Fri 14 Aug 09
When you've spent three hours - or more - crafting a brilliant blog post, filled with unique insight and valuable information, you want people to pay attention. Am I right?
People have a very short attention span.
But when it comes to publishing content on the internet, you have to remember one thing: People have a very short attention span.
On the internet, most people don't read. They skim. They might read your first line, scroll down a little, see if anything catches their eye - and if nothing does, they'll be on their way again. There are millions of things to read out there. Why should they waste a second reading what you've written?
In this article, I'll give you a series of tips to help you improve your blog posts and catch visitors' attention. If you want your visitors to engage more with your content, implementing some of these tips can help you achieve this.
1. Write wonderful posts
First things first. You need to be writing posts that are worth reading. To help you do this, ask yourself what purpose your blog post serves: Is it informative? Is it entertaining? Is it thought-provoking? Is it challenging? Figure out why people should read your posts before expecting them to do so.
2. Include photos
Big, beautiful photos go a long way to setting a blog post apart. Remember, people have short attention spans. Give them something beautiful to look at and you increase the chance they'll hang around and delve deeper.
How to include a photo in your Travellerspoint blog:
Adding photos is simple on Travellerspoint with the Img button in your blog editing panel. Just click Img, find the photo you want to add and click the size you want to use (you might have Thumb, Regular and Large to choose from).
3. Use headings, bold text and lists to draw attention to important ideas
You know that people skim articles. By extension, they are also drawn to bits of text that are set apart visually. Headings, bold text, lists, photo captions - learn to use these to guide your visitors and draw them into your post.
How to add a heading in your Travellerspoint blog entries:
If you have spent any time contributing to our wiki travel guide, you'll be glad to know that adding headings in blogs works just the same as it does in the guide. Simply add == before and after your heading to make it a heading. For sub-headings, use === before and after the heading.
4. Use headings to split up long posts
If your blog post is long, consider using subheadings to split it up. Besides drawing attention to the post's most important ideas, this also helps condense each section into a bite-sized chunk. I use subheadings on most posts I publish that are over 500 words long, because it improves their readability.
5. Grab their attention with a catchy title
There is a fine art to coming up with an attention-grabbing title. I wrote a whole article about it on the Travellerspoint blog. For the sake of this article, let me point out a few of the most popular articles on TravelBlogs, a website I am the editor for.
- 18 Things You Don't Need on Your Packing List
- 10 Reasons to Go Flashpacking the Next Time You Travel
- 5 Ways to Take Photos that Truly Capture Your Journey
- Earn $5 a Day? You can Travel Forever.
- Do Solo Female Travellers have it Easier than Guys Travelling Alone?
6. Start with a strong introduction
Again, this is a topic I have covered more extensively elsewhere (How to Blog Your Way to the Top), but writing a strong introduction is still one of the most important ingredients in creating a great blog post. Starting with a bang helps you hook readers, and I find that it also helps you develop a good flow as you write the rest of your post.
7. Use your blog description to give your blog context
On Travellerspoint, you can provide a description of your blog, which will show up directly below the blog title. The best blog descriptions aren't just descriptive - they're also enticing. They spark the reader's interest. Here are a few examples of great blog descriptions (with links to the blogs in question):
- Dublin to Sydney Over Land
- Road Warrior, Innocent Abroad and now singer of The Immigrant Song, A View of the Big World
- The story of being marooned on a remote lump of volcanic rock and other tales from the wandering Welshman
Do you have some tips and tricks for your fellow travelers? Then join us in educating travelers worldwide. To get started, send our editors an email at unravelled [at] travellerspoint [dot] com. Let them know a bit about yourself, and maybe include some writing samples and ideas for entries. They will review your submission and, if you fit the bill, they will welcome you to the team. Each entry published on Travel Unravelled will earn a $5 donation to the Travellerspoint Foundation.