Are You Readable?

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64 comments

  1. Amen, sister!

    Before I hit “Publish” I try to look over my posts and see if there is a single block of text that is so oppressive I couldn’t see MYSELF re-reading it. Can I break it up somehow? Throw an inane picture of me yelling at an inanimate object in there to soften up the read???

    I’m thankful for each and every read I get so the only way I can repay the reader is to make it easier for them to continue to read.

  2. Thank you for pointing this out. I’d like to think I use proper grammar and spelling but there are definitely times when I’m not sure (particularly when and where to add commas).

    I’m interested in learning how to add pizzazz to my site by personalizing it with eye-catching photos, font, etc. Have you written an article specifically addressing this? Or could you point me in the right direction? Thanks! I’m new.

    1. You’re welcome Newbie! And I said to someone else, one or two mistakes are not a problem – case in point – read any national newspaper! The standards are fairly appalling. 😯

      It’s only an issue if it is stopping people from enjoying your posts so they just skip by to someone else’s.

      All my posts on blogging can be found in the sidebar under ‘blogging’. So if I haven’t covered a topic you want I may do in the future, so that’s where you would go.

      In your case I agree that especially with your tutorial posts, it would be great to have pictures. So if your current theme does not allow for good sized pics that would certainly be MY first step in acquiring some instant pizzazz.

      Hope that helps. Any other queries? Ask away. Provided I’m not snowed under I will do my best to answer them.

  3. Sage words! I’m with you on the bulky, un-proofread text. As for audience, I’m fairly bumfuzzled when it comes to the in and outs of the blogosphere. Do tags make a difference? Going to look out for further tips!

    1. Yes P. Tags allow you to find topics that you like and they allow people to find the topics that YOU talk about.

      Hope that helps!

      …And ‘bumfuzzled’ – how much do I love that word! 🙂

  4. Well isn’t this the truth. I didn’t even finish reading that wall of text! I just scrolled over and kept reading what was below it. 😛

  5. Simplicity is definitely the key, and passion. Using bold and italics like inflection of voice. I think one reason for this style of presentation is due to cluttered thoughts. If we start thinking clearly in our lives and in our forms of communication then this will transform the way we write.

    1. Oh I do think you are spot on. Many people have told me that they write a stream of consciousness, which is fine, but then they don’t edit it which is where the problem comes in – if you are writing for other people’s eyes.

      On another topic I would not mind your header pic as my backyard at all! You could just drift off to a pleasant daydream in that picture!

    1. Excellent stuff Ursula! Your blog is one of the most beautiful I have seen in a while.
      Fabulous pics, everything beautifully constructed visually, fabulous sidebar, great name, superb content.
      But is it any wonder with your graphics background? Hopefully that will also send a few people your way to take a peek at the loveliness.

      1. Hello! Thank you for such encouraging words! Yes, I am trying to reach more readers 😉 I’ve been blogging for 1 year and 2 months or so, is quite addicting 😉 Cheers!

      2. I agree with this Ursula. Your blog looks like a professional web site more so than a personal blog. Good job!

  6. I’ve actually only learned this recently, as in the past couple of years, from posting on forums and now, on WordPress. Sometimes we’re the person who likes to hear the sound of our own voice, even though nobody else wants to.

    Following the advice to break thoughts up into separate sections has not only improved my readability, it has also helped me be able to observe my work more objectively. I can readily spot glaring repetitions, inconsistencies, badly formed sentences and especially overly wordy phrases.

    You offer very good advice.

    1. Yup. I can see that V. And the theme you chose with your blog I think really works too. It’s beautifully easy to read and I much prefer it font-wise to my own theme.
      How much do I love the idea of ‘lyric painting’ and anyone who has bohemia as part of their CV is always welcome. 🙂

  7. My question is why is everyone so caught up in being followed by hundreds or thousands? Who really cares? I personally don’t. My blog is really for me and for my own enjoyment. As I get older and become busy with kids, I find myself so caught up in their world that I have practically no time for me. I realized that my vocabulary and writing had deteriorated so I started reading more and writing. It helps me by writing a blog. But I don’t really care if I’m readable or not. And if others want to follow me, then I am grateful for that. But I will not seek being popular.

    Interesting thought though…thank you for that!

    1. Hello Boots! Thank you so much for your take on blogging. Let me tell you who might care.

      The mother who wants to stay at home and raise her children without having to off-load them to baby minders at great cost everyday, while she goes off to do a job she does not particularly enjoy, but needs to pay the rent. If she had a plentiful audience she could attract advertising to her blog and pay her bills.

      The person who cannot easily find a job 9-5 job. With successful blogging they could create their own job seated right there at their desk – if someone could show them the basics of how to do to in a successful way, rather than years of doing it the wrong way and then giving up – I figure THEY might care.

      The person who has lost touch because they are disabled mentally or physically, depressed, autistic, OCD or any other debilitating mental issue. If someone like me showed them the possibilities of gaining a new voice from their blog by being able to feel integrated and actually listened to once again with an interactive caring community – you might find that THEY would care quite a bit.

      The writer, the artist, the entrepreneur who cannot get backing or interest from anyone – publishers, bank loans, agents, managers etc because they do not have a famous parent or connections. By having a very popular blog suddenly the doors become open to them.

      For all of the above I am not speaking in theory – I am speaking in practice, because it has happened a kazillion times already on the internet…

      Would you like me to go on or is that enough?

      I am glad you are happy writing for yourself. But there is a world bigger than you or me and whatever job I have taken on in life I always enjoy it that bit more if there is an element of it that allows me to give back to others outside of myself whist doing it. This job and the company I work for does. That’s what makes ME happy.

      Showing people their possible routes to a degree of creative and financial freedom by using this AMAAAAAAZING tool called the internet and blogging makes ME happy.

      I wish you well with your writing.

      1. Thanks! Well if it works for others then I’m happy for them. But there are also a ton out there who do not want to attract the attention of thousands of people and it doesn’t mean their writing is not readable. Or what they are writing is not interesting enough. I’m glad you are helping those who want to be popular. Thanks for your reply.

      2. “But there are also a ton out there who do not want to attract the attention of thousands of people and it doesn’t mean their writing is not readable.” Dear Boots, I don’t recall ever suggesting that, so not sure where that comment came from.

        A blog is not readable if you can’t read it. That is nothing to do with how popular you are or want to be.

        There are millions out there who like yourself want to write for themselves. Good luck to you all. You are happy. I can’t help you. I say this in all sincerity. These posts as stated at the top are for people I CAN help and who would like that help. It’s really very simple.

        Oh and thanks for coming back…twice.

      3. Hi I’m not saying you did. And this is not really meant for an argument. There is no reason to get defensive. Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. Since this is your job, and you are an expert, it was more of a question for you- does that mean if you do not get traffic means you may not be “readable”?. I’m sorry if I wasn’t being clear. I might be too new to blogging. I didn’t realize that this amazing tool is used as an income for many. I honestly thought that it is mostly used for enjoyment. But allow me to thank you on behalf of those people who need help to become more well known and attract traffic in their blog. I’m glad someone like you is helping them.

      4. Boots I’m not defensive by any stretch. I doubt very much a mere conversation on a blog – as I don’t really see it as an argument – could make me defensive. We are living in world where people are kidnapping other people’s girls and raping them, beheading and blowing up people for religion. This conversation really is not that important in the whole scheme of things. YOU are important my dear Boots, but not this conversation to make me ‘defensive’. Hopefully I’ve cleared that bit up.

        I would not say I was an expert. That feels too pompous for me. I would say I have clearly proven that I can do what I am trying to help others to do and what I do for my company with a degree of competence. I merely pass on what works for me – because it works!

        You don’t get (a lot of) traffic if you don’t do the specific things on the internet that obtain you traffic. There is a great list of things that you CAN do and SHOULD NOT do to obtain traffic. Being readable is only one of those things. I am trying to reveal that list in an easily absorbed manner for those who are interested, whilst answering individual queries when I can.

        Blogging is used for earning AND enjoyment. I don’t see why one should exclude the other. I don’t see the point in earning millions if you are unhappy.

        I like you Boots. You are feisty. I am not being defensive or argumentative, (though there’s nothing wrong with a good debate) I am merely answering your questions. Sometimes a person’s tone of voice can be lost in words on a screen. That’s one slight negative of the internet – or indeed a lack in my own communication skills, but I don’t really see it as a biggie. People get my intention or they don’t. As I said it’s just not that important.

      5. Haha! I love it! I think I like you too 😜. Sometimes I don’t express my thoughts well and it gets lost In translation. And in keeping my responses short, it appears to be a little argumentative. So my apologies! Btw, I love that you called me feisty. My husband and those who are close to me think I am feisty and sometimes I wonder why? 😄 anyway, you have a good day! Keep up with the great job you’re doing. Someday I may need your expertise! For now, I just want to hide from everyone else!! Lol

  8. Is there any way to get professional feedback on my blog. Also are poetry blogs popular? What makes a good poetry blog. *newby

    1. 2 excellent questions. (I’m a believer in good questions!) One of your questions I have already tackled in an upcoming post and yes, our Members Division for bloggers offers professional feedback, plus a raft of other stuff bloggers need to get them off and running and keep them running, but if you email me your 2 MOST needed questions I will answer them. *oldy. 🙂

  9. Is there any way to get professional feedback on my blog? And are poetry blogs popular? What makes a good poetry blog?

  10. When I write, my brain goes ‘ding!’ when a paragraph gets to appropriate size. (Legacy of typewriter usage?) And I like to have a few photos in each post, to break it up and add a bit of humour.
    What will kill my interest in reading someone’s blog dead is when they use colour-on-colour print, or colour on black, or pretty much anything that strains my eyes. I don’t care if they’re hawking the answer to life, the universe and everything, I’m not gonna read it!

    1. Hey DM. Yeah, sometimes – if you are writing for an audience and not just yourself – I believe you have to think about them first.

      Funnily enough I just (sorta) read a post with coloured writing – I don’t know why folks would do that.

  11. I tend to write a few thoughts on something amusing that has happened in my day, roughly 320 words, its just a reminder of lfe and thoughts in general, i’m picking up a few followers and even though I don’t get many comments, the likes do it for me. Would be good to get a few thousand lol

      1. Ah, but when you set a goal, I find even though a 1-0 does the job, a 10- 0 is far more satisfying 🙂 One must always strive to improve. 🙂

  12. Sound advice and great example. I admit that I’m one of the longer post people, but I blog for fun. However, I do put paragraphs in. 🙂

  13. My hope is that my stuff isn’t as cluttered and rife with poor writing as your “bad” example. But I am writing fiction most of the time, so a large audience would be quite surprising, albeit pleasantly so. It would need to be a **patient** large audience, given the glacial span of my updates. I’m barely able to read most posts on my feed right now, as I’m deep in sculpting time now and am only taking occasional breaths, such as now. (Lucky you?)

    But good advice for any occasion, not just blogging. Some of the emails at work that I’ve seen made me wonder if the person realized it was **work email** as opposed to text-chatting.

    1. I indeed consider myself lucky (no joke) – I’ve been there in full creative mode, you tend not to expand yourself outside of your creative box until the session or creative period is over.

      Actually HT, I believe the same rules for blogging would apply to a novelist. It is still about presentation and making the blog that your book resides on welcoming. Again, as I said to another commenter, it is down to WHY you are writing – for yourself or for an audience?

      At the end of the day, all I do and all the magazine does is tell stories. Same as you. They are sometimes fictional or real – but still stories. I like the fact that you link to the beginning of your story for any interested readers. I have seen that many WordPress novelists don’t do this. They will have 40 chapters interspersed with a ton of mixed material and no way of finding the beginning on their blog.

      I have seen so much online that I could never think of you having a large audience as unlikely or surprising.
      If you are indeed writing for an audience, think not only as a novelist but as a marketer – because you have to market your novel if you want folk to read it, no?

      For example, if I were you, I would have a static heading post that summarises what your book is about, laying out a few lines of description of all the main characters and deliciously setting up the intrigue in them…Pictures would be great if possible.
      A book cover in this post and on your sidebar would be great.

      Think like a marketer! Let us drool to know what happens to a key character. Help us to identify with them so we become interested in their fate.
      In the absence of a book deal – that is YOUR job.
      (Even WITH a book deal these days that is YOUR job!)
      That’s just for starters.
      There is much I would do because almost ANYthing I can think of is saleable – if you know how to sell it.
      If you are just writing for yourself ignore the above.

      1. Hee! And there’s my “out” with the last line. In ancient times I managed to get four books published (suitable for bookshelves or landfills). Now I write for myself, but admittedly with a faint, “wouldn’t it be nice…?” leitmotif throughout. But c’est la vie.
        If I ever manage to find an artist who could do justice to how I picture my main character, I’d include that image, but not until then. I’ll consider an “About the PP” kind of page, though. Just gotta get through this artsy-fartsy phase first!

  14. I write purely for my own entertainment, and if someone happens to stumble upon my site then that’s fine.

  15. I’ve been wondering if word count matters too. Reason being, I noticed on my own blog reading choices today I chose blogs that were under 500 words and had interesting main images. It can’t be only me, right?

    1. Nope. That makes at least 2 of us! That’s not to say I don’t read loooooong posts but they have to be exemplary and often they are not, just streams of unedited consciousness from the writer.

      The fact that I have to put loooooong posts to one side to read later shows you the effort I go to to connect with great bloggers. Not many people would do this.

      As a blogger you can write to let off steam or write in an attempt to connect with other people. To succeed I believe you have to choose one or the other. (Not that you can’t let off steam AND connect, but that is where some degree of skill comes in) I tend to try and assist the second batch.

      Thanks Christine. I know that I’m speaking to something of an expert in speaking with you.

      1. Oh lol! I see what I’ve done! But you came across as authoritative in your choices for the 4 or so other posts I checked out so roll with it! 🙂 Particularly love the Carnegie quote as I’m constantly reiterating this.

  16. I’ve been getting a few responses from my blogs lately. But I haven’t been visual as much. Is there a formula? Well, if so I don’t know what it is. But, when I blog more that seems to help. And I have a web page that needs more work. As what has been mentioned, grammar errors are bad. Anyhow, I’ll keep on blogging and working. Hopefully, more people will connect to my blogs.

    1. When you have a nice connectivity with people a few grammatical errors are not an issue. It is only a real problem when it is so bad it becomes detrimental to attracting readers.
      I can be a grammar nazi but not everyone is – in fact the majority of blogs I read have bad grammar and spelling, which tells you 70% of your audience won’t care or even notice a few mistakes. Not if the info is enthralling, fun, useful.

      “But, when I blog more that seems to help…” Take that and run with it.

      Quick note: The first few posts on your blog are hidden by your large header image i.e they are not on the white bit. I’m assuming this isn’t intentional?

  17. I don’t visit a blog to read a book in a single post and I doubt that many people do. You are absolutely right, a blog should be like a coffee shop where you go for a a few minutes of fun, not a four course dinner.

  18. I’m assuming that you are being ironic and demonstrative with the structure of your first paragraph but as you made this error again in your good writing I just wanted to point out that their is no apostrophe in commas. 😉 Sorry if I am missing a joke!

    Anyhow, yes I do completely agree with you. I can’t stand to see bad grammar and especially huge chunks of text. Big bugbear of mine! It makes reading impossible and, like you, I am often left wondering how it ever made it through the proofreading process. Surely, when the author read it back, they would have realised that it was incredibly hardgoing to get through?

    Sound advice!

    1. Yes, I was being demonstrative and it was tough leaving all those grammatical errors on purpose! 🙂

      Would it be wrong to point out that your ‘their’ should be ‘there?’ 😉
      You are right of course (about commas) and it shall be edited forthwith…or at some point! Thank you, I genuinely appreciate it.

  19. I’ve seen blogs that do this and worse and still have followers. To my mind, people who spew anger and hatred but attract a lot of followers, tells us that there is no logic to why some people build a following quickly and others do not.

    Additionally, there are people who are constantly posting their every thought, mediocre content with nothing original and a great deal of pedestrian poetry. Many of them attract thousands.

    If there is a formula for getting followers, I think the algorithm is beyond the ken of all of us.

    1. I always say Beth that there are followers in one group and fans, active buyers and readers in another. 2 different things (although they CAN be interchangeable).

      There is in fact great logic as to why some people attract a lot of followers. If you are spewing hatred and follow some basic blogging rules, then someone who agrees with your hatred will find you and follow you. Getting visitors is not about morals.

      To build a community of engaged people Beth starts with being engaged yourself. The algorithm bit comes much later.

    2. Beth, perhaps you are overlooking one factor. That is the bloggers who are intent on running up the number of followers and follow every blog they can find for the purpose of getting them to follow back. That makes both of them trying to run up the numbers and likely don’t give a hoot about what the other one posts.

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