I set up this website around 2 years ago from my bedroom. I’d write a few gaming or technology articles here and there and get very excited when 20 people saw my post. If a 100 people read it I’d imagine I’d become famous like David Gilmour. Many failed attempts at writing popular articles later, I stumbled upon a formula for writing great content, and I’m going to share some of these tips here. At the moment there are days when this website has over 100 concurrent users. You can go back through the post history and find out that I stumbled on these by trial and error, by making mistakes and learning from them. These are tips that helped me get from 20 to over 100,000 views on my articles.
Always add subheadings for every 2 paragraphs
No matter what you’re writing, a majority of your audience will always want to skim through your work. Even before someone starts reading your article, they will scroll down and look at things like the length of the text and its difficulty. They will identify some key topics to understand whether they want to spend their time reading it or not. Ideally you should have paragraphs with information-rich text and add a heading (on the internet this is H2 or H3 tags) after every long block of text.
The 2 paragraph rule means that you should try to fit in one concept within approximately 150-200 words. It also depends on the font size on your website, and of course, the style of writing. The more professional and research heavy your writing gets, the more you should disregard this rule. If your goal is to market your content, though, I would absolutely recommend adding relevant subheadings.
Don’t use passive voice too much
Passive voice is the bane of engaging writing, because it takes the focus away from the subject of the sentence. The thing is, most of the time, the subject is you (the reader)! Passive voice does have its uses, though. For example, in this sentence:
“Someone recently repainted the house.”
“The house has recently been repainted.”
The second one, in passive voice as compared to active, is more formal. In a professional setting this would have its uses, however, I’m not writing a textbook for Rules and Regulations for English cricket. I’m writing words that people like reading. It also gets rid of the signal of uncertainty by replacing the word ‘someone’ and focusing on the subject – the house. A reader wants to read simple sentences that make sense while being engaging enough to not lose interest. Passive voice doesn’t do that very often.
Link to your other articles in the post content itself
Everyone knows about internal links. Liking various categories, having popular posts in the sidebar and related posts (usually by some WordPress plugin) are great places to start. But these things will never truly replace a link that is weaved in very well into a story or article. For a very long time, this website has had a relatively high bounce rate due to its heavy mobile viewership, which doesn’t have the sidebar or post categories show up immediately. In this situation, to drive traffic to your other posts, you have to make sure your readers are engaged to the topic at hand, and link to a conceptually similar topic that all readers would want to read next.
I do this sometimes in my cryptocurrency articles. For example, in this one about the best cryptocurencies from each category, I link to the safest cryptocurrency bets for 2018, not once but thrice. It’s directly relevant to the reader’s interests, has a similar purpose (identifying some legitimate cryptocurrency projects), and has a natural flow for a reader moving from one article to the other. That one link decreased the bounce rate of the article by 15%.
Check out my post on The 5 Best Cryptocurrencies in Each Category to get a feel for what I’m saying.
Keep your writing simple
We get it, you’re a great writer and your literature degree allowed you to aptly and succinctly describe the iambic enjambments that unostentatiously adorn Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18. But like differential equations, there’s no need for that in every day life. For anything you publish online, the simpler the better. A good writer should always be able to break down concepts into their simplest form to engage the reader.
Pictures and illustrations, when available, are always great for explaining technical concepts, but they help even when the content is rather simple. A colourful, vibrant image is always better than a block of text. Take a look at this article on buying Instagram followers (or rather why you shouldn’t). There’s no need for us to have a meme or a few images peppered in, but it helped us generate traction on social media since the images are immediately eye-catching.
Look for search engine and social media trends
No online trend is forever. If people are finding your website through organic search results, you can guarantee that within a month or two that number will decline. Your competitors will find a gap in the market, and publish their own articles on the same topic, which will be newer and with more updated information. This is why it’s always a good thing to have a consistent stream of new articles, as well as reworking the SEO on previously published articles.
Social media trends about your own brand and events in your industry will help you write immediately relevant articles. Unless you’re a celebrity or large brand, it’s necessary for a website to keep up with latest social media trends and see whether their content can be a beacon of relevancy in a sea of white-noise.
Some resources to analyse trends:
Tell your friends about what you write
Online marketing isn’t everything. An offline connection with a friend or business associate is much more powerful, and this shows in the engagement towards content. Direct traffic is one of the strongest because it inherently represents the intent of the user, which is to come to your site. Asking your friend circle to like your Facebook page or sign up to your mailing list never hurts. If your content isn’t up to the mark, someone down the line will give you valuable feedback and you’ll learn what you’re doing wrong. If it’s great, that instantly creates an opportunity for referrals and more connections, since people will want to share your work.
Online and offline marketing intersect in very interesting ways, and the same applies to content. A billboard is still a great way to market a business, and a club or a social group that’s a patron of your blog will always build credibility at a local level.
The steps listed are really simple and don’t take too much extra effort. They’re just a change in writing and editing style that can be easily implemented to optimize your website for larger audiences. The 6 things I did to write articles that are able to get 100,000 organic views are:
- Add subheadings for every 2 paragraphs
- Don’t use passive voice too much
- Link to your other articles in the post content itself
- Keep your writing simple
- Analyse search engine and social media trends
- Tell your friends about what you write