I don’t know about you but when I read a book, a website, a blog or other media I like to be informed, entertained or maybe amused. I want to feel the fear if I’m reading a thriller or mystery. Maybe I need a good case of the giggles or I might want to make myself a better person so I pick up a few self-help books. Students must read in order to become educated and parents read to their children not only to entertain them but to teach them any number of things. The list goes on depending on my taste or needs for my current reading selection. What’s the point of reading anything if it doesn’t grab my attention and fulfill it’s purpose?
I used to be an insatiable computer magazine and book reader but for years now, most of my reading falls into the German Shepherd, general dog behavior and training and then there’s my website design categories. I don’t often pick up a fiction book as a diversion or to be entertained, although it would probably do me some good to take a break from the educational type media I am so often drawn to because to much of that causes my brain to overload.
If I’m reading a book for pleasure, it needs to capture my attention within the first chapter and to be honest, usually just the first few pages. If it doesn’t I’m done. The same is true for viewing websites, magazines or anything else. A quick snap to attention in the beginning will get me to finish what I started. If that doesn’t happen, I won’t waste my time reading something that’s just going to put me to sleep.
GET and KEEP Your Reader’s Attention
I really can’t imagine others being much different from me when it comes to this. Your website and blog readers are your audience. They came to your website for a reason. If they find themselves yawning from boredom at what’s there for them, you can bet they’re gonna hit Google and look elsewhere for what they had hoped to find on your site. People want to get what they need or want quickly and move on to whatever is next in their lives. When it comes to your blog or website, it’s your job to make sure that they don’t wind up with hit but miss results. In other words, you want them to hit your website and stick around not hit it, turn around and walk out the door a couple minutes later.
CREATIVE WRITING is a Key Element
There are plenty of people out there who don’t have a website or a blog simply because they think they don’t have what it takes to be an interesting source of information. They don’t think they can write in a way that captures an audience. I have no doubt whatsoever that I’m far from the most interesting writer there is, but I don’t let that stop me from trying. No one is asking you to be an author or a professional writer, but you do have to make the effort to at least be a good read.
REPETITION is BORING!
Repeating the same words throughout the text content over and over again makes for some pretty mundane material. Find a way to jazz things up a little bit! There’s a bit of magic in the English language and just one element in that magic is the power of how even one word can be said in different words and retain it’s meaning. Let’s just use one little portion of this paragraph:
“There’s a bit of magic …” could read “There’s a little slice of wizardry …” or maybe “Pull a little word sorcery out of the black hat …” and then there’s “Wave your word wand …” See what I mean?
My Little WRITING SECRET
Word redundancy drives me insane. It’s boring, uninteresting and sometimes downright annoying. Currently my most UN-favorite phrase is “It is what it is.” Everybody and their brothers seem to be using it! Ugh! Find a new phrase, people! Unfortunately for me, this phrase is very popular with my very own husband. I hear it daily and many times have just wanted to pop him in the choppers to get his attention just before I scream “UNCLE!” Which brings up the fact that “UNCLE!” in this case could easily be replaced with “ENOUGH ALREADY!” Get the picture?
I’m sure I’m no different than anyone else who’s guilty of word repetition, but when I write and then re-read what I’ve written — boredom is just so in my face! This is when I hop over to one of my favorite references, the thesaurus. I tossed out my hard copy thesaurus quite some time ago because it’s so much easier to hit the online version at thesaurus.com. I have found some really great writing help there and you can also visit dictionary.com. By tossing out the printed books you not only do away with heavy cumbersome books to dig out when you need them, you also free up shelf space for your favorite new knick-knack or photo of your new grandbaby!
You don’t need to find alternate words for every point you want to make. You can certainly use the same word in a few places, just don’t overdo it. If you sound like a broken record, you’ve overdone it. It would be a royal pain in the patootie to jump back and forth a hundred times to find different words for every instance. It’s not necessary to work yourself into a frenzy over it … but do make at least an honest attempt to make your writing more diverse. I found it’s actually fun and educational to make a practice of using these two simple resources to help me be a better writer. Even the most uncreative writers can write better content with the use of a few key devices.
Write It — Read It — REREAD IT!
… and rewrite it before publishing it if you have to. When you write a web page or a blog post you have this itty bitty window to compose in. You might find yourself amazed at how different it looks after it’s live on your site. Re-reading it in Preview Mode or my favorite — the editor’s Toggle Mode — before publishing it will help you see that you need to add a little chocolate sauce or sprinkles over your vanilla ice cream. As a bonus, it will also help you find and correct your typo’s! If you aren’t a good speller or have trouble being objective about what you wrote — ask a trusted friend or relative to read it and give you some good, honest feedback. Don’t forget to listen with an open mind.