I don’t eat banana peelings. I just don’t. Ick! I don’t even eat the little fibrous strips on the banana. They gross me out. “What does this have to do with blogs?” you might ask. Well, I’ll tell you.
Looking at a bunch of blogs, I’ve discovered a few things that make some very APPEALING…and others, well…A PEELING.
What makes a blog good or bad? Here are a few attributes I notice. Depending on these factors, I will either visit that site again…or click off and run (trying not to slip on the nasty peeling in the process).
Short paragraphs snag more readers
When I scan through blogs, long paragraphs that run down the page SCARE me! I rarely wade through them. Every now and then, the subject matter will intrigue me enough to slosh through that massive behemoth…but rarely.
In print, you can get away with longer paragraphs…but on the computer screen, shorter paragraphs are much easier on our eyes (and our psyche!). Words on the computer screen aren’t as sharp as on the written page. The contrast of the letters to the background is reduced, and the presence of screen glare and reflections can make viewing difficult. Don’t make it harder with LONG-WINDED paragraphs.
Break long paragraphs up into tiny segments. It’s kind of like feeding a baby. When you try to give a baby a whole hamburger, they might look at you funny, then scream and holler; but slice and dice it up (maybe even puree it), and you can spoon feed your blogging audience much easier.
The Shorter, the Better
I like shorter posts (usually 1000 words or less). There are definitely exceptions, but this is a good guideline. Try to be concise. When I’m reading a post and it drags on without the author reaching a point, I will click off and go to a new blog. Your online readership is fickle and impatient. Make your point, or they will leave you point blank.
Now sometimes a subject is long and requires more words to get your point across. If you don’t post often, long posts might be just fine. If you blog daily or several times a week, long posts might intimidate your readers and make them leave you. So what should you do when you have lots of information?
Breaking Up Isn’t Hard to Do
You can break up your information in several ways. You can either throw it all out there and use short paragraphs…to spoon feed your audience so that they eat the whole feast; or you can break the subject into several shorter posts.
Breaking up posts is nice because it gives your audience something to anticipate and come back for later. A good example of a blog that did this is Lesley Carter’s Indulge: Travel, Adventure and New Experiences, where she made her Top 10 Favorite Cities into 10 separate posts spread over a few weeks, instead of one gigantic post with all 10 at once.
I guess it depends on how you do it. If you make a LIST of your Top 10 Cities in bullet points, then one post is fine. If you want to describe each and why you ranked them as you did…breaking them up into 10 separate posts is a much better option.
Wash your Mouth out with Soap
There is nothing that makes me drop a blog faster than crude, senseless swearing. When I sample blogs, I study them for a time before I decide if I want to Follow or not. I want a blog that is a good fit…one that uplifts or educates me…not offends me.
If I see the F-bomb or other needless vulgarity in posts, I drop that blog like a ton of bricks. I won’t return to that site…EVER. I don’t see the need for it. It shows a lack of taste and education. I don’t care if you have a Harvard degree, if you drop in needless F-bombs just because you can, you’ve lowered yourself into the “junior high crowd” in my book. That’s what those kids do on the bus to try to ACT like they’re cool. Ick!
Several times I’ve sampled a blog and laughed and loved the author’s writing style on a certain post. I was tempted to follow them…and then sampled a few other posts and found lots of vulgarity and totally changed my mind.
Crude language is a TURN-OFF. Don’t do it…unless you want a certain crowd of crude, crass followers (which you might…and to each their own). But LOTS of people don’t like it…so if you’re trying to gain a wider audience, don’t use it (or if you do, use it cautiously).
Don’t Be A Rambling Man
And by man…I mean mankind, which includes women. It’s fun to throw your personality into your blog. As your readers get to know you, they will actually appreciate this. But don’t be too free with your ramblings. Your best friends might put up with it…but a larger, more diverse audience might not.
Don’t just ramble because you like to talk about yourself. That can be a TURN-OFF. When I visit new blogs, I find that some are more like brag sessions. “Look at how cute my kid is” and then 500 more words about cute little Pookie. Or “Look at my sexy, hunk of love husband! Don’t you envy me?”
That’s great and all, but if you gush too much about yourself and your sexy, hunk of love husband, readers might leave you. Think…before you ink. (Sorry, it’s fun to rhyme.) But seriously, think of your audience. Spoon feed them bits and pieces of your life, but don’t swamp them in it.
Have a point to your post, and be careful not to ramble too much. If you want to talk about your sexy, hunk of love husband, dedicate the whole post to him. The point is, you can make your blog personal and fun (with a little piece of you in it), but don’t abuse rambling. Readers will only put up with it for so long, before they’ll amble off to greener pastures.
Edit, Edit, Edit
If you are posting your writing to the world, please care enough about it to edit it for spelling and grammatical errors before you hit the PUBLISH button.
If you are a bad speller, think about having someone who loves you polish your posts before you share it with the world. Errors will NOT gain you more followers; you will only lose credibility. We all make typos occasionally, but try to catch the glaring ones that will turn people off from your blog.
Tha…tha…tha…that’s all folks! Take a minute to study your own blog to see if it’s APPEALING…or A PEELING. Get rid of any gunk and let your blogging potassium shine! That will entice more readers to your site…and help you KEEP them once they’re there.