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10 Blogging Tips to Break the 30 Seconds Barrier

33 Seconds Clock
I don’t want to spoil your day but there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that people spend less than a minute on a web page, perhaps as little as 30 seconds. So you really are going to need to make things easy for people if you wan’t them to read your blog posts.

Now, I have a bit of a guilty admission, I don’t read terribly well. I’m not stoopid or owt, but reading has never come overly naturally to me. Nowadays this isn’t helped by my already very long arms refusing to get any longer and, hard as I try, the printed page always seems a tad too close.

I know I am not alone with the oldies and I know too that there are many school children out there who have more difficult learning experiences than others because they don’t find reading easy: frequently young boys, often rubbing their teachers up the wrong way as they get more and more marginalised.

I’m off on one again aren’t I?

Anyway, it may seem a bit of a paradox that I am investing so much of my time writing at the moment, this writing being principally for blogs. I do write, I don’t think I’m an expert but do I know people are reading what I write and post. For the record I also ghost write for other peoples’ blogs. (sssh, you ain’t heard that). But, perhaps most importantly, given what I have just told you, I am aware of what makes reading less onerous.

So let’s look at ten tips that might help break the 33 second barrier.

1 Open With A Bang

A nice strong shocking declaration. A statistic, a side splittingly funny joke, the offer of a lifetime. OK well we are wise to the last one but you get the idea.

2 Be Human

Don’t be scared of being human, it’s what blogging is all about. Show your emotions and your passion.

3 Be Focussed

Do try to keep a focus. If you find you have ‘gone off one one’ cut the offending words and maybe save it as a new draft post to be expanded on.

4 Titles

The post title needs to do two things,

  1. Attract the reader’s attention. Something that is clever, witty, inviting and descriptive
  2. Work for Google and search engines. This means that if you want your post to be picked up by Google your clever, witty, inviting and descriptive will need to be keyword rich too!

5 Headings

Break your post up with relevant subheadings. These aren’t so important for search engines but will make the page a lot easier to scan and navigate through.

6 Use Short Paragraphs

peoplewillnot readgreatblocksoftext thatcannotbeeasily scannedororganisedandfiltered peoplewillnotreadgreat blocksoftextthatcannot beeasilyscannedororganisedand filteredpeoplewillnotreadgreat blocksoftextthatcannotbeeasily scannedororganisedandfiltered peoplewillnotreadgreatblocksoftext thatcannotbeeasily scannedororganised andfiltered peoplewillnotread greatblocksoftext thatcannotbe easilyscannedororganisedandfiltered

When you write it may come out as a stream of consciousness but when it’s on screen you need to make your text easy to look at, to scan, to filter. This puts the reader back in control.

7 Lists

People love lists and they can be very useful tools to,

  • simplify
  • order
  • clarify

the information that’s on a page.

8 Use Bold and Italicize but don’t Underline!

Text styling can help you to communicate more effectively. You can format text easily by making it bold or italic, adding an implied strength or emphasis. At a push you can use capitals and exclamation marks but beware of SHOUTING AT YOUR READERS!!!!! It is my belief that the only places for underlining are in primary school exercise books and to indicate a link on a web page. Don’t do it, bad things will happen to you if you do.

9 Links

Don’t be afraid to use links it’s easy enough to add them in blogs but don’t overdo it. At best links can add depth and value to a post, at worst they can totally overpower the content.

10 Images

Images can really communicate a lot very effectively. Sadly, although Google is considering introducing face recognition technology, images aren’t as yet very searchable. So a good strong hero image probably won’t get people to your site but it may keep people’s interest up long enough for them to start reading.

The bottom line is that you are both helping and empowering your reader, if you put them back in control they will hopefully make the right choice and read your blog.

This post was originally written as a guest blog for the rather impressive Mediocre Mum blog. Many thanks

From Mass Observation to MassCommunication

York Races - Andrew Butler

York Races - Andrew Butler

The Limited Company behind Design Credo is called MassCommunication. It is called this primarily because the core business that we are involved in is communication. It is a name that I first coined at least 15 years ago. However, it would be unfair of me not to acknowledge the influence that a much earlier initiative had on me: that initiative was called Mass Observation.

Mass-Observation was a large-scale investigation into the habits and customs of the people of Britain that was started in Bolton in 1937. Bolton was named “Worktown” by Tom Harrisson.

The project focused on Bolton initially and during the Second World War was enlisted by the Government to monitor public morale in the population as a whole. The project still exists today and the archive is currently held at the University of Sussex.

The founders of Mass-Observation were: Tom Harrisson, an anthropologist who had made a name for himself studying cannibals in the New Hebrides; Charles Madge, at the time a promising poet and a member of a London based artists movement called the Blackheath group; Humphrey Jennings, an artist, poet, historian, translator and film-maker. Also a member of the Blackheath group. Jennings became widely known for the influential war documentaries he made after he left the Mass-Observation.
Source

Humphrey Spender

Pub - Humphrey Spender

Pub - Humphrey Spender

I first became aware of Mass Observation through a book of photos by Humphrey Spender borrowed from Huddersfield library. Humphrey Spender’s images moved me greatly and the notion of recording everyday existence for no reason other than the record appealed greatly: it still does.

For me this period was one where the photographic connection with the ’30s hadn’t been fully broken, black and white photography was still easy to be involved in, it still is a form that I love: André Kertész, Edward Weston, Henri Cartier-Bresson, how long would you like the list to be?

Life In A Day

In this YouTube clip Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald visits the Mass Observation Archive to talk about the inspiration behind Life In A Day.

Life In A Day is a historic global experiment to create the world’s largest user-generated feature film: a documentary, shot in a single day, by you. On July 24, you have 24 hours to capture a glimpse of your life on camera. The most compelling and distinctive footage will be edited into an experimental documentary film, executive produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEQhy0oFE1w

Blogging?

I am a relative newcomer to writing blogs. I’m sure many people who know people who blog but don’t really get it: why spend so much time doing that, who’s going to read it anyway?

I think there is a thread that runs through all of this, from the black and white image that I took of York races that was inspired by my admiration of Mass Observation and Humphrey Spender to this WordPress blog. Expressing communicating, sharing that’s all but that’s enough.

You don’t have to read it, but thanks if you have.

How to Ensure That Your Blog Grows, (Give a Little)

Blogs are great, I love them. WordPress is a fabulous tool for a business, no question about it in my mind. I have previously written about how to set your blog up to improve its performance. So what more do I need to give?

You Need Energy

We all need energy

We all need energy

Energy, in a word, energy. The difference between a blog and a static site is that the blog will generally develop and grow, but this won’t happen without some form of input. (my Mac grammar checker told me off for using that term the other day, told me it was jargon).

So what for does this energy take, what do we do to aid the ongoing development?

  1. Blog. The first thing to is to actually write some posts, ideally fairly regularly. It’s not rocket science, why would someone visit your site if there is nothing new to read?
  2. Keep a Focus. Yes this is a bit ‘do as I say, not as I do’. I have previously commented the eclectic nature of this blog, but… Keep a focus, yes of course embellish, express your human qualities, but make it clear what the boundaries are.

Hold on there, you haven’t done yet, back to the keyboard.
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How To Create a Post for WordPress Blogs

Many of my website customers forget how to create their posts for WordPress blogs that DesignCredo have created for them.

So, lets see how to,

  1. Upload an image to WordPress
  2. Create an HTML heading
  3. Use a plugin to add a page title and snippet
  4. Attach the post to a category and add a tag

This is a simple walk-through, easy enough to follow. It shows how to add some text, upload and insert an image.

In addition it offers a brief introduction to HTML, but nothing to worry about.

If the video seems blurry select a higher quality via the tab on the RH side of the control bar.

For the record this was the first attempt using a MacBook Pro with Quicktime to record. It was run through iPhoto before uploading to YouTube, ain’t macs great?

Breaking all of the rules it was unscripted and a single take. View it as a tester. You can also view the video here