Thursday, February 2, 2012

Writing for Blog Readers

Keep it short, simple and to the point.

In the old days, writers wrote for readers who liked to read. I tried reading Henry James' Portrait of a Lady and couldn't get through the first two chapters. It was written for a different generation who read for the love of reading. Those readers died with the invention of modern communicative technology. 

Our generation reads for content. The most popular books are plot-driven or self-help. Blog posts replaced long news articles. Email replaced longhand letters. Twitter? Enough said.

Readers today want the bottom line. I'll abandon ship on books, blog posts, and even FB status updates if they're too wordy. Most of the internet populace is the same way! If I want people to read my work, I need to write for them.

Here are four tips that I use when writing blog posts:

  1. I try to say it quickly. If I can combine two similar sentences, I do. 
  2. I cut out redundancy as best I can. 
  3. I break up long paragraphs. Several short paragraphs that are all the same length is just as tedious to read as a chunky one. Variety in length is more interesting to a reader.  
  4. I think a good intro and conclusion is a sentence for each (see tip 1). A blog post isn't a research paper. I used to "fluff" long papers in college, but that's a bad habit to bring into the blogosphere. 

Obviously everyone doesn't have to write like me. I'm just saying that since, I'm more inclined to read shorter, meatier blog posts, than long drawn-out ones, I'm going to assume my readers are too.

Just food for thought! 

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