How to Write Blog Posts People Will Want to Read?

by ecoverartist 34 replies
I just don't get it... I can't figure out if I'm talking "over" people's heads or am not being specific enough with my content.

My blog is at:
Web Design Tips and Resources for Online Business

My bouce rate is something like 70% but it varies. To me, that's a terrible bounce rate and it tells me that people aren't finding my blog posts as helpful as I had hoped they would be.

How can I write content that people can read and walk away with, thinking, "Hey, that really makes sense!"

To put it simply, I want to be the copyblogger of web design
#main internet marketing discussion forum #blog #blog content #blog writing #people #posts #read #write #writing blog content
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  • Profile picture of the author debra
    Originally Posted by ecoverartist View Post

    I just don't get it... I can't figure out if I'm talking "over" people's heads or am not being specific enough with my content.

    My blog is at:
    Web Design Tips and Resources for Online Business

    My bouce rate is something like 70% but it varies. To me, that's a terrible bounce rate and it tells me that people aren't finding my blog posts as helpful as I had hoped they would be.

    How can I write content that people can read and walk away with, thinking, "Hey, that really makes sense!"

    To put it simply, I want to be the copyblogger of web design
    Nice site! I really liked the look and feel.

    I played around on there and here's what happen as I played the visitor roll.

    All your links that I clicked took me to another site and then I got lost reading those sites....forgeting where I was and what I originally set out to do.

    So...I quess that the reason you think you have such a bad bounce rate.

    Could you open those pages in a different window rather than take the visitor completely off page. btw- it wasn't easy to get back to your page by even hitting the back button from some of those pages. You lost Me!

    Your site is great! but...it has quite a few leaks as I mentioned above and talk about "Info Overload".
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  • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
    Problems I see:

    1. "You must be logged in to post a comment." - Discourages visitor engagement with the site.

    2. The site, while not ugly, looks as boring as a meeting with the accounting department. Graphical elements plus judicious use of bolding and other text enhancements would help suck visitors in to read more.

    3. RSS Feed icons are buried at the bottom. Not a good idea for a blog where you want a lot of return visitors.

    4. I'd guess most of your traffic is social media and referral traffic. Unless it's highly targeted referral traffic the bounce rate will be high.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by ecoverartist View Post

    I just don't get it... I can't figure out if I'm talking "over" people's heads or am not being specific enough with my content.

    My blog is at:
    Web Design Tips and Resources for Online Business

    My bouce rate is something like 70% but it varies. To me, that's a terrible bounce rate and it tells me that people aren't finding my blog posts as helpful as I had hoped they would be.

    How can I write content that people can read and walk away with, thinking, "Hey, that really makes sense!"

    To put it simply, I want to be the copyblogger of web design
    Whether your bounce rate is good, bad or indifferent might have something to do with your traffic source. On one of my article sites, visitors from search engines tend to read the article they came for and leave. Those following links or simply coming directly to the site tend to click around more.

    As for writing content, you may not be delivering what visitors expect. Case in point - your article on the five essential web pages. When I clicked through to the article, I expected to see a list with things like Contact, Terms, Privacy, etc. Instead, I saw some very general, broad-brush types of content. Had I come from a bookmark or search result, I'd have bounced out.
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    • Profile picture of the author ecoverartist
      I want to reply to each of you since you kindly took the time to review my blog and let me know your (very helpful!) thoughts!

      That...and maybe ask some more questions too

      @Daniel - The thing is, when I do a search on "web design tips" a lot of times what I get are sites that show you how to add background music to a page or the BLINK tag. I definitely don't expect my customers to become web designers. But I do want them to be able to make the most of their websites by learning how to write better, use good marketing practices, maybe even use social bookmarking on THEIR sites.

      @Debra - Those other sites are a result of me playing with TrackBoost last night. It did exactly what I thought it would - lead people off of my site. So much for that angle of promotion!

      @Daniel's 2nd post - I admit it, I'm afraid of comment spam. I don't know how else to prevent that kind of crap from clogging my blog. I have Akismet and it does a good job catching stuff. But is there something else I should keep in mind? (BTW where do I get the related posts plugin? I've got to have that!)

      @BG - The accounting department is offended at your comment I'll add in some graphics to help spice it up a bit. That's something I've wanted to do for awhile anyway.

      As a side note, none of my traffic actually comes from Social Bookmarking. I've tried it and it's just not my thing. Most of it comes from organic search.

      Any other thoughts? Rants? suggestions?
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      • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
        Akismet will work fine for dealing with most comment spam. Note that you will get false positives with it and that occasionally spammers will get around it. What I do is moderate all new commentators and this takes care of the problem almost completely.

        Since you're getting a good amount of organic search traffic, examine why they're visiting your blog by looking at their search keywords. If they're looking for 'A' and they find 'B' at your blog they'll leave quickly.
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        • Profile picture of the author ecoverartist
          Ok! Comments are now enabled. You have to get past me first, though

          Is there a way to see which keywords each user typed via Google Analytics? (that's what I use, but it only gives me something like the top 3, and I'd be surprised if all my users typed in just those keywords!)
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          • Profile picture of the author Christie Love
            Involve your readers. Add polls, give-aways, contests. Talk to them. I only read a couple of posts but it sounds like you are writing to inform. Blogs of this nature where there's a lot of content should engage the reader in your posts. Try that to see if you get a better response rate.
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            • Profile picture of the author Colin Evans
              Just a thought...

              When I clicked through to your blog, the url in the browser was ielectrify.com/resources/ which made me think I'd landed on your links page - a quick look at the page I was on confirmed it, the page has links followed by short descriptions.

              My next question was "where is the blog?" - lol, I was on it...

              I'm not saying this is the reason your bounce rate is high - it was just my first impression.

              I personally think your blog is too narrow and there is not enough white space (your "Recent Posts" icon extends into the content text) - it looks too cramped and way too busy with all those links. I have not seen that many links crammed into the middle of a monitor in a long time - it looks confusing and I'm sure that is one reason your bounce rate is high.

              I'm sure you would reduce your bounce rate just by adding a lot more white space between each post, and between the content text and the sidebar (If you're not going to make the blog wider, I would suggest making the sidebar narrower - there's half an inch or so of unused space on the right hand side of your sidebar...).

              [edit]I would also suggest adding some space between each sidebar link - use CSS to add to the top or bottom margin/padding on the sidebar bullets[/edit]
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              • Profile picture of the author p4t
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                • Profile picture of the author BrainDance
                  I personally don't blog yet, though I've though of it more recently. I read a load of them though. The ones I stick around for are the ones that know what they are talking about and offer help/advice/insight on what they know best.
                  I think too many people blog for money or to try and make money, build a list, to get something out of it,to get that one more click, instead of the intent to give something to someone. If the blogger is trying to sell me something whether outright or using marketing ploys, I'm outta there. granted I do sometimes click on links that interest me, mostly because of that..they interest me.
                  So write for yourself, share what you know, what you have found. If you write with the intent to help, I believe people will read.
                  thats it, I'm going to blog
                  LindaB
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                  I am taking on only ecover design work for the next 90 days. Rates are 47.00 for single cover, discounts for multiple..just ask! No payment until completed.
                  http://www.d27portfolio.com for sample works
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            • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
              Sherice,
              Above all, don’t forget that blogging is like an ongoing conversation with your readers. Don’t just post one-off tidbits once a month. Keep the conversation active and keep it interesting. No one likes a stale, old blog with last year’s news! Even just a couple of hours a week can do wonders to help keep your blog fresh and entertaining.
              That's from one of your blog entries. See that first sentence? Don't fit with the rest of the paragraph.

              Numbers ain't conversation. Ya gotta be entertaining. Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, make 'em holler at'cha. Tell stories that suck them in and keep them guessing.

              Yeah, the posts I read were informative. Great content. They were also drier than a sand martini with two chokecherries.

              Contrary to bgmacaw's suggestion, I wouldn't put much emphasis on graphics. I used to have the plainest black and white blog you've ever seen, but people stayed and read and commented. A LOT.

              Graphics don't hurt, of course. Still, I believe you should focus on getting the writing right first. If you can get them to stay and read without the eye candy, you know you've got it going.

              Tell a story.

              Write a title for the story and make that your headline.

              Close with a question that makes them wonder or think or boil.

              Get down and dirty with your posts. Write like you talk. Or, if you talk like an accountant, like a wild-eyed accountant would talk if he were riled up about something, or just found the coolest spreadsheet application ever and wanted the world to know.

              Stop trying to be "professional." That's for textbooks and print mags, not blogs.

              And sign your name to your posts.


              Paul
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              Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

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              • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                Daniel,

                I let the old one go. The new one is waiting until I get someone who can do a proper theme for it. I want something incredibly basic and simple. The few people I've had take a shot at it turned my clean description into something much too slick.

                I appreciate the offer. I do know how to do that stuff, though, believe it or not. I'm not just a pretty type face.

                I could teach pretty much anyone to write well, but you need more than just examples. There are plenty of those around, and people rarely profit from them, because they don't "get" how they're supposed to learn from them.

                Here's the most basic lesson: If you want to learn to write - write. A lot. Spend at least a half hour a day writing about something. You don't have to show it to anyone else. Just do it. Then go back and see what seemed to work for you and what didn't.

                How could it be better? Clearer? More powerful? Funnier? Scarier?

                How does it feel to you?

                I did an example story for the book I'm working on about writing. I picked the second driest topic I could think of: creating backups. (Grammar was already done, via The Wombat Report - Marketing Lessons from Unlikely Places)

                If you check out my Twitter page - at Twitter / PaulMyers - you'll see a link to that story.

                There is nothing fancy about either of those examples. Anyone could write them. And they're about the boringest topics you can imagine: grammar and computer backups.

                The Wombat Report is the most commented on and well-received piece I've ever done. The one on backups was described as feeling like a punch in the gut, and got a bunch of people to go out and spend time and money on something they'd already been told dozens, if not hundreds, of times that they should do.

                There's a reason for that. Shared experience.

                Look at what makes them interesting to you, if they are. Use that in your writing. Techniques can help a lot, but the message is the thing.

                And have fun with it. If you're bored, you're going to be boring. Boring sucks.


                Paul
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                Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

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          • Profile picture of the author waken
            Originally Posted by ecoverartist View Post

            Ok! Comments are now enabled. You have to get past me first, though

            Is there a way to see which keywords each user typed via Google Analytics? (that's what I use, but it only gives me something like the top 3, and I'd be surprised if all my users typed in just those keywords!)
            Here's another plugin that might help to identify keywords and keyphrases people are looking for that you can use as guideline while writing your blog. Psychic Search How to Use It

            And I've just install this plugin as well WordPress Plugin - KeywordLuv | More Than Scratch The Surface to encourage people to read and comments.

            As to writing sticky post that people would want to read, I normally go to forums of your chosen niche and read what people ask. Normally, you can easily see a trend and types of question people keep asking about. Just write on that.

            And there are a numbers of great WSO I would recommend. Check out John Motson's Blog Adrenaline and joefission's Blogging in Action.
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      • Profile picture of the author Simplweb
        My initial impression is your site is "credible". This is the 2 seconds gut check, do I want to read more?

        A couple of design aspects, I think your post titles are a little too large, reduce by about 20%, they are a little jarring to the eye. Along with that I would consider showing more of the intro text and maybe using some images, a popular trend in blogging.

        Originally Posted by ecoverartist View Post

        @Daniel - The thing is, when I do a search on "web design tips" a lot of times what I get are sites that show you how to add background music to a page or the BLINK tag. I definitely don't expect my customers to become web designers. But I do want them to be able to make the most of their websites by learning how to write better, use good marketing practices, maybe even use social bookmarking on THEIR sites.
        I am wondering if there is an audience mismatch. designers want to find out about CSS, how to make shadows in fireworks, and stuff like that. This blog seems more orientated towards websites in general?

        Last thing, I am not sure your 50% is low. Bounce rate is often defined as the rate of people leaving the home page, rates of 50-60% are pretty good. For a bounce rate deeper in the site, I have no idea, but I suspect your 70% would be within norm?
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  • Originally Posted by ecoverartist View Post

    I just don't get it... I can't figure out if I'm talking "over" people's heads or am not being specific enough with my content.

    My blog is at:
    Web Design Tips and Resources for Online Business

    My bouce rate is something like 70% but it varies. To me, that's a terrible bounce rate and it tells me that people aren't finding my blog posts as helpful as I had hoped they would be.

    How can I write content that people can read and walk away with, thinking, "Hey, that really makes sense!"

    To put it simply, I want to be the copyblogger of web design
    You should use your 'graphical powers' to make people stick around.

    Arindam
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    • Profile picture of the author Tracy Yates
      Sherice,

      Don't know if this will help you, but one of my most favorite graphic blogs that I visit quite often is BittBox . I love the style, the conversational tone that comes across in the posts, and the exceptional content that is freely available there. Whether it be tutorials, free finds, or other posts.

      And, whenever something new is posted, if you are a subscriber, the Bittbox site will send you the post in an email -- html of course as there are always a lot of graphics throughout the posts. Well, duh!

      But, I think if your focus is on graphical designing and you are offering "how to's", freebies, or whatever, you will definitely want to "show off" your talents throughout your blog. It will make it more interesting for your readers/visitors. But that's just my opinion. Take it as you will :-).


      Tracy
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    I think a lot of visitors to blogs these days are looking for ways to post spam comments. I get a ton of them, but they are all trapped. Could be some of the bounce rate.
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    Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. -Winston Churchill

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