So you’ve got something you want to share with the world. Well, so does everyone and their mother. Want proof? There are currently 135.2 million blogs on Tumblr alone—four of which are mine. What do these numbers mean to you? They mean you’ve got a lot of competition, my fine blogging friends.
Now you should be asking, “how do I give my blog a competitive edge?” Blogger, know thy content. Maybe you’ve been telling yourself it’s fine the way it is. You provide good info and toss in a few jokes but still think you deserve more than 17 regular readers.
If this sounds like something you’ve been thinking recently, then it might be a sign that you’re deceiving yourself about the way you present your content. It’s time to admit your mistakes and take some corrective measures to attract more readers to your awesome content.
Big Fat Lie #1: The Headline Isn’t That Important
The headline is what’s most important. This might seem counter-intuitive to you. Why would a post’s title be more important than the actual content? Isn’t the content what the reader is interested in? It is, but how are you going to get the reader to be interested in said content?
Pretend you’re fishing in the Great Internet Ocean, and readers are fish. Your content’s title is the bait that will attract the reader-fish to you. If the headline isn’t attractive, you’ll wind up empty-handed.
There are many different ways to write an effective headline; practice different styles and see what works best for you and your blog.
Big Fat Lie #2: I Don’t Need Blog Categories
Let’s pretend there are 100 million other blogger-fishers there with you, all trying to lure reader-fish in. There’s a lot of really great bait in the water, so how will the reader-fish choose?
Once a post is published, it sits there nice and pretty on your blog, but it’s not doing anything to get your possible future followers to read it. When you add categories to your blog, you do two things: 1.You actively place your content in the public eye, and 2. You help readers who might be interested find it.
After you finish writing, but before publishing, make a habit of categorizing your posts. Ask yourself what keywords you want to target, what your competitors are using, and what your ideal consumers want.
If you use Tumblr or a blogging platform that utilizes tags, add relevant tags to it. If you just wrote a post that, for example, gives advice to blog contributors, you’d tag it with blogging, tips, and advice in order to make it easy for people to find. Some, but not all, blogging platforms require you to use #hashtags, so check before you tag.
Big Fat Lie #3: One Big Paragraph Is Easier to Read
No, it’s not. You were taught in school to divide your essays into paragraphs. The same applies to the Internet. One massive paragraph is overwhelming to the reader’s eye, and it’s more difficult to figure out the flow of the article. Where does one point end and another begin? Break your content up into paragraphs that are approximately 100 words or less.
Not only is it important to have small paragraphs, but you should also use subheadings before each of the different points you make. Effective subheadings help a reader quickly see what your content is about, and if used properly, they can pique someone’s interest enough for him or her to read the post.
Big Fat Lie #4: Images Aren’t Necessary
Internet readers have very short attention spans, so you have to use every tool in your blogger arsenal to keep them reading. It just so happens that Internet readers are also highly visual, so images work great for sparking their interest.
Images can be photos, infographics, screenshots, charts, diagrams, memes… you get the picture (pun intended). Ideally, you’ll be posting images that you have personally taken and own, but if that isn’t possible, there are plenty of both free and paid stock photos available for you to use.
However, exercise caution when selecting free photos. Using a picture you found on Flickr or Google Images without first checking that it’s licensed for reuse could lead to a lawsuit against you. Always make sure that you are using a graphic that you are legally allowed to use, and always give proper attribution. If you’re not sure how to check if you can use a picture from Flickr, or if you’d like to know how to properly attribute, read this guide.
By now you should be well on your way to having quite attractive content! Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll go over less of the aesthetic aspect and tackle the lies you’re telling yourself about what you actually write.