Jeff Putnam

How To Write Posts People Will Read (Part I)

It’s the eternal question really: How do I get people to read my blog? Now, there are multiple answers to this question but the simple reality is that you can’t force people to read your blog. Well, you could go the whole Clockwork Orange route and hold people’s eyes open while commanding them to read your blog. But I digress…

There actually are some tried and true methods that do work to get people to come to your blog. Let’s delve a little further into some of them.

Content Is King

The most obvious way to get people to read your blog is to write things that people actually want to read. The irony of course being that nobody will want to read this article…

Look, you can do all of the promotion and optimization and social media sharing that you want but if what you are writing is crap then no one will want to read what you’re writing.

Good Design Gets People To Stay

Here’s a very common problem I see: I’m reading an article, the content is good, it’s relevant, entertaining, but… I just can’t stand to look at the site. There can be a few different reasons for this.

Your font choice can affect the readability of your site. Serif fonts vs sans-serif fonts is the age-old battle, but does it really matter? No. What matters is the overall readability of your font. Is the letter-spacing consistent? Is it legible at all sizes? Does the x-height (the height of the letters) line up? All of those are important factors to take into account.

Along the lines of font choice are a few other minor styling choices. Line height is a style that often gets over-looked but it can be very important to keeping your site readable. Try and keep line height around 1.4em or 1.5em on your paragraphs. Headlines should be a bit lower. I’ve used anywhere from 1em to 1.2em. (Also, if you’re not using em units what’s wrong with you?)

Blockquotes can serve as a great way to call out important text change things up.

Font size is important but it doesn’t warrant much explaining. Just use a font size that you can read from 2′ away from your monitor. This gets a bit trickier with responsive sites, but really the only surefire thing to do there is beta test and see which font size looks the best. You’re probably going to have to target mobile devices with a media query in your css.

Keep it short. Too often I click on an article with an interesting sounding headline and am bombarded by an intimidating wall of text. Giant blocks of text are not very attractive to look at and sometimes they can just scare people away. Break up your paragraphs. Keep your sentences short. Use headings.

Images are another great thing to include in your blog posts. Of course I say that and then here I am with exactly zero images in this post. So sue me. Just make sure that when you’re putting images in your post that they are inserted where they are most relevant. And remember to use the title and alt attributes on your images. Which is a great segue into…

To Be Continued…

Check back next week to continue reading this article. (And no, 2 part articles is not one of the tricks.)