Do you know your readers?
You look at your blog almost every day. You write the articles, you picked/made the design, but how does the blog look and read to your visitors? People with different knowledge and different computers are accessing your web page, can anyone come to your website and understand the blog right away?
CAN PEOPLE UNDERSTAND YOUR WRITING?
A few months ago, I wrote a lesson plan/tutorial for an art class on using Photoshop. I had written lessons on that subject before, but this time I was faced with a far less tech-savvy crowd. One person, in particular, the teacher had a particularly hard time following my directions.
The things I took for granted, like what the menu bar is, was suddenly pushed into the limelight because the teacher couldn’t figure out how to go to File >> New Document.
Does your writing make logical sense to the majority of your audience? Do you assume common lingo without explaining it? It is often said that your blog writing should be at a third-grade level. Why? Because that big word or acronym you put in that article might confuse your reader. It is critical that your reader understands the information so they can decide if your website is informative and useful.
If they can’t understand the terminology you throw around, you’ll lose potential readers. Make sure even if your article discusses advanced topics, you introduce basic concepts and link to other articles that explain the backstory.
Often times, you’ll see a news article cover follow up news on a previous story. It is important to brief the reader, and link to previous articles so that if a new reader comes along, they can immerse themselves in the story.
A great way to brief the reader is to use an appositive, a short phrase that introduces the previously mentioned idea. For example:
The iPhone, Apple’s newest revolutionary product that combines cell phone and iPod, was released across the nation to store lines everywhere.
The appositive is the phrase in between the commas. Sentences like this go a long way to catching the reader up to the story you will cover.
IS YOUR WEBSITE PRESENTABLE ON ALL COMPUTERS?
I use a PC laptop and a Mac desktop, so I get two very different perspectives. Looking at a website on the PC laptop screen looks tremendously different to the Mac.
I designed The Blog Beat on the Mac without consulting the PC during the process. Weeks later though when I viewed and began to read the site on the laptop, I found the font size painfully small (even at 12-pixel font) so I made the size large. I wouldn’t have thought the font was small on the Mac display, but since I changed up my perspective I was able to make my site better.
Testing for a web browser can be a pain, even photos in different browsers look different, but it is important to test for all browsers. Your site will look slightly different regardless of your efforts, but if you can provide a similar experience you’ll know what your visitor is getting.
To wrap up, here are some key points to in mind when dealing with your blog day today.
- Inform A Beginner Write for the person who doesn’t know what you would be talking about. Bring your reader up to speed before introducing critical concepts in your article.
- Visitor Audit Have someone who has no knowledge of the blog’s topic and have them verbalize their thoughts and questions about the article. This will help you see ambiguities you might have overlooked.
- Test your site design in different environments. Can a person on a laptop have the same experience as that on a 30″ Apple Cinema Display?