I use to think it did.
I thought simply find great topics, write what you think, add personality, use good navigation, add interesting information, create content people want to read and voila you’ve got a great blog post.
I was also naive
Don’t get me wrong, those are all things that make for great blog posts, but just writing without giving consideration to increasing traffic, encouraging return visits, getting readers to take action and boosting your SEO rankings is not making the most of your blog posts.
Today I’ve got some tips that will help you do all those things helping you write great blog posts every time.
1. Use Your Keywords Wisely
Using keywords and using them wisely is an important part of our content writing. But the way we use keywords is changing.
As Google algorithms continue to change the search engines rely less on keyword placement and more on context and using things like keyword themes has become a new way to boost your search engine rankings and deliver more focused content.
If you use the WordPress blogging platform one thing that will help you to use your keywords wisely is to get the SEO plugin by Yoast. It makes sure you cover all the bases for using your keywords efficiently taking much of the guess work out of the SEO process.
If you don’t use an SEO plugin for keywords here are the areas where your keywords should be included.
- Title and Description Tags
- In at least one sub-heading.
- Your content. Don’t compromise the flow of your content by using your keyword phrase too often. Use words that have similar meaning to keep the flow sounding natural.
- In your page URL. Example: www.yoursite.com/keywordphrase
- In the Alt tag of your graphic.
2. Write a Attention Getting Headline
There isn’t much point in writing a blog post if it can’t get anyone’s attention. That’s why writing catchy, attention getting headlines is essential.
This isn’t rocket science but sometimes it feels like it is. I’ve been known to spend just as much time finding a great headline as I have on the post itself.
Realizing there has to be a better way I’ve been using these headline tips that make it easier to create eye-catching headlines in half the time.
- Create curiosity. Try a little shock or disbelief with your headline.
“Drive Farther with Less Gas.”
Now that would get anyone’s attention. The reader will be curious how that’s possible.
- Ask A question. Ask your reader a question that you know they’re interested in knowing the answer to.
-Include a benefit. Include a benefit in your headline. “Lose 10 pounds in 7 days with absolutely no dieting” What’s the benefit? No dieting!
- Use a ‘How To’. How to’s are extremely popular with readers, especially if you have the answer or a remedy to a pressing problem in your niche market.
- Use Irresistible Psychology - For example, using music titles and lyrics when writing headlines is a sure fire way to get attention with a headline.
3. Make Your Content Scannable
Web surfers rarely read a web page from top to bottom. Instead, they scan pages for the information that stands out.
For this reason it makes sense to design your blog posts so that your most valuable information stands out or is easily scannable with they eye. When designing your page content, composing tips, or offering quick links, follow these easily tricks that make your content easily scannable.
- Highlight specific words that will draw your reader in.
- Italicize and/or words to make a point.
- Use bullet points.
- Use Sub-Headings. Make your sub-headings clear and remember to use your key phrase where appropriate.
4. Make Your Content Useful
Useful content is information your reader can act on.
For example, it’s not helpful to tell someone blogging is important for business but not give them information on how to create a business blog or point them to where they can get more information.
It’s helpful to advise your reader what they need or should do, but expand on that by showing them how they can do it.
5. Use an inverted funnel Format
The funnel format puts the topic of your content first, then your content focus gradually narrows with supporting points as the reader moves down the content.
It makes perfect sense.
If a reader can’t see from the very first paragraph that your content is relevant to what they are looking for or if they have to wade through lots of ‘wordy‘ text, they’ll stop reading.
Which brings us to our next point.
6. Drop ‘Wasted Words’
There’s the silly notion floating around that the more words you write, the better the content.
More words doesn’t mean better content. Brevity means better content and brevity is about writing what you want to say using the fewest words possible.
I love this blog post written by Chris Garret on Brevity, where he says…
“If you want your words to have impact, get to the point — then get out of the way!”
I couldn’t agree more.
Examples of writing sentences that use brevity / and those that don’t:
- There are people who love to read books / People love to read books
- In the field of technology there are many new advances made / The technology industry is making new advances.
- One of the things I love to do in the summer is sit on the park bench/ In the summer I love to sit on the park bench.
When editing your blog post look for sentences that are long and confusing. Where necessary rewrite them so they make clear points in as few words as possible and without lost meaning.
7. Writing Great Blog Posts Includes Being Genuine & Personal
A blogger interested in getting traffic to their blog, making web sales, or having any online business will find success by building online relationships first.
Good relationships with others means being personal, friendly, thoughtful, flexible and caring. I can get information from anywhere on the web, but it’s the individual that connects with me on a personal basis or that inspires me with ideas and support that keeps me coming back for more.
A few simple tips for finding and building relationships online.
- Know your target market and look for those people where they hang out. For example, niche forums, Twitter, Facebook, or other niche blogs.
- Find individuals that appear to need help. Offer answers and insight to their questions. In general provide information and support each time you connect with them.
- Publish a free guide and invite individuals to download it with your complements.
- Always reply to your blog’s commenters. You’ll get to know other bloggers and build lasting, loyal friendships.
- Ask simple niche related questions on Twitter or Facebook and acknowledge those that respond with a personal response of your own.
8. Create a call to action
When you wrote your last blog post what was your objective?
In other words, what did want your reader to do after reading your blog post?
- Buy your product?
- Sign up for your newsletter?
- Download your free gift?
- Make a comment?
- Click a link?
Whatever it was, did you specifically request that of your reader? If not, you should have. This is called your call to action. It’s what you want your content to inspire your reader to do.
Know what your objective is when writing each and every blog post and give your readers a nudge to meet that objective.
- If you want your reader to click on a link, ask for that click.
- If you want a reader to sign up for your newsletter say so and include a sign-up box at the end of your content.
- If you want a reader to buy your product, point out a benefit and ask them to take a look.
- If you want your reader to make a comment on your blog post, ask for it.
On that note, here’s my call to action for you.
Share with us your tips for writing great blog posts in the comments below
Photo courtesy of Ambro and FreeDigitalphotos.net