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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Reblogged this on Poetry by Pamela.
Better question: Who reads a reblog? Heh. 🙂
I had to grin at your comment.
Who reads the comments? (Oh. Now we know.) 🙂
My tummy thanks you for laughter, yes (grin) I read the post and sometimes the comments.
And still have so much time to smile! 🙂
ALWAYS time for smiles!
This post skims nicely. Actually, I read this one but have to admit I often skim. You are right, the emphasis and spacing is important.
We might need to start up Skimmer’s Anonymous. 🙂
I’m one of those skimmers. However, if I find that the post has interesting or important content, I go back to the beginning and read it. And if it’s a post that has nothing but humongous paragraphs, I find those difficult to read. Some people don’t know how to make paragraphs.
That serves as a kind of preview.
The proper reward for humungous paragraphs is, of course, a humungous comment. 🙂
Unless the paragraph is 2 or 3 pages long 🙂
Then I would prefer to reread Kafka’s aptly named The Trial. 🙂
I do both depending on busyness and device I’m using. I seem to skim more on my phone than my laptop.
Skreading. There, now we have a word for it. 🙂
I always read your posts, Chris. Seems you would have a billion ways to find out if I hadn’t. In truth, you’ve taught me so much. I am thankful for you.
Billions and billions read. That’s my goal. 🙂
I read that comment carefully, just so you know. 🙂
I’ll admit…I do sometimes skim. You can learn a lot from skimming though.
Absolutely. College students rely on it as a learning tool, for example. 🙂
In all honestly, I can’t get through big chunky paragraphs with no white space.
WordPress needs to introduce a new, optional paragraph splicing tool for reading webpages. 🙂
The blog, the comments … and even reblogs…. 😉
Beautifully crafted to illustrate your point, Chris.
Thank you. 🙂 (But the pingbacks, those we better read carefully. Haha.)
Too damned right 😉
Great post. I sometimes skim and sometimes don’t. Kind of depends on the thickness of the post and length.
There should be an app to measure such things and suggest whether we read or skim a particular post. 🙂
We’ll said, Chris. I have a variety of reading styles, based upon time and place and how much my tech devices are willing to cooperate.
I find that their cooperation is inversely proportional to my needs. 🙂
Great post. I was reading something similar on Toni’s blog the other day, http://mywriteofpassageblog.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/tuesday-tip-18/
As I commented there, I have found the following to be useful:
1. Use photos (preferably humorous) to illustrate a point. They break the “text-only” feel of the post and make it easier to read. This is especially useful in longer posts.
2. Use tip-boxes that highlight the main takeaway of each section. I saw this in a post by MMJaye, and decided I wanted to mimic it, given half a chance (I haven’t so far, but that’s because I’m lazy, not because it’s not a great idea) 🙂
You can see it in action on http://mmjayewrites.com/2014/11/21/time-saving-tips-for-using-stockphoto-sites-plus-casting-for-fate-accompli/
Great tips and links. I should have asked your help in finding references before I published my post. Well, better late than never. 🙂
Aw, that’s kind of you! I think the post turned out just fine 🙂
I never hit a ‘like’ without reading thoroughly, or, if necessary, skimming heavily. How’s that? I work hard to write a blog that people start to skim and then stop and say, ‘wait, what did she just say?’ and then go back and read the entire post. That’s my hope, anyway. 🙂
I like that idea. 🙂
Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
I’m always hoping that visitors READ rather than SKIM my blog posts – especially since they are introducing Authors and giving GREAT information and advice from those who have much more expertise than me
So when you’ve read ALL of Chris’s article, why note check out the rest of his (and mine)
GO ON you KNOW you WANT to
Take food and liquids with you on your journeys of exploration and ENJOY! 😀
The secret to enjoying the post is to read it.
Thank you for reviving this article. 🙂
Good, like a great dessert, second helpings are in order 😀
You pretty much described my blog reading strategy to a tee! Thanks!
Welcome to skimmers anonymous. 🙂
Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
Some sound advice on jazzing up your blog posts to encourage reading, liking, commenting and sharing.. seemed to have ticked all the boxes here then Chris….
Thank you for the reblog and nice introduction. 🙂
That’s very interesting. I am a blogger. I will save this and read it over again. Meantime, Stay Cheeky…
I hope it helps. 🙂
I am sad about the sorry state of writing that blogging, texting and emoticons have driven us to utilize.
Almost no one can spell except in text-speak and one-sentence paragraphs are seemingly necessary because of readers’ short attention span and the glaze-over effect of longer paragraphs.
I am the ONLY one who understands parallel construction but feel both underappreciated, since no one comments on or compliments me on it, and derided, since everyone else’s mistakes seem to mock my excellence.
Good writing online is as rare as it is everywhere else, at this point. People in broadcasting don’t seem to understand matching singular subjects with singular verbs, so why should anyone else? None of us wants a know-it-all, : (.
Wurst is the wank thank auto-contact maids foals if os awl.
beset to you, anyweight,
Well said. The future of writing seems a bit scary. (My ‘smart’ phone seems to think it’s smarter than I am, as it often insists that I mean to write one thing when I try to write another. When the writing mechanism ceases to require a mind, all will be lost…)
Valid thought provoking points.
Thank you. 🙂
I read all shorter posts, but if it is really long, I’ll skim first to determine if I there is enough useful content to read the whole thing. When I write book reviews for my blog, I write short reviews with hopefully enough information that the reader will gain enough to pique his/her interest.
Chris, I read all of this post! 🙂
Thank you. I feel like doing a touchdown dance now. Ha ha. 🙂
Another touch-down for you. I read all the blog too! Yup, I’m a skimmer! And with some posts, I look, like & leave if it’s soooo long with no breaks! I do have my favorites that I faithfully read. But, I have to remember writing time comes first!
Thank you. WordPress should add a new TouchDown button. Heh. 🙂
It is easy to get absorbed in the WordPress Reader…
Great points, Chris. This post is one example of what bloggers can do to make their posts easier to read.
I try to read all the blogs I follow, and it gets onerous when most of them are very long. In turn, that taught me to keep my own posts to between 180 to 500 words max, and to break them up with pictures, bolding, asterisks or sub-titles to show a change in thought.
Best wishes for the new year.
Thank you. 🙂 Keeping posts short is a good idea, though for me is pretty tough to do.
Thank you, Chris.
I find it hard to keep my posts short too. Maybe it’s the same with most writers.
So I have trained myself to write most of my posts and put them away for a few hours or a day before re-reading. That’s the time when I spot the words I can do without, and when I’m less married to them.
Good idea. 🙂
I read it, Chris. I didn’t ‘skim’ it.
That’s great to hear. Thank you. 🙂