For your blog to be attractive to potential readers, there are three things that matter in equal measure:
Of these three, the last one often gets the least attention. I can certainly understand that, after all most of us are happy to leave any and all rules on writing and grammar behind us once we’re done with school and college.
But bloggers don’t always realize just how important attractive writing is to readers. Sloppy writing can turn away potential readers in your niche, even when your content is exactly what they are looking for. That’s because obvious mistakes make you look like an amateur instead of the professional, expert image you were aiming for.
So what does attractive writing look like? Here are five rules for making sure your blog writing is attractive:
1. Good use of punctuation
Most of us have the use of a period (full stop) at the end of a sentence down, though one recurring infamous mistake is putting a period behind a headline. There’s still a lot of confusion however about the use of comma’s, apostrophes, colons and semi-colons. There’s no way I could explain each and every rule here, but if you know this is a weak spot of yours, invest in a good style book.
2. Good use of grammar
There are many well-known mistakes that keep popping up in blog posts, for instance:
- It’s vs its
- They’re vs their
- Advice vs advise
- Affect vs effect
- Except vs accept
- You’re vs your
For many of these, the rules are actually quite simple. Invest some time and energy in getting it right. We’ve actually blogged about this before highlighting three practical infographics with many grammar tips.
You may think that it doesn’t matter because people will get what you mean despite the mistake, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Readers won’t take you seriously if you keep making these – sorry for putting it like this – dumb mistakes.
3. Good use of words
Attractive writing is all about using the right words. There are vague words we need to stop using, like ‘thing’, ‘stuff’, ‘really’ and ‘very’. There are cliché expressions to avoid, empty phrases to be cut out and passive words that need to become active (example: ‘I ran to the office’ is far more active than ‘I went to the office’).
The trick is to spend time defining what it is we want to say and then come up with those words that express exactly that. Not a cliché, passive, non-inspiring version of it, but exactly what we wanted to say in the first place.
4. Good use of paragraphs
I’ve written a whole post on using paragraphs to make your point, so let me just suffice by saying that an effective use of paragraphs will make your posts scannable, readable and professional.
5. Good use of rhythm
One of the things that’s hardest to ‘get’ for bloggers is the rhythm that comes with writing. A good rhythm isn’t easy to define, it’s one of those famous ‘I know it when I see it’ cases. Rhythm is about mixing short and long words, shorter and longer sentences, about playing with words and even using some rhetorical devices.
There are no hard rules for a good rhythm, also because it has to fit your writing style and your topic and niche. But it is something that you can check by trying to read your blog post out loud. How does it sound? Is it easy to follow, does it hold your attention, is there flow when you read it? If not, chances are you need to work on your rhythm…
What could you do to improve the quality and attractiveness of your writing?