In this blog post, let’s discuss more essential practices to creating compelling blog posts.
Traditionally, we are taught that paragraphs contain four to five sentences, and break at the end of a thought, into a new thought. In digital writing however, the preferred length is 2-3 sentences. Why the difference on your blog, and your website?
Readers of your blog are looking at the content through various devices: laptops, smart phones, tablets, and yes, even occasionally computers. As creatures of the Internet, they are scanning the information; so shorter “bites” of information are easier to digest. And, on mobile devices, longer paragraphs can appear much longer, and therefore daunting.
Bullets and Numbered Lists
Similar to subheadings, using numbered lists and bullets allow the user’s eye to flow effortlessly through your content. It has also been found that consumers of blog posts tend to gravitate towards topics that provide a numbered list (“Top 6 Things…”, “10 Reasons Why…”, etc).
Search engines are also more likely to crawl posts that are structured with lists or bullets.
Visual content is becoming more and more vital to the success of any content on the internet. And blog posts are no exception. Include a minimum of one image for every post you write.
Choose an image that is relevant to the topic of your post. It should be easily understandable how it ties into the post itself, even if it is stock imagery. Also, make sure you have the right to use an image before your post it.
Your image needs to be properly sized, so that it does not impede the flow of your text, but rather encourage the flow of the piece. The actual image itself can also encourage this: for example, a face looking towards the text is more effective that one looking away.
Finally, images allow us to provide addition SEO value to search engines by using the alt text feature to include relevant keyphrases and context.
Another vital piece to your post, is that we find ways to keep the user engaged with your website. Linking provides such an opportunity. There are three types of links: crosslinks to your website, internal inks to other blog posts, and reference links to outside sources.
Using anchor text on targeted keyphrases provides SEO “juice” back to the authority pages on your website. It also allows the reader to understand that you can provide authority on these topics, by bringing them back to your website.
Similarly, if you have written previously in detail about a topic that you are referencing in your blog post, it is helpful to link to it in the post you are writing. (By the way, this chain of linking blog posts together also is helpful to you in formulating content for an eBook, by combining posts in a series into this new format).
Links to external sources provide a point of reference, and can establish a communal thought value in the theories and topics you are discussing. It can also work to your advantage to cite external authors through links in your posts, as those external sources can pick up on your linking, and reciprocate by linking back to your on topics in subsequent posts.
Calls To Action
One of the main reasons to contribute content to your blog is in the hopes that your visitors will do something. So, when writing your posts, keep in mind what actions you want your readers to do, in order to engage with your brand.
Do you have a whitepaper that further discusses the topic in further detail, or from a different perspective? Do you have a video that brings the topic to a new level? Does you company provide a service discussed in the blog post that might be useful to the reader? Do you want them to leave a comment?
If you don’t tell a reader what you would like them to do, chances are they won’t do it. So make sure you are providing a means by which your readers can continue to engage with you.
The easiest way to do this is to ask a question at the end of the blog post. Even something as simple as asking them to give their opinion in the comments can trigger action. You can also use call outs to other assets, either in the body of the blog post (at the end) or to the left or right of the post.
By incorporating these elements into your blog post structure you will create interesting articles that not only engage the reader but also appeal to the search engines. This creates a win-win situation.