Engaging blog posts are a great way to connect with fans and give readers another reason to visit your site. Whether you’ve been thinking about starting an author blog or already have one, we’ve gathered tips to help create engaging posts that will inspire readers to revisit your site and share your content.
A good headline is compelling and concise, and makes readers click through. Experts have learned that on average, eight out of ten people will read headline copy, but only two out of ten will read the full article. To create an effective headline, use numbers and action words, and ask a proactive question that will encourage visitors to continue reading. (Just make sure you’re not entering clickbait territory by creating a misleading headline.)
Tip: Keep headlines to six words—readers tend to absorb only the first three and final three words of a headline, making shorter phrases ideal.
Images and Video
A captivating image or video makes content more appealing and helps improve the readability of a post. Bloggers often prefer to start a blog post with an image and then incorporate additional images after every 350 words. When sharing video, be sure to include it in the top half of a post (above the fold) where readers will see it right away. Also consider including drawings, quote images, screenshots, playlists, and animated gifs. But if you use images or videos from other sources, make sure you have the rights to share on your blog.
Tip: Take photos or video snippets of yourself on tour, writing spots, and sources of inspiration to share. Visit resources such as Pixabay and others to obtain rights-free images and videos.
There is no set rule on the length of a blog post, but on average posts range from 350 to 1,500 words. Rather than focusing on the word count, make sure you’re providing readers with the great content and author voice they’ve come to expect. If you have a lot to say, consider writing a two-part post or even starting a series devoted to a particular topic you’d like to explore.
Tip: Avoid a wall of text on your blog by breaking up large blocks of text into more manageable and easy-to-read sections. Bullets, numbers, and line spacing also help readers connect with the information you present.
It’s important to keep the mobile experience in mind as more readers consume content on phones and tablets. When catering to mobile readers, the goal is to offer as much on-screen information as possible without requiring the user to swipe, tap, or leave the current page. Many blogging platforms offer mobile-optimized themes. However, you should still consider creating shorter headlines that can be scanned in a quick glance, streamlining content, and using lighter images that won’t take a long time to download on a mobile device.
Tip: Visit your blog on different devices and make adjustments accordingly.
Think of your blog as the director’s cut from your favorite film. It’s the perfect venue to explore all things related to your writing, genre, area of expertise, and more. Fiction writers can share alternate endings or other content that didn’t make it into their book, character profiles, and more. Nonfiction writers can share additional work or research in their field, as well the latest news and trends related to their book’s topic.
Tip: Writers of all genres can create book lists or article roundups on topics their blog readers will enjoy.
Writing a blog is your chance to connect with fans on a deeper level. Take fans beyond the media interview for your latest book or the presentation from your recent talk. Use your blog as a platform to share what’s happening in your life and to give insights into your writing process, your personal rituals, and what inspires you. This is the type of content fans expect to find on author sites and the reason they visit.
Tip: Ask readers for feedback or if there are any topics they’d like you to explore in the blog.
Milena Schmidt is part of the Consumer Marketing Development and Operations Group.