Are you familiar with the term bounce rate? It’s an SEO/Web analytics term that basically denotes the people who come to your website or blog, take one look at it, and immediately navigate to another page. Imagine these readers saying: “Nope! Not what I was looking for!”
Bounce rate is an important concept to think about, even beyond looking at your actual numbers. From an SEO standpoint, a high bounce rate can drag down your Google clout. More generally and more obviously, though, if people are finding your site and then leaving it immediately, your content obviously isn’t working. It’s not even having a chance to work.
The Blogger’s Dilemma
This has long been the blogger’s dilemma: How do you get people to not only click on your blog post, but actually read it? There’s no magic solution here. To a large extent it requires you to find an interesting topic and connect with curious readers—no small feat!
More basically and more generally, though, there are a few simple steps you can take to make your blogs more engaging—more readable. Consider the following:
- Keep your posts short. It’s simple math, right? The shorter your post, the more likely it is people will take the time to read it. Now, don’t go too short; much below 400 words could be a problem for your SEO. But somewhere in the 400-500 range is usually good for simpler topics, 800 words or so for complex topics.
- Keep your posts focused. Don’t have a blog post that addresses two distinct topics. Focus on one topic, and save the other for a second blog post. Maintain your reader’s attention by being thematically consistent and coherent.
- Use formatting that lends itself to readability. You should have plenty of white space surrounding your text, and each line of text should be fairly brief—maybe 75-80 words or so. Don’t pick a blog format that detracts from readability.
- Keep paragraphs short. As far as readability goes, short, 3-4 sentence paragraphs are always better than epic chunks of text. This is also why lists and bullet points can be useful.
- Don’t let SEO get in the way. Have you ever come across a blog post that used a phrase like “best North Carolina oral surgeon” 15 times in the span of 500 words? That’s SEO keyword stuffing, and in addition to being a poor technical strategy, it’s also a great way to make your posts completely unreadable.
It really goes without saying, but: You need people to read your posts—not just click on the headlines and then immediately click away. Without actual readers, your content isn’t doing you much good. For help constructing really gripping, readable posts, contact Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444, or www.grammarchic.net.