When it comes to blog posts, the content alone is not always enough to engage your audience and keep them on your website. Other things such as the presentation, the imagery and the thought to SEO counts for a hell of a lot too. You may think you’ve written some wonderful content, and the chances are you totally have, but your readers aren’t sticking around to read it, or they’re bouncing off the site completely. This might be because you’ve not packaged your content in the correct way, so we’re here to give you a helping hand on how to create the perfect blog post that will help you get results.
You may have heard some of these terms before:
“Content is King…”
“It’s all about the content…”
“You need to create fresh content…”
Although all these sayings are definitely true and worth considering for your brand, there’s a little more to it than that. The way you present your content and how easy it is to read and digest are crucial factors to keep your readers engaged. Did you know that 55% of all page views get less than 15 seconds of attention? And, readers consume your content in a F shape down the page, scanning for relevant information as they go, so it’s not quite as straight forward as creating a chunky piece of content which requires immediate attention from your readers.
So, with this is mind, we need to find a way to capture your audience’s attention, and keep it for as long as possible. Here are 7 elements that you can use to create a fantastic blog post which has the best chance of being read.
1. Don’t Disregard the Headline
An attention grabbing headline is the most important element of every blog post or article. The title is the first point of interaction for the content, so it needs to be eye-catching. One way you can do this is to answer a question linked to your products or services, or you can do some keyword research to find out what questions are already being asked around your products and serve up a nice, juicy, relevant post on that topic.
Readers will use your headline to determine whether they want to bother with the main content at all, so give it more than just a couple of words, try and include keywords where you can and make it nice and clear.
Tips for writing headlines that get clicks
- Numbers win readers – e.g. 27 Tips
- Use interesting adjectives such as smashing, free, useful, absolute, sexy etc.
- Rationale such as tips, tricks, reasons, principles always work
- If possible, include trigger words ‘Why’ and ‘How’
- Make a promise, such as 27 Super- useful tips that will help you…
- Include a keyword or two if you can
2. Think About the Intro
The introduction or opening paragraph is another key element to creating an effective blog post, as it can be used to give readers some answers to key questions and will tell your readers whether they’re going to get what they want out of your post. You might want to come back to the intro at the end, once you know more about the overall focus and how the content has been positioned. Things to think about include:
- What the article/blog post is really about
- Why they should bother to read it
- What they will get out of it (consider the famous WIIFM acronym – What’s In It For Me?)
At this point you still have their attention; however this can easily change if your intro doesn’t provide the right answers. Similar to the headline rule, you need to make this part the best paragraph of your blog post so readers don’t skip the rest of your masterpiece.
3. The Main Body Copy
The main body of your article is the longest part, therefore you need to do everything in your power to make sure it keeps your audience’s attention for as long as possible. A tip on how to achieve this is to ensure your content is easily scannable, as according to a study by the Nielson Norman Group, people only read 28% of the words during an average page visit. This means that most of your blog post won’t be read, just skimmed through by visitors. Yes, that’s right, and we guarantee you do it too.
In order to make your blog posts more easily scannable, make sure you include all, or some of these;
- Lists and bullet points for important information
- Bold your key points
- If you use a quote, ensure it’s in italics
- Good use of sub-headings (more info below)
- Use visuals to keep attention (more info below)
4. Heading and Sub-headings
If the headline is the only heading in your blog post, then it’s time to dive back in and add some clear headings and sub-headings. Both help to optimise your content for search engines, but they also guide your readers around the content. A good heading structure will ensure high level of readability for your visitors, and they will be able to effectively scan through the content to find what they’re looking for. You should have a sub-heading for every new section to help readers know what the section is about, so they can skip the parts they’re not interested in.
Heading and Sub-headings guidance
- H1 headings offer a clear indication as to what the blog post/page is all about. There should only be one H1 tag per page and it should closely relate to the target keywords and content on that page.
- H2 headings are perfect for sub-headings; they can also target secondary keyword terms if there is a need for them. However you should limit these to 2-3 on each blog post depending on the length of the content.
- H3, H4s, … can be used as sub-sub-headings to further break up the copy.
5. Add Some Visuals to Keep Things Interesting
Images are lovely, but relevant images are crucial for your blog post to grab readers’ attention and give them something else to look at rather than just paragraphs of text.
If your blog posts have no visuals you may be missing out on high number of readers, as 65% of the population are visual learners (source). This means that they tend to learn and absorb information best through seeing it; not by only reading or listening.
The right image or video can increase engagement among your readers and, most importantly, it can stop your blog post from being, well, a bit boring.
For the best results, think about the following:
- Are the images or videos relevant and good enough quality?
- Do they have watermarks that need removing?
- Aim to include 2-3 images where relevant
- Have all images been accredited properly?
Some of the websites where you can get good quality images for free include:
You can also do a good ol’ Google search for imagery, but make sure you find images which are labelled for commercial reuse.
6. Link to Other Sources
Everyone likes additional sources that can provide extra information, so you should think of your blog post as a hub of useful information, that readers will appreciate and want to come back to over and over again.
Type of links your blog post could include:
- Link to a study you’ve referenced
- Link to a free PDF, ebook, whitepaper, tool, etc.
- Link to a blog post that provides a different opinion on the topic, could be yours or another website’s
- Link to a twitter handle of the author/writer you’re quoting
- Link to relevant internal products or services you reference
Just check when you include external links that you set them to “NoFollow”.
7. Final or Closing Paragraph
The final short paragraph should concisely summarise the key findings and suggest the next step alongside a call to action (CTA). Try to think what you want your readers to do now they’ve read your masterpiece. Do you want them to download something, leave a comment, share it, check out some more content or fill in a contact form?
Some of the most common CTAs include:
- Leave a comment
- Share this article
- Sign up to Newsletters
- Download whitepaper
- Read related article
Final Blog Post Checklist
Hopefully you now know some of the most important elements to creating a kick-ass blog post, and you’re ready to hit the publish button. However, before you do that, we recommend going through the below questions inspired by Ahava Leitbtag’s content checklist.
- Can a potential visitor find your content?
- Can a potential visitor easily read it/scan it?
- Can a potential visitor take action?
- Can a potential visitor share it?
What are your thoughts?
Is there anything you would add that works for you and your readers? We’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes up a good blog post.
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