This is a guest post by Ella Davidson.
These days it seems like everyone has a blog. And while everyone may have a blog, it's also certain that some blogs get, and deserve, more attention than others. To make sure your blog is one that keeps readers coming back, follow these six basic steps for clear, effective blog writing.
1. Have a Message
So many blogs suffer from a lack of direction, and that makes it hard for readers to engage with your writing. You don't have to have a hyper-specific theme, but there should be some main focus. Are you a busy mom? Do you love DIY projects? Are you interested in liberal politics, organic farming, auto repair, or microbiology? It you can come up with, and stick to, a central theme, you ensure that your posts are at least loosely tied together, and give your readers a sense that there's a reason they're reading your blog.
2. Make Your Blog Readable
This idea covers a host of blogging sins. From the most literal interpretation to the most abstract, always check in with yourself: is this readable? If your page has a plaid background, dancing graphics, and tiny white font, the chances are your reader is going to have a hard time focusing on what you've written. Similarly, if you're ranting in run-on sentences without leaving paragraph breaks every once in a while, the dense block of text you will have created will be so tough to break into that readers may just skip it. Try to look at your blog posts from the viewpoint of the reader, not the writer – if you happened upon this blog, would you feel overwhelmed or welcomed?
3. Use Formatting to Enhance Your Text
A visually pleasing layout can do a lot to make a blog easier and more enjoyable to read. This tip doesn't mean you have to make the layout and design of your blog the focus; rather, it should serve as an accent that highlights your writing. A good format is one that almost goes unnoticed. Clean lines, a punchy accent color, and a simple headline can make a blog seem accessible and well organized. When your layout doesn't detract from your writing, it just supports it and helps it stand out.
4. Make Every Post Good Enough to Stand Alone (or at least try...)
It can be incredibly cathartic to treat your blog like a diary, and post a long rant or emotional piece that has nothing to do with your readers. Although these can occasionally make for interesting reading, they are, in general, alienating to readers. Create a plan for every post and try to make each one an engaging, strong piece of writing; keep your readers in mind, and your writing will naturally become more accessible if you think of your audience. This isn't to say you have to avoid topics that make you emotional or get you fired up – just remember you want other people to want to read each post, and you'll automatically improve the clarity of your posts.
5. Use Lists, Diagrams, and Photos to Improve Clarity
Using simple visual tools can help readers understand you much easier than a protracted explanation taking four paragraphs. If you're communicating a lot of information all at once, take advantage of the organization and clarity a diagram or list can offer. Readers are much more likely to understand and engage with information presented in a concise, easy-to-read way. Using photos, too, gives readers an instant sense of who, where, and what you are talking about, and may intrigue them enough to read on.
6. Don't Forget to Be Yourself
With so many guidelines and rules out there to follow, it can be easy to lose your voice. If you are so focused on every step and trying to follow every rule to the letter, your posts can come out sounding like term papers more than personal stories. Make sure the reader can still hear YOU in the post; writing is never so clear as when the writer is saying exactly what they mean to say. The most successful bloggers are those who can follow rules of clarity without losing their unique voice and perspective.
Successful blogging is all about clarity; if your posts aren't clear and accessible, nothing else matters. Keep your readers in mind and write from the heart (but don't forget to edit!).
Image credit: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About the author
Ella Davidson is from Coupons.org, a couponing website that strives to empower consumers with on point and relevant couponing information that will help them save money.