How to Craft the Perfect Blog Post
Blogging provides you with the opportunity to share your expertise, increase traffic to your website, develop shareable content for your social media sites and become a valuable resource to your customers and prospects.
Whether you are an experienced blogger or writing your very first blog post, it’s always good to be aware of the current guidelines that can help improve your post’s performance.
Here is a cheat sheet guide and some helpful tips to crafting the perfect blog post.
The topic of your blog post should be something that you feel comfortable writing about and is relevant to your desired audience. If you are starting a blog, you will want to strategize as to what your goals are for the blog and come up with an editorial calendar that coincides with relevant industry events, news, product launches and more to keep topic selections timely. Be sure to set realistic expectations for how often you plan to post new content and who will be distributing it through your social channels, email communications and newsletters. Topics should be varied and something that will resonate with your audience.
The headline is essentially the advertisement for your post. It’s important to create a headline that summarizes what your post is about, but also entices your audience to want to read it. The goal of your post is to educate and inform your audience about a topic that is relevant to them, so develop a headline that will resonate with them. An important part of headline creation is including keywords that you’d like to have associated with your post. You can reference the section below for more information on keywords. You want include your keyword(s) in the title (and within the first 65 characters) to ensure it doesn’t get cut off in the search field. The ideal headline length is approximately 8–12 words and no more than 70 characters.
The length of blog posts can vary greatly depending on the topic and author. A general guideline is that at minimum, your blog post should be 300 words. Newer research indicates that longer posts which are 1,000 words to 1,600 words rank higher in searches and are shared more widely on social media. According to Data Lab, a post that is just under 7 minutes to read is the most optimal length. However, not everyone has the time, writing skills or information required to create quality, lengthy blog posts every time. A good rule of thumb is to try to create blog posts that are 300-800 words.
Blogging is all about keeping your audience’s attention. When writing your content, keep your sentences and paragraphs short. How you format the blog posts is important as well. Use a lot of bolded sub headlines and include numbers where applicable to break up the text and provide a more visually appealing flow.
Keywords are single words, and more commonly, three to five word phrases and topics that users type into a search engine. They are important to incorporate in your posts because that is how search engines can drive free, targeted traffic to your website. Although, the goal is to include them and boost your SEO (search engine optimization) you never want to force their inclusion. A good goal is to select one or two key words that you’d like associated with your post and include them in a few key areas. For instance, the headline, body of your content and the meta description.
Hyperlinks are very useful and can help drive traffic to your post and website. However, it’s important to use them carefully and not excessively, as a post with too many hyperlinks can turn readers off. When referring to a specific product or service that you offer, linking to that specific page on your website, is a great way to drive traffic where you want and need it most. Again, use sparely and be sure not link every single mentioning of your product. External links help to boost SEO, as well and provide more credibility to your post. When using statistics or content from another company, individual or site, you should always hyperlink to the source where the information was found to avoid plagiarism and back up your arguments. When writing posts where you want to further offer advice on a topic that another blogger or site might have delved deeper into, linking to them is a great way to provide additional resources to your readers which they will appreciate.
The meta title is the HTML code that specifies the title of a certain web page. It appears at the top left corner of your browser when you visit a web page. In coding, the meta title is embedded at the header of a web page, above the meta description and meta keywords tags. The ideal length for this title is 70 characters or fewer , hopefully including your keywords. Typically, using the title of your blog post for these is a good approach.
Meta Description Length
The meta description tag in HTML is the 160 character snippet used to summarize a web page's content. Search engines sometimes use these snippets in search results to let visitors know what a page is about before they click on it. These are snapshot of your post, so be sure to create an informative and concise description that does not exceed 155 characters and includes your keywords, preferably somewhere in the beginning to ensure they are not cut off.
Graphics can help illustrate what your post is about and draw readers in. Be sure to select a high quality, royalty-free image that is relevant to your blog post as the feature image. Stock imagery can be expensive. Fortunately, there are many free stock photo sites as well as inexpensive ones like Adobe Stock where some images can be purchased for as little as a dollar. Remember, this image is the first thing readers will see, so it’s an important choice. Your content management system for your blog should specify the ideal size of the image you need. You can also include images, charts, screenshots and videos within the body of your posts to keep reader’s attention or illustrate instructions, statistics or showcase products. You can resize them easily with free editing tools like Microsoft Picture Manager or Pixlr.
Starting a blog is a great first step to content marketing. Creating posts that are informative, helpful and position you and your business as an industry expert will allow you the opportunity to share relevant content and engage with your customers via social media, email, newsletters, and ultimately drive much needed traffic to your website.