How to Be a Better Blog Writer

Blogging: It’s so easy, anyone with access to an internet connection can do it!  And many (probably too many) do just that.

They blog.

But to blog well, well,  that’s a different story.  Being a writer in the digital age, I’ve scoured many blogs.  And let me tell you, some are quite awful, and the majority are mediocre at best.

It’s not that all of these bloggers are terrible writers (though some definitely are), it’s just that they’re going about it wrong.  You may say “But Tim, I don’t think I can change.”  I’m here to tell you that you can, and you will…if you are willing to listen.

And if you’re not willing to listen, there’s a good chance nobody will be listening to what you say on your blog.

(Adding pictures to a blog is a great idea)

Chop, Mix, and Don’t Repeat

Famed author William Faulker is known for many things.  One of these things is his ridiculously long sentences and paragraphs.  In his book Absalom, Absolum!, there is a particular sentence that contains 1287 words!

To give you perspective, that sentence is twice as long as this blog post.

While that may have been good and well in his day (and make no mistake, Faulkner is a great author), today’s internet audience isn’t exactly known for their attention span.

These are the people who skip six minute YouTube videos because “that’s too long“.  Even people who actively read books, magazines, etc. read differently when they are online.  It’s a fact.  I read about it…somewhere…once.

The point I’m making is, people skim when they read online.  If you have a paragraph of 5-10 sentences, people aren’t reading it.

I wouldn’t.

Takes too much time and attention.

I have three minute YouTube videos to watch.

And that’s the thing.  When you blog, you’re competing against the rest of the internet.  It’s not just about getting a person’s attention.  Anyone can do that.  It’s about keeping the person’s attention.  That’s hard.

It’s like you’re trying to instruct a  raccoon whilst standing in a room filled with shiny, sparkly objects.

YOU HAVE TO KEEP THEIR ATTENTION!

See how that last sentence jumped out at you?  I switched up the  typography to emphasize a point.  On top of chopping up the general information, you need to make your points stand out.

How you do that is up to you:

Make words bigger.

Make them bold.

CAPITALIZE THEM SO THAT PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE SHOUTING!!!!!

Most of us already employ such tactics in text messages, Facebook chat, and so on.  Take it to the next level.  Feel free to mix up different methods.  You’re an artist painting a picture with words.

An artist isn’t going to use just one color.

They won’t paint with just one brush.

Neither should you.  Just make sure to emphasize the right stuff or your sentences will read kind of weird and your points will be lost.  And once you made those points, MOVE ON.

This isn’t school where you had to reach so many words or pages in order to get a passing grade.  Be concise.  Don’t repeat yourself.  Don’t stretch things out.  Tell us what we need to know, highlight the main points, give us a cute little quote or “power sentence” to remember, and be done.

It’s Like Kool-Aid

Your message is the mix.

Your words are the water.

Your style is the stirrer.

The message by itself is too dry and overpowering.  So you use words to dilute it and make it easier to digest.  If you use too many words, the message is lost; we miss the full flavor.

And if you don’t mix it up with style, the message all just sinks beneath the words and gets lost.

Now go make some Kool-Aid!  Not literally.  Unless you’re thirsty.  Then by all means, go ahead.  Just make it right.  Okay?

One last thing, it’s good to end in a question or two so….

Did this post stand out to you?  If yes, do you see why it stood out to you? Do you think it would be easy for anyone to apply this advice to their own blog writing? Do you think internet-friendly style is making the average reader dumber?

(See those Facebook and Twitter icons to the left?  It’s great to share blog posts you found useful/thought-provoking/hilarious.  Go ahead and try it.  It feels good to share)

Other Posts You Might Like:

– Easy Tips for Better Writing

6 Responses to "How to Be a Better Blog Writer"

Written by Timothy Snyder
on October 30, 2012