a lot of hard work. But if you’re willing to make the necessary sacrifices and are determined to consistently improve your craft, you will reap the benefits sooner than later.|
|Sentence #2: Blogging is a lot of hard work. But if you’re willing to make the necessary sacrifices and are determined to consistently improve your craft, you will reap the benefits sooner than later.|
Looks and sounds similar, doesn’t it?
Look at it again and read it slowly and aloud to yourself.
Did you notice the words that were italicized?
If you did, did you read it differently in your head … or out loud?
Could you tell that I wanted more emphasis on those words specifically?
I wanted those words to stand out because not only would I talk that way if we were face-to-face having a conversation, but I wanted the message to be understood.
And the message is that blogging is a lot of hard work. And if you consistently improve your craft, you will reap the benefits.
Don’t be afraid to let your readers know how you feel. Let them actually see what you want them to see and pay attention to.
In fact, Henneke Duistermaat wrote a remarkable post on Boost Blog Traffic where she shared some priceless writing tips. But this part of the post really stuck out to me:
You know the feeling you get when you talk with your best friend?
He listens to you. He asks you questions. You’re laughing together.
Well, you can create that same feeling as a blogger.
To truly engage your readers, you need to start a conversation with them too.
That’s what you want. You want to talk to your readers as though you’re talking to a close, personal friend and actually emphasize that in your writing. Show emotions in your writing like you would to your friend.
You’d be surprised how effective that really is.
Step #2: Write In Smaller, Easy To Digest, Chunks
Remember High School?
There was always that one class that provided that HUGE textbook that you had to read, wasn’t there?
And not only read it, the teacher would give homework assignments, usually chapter work, for you to hand in the next day, didn’t they?
“Read Chapter’s so-and-so and answer only the odd-numbered questions at the end of the chapter.”
That’s what one of my teachers always said.
But the problem was that each chapter was usually 30 something pages. And to make matters worse, it was usually huge chunks of text that resembled one coma inducing paragraph.
You don’t want that for your blog.
Will always be better that this …
That’s because the first image is providing your content with a lot of white space. You’ve probably heard that before, right?
White space is your best friend as a writer.
And subconsciously, white space is what the readers love. So why wouldn’t you do it?
Listen, you want to make sure your content isn’t too busy or even distracting. Because the easier your content is to read and consume, the better the odds are in your favor that your readers will stick around longer — AND be more interested in what you have to say.
Don’t you think so?
Step #3: Capture The Attention Of Scanners With Supercharged Sub headlines and Bullet Points
Raise your hand if you’ve ever scanned over a post instead of actually read it.
Come one. Don’t be shy.
I’ll be surprised if you didn’t raise your hand.
Because in this fast-paced, technology driven age we live in, we’re always busy. We’re always in a rush. We always want things done, or finished, as quickly as possible.
And if you’re like that, the chances are pretty high that your readers are like that as well.
And as a blogger, that’s something you don’t want.
You don’t want your readers rushing, even scanning, your post to get it over with. But because the blogosphere is so darn competitive, everyone is lobbying for each readers attention and eyes on their content.
Sure you can lure them in with your eyebrow raising, “irresistible” headline but after they read the opening paragraph, then what?
I’ll tell you what. They start scanning. And if you don’t have sub headlines that grips their attention enough to actually double back and read the post, then they’ll quickly leave your site.
You don’t want that, do you?
That’s where sub headlines come into play.
Great sub headlines can truly make the difference in readers taking interest in what you have to say and actually reading it (staying on your site longer) or just scanning and quickly leaving.
In fact, let’s scan some sub headlines from a few blogs now and you decide if you would stay and read the entire post or just leave.
Here’s the first example: Is Disqus Killing Your Blog? Why (and How) I Pulled the Plug – by Gary Korisko
- Sub headline #1 – Why I Hated to See Disqus Comments Go
- Sub headline #2 – When the Feedback Started Rolling In
- Sub headline #3 – Why (at least some of) My Readers Hated Disqus
- Sub headline #4 – What I Did After Disqus Went Dark
- Sub headline #5 – How to Use Free Plugins to Enhance CommentLuv
- Sub headline #6 – The Jury is Still Out
Is the headline enticing? Yes.
Who wouldn’t want to know if Disqus is killing their blog.
Now look at those sub headlines Gary wrote. If you scanned the post and saw those sub headlines, would they make you stop and read the whole post?
Let’s take a look at another example: Making The Impossible Possible: How I Created A Full Time Blogging Income With No Qualifications – Stacey Corrin via Problogger.net
- Sub headline #1 – It Began As A Cry For Helo
- Sub headline #2 – I Immersed Myself In All Things Blogging
- Sub headline #3 – How I Turned My Passion Into Profit
- Sub headline #4 – It’s Been A Humbling Experience
How about those sub headlines?
Would they entice you enough to read through the post and find out how Stacey created a full time blogging income with no qualifications? And how you can possibly do it too?
What do you think?
But as important as sub headlines are for blog formatting, the same goes for bullet points. If you want readers to read more of your content, using bullet points can certainly help.
Here are some of the main benefits:
- They allow you to say a lot in a very few words
- They organize information into digestible chunks
- They allow serial scanners to quickly find the most meaningful information
- It’s a nice contrast from the rest of the content … thus making it “pop” more
Using these methods will help increase the readability of your posts and stop scanners dead in their tracks.
Are You Ready To Start Taking Blog Formatting More Seriously?
Let’s be real here … not only are readers impatient but they have choices.
They have so much choices that there just isn’t enough hours in the day to compensate. That’s why they scan and stay only if everything is appealing enough through the formatting.
You know it’s true because you probably do the same thing as well. You arrive on a blog post, whether you know the blogger or not, and do a quick once over to see if it’s something you’d be interested in reading.
Don’t give your readers the option to make that decision. Proper formatting is something that you should be doing with each blog post that you write.
And if you have that lethal combination of a captivating headline, proper formatting and some images, you’ll keep your readers attention right through to the end.
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