10 Blogging Tips to Break the 30 Seconds Barrier

StopwatchI’ve asked the lovely Andrew of Design Credo, who I think looks like Sean Connery, to do a guest post for me.  Being fairly new to blogging I often find myself on his blog looking for hints and tips on the more technical stuff.  He’s not only knowledgeable but explains it clearly unlike many of the technical blogs that I come across. I hope you find this post as useful as I did.   Thanks Andrew

I don’t want to spoil your day but there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that people spend less than a minute on a web page, perhaps as little as 30 seconds. So you really are going to need to make things easy for people if you want them to read your blog posts.

Now, I have a bit of a guilty admission, I don’t read terribly well. I’m not stoopid or owt, but reading has never come overly naturally to me. Nowadays this isn’t helped by my already very long arms refusing to get any longer and, hard as I try, the printed page always seems a tad too close.

I know I am not alone with the oldies and I know too that there are many school children out there who have more difficult learning experiences than others because they don’t find reading easy: frequently young boys, often rubbing their teachers up the wrong way as they get more and more marginalised.

I’m off on one again aren’t I?

Anyway, it may seem a bit of a paradox that I am investing so much of my time writing at the moment, this writing being principally for blogs. I do write, I don’t think I’m an expert but do I know people are reading what I write and post. For the record I also ghost write for other peoples’ blogs. (sssh, you ain’t heard that). But, perhaps most importantly, given what I have just told you, I am aware of what makes reading less onerous.

So let’s look at ten tips that might help break the 33 second barrier.

1 Open With A Bang

A nice strong shocking declaration. A statistic, a side splittingly funny joke, the offer of a lifetime. OK well we are wise to the last one but you get the idea.

2 Be Human

Don’t be scared of being human, it’s what blogging is all about. Show your emotions and your passion.

3 Be Focussed

Do try to keep a focus. If you find you have ‘gone off one one’ cut the offending words and maybe save it as a new draft post to be expanded upon.

4 Titles

The post title needs to do two things,

  1. Attract the reader’s attention. Something that is clever, witty, inviting and descriptive
  2. Work for Google and search engines. This means that if you want your post to be picked up by Google your clever, witty, inviting and descriptive will need to be keyword rich too!

5 Headings

Break your post up with relevant subheadings. These aren’t so important for search engines but will make the page a lot easier to scan and navigate through.

6 Use Short Paragraphs

peoplewillnot readgreatblocksoftext thatcannotbeeasily scannedororganisedandfiltered peoplewillnotreadgreat blocksoftextthatcannot beeasilyscannedororganisedand filteredpeoplewillnotreadgreat blocksoftextthatcannotbeeasily scannedororganisedandfiltered peoplewillnotreadgreatblocksoftext thatcannotbeeasily scannedororganised andfiltered peoplewillnotread greatblocksoftext thatcannotbe easilyscannedororganisedandfiltered

When you write it may come out as a stream of consciousness but when it’s on screen you need to make your text easy to look at, to scan, to filter. This puts the reader back in control.

7 Lists

People love lists and they can be very useful tools to,

  • simplify
  • order
  • clarify

the information that’s on a page.

8 Use Bold and Italicize but don’t Underline!

Text styling can help you to communicate more effectively. You can format text easily by making it bold or italic, adding an implied strength or emphasis. At a push you can use capitals and exclamation marks but beware of SHOUTING AT YOUR READERS!!!!! It is my belief that the only places for underlining are in primary school exercise books and to indicate a link on a web page. Don’t do it, bad things will happen to you if you do.

9 Links

Don’t be afraid to use links it’s easy enough to add them in blogs but don’t overdo it. At best links can add depth and value to a post, at worst they can totally overpower the content.

10 Images

Images can really communicate a lot very effectively. Sadly, although Google is considering introducing face recognition technology, images aren’t as yet very searchable. So a good strong hero image probably won’t get people to your site but it may keep people’s interest up long enough for them to start reading.

The bottom line is that you are both helping and empowering your reader, if you put them back in control they will hopefully make the right choice and read your blog.

Andrew Butler



The Ten Commandments

I read this tweet by @peachypics the other day and it reminded me about something my mother used to say.

Firstly, I should point out that we’re not a religious family. My mother grew up in a very large Catholic family, lived next to a church and I assume that they attended church weekly. I myself attended Catholic school for one year but this was because our local school had closed and it was the nearest one. I was baptised but, too be honest, I can’t remember as what. As for my daughter, I feel that religion is something she should discover for herself in time. She’s not been baptised as we feel it would be hypocritical as we have no intention of attending church weekly. I know some people who’ve done it just for the party and presents!

My mother always said that you should live your life by the 10 commandments which made perfect sense to me at the time (though shall not kill, covet neighbours wife, commit adultery, etc) and I didn’t question it. However, when I sat down and thought about it, I couldn’t remember what all 10 of them were.

This is not intended to be blasphemous but tongue in cheek.

1.) You shall have no other gods before me.

As I’m agnostic, I’m not convinced either way, I think I’m okay with this one. If I don’t believe in god I can’t put any others before. Yes???

2.) You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.

I can’t even peel a Butternut Squash so the likelihood of this happening is minimal.

3.) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

I’m guilty of this one….I’ve been known to utter for Jeezuz H. Christ or Jesus on a Bicycle.

4.) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Does religiously going to the pub for Sunday Lunch count?

5.) Honour your father and your mother

For the most part, however, it was a bit shaky in my teens!

6.) You shall not murder.

I’ve never intentionally killed anything. I tend to rescue insects and set them free outside. However, I’ve accidently trodden on slugs/snails more than once.

7.) You shall not commit adultery.

So far so good!

8.) You shall not steal.
Does nicking stationery from work count?

9.) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
I’ve called the Police, the Council, Health and Safety, and Environmental Health on numerous occasions on the neighbours but never beared false witness.

10.) You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.

Luckily, my neighbour doesn’t have any livestock or servants and I don’t fancy him or his wife. However, their son is a bit of a jackass! And for coveting their house, you know my feelings about their extension.

Hmmm, come to think of it there is a slim chance I may murder my neighbour. Please see 6.

As, you can see I’m not doing so well following my mum’s advice, but I’m a good person and I am living a good life.