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12 Ways to Make Your Blog Posts more Credible

Today’s educated readers want information from a credible, trusted source, says researcher and writer Michael Low. When you convince them you are that source, they will believe and read what you have to say.

Here are twelve ways to make your blog posts more credible:

1. Use rich, vivid detail.

When you use rich, vivid language, words that paint vivid pictures in your reader’s mind, she tends to believe what you are saying because she can see it for herself. After all, seeing, as they say, is believing!

2. Use scientific or technical language.

I know this goes against the grain of what most people suggest. But depending on the type of article you are writing, it might be appropriate to use scientific or technical terminology that demonstrates (without over doing it) your grasp — and thus, your authority — on the topic.

3. Use sequencing or process description.

In some cases, it may be appropriate to describe the steps involved in achieving an outcome. A list of numbered steps would be a good example of this. Or even a simple description in a single paragraph such as:

After taking your new computer monitor out of the box the first thing you will notice is a small bag containing three cords. One cord is blue, one is red, and the other black. Take the blue cord and plug the USB end into your computer, plug the other end (color coded orange) into the left side of the monitor in the port labeled “audio in”. And so on.

4. Use charts, diagrams and graphs.

There’s a saying in selling (where credibility is paramount) that “nothing sells like a demonstration”. The saying holds true in building the credibility for your article content too. If the content of your article lends itself to demonstration via a chart, graph or diagram you should use it.

5. Use a photograph depicting the article topic in action.

This may not always be possible. But have you noticed how the news media use intriguing photos to pull you into the article by attracting your attention? Photos can be as equally powerful when used in your articles to add credibility to your message.

6. Use awards, certificates or qualifications.

Have you any special certificates or awards for achievement that support your credibility as an author or that support the message you are writing about? If so, use them in your articles. The majority of the masses still regard qualifications as a measure of a persons knowledge and trustworthy-ness.

7. Use testimonials and endorsements.

If you say it it’s hearsay. If someone else says it it’s probably true. So use testimonials or endorsements in your articles, especially from a recognized source. If it’s written about in the New York Times or if someone famous backs it up, mention it in your article.

8. Use a logical flow of information, especially logical argument.

Start your article with a strong point your reader will agree with, then carefully walk the reader through a series of “facts” or flow of information that leads them to the conclusion you want them to accept. In this way, you can build a bridge from the things your reader already believes to the things you want them to accept and trust.

9. Use personal stories or anecdotes.

It’s pretty hard to argue with a true story about something that happened to you or someone you know (or even someone famous). If you have stories or anecdotes relevant to the point you want to make in your article, use them.

10. Use case studies — especially examples from the lives of people your reader can relate to.

If there’s a good documented case study of the point you want to make, use it in your article. Bring out the detail of the people and places involved and your argument becomes even stronger.

11. Use meaningful specifics, not vague generalities.

There’s a certain attractive quality in the specific. The more specific facts and details you use the more people feel what you’re saying is accurate. For example, avoid using phrases like: “Many years ago”. Instead say, “On the 26th May, 2005, a week after my Dad’s birthday …”

12. Use examples to illustrate your point.

Even in conversation it helps if you give your listener examples of what you are saying to help him or her understand your message. It’s no different in writing articles. If you want to see the true power of examples as a “communication improver,” try deliberately explaining yourself through examples in the next conversation you have with someone at home or at the office.

Michael Low is a writer, researcher and entrepreneur. He’s also the writer of a free ebook titled How To Write Articles People Want to Read

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. This is a very comprehensive list.

    Using specifics caught my eye. I hadn’t really thought about how much I like specifics when I am reading blog.

    I am also turned off by a blog that does not flow. It is confusing and like you say, makes the blog less credible.

    Thank you.

  2. Hmm,

    Think I’d take more use from your points if you were actually an authority and successful yourself…

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/articlemarketingmaverick.com

  3. Great tips.

    These points will definitely help make any post credible in the eyes of the readers.

    Sometimes (most of the time), it is very important to have credibility in your posts. That way, people can actually act on the post (if it is post that requires action from the reader).

    I especially like No.5 Using Photographs and No.12 Using examples. These will surely increase credibility.

    Sometimes, even small things can make a difference like you mentioned in No.11 “Use meaningful specifics, not vague generalities.”

    -Nabeel

  4. Karen says:

    Hi Mike,

    I agree with the list, particularly with having personal stories. They make the articles more interesting when you include them and almost all articles can be improved when they are more personal.

    You have to be careful when using technical jargon but it can really prove your credentials if you know your audience.

    I think adding pictures is one of the best ways of getting your point across to your readers. A picture can save typing a 1000 words :-)

    Thanks for sharing this helpful list,
    Karen

  5. This has come good advice on credibility. However, I’d just like to point out some additional information which may help.

    Firstly, the point about scientific or technical language. This is difficult – I can see the point you are trying to make, but evidence suggests you are wrong. Studies show that simplicity of language is associated with higher credibility. When you use jargon, people feel you are trying to fool them.

    Secondly, studies of credibility and trustworthiness point to a central theme. The more you focus on your audience and demonstrating you care for their needs, the more credibility you are ascribed. In other words – as any good marketer will explain – you need to focus on your audience needs. Do that and your credibility shoots up – providing there is consistency. This is another facet of credibility – any lack of consistency reduces credibility. In other words, you need to do the same kind of stuff, repeatedly to build credibility.

    Finally, eye tracking studies online point to another issue. Most people when they find a site they initially like tend to scroll down quickly. When asked why do they do that they answer they are merely “checking out” the company. They are seeking signals of credibility. Even in these virtual times. one of those key indicators is having a real, physical address. That’s what people are hoping to see when they scroll to the bottom of the page.

    Your article contains some solid advice, but there are a few other things people can do to boost their online credibility.

  6. A clear cut list. If we incorporate these 12 tips then the post will become a stunning one.

  7. Great list!

    I’d add one more important point – Be sure to cite your sources if you include any material from another website, blog, article, or book.

    Nothing damages credibility more than including someone else’s material or ideas without giving them proper credit. Not much enhances your credibility more than demonstrating that you’ve done your research and included the information of the experts or authorities in the field.

    Do your research – and give proper credit.

  8. Noobpreneur says:

    Michael,

    Well said. My favourite of the 12 is #9. Use personal stories or anecdotes.

    Personal stories, IMO, are very, very powerful because, like what you’ve said, it’s darn difficult to argue on something that happened to you or to someone you know.

    Personal stories also allowing my blogs’ readers to be able to ‘pat my shoulder’ or ‘slap my head’ – making me looks more real (which I AM!)

    My 2 cents.

    Cheers!

  9. Great list! Love the point about specificity. Although I will have to respectfully disagree with the scientific/technical language. Or at least put a big warning sign next to it. One of the easiest ways to discredit yourself is to come across as someone who’s using technical language for the sake of sounding smart — and God help you if you use the language incorrectly. I’d recommend using only technical language when necessary, because it’s the right word for your audience.

  10. Darren, Michael,
    I like this article most likely because I work on using the ideas you are talking about as much as I can to be a trusted source of information on personal development.

    A few notes, if I may add that I use to show credibility.

    Verify the Source
    Before I post some valuable scientific news that relates to success and wellness that I have seen or heard of in the news. I search for the scientific journal article and read it using critical thinking principals I learned in university. For example, I read and question was the study involving a large group? Was the study done over a long time? Who was it sponsored by etc. Then if it looks like a good reliable study I will post the information for my readers and include the scientific link for their own follow up if they wish.
    Here is one example,
    http://thewondertechnique.com/white-rice-and-type-2-diabetes/

    Consented to Feedback
    As you recommend, I post testimonials from readers and workshop attendees on my site.
    I have received many testimonials over the years before I started my blog but I only place testimonials on my site that I have had written consent from the writers to use publicly. Consent is important.

    I hope these two ideas are worthy additions to your excellent posting.

    David
    http://www.TheWonderTechnique.com

  11. John Haydon says:

    Michael,

    I notice that your ranking on Alexa is not what I’d expect from someone writing a post on ProBlogger. Maybe that’s because articlemarketingmaverick.com only has 5 posts. Is there another blog that you publish?

    John

  12. Great post!

    This is a great list for making better blog posts. But I was wondering whether ‘Use awards, certificates or qualifications.’ & ‘Use testimonials and endorsements’ are the points of a blog which promotes something? Can you tell me how to use them in an ordinary blog post?

    Thank You.

  13. Yes, a great list. I’ll retweet. I have also noticed many bloggers miss something even more basic. Many do not add their names to the top of the post. Obvious it should be a must.

    If I may I would also add that they should add their photo. People want to know who wrote the post.

    James

  14. mondex1 says:

    A very detailed list and I am glad to read this. I agree with the logical flow of ideas. Sometimes, people get lost with the train of their ideas since they don’t picture it with themselves. Thus making their blog very hard to follow or suddenly becomes futile since the reader wasn’t able to understand it all.

  15. Lou says:

    Excellent outline, thank you. The point about the type of language you should and could use is another reminder of how important it is to have a good solid picture of who your audience is and how they respond to your writing.

  16. Amazing selling tips. I never knew these. I think these are really great sales techniques that one can use for their readers or customers to buy their stuff. Thus giving them a higher chance of achieving sales from their buyers, customers, or readers.

  17. The personal stories is so true. We have found with all our websites that people become loyal to other people, not businesses. The more personal material you can inject the better.

    Darren does it really well.

  18. good advice. I always try to refer to some of my personal experiences in my posts.

  19. psychicjim says:

    The 12 tips really gives the reader something to think about I believe 7 or 8 tips are not enough for the reader.

  20. Jay Mangat says:

    It is also helpful when the information is well presented in a timely fashion. Furthermore , the blog design and branding go a long way in helping to build a reputation for your posts.

  21. Awesome advice! I guess a lot depends on what you’re actually writing and whether it’s suitable for a blog at all. If I were Darwin, I might not want to publish Origin of Species on a blog but could use it to ask questions and generate interest before launching an ebook. At least that way extended prose and logical argument can have free reign, unlike a blog where you’re limited for space.

    One thing, I’m not sure that making a point about your qualifications leads to good writing. Do you think it might cause people to rest on their laurels?

    Ben
    unformation.net

  22. Tinh says:

    #10: Use case studies seems very interesting to me as you can related to your live cases that can easily convince readers. Further, the scientific and research results may convert very well. That is why I love problogger with full in-depth researched articles

  23. Darren, Michael,
    I am not sure if you got my comment I sent in yesterday. I must have pressed the wrong button. Here it is again.

    “I like this article most likely because I work on using the ideas you are talking about as much as I can to be a trusted source of information on personal development.

    A few notes, if I may add that I use to show credibility.

    Verify the Source

    Before I post some valuable scientific news that relates to success and wellness that I have see or heard of in the news. I search for the scientific journal article and read it using critical thinking principals I learned in university. For example, I read and question was the study involving a large group? Was the study done over a long time? Who was it sponsored by etc. Then if it looks like a good reliable study I will post the information for my readers and include the scientific link for their own follow up if they wish.
    Here is one example,
    http://thewondertechnique.com/white-rice-and-type-2-diabetes/

    Consented to Feedback

    As you recommend, I post testimonials from readers and workshop attendees on my site.
    I have received many testimonials but I only place testimonials on my site that I have had written consent from the writers to use publicly. Consent is important.

    I hope these two ideas are worthy additions to your excellent posting.

    David

  24. Moda says:

    Great list and tips. Maybe I can not manage point 10. But really usefull if I handle that.

  25. This is a helpful post. Several months ago Darren posted the question, “What’s wrong with blogging.” Many comments mentioned that credibiity was often a problem. I suggest that the first place to address credibility is in the About page on your blog.

    In terms of “jargon,” in a prior life as a technical writer, I realized that often there are no every-day, plain language equivalents. In that case, the writer has to use the jargon and define it as well as he can. It’s a skill like any other and gets better with practice.

    One thing that may help: imagine that your mother or your 12-year-old son is asking you what one of your posts is about. Then think about what words you’d use to make it as clear as you can.

  26. Great tips Darren! I think I’m only using about 7 right now, so I’ll have to start taking action on the other tips. I’ll need to put a bit more emphasis on using case studies, meaningful specifics and examples to illustrate my point(s).
    Every time I think I’ve “got it” I read another great post from you and it’s back to the drawing board…but in a good way.

  27. Nasrul Hanis says:

    This is truly inspiring.

    Readers love to read articles which got sense and feeling. Sharing personal stories, experiences together with easy-to-understand language would be really helpful.

    Imagine yourself as readers of your own article. And make it more credible!

    Thanks for sharing!

  28. Marcie Hill says:

    I am going to add this to my Build a Better Blog file which which eventually become part of workshop. Speaking of which, the post to hold such trainings was such a blessing last week. I was thing of topics for a blogging workshop, and that was the message in my box. I’m almost ready to go!

  29. John Kreklow says:

    Great Article! I try to use as many of these as I can when I write an article. I have seen blogs that use these and get a lot of retweets and Facebook shares but don’t have success producing comments. What are some tips that are effective for getting people to comment on your article?

    -John

  30. panoet says:

    I like this post.
    I just want to ask about point 4, adding more chart, graphic, etc. More content like that (images or something like that) will make blog loaded slowly. How about this?

  31. KS Chen says:

    I quite agree with all the points unless using scientific terms. I’m writing a cancer blog. I wish that this blog can be read by everyone even not from science stream. If i choose to use scientific term, i think most of the people cannot understand well about that.
    It might suitable for the scientist or professional person only if too many scientific terms appear in the article.

  32. This is a very good list especially for those who are starting out. it gives us a clearer picture on what we should do to make our blogs better than we usually do it.

  33. Jack Villies says:

    Writing a blog has to be a passion. Any one cannot create a professional blog on day – 1. This list above has been very comprehensive and repeatedly following these guidelines definitely helps the passionate to create a professional blog.

    To start blogging I suggest anyone to choose a free blogging platform like this one: eyeoz.com. create your free blog, test out various options provided by blogging software eyeoz.com allows you to create unlimited blog accounts try creating yours today on any of the free blogging platforms.

  34. Autumn says:

    This is a helpful post. Several months ago Darren posted the question, “What’s wrong with blogging.” Many comments mentioned that credibiity was often a problem. I suggest that the first place to address credibility is in the About page on your blog.

    In terms of “jargon,” in a prior life as a technical writer, I realized that often there are no every-day, plain language equivalents. In that case, the writer has to use the jargon and define it as well as he can. It’s a skill like any other and gets better with practice.

    One thing that may help: imagine that your mother or your 12-year-old son is asking you what one of your posts is about. Then think about what words you’d use to make it as clear as you can.

  35. Its always someone with a negative comment…..Anyways good list

  36. MichaelW says:

    It’s a good idea to use professional guest bloggers – not just randoms you like. I tried it for a while, but purely ‘revenue’ wise, I wasn’t getting my worth – even though they would come on for free sometimes…..

    there are some good ones out there. It’s better to use Ghost writers in my experience though, since they’re far better.

    I used this girl: ghost-writer.webs.com and claimed the credit myself too….dodgy but that’s how I went pro way easier than you guys!

  37. hooray! just what the internet needs; another clueless blogger teaching other clueless bloggers how to “be more credible”.

    what about “write about what you know lots about, have lots of experience with AND feel passionately about” ?

    (and not just because it’s wednesday?)

  38. #2 – Use technical or scientific language ??? Really? YES! But only as appropriate for your audience. I work with, speak to and write for manufacturing companies – if I dont demonstrate a grasp of Finite Scheduling, Kanban or Actual vs. Standard Costing, I will certainly lack credibility. However, if I begin to describe the SQL Stored Procedures, table structures or referential integrity of the database applications that help them run their business I will sound like a self-serving arrogant jerk.

    Bottom line, share the jargon that is most comfortable to your client.

    - Scott Priestley

  39. Eseotips says:

    #10: Use case studies seems very interesting to me as you can related to your live cases that can easily convince readers. That is why I love problogger with full in-depth researched articles

  40. Mp3 Player says:

    This article was of great help to us if we know how most conversations begin credible.when blog on the web like wildfire, quickly travel and wreak havoc on the road, which could start as a single tweet can become an entry Blog and then national news.

  41. Well I am trying to gain some credibility.This post is certainly going to help,just like every other post you have on this site.Thanks Darren.
    I started http://www.harshitsinghal.com one week ago.Currently have 100 visitors or so coming every day.

  42. Great Post, I’ll be sure to use these tips.

    Regards,

    David A Haines

  43. Andrew says:

    Thank you for your great post. However, it’s not always easy to have all those things in one blog post

  44. Wayne H says:

    Thanks for the interesting post. I happen to work with a number of PhDs. Some are very clever and a couple of them are simply masters of making people think they are clever, but I happen to know through working with one particular guy very closely over a number of years that he is a complete idiot. So if I took this particular guy and stuck him in a room with a couple of the others, I’d have one guy who uses all the language and buzz words who is actually just wasting good air, one who I practically need a dictionary on hand to figure out what he’s saying (but he’s very clever) and a third PhD who can talk like a layman, but who is also very clever. I think what I am trying to demonstrate with this is that for me how you talk is not necessarily an indication of how clever you are or what you know. I don’t want to speak for everyone else, but I would say that the essence of content goes a lot futher than a heap of technical and scientific language or jargon. Having said that, it doesn’t hurt to use some, just don’t expect it to cover up any indadequacies you may have or at least don’t expect it to fool the skeptics like myself!

  45. Kevin Warhus says:

    These tips are certainly bound to make any bog more effective. I think blogs are a great way to help grab some additional views on your website. If you are really interested in configuring your website to try to draw more traffic consider picking up a marking firm to help optimize your site.

  46. Durkin says:

    I like the point about adding personal experience. I think this is really important for putting a personal touch to your blog and showing that you are actively involved with the topic you are talking about.

    Talking from experience is definitely a big plus when you’re blogging as, like you say, it makes the post much more credible.

    Thanks again for a great post.

    Tom

    http://bling-cars.blogspot.com/

  47. Febap Liew says:

    hey Michael,
    really helpful tips you have presented here.
    well inevitably, i personally do not follow a set of ‘steps’ or ‘rules’ when it comes to writing. I am not saying that I write without considering the points and tips that you have laid out, but instead, i prefer to always write based on my ‘heart’ and ‘interest’
    you can say that I am really opting much to the point of “Using personal stories or anecdotes”. =p

    one of he example as follow is this:
    http://blogxic.com/2010/07/6-most-unfortunate-matters-that-happened-to-me-before-i-finally-make-money-online-today/

    i am not afraid to ‘go out of the box’ and honestly ‘illustrate’ what i have personally went through.
    it may seem ‘random’, but i feel it ought to brings out the experience and mood much more effectively for the readers.
    =D
    cheers

  48. That’s great. I’m from Melbourne and see the same result. Anyway, I’m gonna back before too long.

  49. make money says:

    I agree with the list, especially with personal stories. They are the most interesting articles when you include them and almost all items can be improved if they are more personal. You should be careful when using technical jargon, but can actually prove your credentials if you know your audience. I think the addition of photos is one of the best ways to get their views to their readers. An image can avoid having to write 1000 words :-)