A few months ago, I wrote a post containing 10 tips for an awesome and SEO friendly blog post. Since then, I have been thinking and reading a lot about writing and blogging. After the success of our first eBook, we are actually working very hard on a second ebook about content SEO at Yoast. In this second ebook, we will discuss (rather detailed) keyword research, site structure and content writing.
As I was writing chapters about content writing for the new ebook, I decided to set up a couple of blog posts about content writing as well. In a series of three posts, I will discuss practical tips on blogging concerning 1. style, 2. structure and 3. text objectives. Today, I start of with some elementary style tips for obtaining an attractive writing style!
Attractive writing style
Some of us are natural writers. They are able to write an attractive, fun, readable text in a matter of minutes. Others lack that skill. Attractive writing is a matter of talent, but practice sure helps! In this blogpost I will give five tips you can use to upgrade the style of your text and set up an attractive blog.
1. Read a lot!
If you want to develop an attractive writing style, you should read a lot. Reading (novels, blogs, magazines, whatever) will inspire you to write your own awesome articles. It will learn you how other people form their sentences and built their paragraphs. It teaches you how to use jokes and how to play with language. Finally, lots of reading allows you to create a gut feeling about what makes a nicely readable text.
2. Decide upon formal or informal!
Most web texts are not very formal. Blogging allows for an informal style. However, not all blogs are alike and not all bloggers are alike. At Yoast.com, we try to write in an enthusiastic manner. We are all young, our company is young and constantly changing and we very much like what we are doing. We think an enthusiastic style fits our audience. Keep in mind your brand and your audience and decide upon a formal or informal style to adres your readers. Use a style that fits both you and your blog.
3. Mix it up!
For a text to be attractive to a reader, it should be very varied. This means that you should try to mix it up a little! Try to alternate long sentences with shorter ones. Avoid long sentences altogether. Reading from a screen tends to be hard on people. Long, complicated sentences make reading even harder.
Look at the way your sentences are composed. Try to alternate the sequence of words. The grammar of English allows for all kinds of variations in word order. A sentence like: “At Yoast, we give SEO advice” can be written as “we give SEO advice at Yoast,” but also as “SEO advice is given at Yoast”. Varying in the composing of your sentences can make your text much more attractive.
Try to use synonyms if you tend to use a word very often. Some people use the word ‘and’ or ‘too’ very often. Mixing it up with ‘also’, ‘moreover’ or ‘ as well’ could make the text that much more attractive.
4. Don’t use abstract concepts!
If you are writing an article, you should try to use clear terms. You should try to use words that have meaning to people, words people can visualize. Writing about staff and employees remains abstract, while writing about the secretary and the handyman has more meaning. Search Engine Optimization is a very abstract concept, while ranking high in Google will immediately makes clear what you mean. Of course, you will need some abstract terms and words in your blog, but make sure to explain these terms by using concrete terms as well. Adding examples could also do the trick.
5. Use metaphors and expressions!
Using metaphors can be a great way to spice up your text. If we say someone is cold as ice, we all know we do not literally mean the person is made of ice. Using metaphors or expressions can make your text more clear and more fun to read. People instantly understand what you mean, if you use well known metaphors and expressions. Do not go overboard though: writing a blogpost with 50 metaphors is too much (although I am sure Michiel could pull it off)!
6. Use a tool (or a neighbor)
I recently discovered a really awesome tool to help with your writing. You can put (a piece) of your text in the Hemmingway-app (with a free online version) and it analyses your text immediately. It analyses among other things whether or not your sentences are too long or too difficult.
Another way to make sure your text is any good, it to ask your neighbor, friend or a colleague to read it before you post it online. If someone gives you fair feedback, you will be able to make large improvements on your writing skills.
Of course, there are only very few of us who can write the Great American Novel. Some of us just write easier than others. Obtaining an attractive writing style perhaps is harder to learn than writing in a clear structure. Still, with a little practice and the use of these 5 tips, everyone should be able to write a decent blogpost. Good luck with that!
This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!