Writers love to write.
Blogging is a great fit.
Write as much as you want for your blog.
You might even attract Followers.
They might even Like what you write.
But do they actually READ your blog?
No, I’m not talking about people who press the Like button without even looking at your post.
(WHAT? People actually do that? Oh, the horror…)
Rather, I’m talking about people who do click to view your post, who scroll all the way to the end, who spend a good amount of time on your page.
Those people, do they actually READ your post?
(Well why the #$%& wouldn’t they? What else would they be doing, picking their noses? Ugh. Don’t smear that junk on my blog, please.)
Actually, it’s very common for people who ‘read’ a blog to SKIM it rather than read it.
SKIMMING VS. READING
Not everyone who does this may be willing to publicly admit to it.
But consider it. People who read blogs are busy. There are many blogs they wish to check out.
- They read a blog vertically, scrolling down.
- They look for headings, keywords, emphasized text to help guide them along.
- They search for main points.
- They like to see separation, e.g. with bullet points or block quotes.
- Their eyes may be attracted to images.
They might skip ahead to the conclusions or jump to the comments.
They might not like to read long paragraphs. They don’t read blogs like they read a novel. There are different kinds of writing, and there are different kinds of reading, too. A long paragraph can be intimidating. Or rather, it represents a long commitment. Will it be worth reading that long paragraph? I have to be at work soon. There are other blogs I’d really like to check out. One long paragraph by itself isn’t really such a problem, but let’s say that you string several together with no separation. Now that’s a commitment. You really have to earn your audience’s trust that it will be worth reading through that long stretch. Headings, emphasized text, images, and other blogging tools can help show what each section of your writing is about. To help the reader—ehem, skimmer—judge if he/she is willing to make the commitment. To help guide the reader—er, skimmer—along. To help the busy skimmer extract the main points. If the skimmer likes the main point, the skimmer can then decide to read all the other text that surrounds is.
Not everyone reads blogs the same way, of course.
But writing for a blog isn’t the same as writing a story.
It may be worth thinking about the difference.
Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
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