Your Headline Sucks (and Four Other Reasons No One Reads Your Blog)

headlineI know that headline you just read sounds a little ?á rude. Maybe even mean-spirited. But really, I don’t mean it that way. I want to help.

See, I’ve been writing blogs for quite awhile??nearly seven years. And I’ve been reading blogs for even longer.

Over time, I’ve developed an eye for some of the things that work, and some of the things that don’t.

And as I look around the blogosphere, I see a lot of the things that don’t work.

Here’s a look at a few of the mistakes I see bloggers making over and over again:

Boring Headlines

You have such a small window to get people to click on your blog post, whether they run across it in a reader, an email, or an RSS feed. Seconds, really. So what are you doing with it?

Being so vague no one has any idea what you’re talking about? Trying to emulate Upworthy’s link-baiting headlines but failing to get to the emotional point fast enough? Do your research on headlines. Then, make your headline count.

Spend more time on your headline than you spend on anything else. (And note that sometimes being a little mean is a good headline technique. Did it get you to click?)

A Snooze-Fest of an Intro

OK, let’s say you wrote a good headline. If you manage to get me to click, and then I get to your intro, and you give me long-winded backstory about why you’re writing the story you’re writing before you get to the point already, I’ll have hit the back button before you’ve even gotten into the meat of your blog post.

No one wants that. Get to the point. Write an intro that gets attention. Try a question. Throw in a quick anecdote. Spend a lot of time writing an intro grabs my attention??it’s second only to your headline in importance.

Giving me a Long Gray Block of Text

Long gray blocks of text terrify most readers. So what does one do to break up them up? Start with an image. There are plenty of free resources out there, or just take your own photos.

Then break up the copy. If your post isn’t a list, at least break it up with sub-heads.

Your Blog Could Have Been Written by Anyone

Have you ever read The Bloggess? Do you know why she’s so insanely popular? I could give a few reasons: She’s hilarious, she’s honest, she’s a little crass (which may not be right for your audience, but is certainly right for hers).

But the real key to her success is her absolutely unique voice. Let’s say she tried to write in disguise, a la J.K. Rowling. I suspect her readers would out her in an instance. She has a very distinctive voice. She writes like no one else. It makes her writing addictive.

You may not sound like The Bloggess, but you should find your own, unique voice.

You’re a Lone Wolf

??I’m just putting my stuff out there to see if it finds an audience,” they say. “I don’t really read any blogs, I just thought I’d try writing one,” they say.

Well, I say one of the best ways to build an audience for your blog is for you to read other blogs and work to build community with other bloggers.

What blogging tips do you have to share?