Nowadays, pretty much anyone with an internet connection can become a blogger – in theory. But in reality, writing blog content is a far more complex process. There are plenty of factors to consider; the increasingly shorter attention span of online users, structuring your work correctly, ensure your blog stands out from the competition, mobile users, and of course, how to optimise your content for search engines.
But don’t let that put you off; our step-by-step guide should get you pointed in the right direction and well on your way to writing successful blog content.
When choosing a title for your blog post, you need to tick three key boxes:
- It should be informative: It should tell the user exactly what they stand to gain from reading your post.
- It should be eye-catching: There’s a LOT of content online, so no matter what you’re writing about, the chances are your audience will have several variations to choose from. A punchy, enticing headline will capture users’ attention and make sure your blog post stands out from the competition.
- It should be concise: Don’t make your headline too long. Google will only display a certain amount of pixels so, if your title is too lengthy, it’s likely to be cut off and important messaging could be lost.
So now you’ve got a catchy title, let’s look at how to structure your blog post. Formatting your blog post correctly will make for a great user experience, which should be a key goal of any piece of content you produce.
This will provide a short summary of what your blog post is about and appear beneath the title of your blog post in Google search results.
A well-written meta description can have a huge influence over whether or not a search engine user clicks through to your landing page or not. If you don’t specify a meta description, Google will simply use the first few lines of your post in its place, whether it’s relevant or not, so missing this step can be a wasted opportunity to drum up some more traffic to your site.
Breaking up your content with subheadings called header tags will bring structure and context to your article, benefitting readers and search engines alike. From a user’s perspective, breaking your content up into digestible chunks will make your post more enticing and far more enjoyable to read, making for a better user experience. Informative and keyword rich subheadings will also provide search engines with a better indication of how to index your page.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the types of header tags you should be using in your blog post and their function:
H1: This is the title of your page, introducing your post and telling the reader exactly what the post is all about. There should only be one H1 per post.
H2: Think of these as subheadings for each of the sections of your post; the H2 should describe what the section of the post is about. Try to include a relevant keyword where possible, but don’t sacrifice the natural flow of your content to do so.
H3 to H6: These should be used if a section requires further sub-sections.
Use bullet points
Almost half of people admit to skimming blog posts before they actually read them. By separating key information into bitesize points, readers will still be able to take value from your post.
Long form copy performs better and gets more backlinks. Recent research from Backlinko shows that longer content tends to rank higher in Google’s search results, with the average Google first page result containing 1,890 words.
That’s not to say posts below this word count are doomed. In fact, shorter posts, or those which contain non-text content such as quizzes and images, are more likely to get shared than longer posts. But if it’s links your after (and if you want to rank well in SERPs then you should be), then crafting a meatier article with plenty of research references, useful images such as screenshots, and valuable take-aways will certainly stand you in better stead.
Humans are visual creatures, and research shows that blog posts containing multimedia generate the most engagement, so be sure to include some visual aids such as images and videos in your content. Some useful tips to remember when it comes to images are:
- Use the correct size images. If images are too large, they’ll overpower your content and look daft, whilst tiny images won’t be clearly visible and therefore will offer no value to the reader.
- Use high-quality images. If you’ve used low-grade, pixelated images, who’s to say your content isn’t just as sloppy?
- They must be relevant. Images should be used to either illustrate or support a point, or have a clear purpose eg humour. Cluttering your page up with pointless stock imagery can look messy and unprofessional.
- Don’t over do it. If the reader has to scroll through endless stock imagery to reach any content of value it can disrupt the user experience, even more so on a mobile device.
Sourcing your images
Using someone else’s image without permission can land you in hot water; not only could you end up with a sizeable fine from the owner, you could also be in breach of copyright laws – plus it’s pretty impolite. But this doesn’t mean you need to draft in a multimedia agency, or shell out for professional stock images. There are many online libraries available containing free, high-quality images from contributing photographers. In fact, we’ve written a whole blog post on it.
Alt text on images
Alt text (also known as an ‘alt attribute’ or an ‘alt description’) gives a written description of an image. The main function of an alt description is accessibility – to provide context for users who may not be able to view the image itself, such as:
- Users who have disabled images in their browser will benefit from a text-based description of your image. It will also reassure them that there isn’t any important information within the image that they are missing due to their browser settings.
- Visually impaired users may be using screen readers to access your post, therefore providing a detailed description of your image will ensure they can engage with both text-based and visual content.
- Search engines cannot understand images in the same way as human users (yet), so providing a clear alt description containing keywords will add context to your content and assist Google with indexing your page.
Keeping users on your site
Once you’ve captured an audience and they’ve clicked through to your blog, you want to keep them there as long as possible… well, long enough for them to realise they want to buy your product/service and convert. There are several simple techniques that can help sustain their interest:
Linking to other blog posts on your blog is a great way of demonstrating the breadth of your expertise, however, only link to other pages or posts that are a genuine fit. If the connection is tenuous or holds no relevance to your original post, it’ll just feel like clickbait and irritate the reader.
Open new window for links
Always instruct any links – whether internal or external – to open in a new window. Linking to other pages or external sites is an effective SEO tool and can also be a great way of bolstering your own content with supporting insights or research, but keeping a gateway to your original post open will ensure users can find their way back to your post easily.
Call to action
Every blog post needs some sort of call to action (CTA) to steer users in the right direction and encourage conversions. This could be:
An internal link: We’ve already discussed the benefits of including internal links within the body of your blog post. But if this isn’t possible, why not include it in a call to action at the bottom? e.g Did you enjoy this post? Check out more of our social media marketing content here.
Comments section: Asking a user’s opinion shows that you recognise them as an individual rather than simply part of a target audience. What’s more, if there’s already a string of engagement on display from other readers, users may be more easily persuaded to want to join in the debate.
‘Get in touch’: A friendly prompt to your audience to get in touch might just be the encouragement they need to make that all important connection.
Now that you know how to write valuable, individual pieces of content that are likely to convert, take a look at how to structure and manage your blog in order to ensure a sustainable blogging strategy.