Are your posts too long? Too short?
Too boring? Too self-centered?
Too hard to read? Too confusing to follow?
Too.. something, but you can’t put your finger on it?
An editing process can help you filter out the “you” that’s too much so you can focus on your readers, making your blog easier to read.
1. Write your thoughts down. Go back and edit later.
Most of my posts start out twice as long as they are when you read them.
I cut around 350 words from yesterday’s post about being original. It was “me” centered content about rebelling against the mold, and it didn’t add anything useful other than letting me vent some feelings. Inspiring you was the goal of my post. Remember the goal of each post you write and edit around that goal.
Never get so attached to your anecdotes or your emotions that you’re determined to include them even when they add no value for your readers.
When I edit I look for:
- Redundancy. I have a bad habit of making the same point three ways. You shouldn’t have to read that, you’re smart enough to understand the first time I express something.
- Unnecessary words. I tend to write sentences that have too many words. For me this includes words like: just, really, totally, usually, also, because. Watch yourself. You’ll see what words you overuse.
- Negativity. Unless there’s a specific reason to include negativity, I delete it. If you’ve got a personal blog and it’s what your readers expect, then vent away. If you’re blogging for business or to build your credibility, think about it before you eviscerate someone or something, or share your foibles in public.
2. Use lots of paragraphs.
We’re taught that paragraphs should be 4-6 sentences. Web content’s different. It’s easier to read short chunks.
Many of my paragraphs are one or two sentences long.
The “Enter” button is conveniently placed near your right-hand pinky finger. Click it. Often. I promise to read more of your posts if you do.
Don’t force me to take migraine meds because you forgot and I wanted to read your fabulous content anyway.
3. Format your text.
Use sub headings to make your blog posts easier to read (like I’ve used in this post so the numbered points appear larger/bolder than the rest of the text).
Use bulleted lists:
- for whatever content you want (doesn’t have to be a “list”)
- because they draw the reader’s eye
- make it easier to digest your information
- you’re reading this, aren’t you?
Use bold and italic. But don’t underline things that aren’t links, please. Many of us are confused by underlined text we can’t click.
4. Make your posts scannable.
We don’t read every word of a blog post. It’s the way our brains are programmed.
Make it easy on your “scanners” by using sub headings and bolding the main points or important text in your blog post.
Test it by “reading” only the sub headings and bolded text and see if it makes sense and if your reader would still get the main point you’re making or main info you want to share.
It takes practice. I’m still working on it. Learn as you go.
5. Illustrate your points.
We’re visual creatures. We love images. Include them in your posts.
Not sure where to grab images or how to add them? How to Find & Add Images to Your Blog Posts
This post started out at 1,000+ words. Now it’s 623. Imagine if it were 40% longer. And only one or two long paragraphs of text.
Yeah, I feel the migraine coming, too… someone hand me the Excedrin and some seriously strong coffee please… and don’t let me forget to grab the scissors and the duct tape before I post!