Black & White Deserts: On Blogging

Some bloggers are so famous or so talented that readers will scroll down paragraph after paragraph of uninterrupted, sterile, black-and-white font without giving up. But for us less amazing bloggers, such a style rightfully may cause our readers to lose interest. So to gain or preserve readers, consider taking time to improve your post’s readability.  Show your audience that you value their reading time and don’t take their efforts for granted.

My suggestions are to use one or more of the following to help your readers:

  • Short Posts — try to:
    • stay focused on one major point
    • edit your writing to eliminate rambling and unnecessary tangents
    • break long ideas into several posts and create an index post to link them together.
  • Interesting Layout — break up your post using:
    1. Images: choose carefully & creatively. Or make them!
    2. Tables: a five-paragraph idea can fit into a short table and is much easier to remember. (see here)
    3. Polls: see this post
    4. Section Formats: Add subsections with titles and indenting
    5. Diagrams: Take time to capture your ideas in a diagram which can be worth 1000 words
    6. Bulleted Lists: Breaking up paragraphs with lists helps.  Besides, list will limit your verbosity.

Question to readers: What suggestions do you have?


Filed under Blogging

6 responses to “Black & White Deserts: On Blogging

  1. noyourgod

    Odd are, if you’ve been considering blogging you’ve got 1001 things rolling around in your head to blog about. Once you take that leap, do not feel compelled to release all of those thoughts to the world at once – save them and pace yourself.

    If you do feel compelled to write them all down NOW!!!!, do that – just don’t publish them rapid-fire. There is nothing wrong with creating an entry and letting it sit for days, or even weeks. Well, that might not be true for entries about hot and current topics, but you’ll find that many of those ideas that you’ve been thinking about *can* wait a short bit. Use those to fill in the dead periods where you either do not have the time to write an entry, or simply cannot think of anything.

    An example of shooting things out quickly, and running out of steam, can be found at (and many, many other blogs)… :-/
    The longer I stuck with it, the harder it became, and the more respect I felt for bloggers who were able to keep it going. Now when I feel the desire to write something I notice it’s been over a year, and just kinda let it go….

  2. matheroni

    Use links inside the post and/or at the bottom as ‘further reading’ — give your reader the opportunity to go deeper into the subject matter, but only if they wish to.

  3. TWF

    I think it depends on your intended audience and your own desire for popularity. The best guide may be a magazine layout. They are having to sell the content, so they’ve experimented with layout which is most attractive to the average reader in their audience.

    Beyond that, I think you’ve got great suggestions above, and you usually seem to employ them very well.

  4. @ noyourgod :
    Good advice. I am guilty of hitting the “publish” button too quick at times. I no save posts in draft and come back to them. The down side of that is that I leave a lot unfinished. The complication is that the Muses only inspire when they want to and I must write then.

    But you also write about “burn out”. Blogs burn out all the time. My blog has some long term goals which I don’t see fulfilling for several years to come. If I were only raging against the Christian Right, I would probably get tired of such a mind space very quickly.

    Have you ever thought about returning to blogging but with different purpose?

  5. @ matheroni :
    Links are important. Do you find posts with no links, too many links or the wrong linking method? I have thought about writing a bit on that.

    @ TWF :
    Very true – the audience does matter. For me — commentors mean a lot. Thanx.

  6. In this fast-paced world we live in I find that publishing a series of shorter articles all related to one topic rather than one extremely long article is a plus. It also makes for better discussions.

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