Blog SEO: how to make people stay and read your post

When you succeed in getting visitors to one of your blog posts, you want them to stay and read your stuff. Readers (and especially first-time visiting readers) are bored quickly. You should grab their attention extremely fast and help them understand your blog’s main message. In this post, I will give five tips on how to get people to stay on your site and read your post.

1. Limit the length of your posts

You should limit the length of your text as people tend to stop reading (or don’t even start) if a web text is too long. However, your blogs or articles shouldn’t be too short for SEO (minimum 300 words). A lengthy article has more chances to rank in the search engines. We advise writing blog posts between 300 and 800 words.

Of course, longer posts are possible depending on your topic, audience, and writing style. Even at Yoast, we tend to break the do-not-write-lengthy-posts rule now and then, producing blog posts that are much longer. If you do choose to write a longer article, make sure to pay attention to the structure. Make sure the paragraphs are short. A bunch of short paragraphs looks more welcoming to read than one big lump of copy.

2. Make sure your post is readable

Reading from screens is hard, so make sure you do not make it any harder than it already is. Use a decent font size. A large(r) font will help people to read your content better. Use at least 14 px and preferably 16 px, with appropriate whitespace (1.5em for the larger font sizes, more toward 2em for smaller font sizes). Using more whitespace (to a degree, obviously) has been found to increase comprehension of the text in people. Also, make sure the lines of your text aren’t too long. Try to keep it limited to 50 or 75 characters per line. The longer the lines, the harder it is for people to understand your message. And last but not least, choose contrasting colors for your text and your background. 

The more readable the content is, the more it is accessible. When a post is accessible, more visitors can read it more easily. Furthermore, it helps more readers feel welcome. Inclusive language is also important because it avoids alienating any social groups within your audience.

3. Be consistent in your tone

The internet has tons of information, and what is said on a page may not always be unique. It’s how you say things that attract attention and strengthen your credibility. A distinguishable and consistent voice is vital for engaging and keeping an audience. The closer your approved tones of voice are to your overall brand or personal voice, the more memorable and recognizable it will be. There are many tones of voice to choose from, but as a rule of thumb, an informal (conversational) tone is always a good way to go unless the topic or genre demands otherwise.

4. Pay special attention to your first paragraph

When landing on a page, a user often determines whether to continue reading or leave based on only the first few words. This makes an engaging introduction crucial in keeping the audience interested. Ensure that the first paragraph of your blog post is clear, well-written, and contains the message of your blog post. 

Some writers want to surprise readers by hiding the main message until the final paragraph. Bloggers shouldn’t do that. (You’ll have lost your readers by then.) I read somewhere that blogging is writing upside down. This means having the most important conclusion of your blog post in the first paragraph and the elaboration or argumentation of your conclusion in the next paragraphs. For a good overall post structure, repeat your main conclusions in the final paragraph of your post.

5. Write about one topic

Every piece of content has some message. Your blog post should have one main message and point you want to make. This message matches the purpose of writing that piece: what do you want to tell your readers? You should be able to put the message of your post in one sentence. That sentence should contain one topic, not two or more. Unless the topics are closely entangled and the purpose of your text is to describe their relationship, make separate blog posts when you have a message with more than one topic.

6. Provide scannable content

Your post should be scannable. That is another reason why the structure of your post should be awesome. Make good use of headings and subheadings within your posts. And write short, on-topic paragraphs. At Yoast, we always try to make sure the first sentence of each paragraph explains what that paragraph is about. These first sentences are what people read when going through a text, so definitely pay special attention to those.

Use our tips!

Writing blog posts is hard work. It would be unfortunate that the blog you put so much effort into wasn’t read because the audience was disengaged. Use these tips to your advantage and make your visitors stay and read your posts!

Read more: How to write a blog post: A step-by-step guide from preparation to publication »

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