Want More Readers?

While preparing my next newsletter, I noticed that my last one had a bunch of great information in it. I don’t want anyone to miss out, so here it is to give you a taste of what goes into my newsletters. If you like it, please sign up to get monthly installments and your free copy of Read to Write: Conflict and Suspense.

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So many places to post content. Make it good content!

Give your readers what they want how they want it

No matter what you are publishing to the web, your readers are going to read it differently than they would a book or other type of written media.

Studies have shown (Nielsen 2006) that people tend to scan web content. They look at the title, subtitle and first paragraph and then quickly scan to the end. This has led to two ideas of content design:

Both ideas work together. The F-shape design emphasizes grabbing your reader’s attention with an exciting title, an informative sub-title and summarizing what you are going to talk about in your first paragraph.

The upside-down pyramid is a design where you put the most important thing you want to say (or the conclusion) at the top of your post and make sure everything that needs to be read is on the top two thirds of the page.

Make your content sexy

Sexy content has nothing to do with sex (unless you’re writing erotica). It’s all about reader appeal. What makes someone look at your page of content and think, I want to read this? White space.

White space? Then why write anything, right? No, the blank page isn’t sexy. The sexiness of white space is the breath between ideas, like a rest in music creating suspense.

To create white space in your content you can use:

  • titles
  • subtitles
  • bulleted lists
  • numbered lists
  • infographics
  • images
  • tables
  • videos
  • links

In other words, anything that provides useful information and breaks up the text.

Accessibility

For me, one of the most interesting sections of learning to write for the web was the discussion of accessibility. When scrambling to finish a blog post, or in the excitement of posting a video to youtube, it is easy to forget to make our posts inclusive to as many people as possible.

When posting blog posts and videos in the past, I put very little thought into the image descriptions and alternate text. I didn’t really understand the purpose off these extra steps. But they have a very special purpose.

Imagine that you can’t see. How would you know what the image looks like that the blog post references? The digital voice on your computer would read the description of the image.

Now imagine you can’t hear. The website you are looking at has a great video, but you can’t hear a word the person is saying. Adding text to your video gives this reader access.

Spending just a little extra time with accessibility tools can enhance your content and increase your readability.

SEO: Titles and Key Words

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become big business. It is how websites, blogs, people, anything, is found through a search engine on the web.  Increasing your SEO may increase your readership. How do you increase your SEO? By using the key words your readers are searching for in your titles, key words and content.

Overwhelming, right? Not anymore. Last month you learned about creating personas. You spent time researching and getting to know your readers. Now, ask each persona, What did you type into your search engine (maybe assign a different search engine to each persona–Fred uses Bing, Jenna uses Yahoo, etc.) to find this content?

This exercise changed my ideas about key words. When I first started blogging, I listed my key words for a blog post one word at a time, but when I search for things I very rarely type one word searches. Pay attention to how you search the web. Try to image yourself searching for a topic and finding your website or blog. How did you get there?

Making sure that your titles, subtitles and phrases in your content all include your key word phrases will increase your SEO.

Take Away

Even if you have taken the time to write and edit the most interesting, well-written content that you know your readers will love because you did the research and took the time to get to know your readers and your competition, you still need to present your content in a way that will appeal to how they read on the web.

Do all of your Holiday Shopping right here! Then you’ll be done!

Pictured: Wooden jigsaw puzzles from Artifact Puzzles, Gator McBumpypants picturebooks and T-shirts and pillow cover from Red Bubble

Pictured: Wooden jigsaw puzzles from Artifact Puzzles, Gator McBumpypants picturebooks, and T-shirts and pillow cover from Red Bubble

Get All Your Christmas Shopping Done Right Here!

Think of all the great people on your Christmas list. I bet, even though you want to get each person something great, you are dreading the drudgery of driving all over town from store to store only to shell out money for the latest piece of plastic that your loved ones most likely won’t even appreciate.

Now, imagine with only a few clicks right here, from this page, all of your shopping could be complete. Each person you want to celebrate with will have a unique and thoughtful gift and you don’t need to move from your seat. Sounds amazing, right?

 

A great gift for the whole family

To keep every mind in the family sharp, take a look at Artifact Puzzles. Their beautiful wooden jigsaw puzzles are wonderful at any gathering. They are great collectors items because they are fun to do over and over again.

My family has a tradition of setting out one or two Artifact Puzzles for after meal entertainment. They are a great group activity and really bring people together. Artifact Puzzles has puzzles for all ages and skill ranges.

 

Give the gift of reading this year

Think of your gift list again. Think of the adorable little ones running around and screaming. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were sitting quietly being read to or reading a book? For children new born to age seven-ish, Gator McBumpypants adventures  are fun colorful stories that teach children about appreciating the differences in others and making friends. The stories are about being brave and trying new things.

Gator McBumpypants is a fun, sweet read that takes you through the highs and lows of friends that discover the greatness with each other and with themselves. What a delightful read and the choice of photography is brilliant! The perfect story to fuel the imagination in us all.                                                         – Amazon reviewer Zappathedog

With three adventures, each a standalone story and more to come, Gator McBumpypants books are gifts that keep on giving.

Already own all the Gator McBumpypants books? I have designed Gator McBumpypants products over at Red Bubble. There are onesies for the babies and pillows, tote bags and many more fun products for Gator McBumpypants lovers of any age.

 

Looking for something unique, creative and fun?

Interested in unique art products for the creatives and fashion conscious on your list? Head over to Red Bubble. At Red Bubble art and photography can be purchased as prints, posters and cards, or products like tablet and phone covers, T-shirts and sweatshirts, and so much more. Simply click on one of the images to see all of the great products with that design on them.

Have a nature lover in your family? How about an animal calendar or a tote bag? You will find something for everyone over at Red Bubble.

 

There you go! Gifts for everyone. Now, think of all the free time you have to read, write, relax and reward yourself.

Merry Christmas              Happy Holidays             My Best to You and Yours