It’s been a while since you’ve written a blog post and your website really needs an update. You have a topic idea in mind and enough knowledge to make it work without much research. It’s tempting to just whip something off, hit the “publish” button, and be done with it.
Do not make this mistake!
There are over 4 million blog posts published on the internet every single day. Readers have almost unlimited options when seeking information online. Don’t waste their time and ruin your credibility by publishing crappy content. Crafting a winning blog post is as easy when you follow these ten simple steps. Review this list each time you prepare to write, and soon you will be a blogging pro.
Step 1: Craft a Powerful, Attention-Grabbing Headline
For every 10 people who come across your blog post, 8 will read the headline. Of those 8, only 2 will actually click through to read the body of the post.
If you don’t want to waste your time writing posts nobody will ever see, you MUST start with an awesome headline.
Use power words to evoke emotions. Ask questions or make statements that appeal to your reader’s natural curiosity. Your number one goal is to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to learn more about what you have to say.
Step 2: Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Your Meta Description
Meta descriptions are one of the most important elements of a blog post, even though they aren’t actually part of the post at all. Your meta description is the preview that is shown in the search engine results page (SERP). This, along with your headline and URL, helps readers decide whether your page is worth visiting. Fail to optimize this, and you won’t get very far.
Step 3: Choose an Awesome Featured Image
Our brains are wired to react to imagery, so posts with photos attract much more attention than those without. Choose a visually-stunning featured image to increase your reader engagement. Images should be relevant to the content of the piece and designed to capture the interest of the reader. Using a great photo also increases the chances that your post will be shared on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram.
It should be noted that copyright laws must always be followed. There are many resources for photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This allows them to be used for free, without attribution, on both personal and commercial pages. Pexels, LibreStock, and Unsplash are good resources to get you started.
Step 4: Let Your Readers Know They’ve Found the Perfect Blog Post
HubSpot reported that 55% of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds deciding whether to stay on a web page.
The first few lines of your post must be designed to grab the reader’s attention. Your objective is to convince them that they are in the right place and motivate them to keep reading.
One effective technique is to present a problem in a way that creates emotional distress. Let them know your post was written with the purpose of showing them how to fix it. Use your words to create a cliffhanger so they can’t help but to stick around and see what comes next.
Step 5: Use Sub-Headers for Easy Readability
If you’ve written a great hook and your readers decide to stay on your page, they still may not read the entire post. In fact, it’s been shown that most people scan online articles, only reading about 20% of the text on the page.
Using clear sub-headers helps readers quickly grab the information they are looking for. If you don’t make this easy to do, they will move on to one of the other thousands of posts covering the same topic.
Search engines also scan sub-headers when determining page rankings. Keep your SEO keywords in mind and use them in at least one of your sub-headings.
Step 6: Fill Your Content Body with Valuable Information
The ultimate goal of any blog post should be to share valuable information with the end reader. Do everybody a favor and don’t waste time with fluff. Make sure your content is well-researched and relevant. The best blog posts solve a problem, answer a question, provide step-by-step instructions, or otherwise enhance your reader’s life.
While word count is less important than the relevance of content, studies have shown that the most popular posts tend to be between 2,000 and 2,500 words and take about seven minutes to read.
Step 7: Back Up Your Insights with Facts and Statistics
Use documented data and facts to establish trust with your reader. Take the time to back up your statements by linking out to reputable sources. This creates credibility and can improve your search engine rankings.
When including a significant amount of data or research in your post, add a bracket into your headline that says [Research] or [Data]. This will draw the reader’s attention and increase your open rates.
Step 8: Engage Readers with Multimedia Content
Internet users typically have very short attention spans. They are likely to have difficulty staying focused long enough to read an entire blog post. This is particularly true of the post is long, in-depth, or if the topic is dry or complicated.
Adding video, audio, and images to your posts helps to break up the text. It creates a sense of interest and engages the audience. Media-rich posts are far more likely to be shared, significantly increasing your readership potential.
Step 9: Don’t Leave Your Audience Hanging
When you’ve finished the main body of your blog post, wrap things up with a well-written closing paragraph. This doesn’t have to be a long dissertation. Simply summarize your content and remind your readers of the valuable information they have just learned. Leave them feeling satisfied by providing guidance about where to find more information or directing them to the next steps they should take.
Step 10: End with a Clear Call to Action
Effective blog posts end by prompting readers to take some type of action. You may ask them to sign up for your email newsletter, purchase a product, or visit another area of your website. Although it feels great to help people, converting them to paying customers is usually the ultimate goal for business bloggers.
Now that you know exactly what goes into writing the perfect blog post. If you’re too busy or would rather spend your time doing something else, consider outsourcing to a professional. It’s less expensive than you may think and allows you to focus your energy on doing the things you do best. Contact me today to learn how Fresh Content Design can help you grow your business and improve your bottom line.