Monday, January 19, 2009

Give value to your readers

Before you press the "Publish Post" button, ask yourself whether you have given your readers something that will bring them back to read your blog another day. Your obligation to your audience can be compared to filling their travel mugs with rich, aromatic, deeply satisfying coffee rather than a watery instant caffeinated drink: you want them to come back to your coffee dispenser for regular refills.

Every single post you write should have some value for your readers. If you are selling a product or service, this may be a useful tip, information about a product update, a business-related contest or advance notice about a sale. The value may also be pure entertainment — an interesting news story related to your mutual line of work, or an update on a story you've been telling about your company.

The only way to draw people back to your blog again and again is to do the best you can to give them information they are glad they acquired — every single time. (You won't actually be able to do it every single time, so cut yourself a little slack. But it's definitely the goal to aim for.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Add spaces between paragraphs

Online type can move around depending on the browser and the computer through which your readers view it. You may have taken great care to indent each paragraph before you posted, but even substantial indents may show up only as tiny zags of text when posted, or not show up at all.

Make it easy on your readers' eyes—and also help them to keep track of their location in your text (especially if they are reading you on a PDA or cellphone)—by adding the extra space.

Keep your paragraphs short

Keep your paragraphs to two or three sentences maximum in a blog. Reading text on the screen is not the same as reading it in a book or in a magazine or newspaper.

If your readers see chucks of information that they are going to be able to absorb one block at a time, they will be more inclined to keep reading. They will also get your meaning more rapidly.

Even paragraphs of only one sentence can be effective.

Or just one word.


(As long as you don't do it too often.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Don't set yourself up for failure

There is no point in announcing on your website or blog page that you are going to post daily or weekly if you are not going to do it. Who are you really talking to when you make a resolution like that anyway? Just to yourself. When it comes to promises to yourself, it is wiser to record them in your private journal, or to make a commitment to a close friend who is also writing a blog and wants to make a similar commitment re: deadlines.

Just post when you feel like it. You are not a national media outlet with thousands of readers, and unless you work for one (i.e., are getting paid to write blogs), you don't have to post with any particular regularity.

Let your blog remain something you want to do. If you want to post twice in one day, go ahead. If you don't get around to writing a new post for a month, who cares? The fact is that there is already way too much information on the Internet: if you post only semi-occasionally, your followers are more likely to look forward to reading what you have to say than if you post every day, or even every week.