There is something about homebrewing that just invites us to share. Whether that is a homebrewed beer, your recipes, or your DIY Kegorator. A blog detailing your homebrew journey has never been easier to start!
BUT…unfortunately, just like any other online text based medium, your post (and this one) has already lost close to half of its readers!
So while we can’t keep all the eyeballs out there on our sites 100% of the time, I hope to give some information to help you retain as many homebrewed-retinas as possible.
This post is a little lengthy so I am provide you with a table of contents
Some of the biggest issues with homebrewed blogs are the lengthy paragraphs and an illegible format. Maybe too many of us beer bloggers are writing whilst three sheets in the wind? Or maybe we just haven’t thought about formatting.
Pro Tip: Try to keep paragraphs short (4 sentences or less) as it helps readers scan
You aren’t writing an essay! Space between paragraphs can be a reader’s skimmers best friend. While good grammar can make a blog post easier to read, it is not an area you need to focus on too much if you are meeting all the other criteria – “grammar nazi’s” can go RDWHAHB.
Speaking of criteria:
- Shorter paragraphs – we just discussed this, did you miss it because you were skimming?
- Appropriate HTML Headings
- Bullets and Tables
Appropriate HTML Headings
The text right (? write) before this sentence…yeah it used an appropriate H3 heading. You see the main post’s heading is H1 (the title of the blog post). Then we jump into the current section, formatting, which is H2. Finally we arrive at this section’s heading which is at the third level, H3.
That might have been a little confusing so let’s get a visual…
1 – Blog Post Title
2 – Sub Heading
3 – Sub, Sub Heading
4 – Sub Sub Sub Heading
If you have a longer post think about how you can break it up into sections and give it subheadings. This will help your reader navigate the post and find the information they are looking for faster.
Bullets, Tables, and Charts
Bulleted lists are a great way to get points across. They stand out and usually result in higher read rates by your viewers. Just make sure that you keep the contents brief. DON’T make a bulleted list where the contents are paragraphs.
You can also use a bulleted list in combination with your subheadings. This is often a great way to format numbered tip post – Top 5 Tips for Clearing Beer
Did you notice I already have used a bulleted list two times?
Charts and Graphs
Hop spider charts are great for quickly identifying flavor and aroma components of a beer.
A long post without any formatting can be tough to get through. A long post without formatting and no pictures? You’ll be lucky if your mom finishes reading it.
You DON’T need to be a professional photographer or own a DSLR camera to take acceptable beer blog pictures. You DO need to think about a few things like making sure you have good lighting and that you aren’t taking pictures directly into said lighting.
For details on how to take great beer photos head over here
Recipe posts fall into three categories
- I HAVE TO BREW THIS
- This is some good info for formulating my recipe of this style
- How did you make beer with just those two ingredients?
What separates a good recipe from a bad one?
- Good recipes give you all the details: Mash temp, water adjustment, weights of ingredients, brand of ingredients, batch size etc.
- Good recipes provide tasting notes that you can related to and if necessary offer areas where the brewer would make slight changes to improve the beer the next time
- Pictures of the Beer
- Recipe is easy to read (See info about tables above or use the BeerXML Plugin)
- The best recipes give some backstory for how they derived the recipe, how they came up with the beer name, or the trials and tribulations of their brewday
It is 2016 and when I hear about a new product I immediately go to Google or Youtube to see how it performs. Homebrew bloggers are constantly being the guinea pigs for fellow brewers when it comes to new brewing equipment.
BE HONEST – This applies to bloggers participating in affiliate programs. I don’t think there are many unethical homebrew bloggers out there so this shouldn’t be a problem. (But still tell it like it is). If a product has some flaws the company probably wants to know about it.
On the other hand, when a product rocks, share the greatness! I have picked up so many little tips and tricks from homebrew blogs, so keep it up!
When reviewing a product make sure to ask the common: What, Where, and Why. Also be sure to list the pros and cons of a piece of equipment so other users will know if it is worth their time and money.
Every blogger loves to get comments, but us little guys often see cobwebs in the comments section. Maybe no one is reading the blog, or maybe no one wants to be the first commenter. Either way, let those brewers know they have been heard!
Now if really want to spark up the conversation I will go on to say that you need to be different to get recognition. If you do something controversial (Brulosophy site) or figure out something genius that no other brewers have written about you are more likely to get comments
Last, but not least, engage with your commenters. For example, a huge pet-peeve of mine is when I comment, especially when I ask a question, and the blogger never responds. I can understand if you have 100s of comments a day, but if you only have one…c’mon dude!
I posted a recipe of a NE IPA on my personal blog and in the post I praise and thank Ed from Ales of the Riverwards since I modeled the recipe after his. He got wind of it and took two seconds to comment. That made my day!
If you have a lengthy post (like this one you somehow made it through), try and wrap things up for the reader. You know, the person who skimmed your headings – maybe they will retain a thing or two such as…
- Formatting – your posts to use short paragraphs, bullets and HTML Heading
- Pictures – of your delicious homebrew to keep readers thirsty for more!
- Recipes – so others know exactly how to brew their beer
- Reviews – of products so you can spend your hard-earned money wisely
- Comments – be engaged with your readers and they will engage with you
Did I miss something? Let me know what keeps you captivated when reading other homebrew blogs in the comments section below!