Steemit Blogging 101: Title, Picture, First 100 Characters and WHY they're important!

7 months ago
69 in payitforward

Have you ever wondered by some bloggers do better than other?

I'm not talking about Steemit per se, but blogs throughout the internet.
Having been a professional blogger (off and on) for a few decades, there are things that I take for granted when I post. These practices are like second nature to me but perhaps they are not second nature to you.

My goal is to give you a little insight which I hope you will practice and incorporate into your daily blogs.


image source

This is the first of a 3-post series

Blogging 101

Title

Why is your title so important? Let me give you two quotes by David Ogilvy

"On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.”

"The purpose of a title is to get potential readers to read the first line of your content."


I am not talking about click bait. I HATE click bait because it dupes your readers!

DON'T DO IT


Your title will determine if your potential readers want to know more about your content.

Let's review my title:
Steemit Blogging 101: Title, Picture, First 100 Characters and WHY they're important!

I am telling you in a very short, concise way that this is an educational blog. You know what the subject is going to be and you're probably reading this because you want to learn more about blogging well.

In the blogroll that is HOME, NEW, TRENDING, PROMOTED and ACTIVE, people are scrolling through these tabs and scanning thousands of blogs only to stop when something catches their eye. There's a very good chance they are pausing to read a good title. In a split second they are going to decide if they're going to read your first paragraph.

Are you click-worthy?

Your title is also the thing that promotes your blog when people share it on Twitter or Facebook.

Now try to scroll through your own blogs with an objective eye. If you saw your titles on a feed - would you click them?

Picture

They say a picture tells a thousand tales. The first picture in your blog is the one that will be showcased next to your title on the blogroll. It is the featured picture.

Yeah, Yeah... You knew that already, right?

But why is it so important?
You picture selection enhances the presentation of your blog. It's got to be catchy and appropriate. Truth be told, there is a lot of psychology behind finding an appropriate picture and drawing your reader in.

Take my featured picture for example:

Apple, books, chaulky background. We associate those things to teachers and learning.

But there is so much more to it than association


I highly recommend you take a look at the infographic about the
Psychology of Color and how it affects buying decisions.


Primary colors are imperative to a catchy featured photo. I have a red apple in my featured photo. Red increases heart rate. It also subconsciously creates a sense of urgency.

My message from the photo selection is: You're going to learn something and it's important that you learn it NOW.

First 100 Characters

I cannot iterate strongly enough

HOW IMPORTANT

your first 100 characters are!

I'm going to make my point by visiting the NEW tab and scrolling down to find examples of what not to do. I did not have to scroll for very long.

Please note: I am NOT making fun of these fine Steemians. I am using my screenshot as a learning tool. You can tell me if you've read their posts. If you have - GREAT! If not - WHY NOT? Think about that for a moment.


@orcish has been around since August, 2016. I see his art all the time on the blogrolls. I'll be honest with you. I rarely click his content because of the first 100 characters. His title is great. His art is fantastic.

But his first 100 characters immediately tell me there's nothing more to his post than where else to find him.

When it comes to Steemit, I've seen all I need to see from him. He gave it to me. I did not have to click his post. Sadly, I didn't even give him an upvote. I literally glanced at his art and kept going. WHY? Because nothing brought me to the next step.

He slapped up some art and made no attempt to engage me at all. If we are going to be community-based then we need to CONNECT TO PEOPLE.


@anarchyhasnogods did a great job with the featured picture. NASA and science... Cool. Title: Near Earth Objects, Covering All Our Bases...

From what? is my first question.
Okay, so... I'm a busy reader and look toward his first 100 characters in the blogroll. He gives me a little more about what his blog is about. NEOs can wipe out humanity. Combined with his title, I'm assuming he's writing about how humanity is on the look out for space junk and what we can do to save ourselves.

Did I read it? Not immediately. But it is a topic of interest so I opened it in a new tab to read later.


@joseluismejia - The picture is good BUT YOUR TITLE IS YELLING AT ME!
ALL CAPS is generally frowned upon because it's considered as shouting - and shouting is rude. Your title should stand on its own merit. And yes, some caps is okay - but not across the entire title line.

How To Live A Healthy and a Happier Life

It's a very broad subject and I wish he was a little more specific. Is he giving me 5 tips? Is he getting philosophical?
I don't know because his first 100 characters are not cluing me in at all.


@kristy1 is sharing what could be a delicious recipe...and I will probably never know because while the title is enticing, the picture does not make me drool at all. And then a quick glance at her first 100 characters tells me she's probably slapped down the recipe and called it a day.

I won't know if this was her grandmother's recipe; if there is a story in there. I didn't click it because while I love cake, the lack of drool factor and personal engagement turned me off. I don't know what Swiss duplex cake is, but I'm not lured in and hooked enough to save it to my recipes bookmarks.


@samsiedenstrang presented us with a landscape photo and told us exactly what's in his blog post. "Some snapshots from the creek". That's great! I love to see nature in other people's back yards BUT...

Read his first 100 characters:
"Mid. fall in West Michigan. Salmon run up this creek i;d love to get some shots of that next year."

I have to shake my head. No, @samsiedenstrang, NO! He gave us a decent photo and title. Then teased us with something we might not ordinarily see "Salmon run up this creek"...and then took it away! He literally told us that he doesn't have those pics.

Now, it wouldn't have been so bad to mention the fact that he'd wish to see salmon next year later in the post. We could have been on a journey with him. But anything less than salmon in the water right now is going to be somewhat disappointing.

It was a perfect opportunity to share his neighborhood and beautiful surroundings. But... no salmon.


Conclusion

Pay attention to your blog. There are details you might be missing which could make a good blog post into a great one. We are inundated with content - not just on Steemit, but all over the internet, on TV, in public. Everything is vying for our attention. So use these best practices to help you stand out in the crowd.

And if you begin to use these techniques, please let me know if you've seen an improvement in traffic and upvotes. But most importantly - engage your readers. YOU are the hook. Help us get to know you.

This concludes the first lesson in Steemit Blogging 101.
Stay tuned for 2 more lessons coming soon!

  • Headers and White Space
  • Conclusion, Signature Line/Footer, and Review


image source

Come frolic with me until SUNDAY!

I've extended this because my work schedule prevented me from posting

This is a 50/50 post.

All liquid STEEM and SBD from today, Monday, January 9, to Sunday, January 15 will be awarded to @awesomenyl to help her raise funds and get supplies for the baby.

Read about the launch of this initiative

Please note: I cannot guarantee earnings and my consistency has been a little spotty lately, but your support is greatly appreciated.


image source
Another Steemian in need of your help.

@verbal-d


Read about his special request

Public Service Announcement

Educate yourself on what Steemit Witnesses do.

Have a Steemit day!

#payitforward

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  trending
66
  ·  7 months ago

This post has been ranked within the top 10 most undervalued posts in the first half of Jan 13. We estimate that this post is undervalued by $8.11 as compared to a scenario in which every voter had an equal say.

See the full rankings and details in The Daily Tribune: Jan 13 - Part I. You can also read about some of our methodology, data analysis and technical details in our initial post.

If you are the author and would prefer not to receive these comments, simply reply "Stop" to this comment.

65
  ·  7 months ago

A great post, followed you have a great day

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

I appreciate that, @mallorcaman. Enjoy the weekend.

68
  ·  7 months ago

I could do with help especially with titles. Good advice though :)

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

I've written short stories and novellas after waking up saying, "Oh, that's a good title." I know it sounds back-asswards but... so am I! hahaha. The title should give your reader a definite clue about what's in store for them. In other words, it should be just enough of a monster to make someone look under the bed.

·
·
68
  ·  7 months ago

I must try harder, I do go through a few before I post deleting one then trying another until I like it

·
·
·
74
  ·  7 months ago

I struggle with titles too, I normally put the title of the painting!

·
·
·
·
68
  ·  7 months ago

Its hard to think of something that will catch the readers eye

·
·
·
·
·
74
  ·  7 months ago

Yes, but you don't want it to be click bait.

·
·
·
·
68
  ·  7 months ago

Def not it has to be about what the post is about

45
  ·  7 months ago

Thanks for the info! I will try to use this to improve my own posts! Upvoted and followed!

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

Thanks, @rschenk. I was going to say welcome to Steemit but you've been here a while! :)
Where's your avatar, love? It helps to have a human element or brand to get more friends/followers. Best wishes.

·
·
45
  ·  7 months ago

I uploaded an avatar but it doesn't look like it saved correctly. I will try again. Thanks for the tip!

·
·
45
  ·  7 months ago

And....there you go! It looks like the image I posted on Imgur was corrupted or something. It looks like it is working now thanks to some helpful advice from @scaredycatguide on this post: https://steemit.com/steemit/@de-sk/help-how-can-i-upload-profile-pic

66
  ·  7 months ago

Nice post. I should definitely work on those first 100 characters. I still have trouble coming up with good and catching ways to start my blogs.

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

Hi @playfulfoodie - Have you ever heard of an "elevator pitch?" It's the short sales pitch that convinces the buyer to hear more about it or buy in right away. Don't be fooled - you might not think you're selling a product but in blogging you are selling yourself to get the most views and feedback. On Steemit, that equals earnings.

Think of your first 100 characters like a Twitter message. Put in a lot of information in a small amount of space. It should compliment your title without being a repeat of the title. That is the final hook which draws us in.

·
·
66
  ·  7 months ago

That's a great way of looking at it, thanks! I'll definitely try to aim for this in the future.

57
  ·  7 months ago

Hmmmm. Very interesting. Thank you!

Upvoted and followed!

---Homa

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

Thank you @homalinadir - Have a wonderful weekend. :)

62
  ·  7 months ago

Thank you this has some great points. Wonder how I can use this along with the numbers I collected from all of my posts to find things that are working for me. I just went through all my blogs and took the numbers out to see if there is a pattern that some things worked. I forgot the 1st 100 characters but I can include that easy enough. Hope this helps others that are struggling as well.

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

Thanks, @smysullivan - I think there is often a perception that blogging is easy. But like anything else, there are finer nuances which separate the casual player from the professionals.

Take bowling, for example. It's easy to roll a heavy ball down the lane and hope you hit some pins. But to be a really good bowler you have to know your strength, the twist of your wrist, how your ball spins, and how to use those marks on the floor to determine where your ball is going. right? It makes a difference to learn and implement these things.

66
  ·  7 months ago

Thank you so much for this. Very interesting.

I just noticed that on esteem on my phone you only actually see the titles and first picture. Not even the first 100 words so it's even important to try to keep different users reading options in mind too. How the content will be displayed to them.

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

Yes, exactly @eroche - Sadly, too many people judge a book by its cover. But consider how we shop for books. Maybe you're already seeking an author. Okay. But chances are you're looking at one of two things first - the title and a nice cover. If the cover is crap, it might turn you off. But if the cover and the title are appealing, chances are you're going to pick it up and read the synopsis on the back.

46
  ·  7 months ago

Value added - good reference info for this newbie.

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

@heykathy - Welcome to Steemit!
Hopefully this helps. I don't want to overwhelm anyone so I try to keep these things simple and easy to understand. Best wishes. :)

69
  ·  7 months ago

I ought to think more about titles and first lines to get attention, but I'd hope my followers would read my posts anyway.

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

That would be so nice in the real world but it doesn't work that way. LOL
I'm following over 200 people and there's no way I read all their stuff. Their blogs are still vying for my eyeballs because there is SO MUCH content! And likewise, I somehow managed to get over 650 followers and don't have anywhere near that many views per post.

·
·
69
  ·  7 months ago

I know many of my followers are not active. I'm happy with any responses I get.

65
  ·  7 months ago

What a very insightful post @merej99! That's awesome. Personally, I've had a terrible time finding an audience. I've constantly tried to rework the structure of my posts, but I still haven't seen the correct fit. It would be cool if you can spare some time to take a look at :)

(Oh, and by the way, I've started a sort-of payitforward initiative of my own :D I mentioned you in the intro post but I completely forgot to inform you about it.)

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

I will definitely check out your posts and see if I can give any helpful tips. Just remember that your audience is going to be varied depending on what you write/create. Never expect that all your followers will read all your content. That's part of the reason why my blogs remain diverse: from helpful tips, short stories, to art and humor. I want the broadest audience I can get. So don't limit yourself either.

Are you on Twitter or somewhere that I could send private messages? And THANK YOU for the mention on Silver Lining. You've got some awesome initiatives to help benefit your nephew and other charitable organizations. BRAVO.

·
·
65
  ·  7 months ago

I have a Twitter account, but I don't use it anymore. I'm on steemit.chat though. I don't use it as much as I used to, but I still get on it from time to time. Thanks for checking, @merej99! :D

My problem lies with people not even opening my posts, as (painfully) evidenced by the read count. I used to post very varying post topics, but it didn't get much traction so I switched gears. Art? One of my lowest-voted posts. Photo? A passing thought. Hahaha! Even though I could diversify by posting topics I don't have any knowledge about, I made a conscious effort not to. Not a knock against other people, but I'd rather not post anything than profit from other people's work. By that I mean, putting up a post that's at least 90% info you can find elsewhere on the net, translations of other people's work, etc.

58
  ·  7 months ago

nice post!

73
  ·  7 months ago

I really enjoyed this post. Thank you.

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

Thank you, @mynameisbrian
Hopefully it will help improve some content and give some new bloggers half a chance to be noticed.

·
·
59
  ·  7 months ago

I have just read this post. Thanks a lot for the lesson. I actually had a hard time with my posting at the beginning and still not satisfied with my work at the moment. But I think you're a great help along with the other steemians who'd given me information. One thing though, although I'm a newbie I am enjoying here on steemit because I can do my passion and share it. Again, thank you very much for this educational article.

72
  ·  7 months ago

Dear friend @ merej99 this post is great, very good examples and advice, I will try to keep in mind in the presentation of my notes, congratulations for this maginifico material thank you very much

68
  ·  7 months ago

I am rarely paying attention to the first 100 words. Mostly the title and the image. I will try to think about it for my next posts :)

Thanks for sharing!

41
  ·  7 months ago

Thank you for this informative article.

72
  ·  7 months ago

Great post! I plan to include it in the next round of welcome page updates :)

63
  ·  7 months ago

so guilty....so very very guilty.....sigh

68
  ·  7 months ago

Good post. They say that your opening line is the most important part of your story. I just finished posting my life story on here and in lieu of a good title, I called it The Kid That Became A Guy...hardly inspiring, I know. (Hope my opening line was better)

72
  ·  7 months ago

Really good post. Thanks a lot.

65
  ·  7 months ago

Very helpful & clear descriptions. Thank you!

65
  ·  7 months ago


Hi @merej99, I just stopped back to let you know your post was one of my favourite reads today/yesterday and I included it in my Steemit Ramble. You can read what I wrote about your post here.

·
69
  ·  7 months ago

Thank you so much @shadowspub.
I'll be posting 2 of 3 tonight and probably 3 of 3 tomorrow.
The damned Netflix had kidnapped me for nearly 2 days. I was practically comatose. It was frightening! lol

·
·
65
  ·  7 months ago

oh oh .. what were you binge watching on Netflix? damn talky pictures are mesmerizing.

·
·
·
69
  ·  7 months ago

I'm totally addicted to Grey's Anatomy and literally suffered through Hemlock Grove hoping that it would get better! LOL

·
·
·
·
65
  ·  7 months ago

I love Grey's Anatomy... ditched Hemlock Grove early on ... have you watched Code Black or Chicago Med?

67
  ·  7 months ago

Better late then never, I wish there was a post this insightful back when I first joined Steemit. Great job, thanks!!!

49
  ·  last month

@merej99, Amazing post, real eye opener. It showed me that you are very talented and experienced in writing blogs. Therefore I wanted to ask you if you could read one of Mine and give me some feedback.
See, I just started writing blogs on my own, and I am really into it. But, I am probably doing many things wrong, and I want to improve myself. Your feedback would really help me out, and improve my blogs!

I hope you find the time, otherwise I am still very grateful for your amazing posts!

Cheers,
Raoul

54
  ·  25 days ago

@merej99, thank you for another excellent and informative post. I am sure that this one will help me make a more professional post.