No one reads what you write?
Every writer’s been there.
The stats say it all — it’s not you. It’s your readers’ attention span.
55% of all page views last 15 seconds or less.
The average visitor skips approximately 80% of all the text on an average page, leaving you to feel like all of your writing efforts are in vain.
Don’t give up writing just yet.
The need for good content is always there — and judging by the way the Internet is growing, it’ll very likely to stay for a while.
Write online content that people would actually read by giving them what they want from an article online. Read on to find out how.
Capture attention in the introduction
Getting someone to give you their undivided attention is difficult but doable.
Making them choose your article over all of the sweet, sweet distractions around them — Netflix, Instagram, text messages — is almost impossible.
You only have a few seconds to leave the best possible impression ever before someone — or something — else storms in and steals your moment of fame.
The best moment to shine in this case would be the introduction.
There are a few ways to do that. Use the APP method to make the reader relate to you. Insert some stats. Ask an intriguing question. Tell a story.
Try several different ways and see what works best for your audience.
Pro tip: Your featured image — the thumbnail — is another way to grab attention in mere seconds.
Keep the language simple…
There’s nothing wrong with using plain language.
Even Earnest Hemingway did it — so why can’t you?
People love reading simple language because one, it allows for faster reading and two, no one likes reading complicated things — not on a screen anyway.
Don’t use “big words” in an attempt to sound smarter. Keep your sentences short. Skip any unnecessary words. Edit anything that may come off as fluff or empty content.
Pro tip: Write the same way you talk to give it a more casual tone.
…and the structure visible.
You don’t need fancy data to confirm this.
No one likes reading long chunks of texts that stretch throughout the whole page.
You can be the best writer in the world and yet, if you don’t bother to make that structure work for you, then your target audience won’t bother to read what you’ve written.
Make sure your content has a good structure by adding headings where needed. Keep paragraphs at a maximum of 2–3 sentences. Break text with images. And bullet points — even Google likes bullet points!
How to make a good structure
1) Introduction (heading 1 is hiding here)
Your text goes here
2) Divide the main part into headings:
Heading 1 (heading 2 in WordPress formatting)
Heading 2 (heading 2 in WordPress formatting)
Heading 3 (heading 2 in WordPress formatting)
3) Add subheadings to each heading, for example:
Heading 1 (heading 2 in WP formatting)
Subheading 1 (heading 3 in WP formatting)
Subheading 2 (heading 3 in WP formatting)
4) Add bullet points where possible, for example:
Heading 2 (heading 2 in WP formatting)
Your text goes here and then:
- Bullet point 1
- Bullet point 2
- Bullet point 3
5) Conclusion (heading 2 in WP formatting)
Pick a catchy title
Imagine if I named this blog post: How to Write Blogs.
Would you have clicked on it? Probably not.
On the other side, this title addresses one of the biggest struggles of modern-day writers.
There are hundreds of ways to write a catchy title — without making it sound too clickbait-y — just let your personality shine through. You can check the Emotional Value Score of every article here to see whether you’re on the right track.
Pro tip: Come up with the title once you’re done writing the text and 90% of the time, it’ll come naturally to you. Trust me on this one!
Subheadings *are* your best friends
People don’t read blog posts word by word.
Online readers read in an F-shaped pattern and skim the page, stopping to read whatever sparks their curiosity.
Since you’ve already captured attention with the main title, now re-capture it throughout the post with each of the headings.
Choose headings that are eye-catching and fun — but also, headings that summarize what that paragraph is about.
Make it worth the read
If you’re not sure whether your content is offering any real value, answer this question:
Why are you writing the article?
While I totally encourage the idea of telling a story to make it more personal, I also believe that people read articles that give them value.
Offer a solution to a problem. Share your experience. What did that experience teach you? How did your life improve because of it? How can others do what you’ve done to improve theirs?
Now, that’s something I’d very much read myself.
Don’t let SEO steal your charm
Writing to always please the YOAST plugin is tempting because duh, you want to see all of those cute little lights turn green.
However, writing only to please the YOAST plugin isn’t the best idea ever. The plugin doesn’t favor long sentences nor the passive voice — but does that mean you shouldn’t use them?
Don’t let plugins trick you into forgetting who you are as a writer. Write for humans, not for engines. Even Google tells you the same.
All of my articles are search engine optimized — but I’ve still kept my personality and my own voice.
Ultimately, it’s the humans that visit and read your blog, isn’t it?
Ready to write that winning article?
Make your articles not only easy to read — but fun to read as well.
And that may as well be the winning combo!
What do you struggle the most when it comes to writing a winning article? Share with me in the comments and let me know!
Originally published at theextrovertedfreelancer.com on December 5, 2018.