When I started blogging nearly four years ago, I did it as a way to document what was going on in my life at the time. No more; no less. My blogs were far from perfect. I made lots of mistakes, from not adding graphics and not always writing my best to not promoting my blog -- partly because I just saw it as a way to share with friends and family. As time has moved forward, I believe my writing and my blog have improved. I've made several changes over the years: creating a new blog name, adding graphics, personalizing the theme, and becoming self-hosted, to name a few.
Part of the improvements have come from reading other blogs. About two years ago (or so), I discovered a whole world of bloggers existed. I started reading several regularly and exploring new blogs. With the advent of the blog hop, I found even more to read and follow.
Some blogs are beyond good; blogs that I consider my role models, such as The Bloggess and The Pioneer Woman. Good blogs develop followers. They have good writing and interesting topics. Not only that, but good blogs are reader-friendly. Here are six tips to making your blog friendlier to your readers.
1. Write in Paragraphs
When I get to a blog and see that it's just one giant paragraph, I close the window right away. It is EXTREMELY difficult to read through a never-ending paragraph. I refuse to do it. I'm sure I'm not the only one either.
Unless your blog post is only going to be two to four sentences, your blog should have multiple paragraphs.
2. Use Good Grammar and Spelling
Blog posts filled with spelling and grammatical errors make me cringe, and I'm by no means a grammar expert. If I see someone writing about how they hope to "loose weight" instead of "lose" it, I get annoyed. I realize that typos happen that you might not catch even though you read your post several times -- errors that even spell check misses. I've done it. Usually I feel like an idiot when I notice that I've done it. My issue is when a post is a page full of errors, or a when a blogger writes like they are texting their friends in shorthand.
Be sure to read over your material a few times to double (or triple) check your spelling and grammar. Oh, and NEVER use texting shorthand to write your blog post.
3. Write Content-Driven Posts
I have stumbled onto blogs that seem to ONLY have giveaways, sponsored posts, reviews, and/or blog hops. When I visit a blog, I am there to read content. If you have no content, it is unlikely that I will stick around or come back. Make sure that you write content-driven posts more often than giveaways, blog hops or other such posts.
Also, if you are linking up for a blog hop, don't link up to your blog hop. The hop is an opportunity to gain new readers. You won't do that by highlighting a post with no content.
4. Add Good Pictures and Graphics
In my early days of posting, I rarely added photos or graphics. Then, I discovered that adding a visual helps my posts.
Not all photos are good, though. A bad photo or graphic can hurt your blog more than not having one. A bad photo is particularly damaging to a food blogger. Recently, I've gone to a couple of food blogs and saw pictures that looked less than appetizing. I didn't even bother to look at the recipes.
Take multiple pictures from different angles until you get that great shot. (Good lighting helps the most.) Also, ask someone for feedback. If she saw your picture, would she be tempted to read your blog or pin your recipe? Heck, would you?
5. Have Reader-Friendly Blog Design
Unfortunately, I have read quite a few blogs with fonts that are difficult to read, or a header that takes up so much space that I have to scroll down just to see a post. These blogs might have great content, but I get so frustrated trying to get to it or read through a difficult font that I give up.
I've observed this about good blogs: They are easy to navigate, have a font that is easy to read, and are not overwhelmed with items in their header or sidebars.
When I moved my blog to self-hosted, I needed to find a new theme. My first consideration was to make my blog reader-friendly. I'm not sure I'm there yet. It is a constant work in progress for me.
6. Make It Easy to Leave a Comment
I absolutely HATE blogs that require you to jump through hoops just to leave a comment. I enjoy leaving comments, but I won't if I feel as if I'm doing an obstacle course to leave the comment.
Avoid using a comment system that requires your readers to be a member of Google+, Facebook, or Disqus (or other).
Stop using CAPTCHA. It is annoying. If I can't figure out what those letters and numbers are the first time, I doubt I will keep trying. I'm sure I'm not alone. You want to make it easy for your readers to leave comments.
Image: Becky Stern via Flickr
Originally posted on Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy
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