This article discusses techniques and tips to help you write better blog posts, with the aim of attracting the most internet traffic possible to your site, creating a supportive and helpful community, and adhering to best practice SEO.
I’ve written many, many blog posts now, and have conducted hundreds of hours of research into what makes a good post, and I’ll share the best of that info with you in this article.
Good Blog Posts Answer a Question
Most traffic to your blog will come from Google, when it comes. There are lots of search engines out there, but Google is by far the biggest.
Try to imagine what kind of search someone is going to do that might lead to your site, and answer that question for them.
For instance, if someone is interested in buying a house, they might type ‘How much does a house cost?’ Therefore a good article title would be ‘This is how much a house costs.’
Make Your Blog Title Unique
You will notice that lots and lots of pages probably exist that answer the question above. So how do you make your post stand out? How do you make people want to click it?
Consider being a little more specific about the content, and adding a little ‘hook’.
A hook is something that captures the reader’s attention and makes them curious. For instance, ‘Ten things that influence the cost of a house.’ This is about the price of houses, but takes a slightly different angle.
Sometimes the posts that go viral, or get shared and viewed a lot, are the ones that readers believe are the ultimate post on that topic. That’s why you’ll see articles with titles like ‘1001 things you must consider when looking at the price of a house.’
Make Your Blog Posts as Good as Possible
There are lots of little tricks that bloggers use to make people click on their links, but your first consideration should always be to write the best post possible, that serves the reader in the best way you can.
Google knows when bloggers are using underhanded tactics, and when they are providing real value.
They’ll assess this through monitoring how long people spend on your site, and whether they immediately go to another site to try to get the answer they didn’t get from yours.
Another way Google assesses the importance of your site, and decides where to place it in the rankings, is how many other people have linked to your site, and how reputable those websites are.
Other people are much more likely to make links to your site if the content on your site is of the highest quality!
How to do SEO for your Blog Post
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It refers to the steps you can take to improve how frequently your site is displayed to people using search engines, and the way your site is displayed, and where it is displayed (first position, second, third?).
Consider installing a plugin like Yoast if you use WordPress.
Write the opening paragraph of the post for Google. Remember that a machine is scanning your article and trying to work out what it is about, and who should read it. Take a look at the first sentence of this blog for an example!
Use subheadings that are also possible blog titles. Apparently Google reads headings as mini post titles, and will direct a searcher to your post if one of your subheadings matches their query. Therefore, instead of making your sub-heading ‘SEO’, make it ‘How to do SEO for your Blog Post.’
How to Format a Blog Post
Readers apparently don’t like big chunks of text. It’s intimidating. This is why you will find lots of bloggers using short paragraphs that make a single point. Once your point is made, move on to the next paragraph.
Google also likes to see that people are spending large amounts of time on a post. Apparently spacing your text out takes longer to read, and encourages people to stick around.
Ads are great but I would consider not putting them at the top of your post. You want the reader to be directed to the valuable content, and for this to be the first thing they see. And you want the reading experience to be uninterrupted. This is why I would consider placing your ads in a sidebar to the right of the screen.
How to Structure a Blog Post
Consider answering the question the post is addressing at the top of the article, and then providing more info in the post below. This is because it’s easy to bury the actual answer after 2000 words of introductory material, and your reader just isn’t going to hang around for that.
If they aren’t getting what they want they will likely just go elsewhere. Wouldn’t you? Look at wikipedia articles for how to do this perfectly.
What Tone to Use in a Blog Post
I’ll bet the blogs you visit again and again are ones that are highly personalised. You feel that you know the blogger well. This is because they are selling a version of themselves to you, to build a relationship with you that you feel you can trust.
I wouldn’t be shady or manipulative about this. People will probably sense that. Just let the reader know who you are, and perhaps encourage them to leave a comment so you can get to know them a little bit too! Who knows where this friendship will lead.
To build this relationship with your reader, use ‘I’ statements, and be generous about who you are, and what your own personal experiences have been.
If you adopt a formal and professional tone, you likely are not going to make friends with your reader. You want your reader to be a friend, right?
Use Internal Links in your Blog Post
Make sure to link to lots of other pages on your blog, from each blog post. You want to let your reader know about other helpful content you have, and encourage them to hang around and make the most of your site, driving up your page views.