Blog Writing Tips – Make your content scannable

March 8, 2009

Blogs are part of online publications, so the same ‘rules’ apply in terms of writing. 

 The biggest tip in writing online or a blog, for me as a writer online and as a reader online, is to make your text scannable

First reason is, web readers hardly read online. The famous ‘Reading on the web’ study done by Jakob Nielsen in October 1997 concluded that readers online merely ‘scan’ the content of what you are writing.

So how do you make your blog more scannable, and therefore readable?

It all depends on your wording, your layout of the words, and what you use to accompany your text. 

Darren Rowse of Problogger writes in his article, The 4 Pillars of Writing Exceptional Blogs is 1)Being Useful, 2)Write Great Headlines 3) Make Posts Scannable and 4) Write in Plain, Concise, Common-sense style. 

So how do you make your online writing scannable? Here are a few, important tips:

  • Start with a great headline, and an awesome opening to draw readers in. A great article to help: 5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post with A Bang by Copyblogger
  • Keep paragraphs short – one idea a paragraph. I’ve read the the very best is to not make it more than 3 sentences.
  • Write in a conversational tone. Like in journalism, try to write like an ‘intelligent 12 year old’. This will make all readers understand what you are talking about very fast. 
  • Break up your text with bullet points, lists, sub-headings, colored points, and diagrams.
  • Format your text: Add in italics, bold, and underline to get your point against and emphasize different ideas from others. 
  • Add images to accompany your text. This will draw readers in.  

There we go! To sum it up, your writing should be short and sweet.


References:
Nielsen J, 1997 “How Users Read On the Web”, Useit.com, viewed March 1st 2009,
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html
Rowse D, 2007 “The 4 Pillars of Exceptional Blogs”, Problogger.net, viewed February 27th 2009,
http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/07/19/the-4-pillars-of-writing-exceptional-blogs/
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