You probably understand the importance of blogging for your business. It boosts credibility, drives SEO traffic and helps engage with your users. And while it’s believed attention spans are shorter than ever, according to Open University Psychology Lecturer Dr. Gemma Briggs, people tend to apply varying degrees of attention to different tasks. So the more engaging something is, the more attention it commands.
If you post blogs and want people to stick around until the conclusion (and then buy from you), you need your content to be interesting, informative and well laid out.
Here are the essential elements of a good blog:
1. Excellent readability
Walls of text, super long paragraphs and spelling or grammatical errors are off-putting.
As a general rule, keep your paragraphs under four sentences and your posts between 600 and 800 words long—unless you absolutely need more words to get your point across.
2. Top-notch formatting
People generally skim when they’re online, and they rely on headings for guidance so they can go straight to the parts they want to see. If your posts don’t have any subheadings, there’s a big chance your readers will get impatient and go somewhere else for the information they need.
Aside from headings, consider using bulleted lists and breakout comments in bold or italic to make your posts more dynamic and easier to read.
3. An eye-catching title
The goal of your headline is to immediately plant a question in the reader’s mind that they can’t help but search the answer for in the body of your post.
Some examples are:
- Ten Unbelievably Simple Weight-Loss Tips That Work for Every Body Type
- The Six Mistakes Home Sellers Make That Cost Them Thousands
You can also use emotive words like ‘essential’, ‘easy’, ‘incredible’ and ‘unmissable’ to draw more clicks. Back up your sensational headline with content or images worth looking at.
4. Keywords optimised for SEO
Search engine optimisation (SEO) means you craft your posts in a way that makes it easier for search engines like Google to find them—and you can do this with the help of long-tail keywords.
Don’t let the tech speak scare you. Long-tail keywords are no more than the phrases people type into Google or ask Siri to find whatever it is they need.
By incorporating keywords into your posts, you’re essentially telling search engines that your content is a source of relevant information for the searcher.
For instance, below are two of the best traffic drivers for my website:
Just be sure to include your keywords in a way that sounds natural because your reader (and Google) will immediately know if you’re stuffing them in for the sake of it.
5. Research and quotes
Citing research and statements from renowned experts and reputable sources increases your posts’ credibility and, in the process, your blog’s position as an authority in your field as well. Look for credible and widely read sources such as major newspapers or publishers. You can also seek out university research and link to this in your post.
Sometimes a quote from a great like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson or an expert in your field will give your post a nice boost.
6. Internal Links
Google favours blogs (and websites) that people spend a lot of time on. A great way to keep your readers on yours for longer is to include a link to another one of your posts in every new piece you publish.
If you can, mention a subject people would be interested to know more about, and add a link. You can also write ‘Read more’ at the bottom of your blog posts and share another recent article.
7. A hero narrative
Always make your reader the hero of the story. Keep in mind that they’re reading because they’re struggling with a problem and need a solution. They did not come to learn about you, although you can still give yourself a mention.
Be The Oracle to their Neo and position yourself as the guide who can get them to where they want to be.
Give your reader a reason (and a means) to share your posts, and you’ll be able to increase your reach without spending a single cent on advertising.
As a general rule, as long as your content helps your reader appear smart, funny or knowledgeable when they share it, there’s a big chance they will.
9. A compelling call to action
Make sure you’re clear about what you want your reader to do after they finish reading your posts.
The good news is that by positioning yourself as a guide with the solution, you can easily angle your conclusions in a way that naturally convinces your readers to take the action you want.
It’s all about engagement
Blogging is not an exact science and there is an exception to every rule but keep the above elements in mind as much as you can when you’re writing.
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