By Karen Dodd June 10, 2013
This wasn’t the topic I planned to write about this week but as is so often the case, serendipity chose the subject of today’s post for me.
As I often do, I popped into one of my favorite Facebook authors’ groups, Master Koda, headed up by Kim Mutch Emmerson. She and the other members are terrifically supportive; besides offering encouragement to writers, particularly indie authors, they give tangible and helpful advice for published, as well as-yet-unpublished authors.
A post by one of the contributing members caught my eye because it was a subject I am particularly interested in. However, when I went to the author’s blog site, I couldn’t bring myself to stay on there long enough to read it.
I highly suspect that if they had analytics on their site it would show that most visitors did exactly the same thing I did—clicked on and clicked off without staying. And what a shame because they had some really good content to share.
Before I give you some tips on making your web or blog site easy to read…let me say up front that I am not an expert on web design. There are many such people out there and I encourage you to search for information that is more technical. However, after 30 years in marketing, the last five specifically teaching entrepreneurs and authors online marketing, I hope to convey some basic, easy to implement strategies that are key to your author platform.
Color: #1 Consideration for Readability
I happen to favor crisp white website backgrounds, as evidenced by my own FictionAuthorPlatform.com . By no means do you have to restrict yourself to white but it does provide you with a great amount of flexibility in your use of font colors because the background allows your text and graphics to jump off the page.
If your writing persona is “edgy,” absolutely experiment with a darker background but be mindful of how the text looks against it. The (anonymous) example I referred to at the beginning of my post used three shades of a depressingly dark color where the only thing that jumped off the page was a good photograph (more on that later). The text literally blurred into the background.
Choose a font for your text that is large enough for most people to read without straining their eyes. You might like Verdana or Arial; the choices are infinite.
I use Georgia 400. The body of my text is 15 pixels. Also, consider the line spacing between sentences; you don’t want them too squished together or too far apart. The line height on my website is 22.5 px.
My sub-headings—and you want to use lots of them in your posts—are 18 pixels with a line height of 22.5 px.
Tip: Go check out some sites you really like and using the free tool WhatFont you can find out what style, size, and even color of fonts they are using. Remember, it’s okay to be a copycat as long as you’re copying the right cat!
Subheadings and Lots of White Space
Just as I’ve done here, you want to break up your text into very small bites. With so many competing messages out there, the online reader’s attention span is unfortunately that of a gnat. I guarantee that if they alight on your page and see reams and reams of uninterrupted text, they will fly away to someone else’s juicy site.
Keep your paragraphs extremely short. I realize this can seem counter intuitive to us writers but it can literally make the difference between your valuable content being read or not.
Be sure to use keywords in not only your subheads, but also in:
- The title of your post
- The first paragraph
- Naming of your files or images
- Ideally, even in the header of your site
And here’s one that many bloggers miss: the unique URL for your post.
For example, this post’s title is “Illuminate Your Blog Posts: Get Read More Often.”
When I go to post it on Facebook and Twitter, I will use the free tool bitly.com and I might choose something like: “High-Readability=Author-Platform.” Later in the day, I might post another link to the same article and call it “#1Key-for-Author-Platform.”
Just be sure that you’re being honest in your unique URL. Don’t just use keywords to attract attention if your blog content doesn’t deliver what you’ve promised in the title. Not only will the search engines know, but so will your followers and they’ll feel used.
Use Professional Graphics and Photos
Lastly, I can’t over emphasize how important it is to:
- Have a professionally taken head shot, and
- Use professional-quality images (at least three) in every post
Jonathan Gunson of Bestseller Labs posted an excellent article with eight sources of free images that are second-to-none in terms of quality. Whenever possible, you want to give attribution to the photographer, or at least where you got the photo.
The use of superb graphics not only make your posts “pop” but they also get indexed by search engines and should be considered an integral part of your author platform.
Do you have a favorite tip that is working for you in your blog posts? Or a question about how you could make your website or posts more powerful? Why not share it? I’d love to hear from you. Please click here to comment.
Article written by Karen Dodd
Author / Columnist, Entrepreneurial Woman Magazine
Notice: This article is copyrighted material. Reproduction of brief snippets of this article with a link to this site are permitted, but it may not be reproduced in full anywhere without the written permission of Karen Dodd at KarenDodd.com
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