Blog SEO: make people stay and read your post

When you succeed in getting visitors to one of your blogpost, you want them to stay and read your stuff. Readers (and especially first time visiting readers) are bored really quickly. You should grab their attention extremely fast and help them to understand the main message of your blog. 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, for SEO purposes, your blogs or articles shouldn’t be too short either (minimum of 300 words). A lengthy article has more chances to rank in the search engines. We advice writing blog posts between 300-400 (for inexperienced bloggers) and 700-800 (for more advanced bloggers) words. Also make sure you write short paragraphs. A bunch of short paragraphs is much more pleasant to read than one big lump of copy.
(At Yoast we tend to break the do-not-write-lengthy-posts rule every now and then, producing blog posts which are much longer. If you choose to write a lengthy article, you should focus even more on style and structure!)

2. Make sure your post is readable

Make sure people can read your texts properly. 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 an 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 actually 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. Green text on a yellow background tends to read quite hard.

3. Write about one topic

Your blog post should have one subject. It should have one main message, one point you want to make. Every blog, every piece of content on your website has some kind of a message. This message is the purpose of that piece of writing: 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. If you have a message containing two topics, write two separate blog posts!

4. Pay special attention to your first paragraph

Make sure that the first paragraph of your blog post is clear, well written and contains the message of your blog post. I read somewhere that blogging is writing upside down. Some writers want to surprise their readers with the main message of their article in the final paragraph. Bloggers shouldn’t do that. You’ll have lost your readers by then. Write upside down: the most important conclusion of your blog post in the first paragraph and the elaboration and argumentation of your conclusion following in the next paragraphs. Make sure you repeat your main conclusions in the final paragraph of your post.

5. Provide scannable content

Your post should be scannable. That means the structure of your post should be really awesome. Make good use of headings and subheadings within your posts. And write short, on-topic paragraphs. I always make sure the first sentence of my paragraph tells what that paragraph is about. Then a bunch of sentences follow that elaborate on that first key sentence. These first sentences are the sentences people read when scanning a text. Definitely pay special attention to those important first sentences.

Use our tips!

Writing blog posts is hard work. It would be unfortunate if the blog you put so much effort in, would not be read by your audience because people are bored too quickly. Use these tips to your advantage and make your visitors stay and read your posts!

This post first appeared as Blog SEO: make people stay and read your post on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!