Blogging: 10 Ways To Boost Reader Appeal

How To Improve Blog Usability

MedicineDoes your blog suffer from THDR (or Too Hard, Didn’t Read)? Since 94% of online readers leave content without reading 1 word due to poor readability, THDR is far more common than you’d expect.

As a blogger your work crafting each blog post is for nothing if visitors don’t stay long enough to read it. Here’s how to increase time on site by improving reader usability.

With an always connected, multi-screen audience, you must ensure that your content is accessible where, when and how your readers want it. Think dual input, content snacking and time shifting. (For a more in-depth discussion and visuals for online content usability, check these eye tracking findings by Jakob Nielsen.)

Fret not. THDR isn’t a permanent problem. It’s relatively easy to make your blog content easy-to-consume. This means guide your reader through it. If it looks like a piece of dense university research, no one’s going to look further than your headline.

10 actionable blogging tips to optimize for your blog for reader appeal.

  1. Hook readers in with a great title. As David Ogilvy, one of the original Mad Men stated – only 20% of potential readers will get past your headline. Make the most of it especially since in a social sharing world, people may decide to share your content without reading a single word!
  2. Include images. People are visual beings so that photographs are like reader magnets. We take in visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Therefore use a photo at the top of your post to pull readers in and use images through out to make it easier and more fun to consume. Think children’s books. (Here are 7 tips for using photographs in your blog.)
  3. Write short paragraphs. Write 3 to 4 sentences max and focus each paragraph on one idea. (Of course, do as I say, not as I do!) Short paragraphs appear easier to read.  If possible, place them in narrower columns to make it easier to scan. (Evelyn Woods speed-reading anyone?)
  4. Skip the $10 words -Use your audience’s language. Stick to short easy words. If a word is too hard to pronounce or has 3 syllables, readers will leave. 
  5. Use human language. Write your content as if it’s a conversation with real living beings, not some mumbo-jumbo from a corporate entity created by a computer.
  6. Leverage the power of bolding. Highlight the words and phrases you want readers to see, even if they’re not section headings.  Realize that if you use too much bolding, it will have the opposite effect.
  7. Use lists to facilitate information consumption. The goal is to make it easier for readers to scan quickly. Alternatively, incorporate an outline format.
  8. Leverage the power of white space. It underscores the power of your short paragraphs and reduces the feeling of being dense and difficult to understand.
  9. Use type size to provide a visual information guide. Think like an outline. Of course, make sure that all potential readers find your information readable. This means take into consideration the over 40 set who need reading glasses and avoid tiny type. Pay attention to the level of color contrast as well as. This is easy to test. An alternative is to allow readers to adjust the type size.
  10. Avoid marketing hype. Cut any words or information that don’t support the objective of your content. Content marketing and blogging work because they’re jargon-free information.

Take the time to make your blog content as user-friendly as possible to facilitate reader consumption and extend time on site.

What other tips would you recommend to increase blog post consumption?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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