10 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Blog Posts
- PostedMarch 10, 2017
If you’re looking to make your blog posts better, but don’t have a ton of time, use these quick tips to make big improvements in a short amount of time.
Here we go:
#1 Incorporate More Images
Images stick with us and help us remember. They can tell a story faster than words and convey a broad range of emotions.
Blogging is about telling your own story, so, make sure you’re using the power that images bring to your storytelling process.
Even if you don’t have a budget for a ton of stock photos or have a photographer on your staff, take out that 12 megapixel camera in your pocket (read: your smartphone) and make a few cool images to use over and over on your blog.
#2 Tell a Story
Stories have a profound effect on our brain, and if you can communicate effectively by using the art and science of storytelling, your message will resonate for much longer.
When you frame your message with the key components of every story, you will increase your readers’ memory of your message, engage them emotionally and more readily influence their behavior.
Review the structure of your posts, and check for these structural pieces of every story:
CHARACTERS - CONFLICT - RESOLUTION
BEGINNING - MIDDLE - END
Then, make the story that you’re telling an epic one.
#3 Link to Other Posts (on your site)
If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you will start to develop posts that relate to each other. You will have complimentary posts or even those that can form a series.
Use this built-in relationship between your posts to give your visitors reason to stick around your site for longer. There is no easier and more effective way to do this than by linking to other posts and resources on your website.
Just make sure to do it in a logical way that actually provides value to your customers. No one likes being lead around on a frustrating series of links that don’t get them where they want to go.
By the way, if you’re looking for a simple framework for generating blog post ideas, check out our post on How to Start Blogging in 3 Simple Steps.
#4 Link to Other Posts (on other sites)
Content marketing is about giving before your get.
Linking to posts on other sites allows you to do this in 2 distinct ways: giving readers additional resources and giving traffic to someone else’s site.
When you link outside of your site, you’re directing visitors to information that isn’t going to directly lead to sales for you. You’re providing value without getting anything immediately in return, which is at the heart of content marketing and an inbound methodology.
You’re also giving a shout out to another website, business or organization,helping them build their brand and increase their audience. Inbound links greatly affect a site’s SEO, and they will probably appreciate the gesture.
And it’s likely they’ll return the favor, link to your site in the future, and help improve your SEO.
That’s inbound methodology in action.
While we’re on the topic, we love the Free Content Marketing Course from HubSpot Academy, if you haven’t checked it out yet.
#5 Keep Paragraphs Short
Forget what your middle school grammar teacher taught you about paragraphs having a minimum of five sentences. Trim your paragraph sizes down, more often than not.
This will accomplish two things.
It will allow your readers to more easily follow the points you make.
It will turn fewer readers away when they give your blog post the blink test to decide how long they’ll need to spend to get value out of your post.
Long, never-ending paragraphs make your posts harder to read, and they turn would-be readers away.
Paragraphs can be as short as you need them to be.
End of story.
See what we did there?
#6 EDIT, EDIT, EDTI EDIT
Editing has many facets: ensuring logical flow, correcting grammar, checking for easy readability and so on. While all of these are extremely important to your content creation process, at the very minimum, make sure to edit your posts for easy-to-fix typos and errors.
You have precious minutes, and sometimes seconds, to establish your brand with a new website visitor. Don’t quickly discount your credibility by failing to complete this simple step.
#7 Avoid Jargon
I was once told by an experience sales manager:
“If you can’t explain it to a five-year-old, you’re not communicating it clearly enough.”
This doesn’t mean you have to treat your audience like they’re stupid or dumb down your message. It does, however, illustrate the fact that you are the expert and you’re educating non-experts in your field.
You don’t want to use terms, acronyms and phrases that aren’t second nature to them. Whether they are confused by complicated wording or frustrated with references they don’t recognize, you will turn them away quickly if you don’t keep your writing free from unrecognizable industry jargon and acronyms.
#8 Use Active Voice
When you write in the active voice, you communicate more directly with your readers. They understand and follow you more easily.
Writing in the passive voice can lead to longer, more confusing sentences. Or it can simply make things more boring for your readers.
With the short attention span of readers today, you just can’t afford to bore them.
If you’re not sure if you’re using the active voice, use these quick checks:
Is your subject acting or being acted on? Does the subject of your sentence appear near the beginning? Could your sentence say the same thing with few words?
Here is a quick example of active vs. passive voice:
I threw the ball. - Active The ball was thrown by me. - Passive
Still not sure?
Check out this free tool that can help you identify passive voice and other weak spots in your writing:
#9 Keep Point of View Consistent
There will be different times in your blogging that you’ll want to use first-person, second-person or third-person point of view. They each have their place, and they each have their pros and cons.
We won’t get into all of those details here, but suffice it to say that you should keep the point of view consistent throughout your post.
If you’re telling a story using “you” and “your,” don’t suddenly switch to “I” and “me,” changing the subject of your story without good reason. Keeping the point of view consistent will simply make your writing more readable.
#10 Use Lists
Notice how formatting this post as a list made it easier to read.
You may have scrolled through and only read the most applicable sections for you. We don’t mind. That just means you were able to find what was valuable to you even faster.
Turning your article into a list will make it easier to digest for your readers, too.