Mastering the “You Had Me at Hello”
What if I told you that your blog has 10 seconds to succeed or fail? I know, it’s harsh. Research has shown that web browsers often spend only about 10-20 seconds on a particular page before clicking on to the next (Nielsen Norman Group). That means the pressure is on to grab each reader’s attention in the first 10-20 seconds of skimming your blog. After you’ve gotten a reader to stay on the page for at least 20 seconds, the chances of them staying on the page long enough to read the whole blog post go up exponentially.
So, how do you quickly generate interest? Good headlines and subheadings are paramount. There are many blogs and articles out there that discuss how to write a killer headline. I particularly like this one from the Boost Blog Traffic blog. Titled “36 Outrageous Headlines You Can’t Help but Click,” this blog post gives 36 funny, racy, and thought-provoking examples of real blog titles (just try to read through without clicking on one of them, I dare you). I find this post helpful partly because it gives such a wide variety of examples showing how to aptly title a range of topics, and partly because the writer, Andrew Warner, offers his thoughtful and personal insight into why each of these titles works.
The bottom line is that your headlines and subheadings must evoke a strong emotion, make your readers laugh, or offer an outrageous or interesting contradiction in order to grab readers’ attention in those crucial first 10 seconds.
The Stock Photo Trap
Stock photos can be useful, but they can also be boring and cliche. Readers will see the imagery on the page before they read any of the content, which makes the imagery you use very influential in keeping readers’ attention. Don’t get in a rut of using cheesy stock photos. They can easily bring an amateur look to even the most well-written blog. Instead, personalize images to fit your brand and to look more professional. We like using Canva.com because it’s a user-friendly tool that allows you to import images and then add graphics and text.
Another important note to make about imagery in blog posts is that it’s a good idea to insert imagery throughout the post to add more visual interest and to help break up the text so readers stay on the page.
A Good Blog is like a Good Conversation
Don’t you hate it when you feel like someone is just talking at you with no regard or interest for your input to the one-sided conversation? No one wants to read a blog that feels like that. Rather than simply talking at your readers, try to make your blog post like a good conversation. That means you need to listen to your readers and try to understand who they are and what they want. This includes interacting with readers through comments and asking them questions about their thoughts and opinions.