As I was browsing my RSS feeds this morning, an interesting blog caught my eye. I clicked the title to read the full article, but was quickly deterred. What I saw was nine paragraphs of text, totaling over 900 words, and not one picture, heading, or bullet point. I gave the article a half-hearted skim, and moved on.
There is no doubt that my attention span has been shortened by Twitter, Facebook, and Web 2.0 culture, but whether you think this is a natural development or a tragic consequence is irrelevant; the point is, you have to make your blogs easily digestible. If you don't, your readers will find the information they need somewhere else.
How to Make Your Blogs More Readable
1. Set milestones.
If you're like me, you prefer books that have many shorter chapters rather than a few long ones. Why? Because it creates natural milestones that give the reader a frequent sense of accomplishment. Create milestones for your readers by breaking up your blog posts with descriptive headings and concise paragraphs.
2. Lead the reader's eye.
Many people will skim your blog first, and if it appears interesting, read it in more detail. A long page of unformatted text contains nothing to catch the skimmer's eye. By including images, headings, bullet lists, links, or anything else that breaks up the visual monotony of the text, you can actually draw the reader's eye down the page, and give yourself the best possible chance of grabbing their interest.
3. Write lists.
Instead of writing "Advice for New Lawyers", try writing "Five Tips for New Lawyers" instead. The latter sets the expectation that the blog will be brief and to the point. Your potential reader will be assured that for minimal effort, they can obtain five helpful tips. Should every blog you write be a list? No. But it is a powerful format.
4. Be concise.
Make your point in as few words as possible.
How do you make your blog more readable? Let me know in the comments!