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Blogging Practices That Impress & Get Attention
Content marketing is such a buzz word nowadays. But what if you don’t know how to blog? If this online writing practice isn’t second nature, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. Even so, it’s a skill we highly recommend developing. Why? Because fresh content is the fuel that feeds the search engine ranking engine.
When a visitor lands on a blog post, first impressions are critical. If you’ve got a high bounce rate, there’s work to be done. Here are our best ideas on how to blog and how to engage visitors:
1. Match Meta Description to Content
I shared an entire blog post on the psychology of the meta description. In summary, a meta description is a mini-ad that sets up an expectation with your reader. It offers a kind of promise. 10 Exercises for Killer Abs. Summer Camps That Entertain Your Kid Without Breaking the Bank. You get the idea. If your blogging content doesn’t immediately appear to match your meta description, then expect readers to bounce. And bounce fast. There’s also a correlation to keyword placement… but that’s an advanced “how to blog” technique. Simply be sure that your meta description coordinates with the post (or webpage) content.
2. Use Compelling Images
Humans naturally gravitate to images first. Stock photos tend to be overused. Many are devoid of personality. The use of compelling images is a way to reinforce the feeling of your brand. It’s subtle yet powerful. We avoid stock images like the plague. We prefer website images that aren’t literal and a tad edgy.
When using image houses like istockphoto or Getty, be aware that the really good ones can be expensive. They may offer limited use or 12-month use licenses. As an alternative we recommend creative commons images; they are free to use as long as you provide attribution. Regardless of where you get your images, choose ones that are interesting.
3. Create Scanable Text
According to Statistic Brain, our average attention span is now less than a gold fish’s. Back in 2000, we averaged a whopping 12 seconds. In 2012 that dropped even further to 8 seconds. The average gold fish can focus for 9 seconds. Not to belabor the point, but here are some other stats to keep in mind as you learn how to blog and write for the web:
- Average length watched of a single internet video: 2.7 minutes.
- Average percentage of words that are read on a page with 111 words or less: 49%
- Average percentage of words read when on an average web page (593 words): 28%
There’s a definite correlation to how much text is actually read and a post’s length. That isn’t to say that everyone doesn’t read (they will if it has high value to them). It does put more pressure on styling a blog post so it can be easily scanned. Headlines, bullets, lists, images, tables, etc. can help readability thus making the experience more enticing and enjoyable for your reader.
4. How To Blog Share-Worthy Content
Blog posts that are obviously blatant self promotion are more likely to have a high bounce rate. If you’re trying to build White Hat SEO juice, beware that search engines are paying close attention to this metric. A bounce means a poor search experience. Conversely, if you can create content that is interesting (aka a searcher hangs out longer on the page to actually read it) is a positive SEO signal. Search optimization is placing more emphasis on social sharing. Besides making it easy to share content, make it worthy of a link. By the way, link building is another advanced “how to blog” technique.
When we teach our clients how to blog, we suggest that they focus on a topic that has a lot of “juice.” Meaning, they love to talk about it and their clients (or prospective clients) are eager to hear about it. Blogging should be a regular writing practice. Still not sure how it all works? No problem, just jump in. It’ll get easier over time.
5. Include Videos But Stop Auto Play
In number three we shared the stat about the average length a video is watched. Videos limited to 3 minutes or so have a higher chance of being viewed (and shared). Regardless of video length, there’s nothing more annoying than landing on a page and have a video automatically start. In my opinion, it’s like knocking on someone’s front door and then walking right in. Sheesh. That’s just bad manners. It’s OK to embed a video into a blog post. Just let your reader choose when to start it.
What gives you a poor first impression when reading a blog post? Any other pet peeves we missed?
How can we help?
Not sure where to find your bounce rate and other stats on reader engagement? Can’t make heads or tails of your Google Analytics reports?
We are the spectrum group, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.