by Cari Bennette
It’s hard to know when to stop sometimes, isn’t it? Over the last few years, it’s been drilled into our heads that we must deliver outstanding content to be a successful blogger. If we don’t, Google will reject us. And no one wants to be rejected by Google.
So we add a bit more, tinkering here and there in hopes of finding the right combination of eye candy to entice our readers. But none of it really seems to work and what we’re left with is visual clutter, overworked posts, and unremarkable content.
So, how do we streamline our blogging process to deliver the relevant, quality content our readers demand? Let’s see what the online authorities can share to help us in our quest for blogging simplicity.
#1. Have a Personality
According to John Rampton’s online article in the Huffington Post “The best way to connect with your audience is to let them see the person behind the words.” In a word, authenticity.
This can feel a bit daunting at first as we tend to equate authenticity with vulnerability. But in this context, it’s about revealing just a little bit of ourselves; our hopes and aspirations, fears and doubts that will create a common connection with the reader.
Some techniques to let your authenticity show are:
- Write the same as you talk. If you don’t speak like an English professor, don’t try to be one in your writing. Let your personal idiosyncrasies show through as these are the quirks that make us uniquely individual. And they’re endearing to your readers, creating a bond of familiarity.
- Write about what you know. Resist the temptation to dive into the pool of popular online subjects to be seen as on-topic or trending and stick to what you know. Your passion will shine through when you write from the heart.
- Speak directly to your readers. Ask them pertinent questions, get to know what they want and what problems they have that you can solve. Share some personal stories, problems and solutions to strengthen the connection with your readers.
#2. Use Simple Words
In a post from Dean Rieck on Copyblogger, he states that “Brilliant writing is simple writing, a relevant idea delivered clearly and directly” and urges bloggers to use simple words in place of complex ones.
Also, Jeff Bullas echoes this sentiment and urges bloggers to avoid the trap of trying to be too clever by using complicated words. He makes a valid point that many readers are just starting to learn about your topic and will need to be guided gently; overuse of complex words or heavy handed industry verbiage can be intimidating to someone new to your subject.
Or, as Arthur Schopenhauer said “One should use common words to say uncommon things.”
#3. Keep Content Simple and Visually Appealing
Your blog posts are visual representations of your work, the first impression your audience has when they visit your blog or website. And like any good artistic composition, its beauty lies in its simplicity.
When our eyes first alight on a scene, they’ll scan it for visual cues to send to the brain to make sense of what’s seen. Too much visual information and we can’t make sense of what’s before us, which causes irritation. Keeping your page simple allows the eyes to find the cues, or purpose, for being there.
Randi Stevenson’s post, “Keeping Content Simple” sums it up nicely: “… I’m far more likely to stay on a page that’s engaging, easy to read and flows nicely.”
Her tips for visual simplicity include:
- Think like a newspaper and keep your important content above the fold.
- Keep your paragraphs short and sweet to separate thoughts and keep the reader moving quickly.
- Create a post-specific call to action to draw attention and get a response.
- Ensure your pictures and text mesh together seamlessly.
- Pay attention to formatting details. Formatting should be as professional as possible to keep reader distractions to a minimum.
#4. Simplicity Equals Focus
Yes, focus plays a huge part in the whole blogging process. Jon Loomer contends that his lack of early success was primarily due to a lack of focus. He’s come to the conclusion that the simplicity of staying on topic, and on only one topic per post, is critical to blogging success.
Mr. Loomer states that simplicity of focus:
- Helps SEO by leveraging searches for specific content.
- Helps the readers “… to find the answer quickly, and writing well defined titles with focused content will bring in happy readers.” And,
- It helps the blog. By drilling deep into a topic, the process naturally creates many sub-topics to write about. Which makes the process of writing more enjoyable as he no longer scrambles for writing inspiration by trying to force a topic.
#5. Edit Like a Pro
In a post on boostblogtraffic.com, copyeditor Shane Arthur compares an author’s first draft to that of a diamond in the rough, and that discerning editing will transform the rough into a polished gem.
By learning to cut out fluffy filler words, using power words and phrases, and to “hack the flab from our writing by shortening our sentences,” our writing will become purposeful and polished.
A good exercise to flex the ruthless-editing muscles is to write an 800 word piece, then trim it to 500 while still retaining the key point. It’s a wonderful and strange feeling of liberation to learn the editorial craft of becoming concise as a poet.
And there you have 5 tips from the authorities to keep your blogging simple. Learning to simplify and eliminate the unnecessary from your writing is like cleaning the soot from the glass of a lantern; it allows the light of your authenticity to shine through and illuminate the path for others to follow.
Cari Bennette is a freelance writer, content author for JetWriters and ghost blogger. She has been writing professionally for almost four years and can’t imagine herself not generating at least a thousand words a day.
This post was originally featured on Bookbaby’s blog.