It’s almost Halloween and I’d be remiss if I didn’t spook up the Roundpeg blog a little bit. Prepare yourself, dear reader, for what you are about to read is by far the scariest, most terrifying blog post you have ever read. You’ve been warned!
There’s plenty to be afraid of around Halloween time. But, there’s something far scarier than the ghastliest ghoul. More sinister than the horrible monster living in your closet. More petrifying than even the most bloodthirsty beast.
And worst of all, these creatures come around more than just once a year. They are always lurking. Always ready to strike their next unsuspecting victim.
Bad blog posts!!!
I know that was pretty scary, so quickly look at some cat pictures to calm your nerves before we continue. Ready? Ok.
Yes, bad blog posts are very real, very scary and everywhere you look. Now, the kind of bad blog posts I’m talking about aren’t bad because of their content, although those certainly do exist too. I’m talking about blog posts that are terrifying on a technical level.
Fortunately, much like the fangs of a vampire or the excessive fur of a werewolf, bad blog posts also have tell-tale signs that make them easy to spot. So, whether is an informational read on a random website or looking to start your own blog, here’s what to watch out for in bad blog posts.
Unless of course you are some madman, hell-bent on creating the most horrifying, unreadable blog posts known to mankind. Then this is more of a tutorial.
Bad blog posts can bury you alive. But instead of locking you in a coffin, bad blog posts do it with words.
A cluttered page is extremely hard for a reader to take in. It’s also a giant turn-off. Imagine opening a link to a blog post with nothing but a headline followed by copy in 12-point font: does that sound attractive to you at all? Didn’t think so. If you don’t even want to read your own blog post, how can you expect anyone else to?
A good blog post makes itself accessible to its audience and is easy to read. A simple way to do this is to break down your blog post into sections. Devote each section to a different subject and designate it with a headline. Headlines not only help add a little white space and break up copy, but they also help guide your reader through the page. If they don’t have time to read the whole blog post at that very moment, headlines can help them find the information they are looking for.
Even with the presence of headlines and multiple sections, a blog post full of good content can be boring. And boredom can kill!
Just kidding, it won’t actually kill. What it will do though is decrease the chances of someone actually sticking around long enough read your entire blog and getting the awesome information contained within. When you are laying out your blog, always think about ways to keep readers engaged and interested.
A great way to keep your blogs interesting is to pepper in images, GIFs and/or videos throughout your article. They can help keep your audience engaged while at the same time supplementing the content. Maybe a goofy GIF doesn’t fit into your technical piece, but you can still add things like figures to keep it interesting.
Another easy way to keep your content fresh is by emphasizing content by putting it in a numbered list or bullet point form. This helps to put a certain amount of emphasis behind the information and subtly implies that it could be more valuable than the rest.
A classic study a few years showed that the typical human has an attention span of right around 8 seconds, shorter than that of a goldfish. You can blame it on smart phones, TV, whatever you want. But, you can’t ignore it.
On the internet, the short attention spans of readers make it difficult for even short blog posts to be read to completion, let alone lengthy ones. But, you also have to keep in mind that Google algorithms can penalize blog posts that are too short, putting you between a rock and a hard place.
A rule of thumb for a good blog post is to keep the word count between 600 and 800 words. A little more than that is OK, but if you find yourself writing upwards of 1,000 words for a blog post you may want to take a step back. You are entering the danger zone. Perhaps the topic you are writing about would be fit for two shorter posts instead of one giant one?
There are several things that go into making a truly scary blog post. However, there’s a lot more that goes into making an awesome one. Happy Halloween and happy writing.