I’m easily excited. The sea? Oooh! A puppy? My favourite! Dinner with friends? Could life get any better? So, when I stumble across a new blog or website, I’m prone to positivity and excitement. My interest may die on the first page, it may take weeks to be snuffed out, or I could add it to my list of favourites and stick with it. So, what sets these apart? Where did some of them go wrong when I’m unsubscribing or deleting from my bookmarks?
My mom always says there’s no worse combination than someone who’s boring and has bad breath. I’m not even that fussy about their breath… Your initial hook is your headline, so make it interesting. Invest time and thought into it. Play with it. Edit it. Delete it. Just make it a hook. Make it stand out. And then, once someone has been drawn in, keep aiming high. Keep it short, simple and engaging. And maintain your own voice. We’d read the phone book if we didn’t care about plot and character development. So, care. Use metaphors, paint pictures, implement practical examples.
For me, this can go in either direction. Too often or too seldom – both irk me. I feel a little hypocritical here, though. There have been times that I’ve gone months without posting. Usually around my wedding, moving towns, settling into a new home. Obviously, we all have reasons. But my blog suffered and my readers did too. I’m sorry. I’ll keep trying harder. Posting too often and, even worse for me, continuing to re-share old content, irritates and frustrates the readers wanting relevant and consistent content. But, also, a life.
I will not read a post that goes on for days. If it’s something I’m really into, I’ll scan it in search of bullet points and subheadings. Generally, 500 words is the ‘right’ length. Of course, this is just a guideline. A longer post that is engaging or a short post that is rich in info may have the same sort of kick; so feel it out.
We have to allow everyone the dignity of their own opinion. When I read the words of someone that lacks respect for others, I’m immediately put off, even if I agreed with his stance in the first place. The internet is a breeding ground for frustration-fuelled commenters that I like to call Couch Crusaders. They bravely defend their opinions in words, empowered by their relative anonymity. Still, as bloggers and writers, we have the responsibility to show respect all the time and not engage in discrimination, hate, anger or prejudice. Just be the better person. No amount of cutting syntax is going to convince them you’re right.
Keeping readers engaged is about so much more than sharing your insights or opinions. Keep at it, and let your blog grow with you and express your voice in the best way possible.