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Help Me Write a Better Blog Post

Help Me Write a Better Blog Post
Many people blog daily on limitless subjects and themes: news events, entertainment reviews, personal diaries, gossip, and politics. If you blog to fulfill your own interests or write on behalf of a client or business, I offer you these useful tips to write plain English posts that will appeal to and interest your readers.

— 1. —
Write a Strong, Standalone Headline
Headlines have the authority to either attract and keep your readers on the webpage or prompt them to keep searching, so select your words mindfully. One way is to pose the question that your blog post answers.

Check out this headline: "Is Your Hairspray Harming Your Pet?" This question presents the purpose of the blog post while intriguing your readers to learn more.

You can also write an interesting headline by adding a curious tidbit from your blog post. For example: "Seven Hush-Hush Secrets the Jewelry Market Hides from Your Poor Grandmother" will lure your readers to keep reading.

When you craft your next headline:

1. Use playful and compelling words.
2. Add a benefit, such as "Increase Your Reading Speed In Less Than 30 Minutes."
3. Use strong, active adjectives and verbs.
4. Keep it short—70 character max. Omit nonessential words.
5. People love lists and numbers in headlines.
— 2. —
Invite Your Readers to Read with You
You can quickly build rapport with your readers by writing in a voice much like how you would speak at a casual social gathering. Be conversational with your readers. Use words like "you" and "your" instead of "they" and "their." Second-person words aimed directly at your readers will engage them in the discussion of your blog posts.

Let's review these sentences:

Impersonal: "Folks with youngsters should decide on the most ideal academy that's best for their family."

Personal: "Your son or daughter needs a public or private academy that's perfect for your family."
Both sentences impart the same details, but the latter sentence appeals more specifically to your readers. Avoid non-personal, generalized information. Indeed, it's easier to write for a more broader (general) readership, but your words will fail to capture the attention span of your readers. Be personal with your language. Invite readers to share in your ideas and thoughts. People who share the same interests with you will usually be your primary readers, so direct your topics directly at them.

Another way to engage readers is to add humor. Adding a slice of humor, a tongue-in-cheek joke, or a relatable experience can add a colorful personality to your post.

— 3. —
Junk the Jargon and Write for Public Readers
Unless your blog caters to an educated audience of trade professionals—like scientists, government personnel, researchers, or the like—remember to write for public readers. These are your everyday folks. Omit uneccesary words. In fact, favor simple words and shorter sentences. Aim to write for a 7-8th grade reading level—this is the average reading level of most adult readers in the United States.

When you need to use trade-jargon, clearly define these words as your readers might find them ambiguous. Same if you use acronyms—assume your readers don't know what the acronym means. Spell out the acronym the first time you use it.

— 4. —
Use Headings to Help Readers Scan Your Posts
When reading online, readers often skim over content before deciding to invest their time in reading the full article or blog post. You can help readers decide by using descriptive headings. A heading should be succinct and as specific as possible to persuade the reader to keep reading.

— 5. —
Add Lists, Bullets, and Special Paragraph Indentations
Use a list or special indentation to break apart paragraphs of related information. This makes it easy for readers to scan your text at a comfortable pace and absorb your information faster. For instance, if you blog about flea market events in South Carolina, then listing vendors, merchandise, and prices is more effective than bundling the information into one big paragraph. A list plainly specifies key data in a succinct, easy-to-read style.

— 6. —
Add Visuals to Accentuate Your Content
Readers are lured to visual content because it allows them to imagine and reflect on the wonderful ideas you're writing about. Add at least one engaging picture or video per post to pull readers in. The visual asset should associate with the purpose of your post and enhance the overall message you're aiming to share.

— 7. —
Hyperlink Important Information
Hyperlinking text is a credible way to cite your sources (if need be) and introduce content that would otherwise increase the word count of your post. For example, if you wanted to reference a 3000-word article that complements what you're writing about, you can write "according to ___________" and either add the author's name and/or title of the article and hyperlink it. You can also save space by hyperlinking definitions to credible websites that define words or to YouTube videos that show—instead of tell—what your post is about.

— 8. —
Fall in Love with Spelling and Grammar
Never undervalue the importance of your words. You've heard this rule a million times: proof your work for misspellings and grammar mistakes. In most cases, you are the one in charge of proofing. Correct spelling and syntax offer a rank of professionalism and credibility both to you and your blog. Typos can turn away readers because it's an indication of laziness and sloppiness.

— 9. —
Use a Coherent and Consistent Format
You only need 1-3 different fonts and color combinations for your blog. No need to use a different font or color combination for each post unless you intend to complicate the reading experience for your visitors. Choose a standard font and uniform size and use it throughout. This will make both reading and navigating hassle-free.

Keep your paragraphs concise and uniform. Put 1-2 line spaces between them. It only takes a nanosecond for a reader to determine if they'll read your blog. A mass of text with fancy fonts will frustrate your readers. Remember, blogs that readers find enjoyable and engaging often become loyal followers.

When you write your next blog post, remember to:

1. craft a title that grabs the reader's interest
2. write content that explores new, original, and emerging ideas
3. write content that is helpful to others, not just to the author
4. write content that adds something different and unique to the subject
5. adapt an accessible writing style to engage public readers
6. use a structured layout—headers, short paragraphs, visual aids—to help readers navigate your text
7. use a relaxed, conversational, reader-friendly tone
8. develop insightful content that deserves a second read
9. hyperlink credible sources and resources
10. add a comments section and social-sharing buttons for readers.

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