Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Web Design & Development > Blogs

Ten Quick Ways to Improve Your Business Blog

  • Print
  • + Share This
Business blogs can be brilliant, bubbly, brash—but many are just boring. You need to separate your blog from the masses of text out there, get readers to notice, and keep them coming back for more. How? Follow Meryl Evans' 10 quick tips.
Like this article? We recommend

When you surf blogs that you’ve never visited, how quickly do you decide whether to read on or go to another blog? By accident, I discovered that I was judging the blog in the first few seconds, and I began to pay closer attention to the emerging pattern of how I judged the blog.

While we all know that users judge sites in a short time, knowing what they look for in a blog as opposed to a web site helps us ensure that we address those areas.

The first five tips in this article came from my discovery of that pattern, and focus on how to hook the reader in those crucial first few seconds. These tips are cosmetic—addressing the shallow surface of the blog that you notice before reading its content.

The last five tips in this article help you to hang on to those readers who then look deeper into your blog.

Hook ’em Tips 1–5

For those scanners in my audience, here’s a peek into the "hook ’em" tips:

  • Small banner/header
  • Readable
  • Short entries
  • Frequent postings
  • No sound without user interaction

Now let’s focus on the details of these tips.

Tip 1: Keep the Banner/Header Small in Height

A banner gives a site "pop" and creates its look-and-feel. But what’s the purpose of a banner that’s 600 pixels long? Remember, you have menus, white space, blog name, date, and other items that push the content further down.

A person who mindlessly surfs blogs wants to get in, read, and get out. Scrolling down past the tall banner to get to the blog’s content disrupts the flow. Show the reader what you’ve got and ensure that your fresh content appears "above the fold"—in the area of the screen that requires no scrolling to see.

I’ve been to sites with a lot of static content taking up the entire screen, so that when you click on a menu item, you think nothing changed—when actually the content changed below the fold.

Let people get to the blog’s content with as little work as possible. Check to see how big the banner is by changing your monitor’s settings to 800x600 and viewing your blog.

Tip 2: Make Content More Readable

You might not read the paragraph contents of this article because you’re relying on skimming the bold headings to give you the info you need. You’re busy and there’s plenty of information out there, so you want the ten tips as fast as possible—therefore, I put them in bold to help you along.

Readability refers to font size, bold headings, white space, short paragraphs, and anything else that can facilitate easy scanning and reading with no squinting. Studies from Jakob Nielsen and the Stanford-Poynter Project show that most users scan content, as opposed to reading word-for-word.

The paragraphs in this article are also short. Remember the last time you got an email that made you wonder if the person’s Enter key was broken, because there were no paragraphs for easier readability? It’s easy to lose your place in a blur of pixels; short paragraphs keep you on track.

A growing trend in blogs and online content is the use of gray instead of black for the text color. Black is boring, but it’s more readable than gray, which gets lost in the sea of white. Businesses face more challenges in getting potential customers to come to their site and do what they want to do there. No one will fault your business for being uncreative in using old-fashioned black. They’re more interested in what you can do for them or what’s in it for them.

Use bold headers, short paragraphs, large-sized text, white space, and go easy on italics because italicized paragraphs are hard to read. Instead, enclose quotes in quotation marks ([dp][dp]).

Tip 3: Write Short Entries

Some business blogs frequently post entries with more than 800 words. Aim for 500 words or fewer. Use your longer articles in newsletters, magazines, and web pages that aren’t part of a blog.

Business blogs are often read during business hours. Our regular duties, meetings, other web sites, and phone calls are fighting for our time during the work day. Users could see a long blog post and not bother to start reading it because it’ll take too much time.

The occasional long entry is okay if it’s an original idea or topic. But try this first: Make a copy of the long entry, cut it in half, and see whether your important points can still come through. If so, use the shorter version for your blog and save the long entry for an article.

When you post a long entry, consider posting an excerpt on the blog’s main page with a link to the rest of the content. That way, no one is scared away, and users can scan past that entry for older entries.

Tip 4: Post Often

A colleague that I admire had posted to his blog frequently, but then slowly tapered off, and the posts became infrequent and inconsistent. I continued to check his blog once a month or so, but after a while I gave up and didn’t bother. In this case, because it was a friend, I tried longer than I normally would for any other blog.

Readers can tell immediately how consistent and frequent a blog is, just by scanning the dates. Some won’t bother when they see that the posts are old or there’s a long break between posts. Most bloggers aren’t lucky enough to have a following that will wait a year between entries.

Three to five posts a week should satisfy your readers’ thirst.

Tip 5: Let There Be No Sound

Unless you’re in the music business, having sound start playing when a visitor arrives on your site is more likely to annoy than impress.

Music makes a rare appearance on business sites, not counting audio or podcasts. Let the users get familiar with your site or blog without audio disruptions. Simply add a link and a speaker icon, and readers can decide whether or not they’re in a place to listen to audio or if they even have the capability.

Even a deaf person like me (I wear a cochlear implant) jumps when unexpectedly greeted with sound on a site, especially a business site.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020