I’ve been away from you for a couple of months – visiting family, working face-to-face (Woohoo!) for a change with my coaching clients, taking a few great classes, and gearing up for my next round of BlogStart for Therapists (in 2 weeks).
Oh, yeah . . . and spending a few weeks toodling up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina and around Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, too!
Truthfully, I was overdue for a little respite and self-care.
I hope you’ve been able to take some time this summer to feed your spirit, too.
I’ve missed you guys though and I’m coming home with lots of energy and more focus to bring you the most helpful posts, some of the most respected professionals, and best resources to help you attract and connect even better with your favorite clients.
And, now? I’m back and ready to talk to you guys about building your counseling practices.
With BlogStart for Therapists launching again in a couple of weeks, I thought I would take some time to talk with you about how to get your client’s attention by using your blog.
After all, if you’re curating great content on your website by blogging and you have told everyone you know to come check it out, you really do want them to find exactly what they’re looking for and then some!
I’m really happy to start the last half of the year by introducing you to one of my favorite new-to-me web designers, Kat Love!
I’ve been following her work and interacting with her online for almost 6 months.
During that time, I’ve found her to be exceptionally responsive to clients’ needs and willing to provide starter websites at reasonable prices for those therapists who are just beginning their practices.
When Kat offered to share some really easy blog design tips to help you increase the likelihood that your ideal clients actually drop in to read your blog and then stick around to read some more, I jumped at the offer!
When you see how easy her tips are to implement, you’ll see why.
Please take a moment to drop into the comments and welcome Kat to Private Practice from the Inside Out!
A Guest Post by Kat Love
Skimming Is the New Reading
Readers on the internet almost never read.
In fact, instead of calling them “readers,” we should call them “skimmers.”
Of course, we can lament at the increasingly short attention spans and how people these days are too rushed or distracted to really dig in and read anything anymore.
Or we could accept it and deliver our message in a way that takes into consideration these changing habits.
I strongly suggest the latter.
So the question becomes . . . keeping in mind that our posts may merely be skimmed and not read in their entirety, once someone is reading your blog, how can you communicate more effectively?
Luckily, there are some simple ways that you can craft your content to be skimmed easily (and not ruin the experience for those that are reading every word).
5 Ways to Make Your Blog More Skimmable
1. Use Headings & SubHeadings
Headings and subheadings deliver main concepts quickly.
The headings themselves contain the main concepts and outline where skimmers can easily find the corresponding paragraphs for a deeper read into the concept.
This allows skimmers to easily pick and choose the portions of the post that most interest them leading to skimmer satisfaction.
and subheadings also give your posts visual variety to guide your skimmers eye through the content.
It’s not just one long chunk of text after another.
Bonus – Headings and subheadings are also great for SEO (search engine optimization) and for website accessibility.
2. Make Lists
Not only are they easy to skim for many of the same reasons as headings, they also make a specific promise and then allow you to deliver on that promise with concise explanations of each point.
This article is a list not by coincidence.
Lists also help you build your authority by showing that you really know your stuff.
Taking something that might otherwise be complex and making it teachable is a sign of expertise.
3. Use Blockquotes & Pullquotes
Blockquotes are where you quote someone else in your blog post.
Pull quotes are small excerpts from the post itself.
Both types of quotes are used to emphasize an excerpt of text and help provide anchor points for a skimmers eyes to land.
If you’re using a blockquote, it’s also another great way to show your expertise because you’re referencing outside sources to support your message.
4. Make Paragraphs Shorter
When people skim the text, there must be adequate white space to allow the skimmers eyes to find places to dig in and read for a while.
Keeping your paragraphs to 2-5 sentences will make it easier for skimmers to find a place to jump in.
So use your return key liberally and strategically making sure the beginning of each paragraph is something that pulls a skimmer in or provides an important point.
5. Communicate Visually with Photos
A good photograph is the best available shortcut to communicating the message of your post.
A visual is much easier for the mind to interpret than even the heading or first sentences of your post.
Using photos helps a skimmer quickly understand the idea of what the post is about without reading a word.
Photos are also great for making long posts more readable and every post more shareable.
And photos aren’t the only type of visual communication available, for extra credit you can also use infographics, charts, and other graphical or data visualization elements.
6. Use Internal Links
Internal links link from within your blog content to something else on your blog or website.
It could be a relevant blog post or page on your website for further information.
Internal links are awesome for many reasons, but the reason they are great for skimmers is that they act like a highlighter for the skimmers’ eyes.
They can quickly see which types of topics are being discussed and engage directly with the post’s link to find out more about each topic.
Bonus – Internal links are also great for SEO (search engine optimization).
Details Make a Difference
Although many of these things may seem quite small, like adding some headings or a photograph or pressing that return key for paragraphmaking, these are the exact things that can make reading your blog post more effortless and helpful to your skimmers while not taking you a ton more work.
It sounds like a win-win situation.
Now it’s your turn.
Have you implemented some of these structuring and content optimization techniques in your blog?
How do you feel about using blockquotes from outside sources?
Are you a fan of making lists?
Would love to know in the comments below what you’ve been doing to make your blog posts more skimmable.
Or, if you’ve been implementing any of these techniques, Tamara and I would love to know how it’s going.
Have you received any positive feedback from the skimmers in your life?
About the Author: Kat Love, founder of www.katlove.com, builds and
designs websites to help psychotherapists grow their practice’s online
presence. Kat’s appreciation of therapists stems from the powerful
healing that therapists helped her achieve following childhood sexual abuse and neglect.