We build a number of blogs for our clients and a pretty standard question that pops up is “What makes a good blog post?”
Since most of us are far from professional writers, we can be intimidated by sitting down and putting our ideas, experiences and recommendations into words that other can read and comment on. Worse yet, what if no one reads it?
Fear not. Here are some quick tips that will help you along the way.
Make the Post Easy to Scan
The first step to getting your content read is making it inviting and not look like work to read.
The majority of site visitors are going to quickly scan your blog post to determine if they will invest time in reading it. The following are some easy things you can do to persuade the reader to dive deeper into your post.
Headlines and Subheadings - Engaging headlines and subheadlines will help break up the content into sections that are quick to identify. Make sure that you structure the headline into something that is of value to the reader.
Pictures - A reader’s eye will be drawn to pictures. Use of relevant photos or illustrations will help reinforce your point and make your post more attractive. Be sure to use images that you have rights to use so you do not infringe on any copyrights. There are many different royalty-free stock photo sites that you can download and use for a very nominal fee.
Lists - We all love lists. Lists are easy to read and are preferred over lengthy paragraphs. Popular styles of lists include “Top Ten Reasons Why…” or “4 Easy Steps to…”.
Get to the Point - Be quick to let the reader know what your point is. Refrain from using added “fluff” to make your post seem more elaborate than it needs to be. Get out of the gates early and to your point quickly.
Bold and Italics - Take advantage of simple formatting techniques like use of bold and italics.
Reinforce Your Point - Try and reinforce your point throughout the post. Personal experiences and statistics work great. Be sure to cite the source of any statistic you use to give credit to the source and add validity to the statistic. After all, we all know that 64.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot. That is my only attempt at humor… I promise.
The Length of the Post
You want to craft a post that is going to keep the reader’s attention while being thorough and gets your point across. Some find that writing shorter posts will allow the ability to produce more posts as we know there are only so many hours in our busy days.
While this is one strategy to employ, shoot for quality over quantity. Your readers will appreciate a well thought post over a dash of words that grazes an idea.
Should you find yourself writing a post that is rather lengthy, consider breaking it up into multiple pages or even separate posts.
How to Make Your Post Search Engine Friendly
A blog is a wonderful tool for your search engine optimization efforts and gaining additional exposure on search engines. The complex algorithms of the search engines prefer sites that have fresh content that visitors are engaged with. Here are a couple tips for getting the most search engine value for your post.
Make sure you have the keyword you are targeting present in the title of your post as well as a couple times throughout your content. Be careful that you continue to write for your readers rather than the search engines.
The length of the post should be at least 300 words. Let me go on record to state that Google does not have a minimum word requirement for blog posts however, shooting for 300 words or more will force you to expand on your idea and get the necessary content in your post to help increase your search engine exposure. Can a 150 word post rank well for a certain keyword? I’m sure it can but I like my chances better with a little more substance.
A permalink is the link that goes directly to your blog post. The structure of your permalink can enhance your search engine efforts. Be sure to use the settings in your blogging platform so you can include targeted keywords in your permalinks.
Links in your blog post can help the search engines assign added value to your post and the page to which you are linking to. The text in your content you use for the link is called Anchor Text. Choose words that you want to rank well for in the search engines. Here is a great overview of anchor text from our friends at Moz.
Provide Easy Methods for Sharing
Give your readers easy tools for promoting your posts.
Applications like AddThis and ShareThis are easy to integrate tools that will provide your site visitors the ability to share your post on various social media platforms in a few clicks.
The additional engagement you receive will not only increase the website traffic but will also provide added credibility with the search engines giving you added exposure on the search engines.
Reference Related Posts
Make it easy for your readers to find other posts you’ve crafted on similar topics. Here are a couple ways to let your site visitors dive deeper into your blog posts.
Link to other blog posts by linking related keywords to other posts in your blog. Good use of anchor text will also contribute to search engine optimization efforts.
Insert a “Related Post” in between paragraphs or at the end of the post and label it just that… a Related Post. You’ll be amazed how many times these will get clicked.
Take advantage of Recent Posts and Categories links that can easily be placed in the sidebar or footer of your website. These simple and dynamic tools will help readers find more content they are searching for.
[Related Article: Why Is My Website Not Showing Up On Google?]
Perfect or Not, an Unpublished Post Rarely Gets Read
No blog post is perfect. Even if you spend countless hours reworking sentence structure, conducting research and finding just the right image, chances are that the next time you read the post, you will find room for improvement.
Conduct your due diligence, follow as many of these tips and simply begin writing. Just like anything else, the more you practice, the better you will get.