Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quick, Dirty Blogging Tips for Writers and Authors

Six tips for enticing readers to click on your blog when they see it posted around the Web or in social media groups. The tips range from beginner to more advanced. I've also included some links and tools for enhancing your blogs with images.


1) Headlines: Short and to the point

Remember readers are scanning posts in social media groups and their inboxes. If a headline is too cutesy or hard to understand, most folks will move on.

Include the catchiest info in the first few words of the headline. Anyone viewing their inbox in a reduced screen or a cell phone will only see part of your headline. Let them see the best part.

2) First Paragraph: Summarize the contents of the post.

If you are posting your blog to social media groups, your post will likely appear with the top image on your blog with the first paragraph. If the first paragraph is too clever and unscrutable, scanning readers will move on.


3) Include a piece of art at the top of your blog

Again, if you are posting to social media, the site will grab your top image.  Select images that will look good when they are reduced to thumbnails when posted to social media. A clever image that is small and involved will be unrecognizable when reduced.

Do not use a caption on the top image! I use Blogger for my blog and whenever I include a caption on the top art, something screws up in my posts to Linked In, etc. Linked In will grab the caption instead of the first paragraph. There goes the first paragraph I spent time polishing.

Find free, legal images at Creative Commons.

Crop images with a free, relatively, easy to use program, such as Irfanview.

4) Remember to add labels and fill out search descriptions

Blogger allows you to add labels to posts and create a search description that will appear when your article appears in a Google search. If you're in a hurry, just rewrite the first paragraph of your blog.

 5) How long, how often?

According to conventional wisdom from years past, bloggers were supposed to post short articles daily. What a waste of time. I've found that writing longer, more useful post weekly or even twice a month generates traffic and entices people to sign up.

6) Include a sign-up box at the end of your blog

 No magic here: putting a box where readers can easily find it increases sign ups. I went from one sign-up a month to as many as 20 a month.

Attribution for image: By 百楽兎 [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GPL], via Wikimedia Commons

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