May 312011

Beyond writing good quality content, how can I format my posts so that they communicate more effectively?”

I was asked the above question by a reader earlier today on Twitter and shot them back a series of DMs with the following suggestions that I thought might interest others (I’ve expanded them here).

Image by Kailash Gyawali

Of course, as the question implies, the most powerful communication strategy for bloggers is quality of writing—but beyond that, here are a few things I’ve found helpful over the last nine years of blogging.

1. Your blog post titles are everything

Okay, they’re not everything, but they’re often the main thing people look at to decide whether they’ll read your post. So take time to hone them.

Use a title that grabs people’s interest, but also leads them into what you want to talk about. You don’t want to grab interest with a sensational post title that has little to do with what the post is actually about.

2. When writing longer titles…

I generally try to make my blog post titles reasonably short. They seem to have more impact, and they’re easier to share on the social web.

However, sometimes a longer title is necessary. If you’re using one of those, make the first words in the headline get straight to the point. The first words in a headline seem to be the ones that have the most punch—choose them wisely.

3. Use short, punchy paragraphs

One of the main edits that I do on guest posts submitted to dPS is to simply break up long paragraphs.

Large slabs of text are unattractive to those reading online, so break it down!

4. Use images liberally

Similarly, a whole page that is just text tends to be a turn off to many readers.

Adding a visually appealing image to the top of a post will grab attention and draw people in.

Using images throughout longer posts will also draw the eye of your readers down the page and keep them engaged.

Larger images are said to be good. One study I heard about recently found that bigger images draw people to look at them for longer—keeping people engaged.

5. Faces can also draw attention

Faces in images also tend to hold people’s gazes for longer.

As humans, we’re wired to connect with others’ faces, so using them in a post seems to grab attention, draw people in, and hold their attention a little longer.


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