How To Write Posts That Will Help Your Blog’s Success
You have an idea for a blog post that’s perfect for the subject matter of the website you’re writing for. The idea is so good, in fact, that you don’t want to rush writing the piece like you normally do. Instead, you want to take your time to ensure you get as much mileage as you can out of this.
Maximizing the value of a blog post isn’t just relegated to researching and writing it well. To draw as much benefit from a post as you can, you want to get the word out and promote it to really draw new readers in. You want to write follow-up posts to keep the conversation alive and relevant. Before you can do all that, though, you need to write the first post in a way that both interests and engages readers.
Writing A High-Quality Blog Post
1. Pick a descriptive, engaging title. When writing for blogs, you want a title that’s direct but enticing. No cryptic titles, regardless of how enjoyable clever wordplay in titles might be, like magazines or book anthologies do. Instead, your titles need to reflect the aesthetic of newspapers — straight-to-the-point while grabbing attention.
Why straight to the point? Because blog readers are a finicky bunch. If they can’t understand what a post is about just by looking at its title, there’s a good chance they won’t bother to click on the link. There’s nothing with being clever — if you’re going to go that route, though, make sure your title still conveys the subject matter clearly.
Why the need to grab attention? Because blog posts are a dime a dozen on the web. Chances are high that people are seeing your title on a feed reader, a Twitter timeline or a Facebook wall. If it doesn’t grab attention, it’s going to be ignored. This is true even if readers visit your site directly. If the title is too boring to warrant attention, they’ll just scroll down past it.
2. Make the main point clear. After reading the title, any subtitle and the introductory paragraph, it should be 100% clear to the reader what the main point and the direction of the post will be. This is non-negotiable. Those initial elements are usually all the readers need to decide whether they should read on right now, bookmark the post for later or abandon it entirely. If you don’t clarify them from those items, they’ll choose the latter course of action.
3. Get to the meat quickly. Suspense, mystery and cliffhanging dramatics may serve you well in fiction, but they’ll do you no good when writing blog posts. Save those tension-heightening literary elements to your creative writing projects. Most people read blogs for information and opinion — give it to them with little filler in between.
4. Make it a numbered list post. If the content lends itself well to this format, do it. Lists, especially numbered ones, are considerably easier to read. It’s less daunting when you know that you can read the first point and stop to continue later without destroying the flow of the writing. While you can do that with regular posts divided into paragraphs, readers won’t exactly know when is a good time to stop. The numbered blocks give them a start and stop place, similar to chapters in a book.
5. Stay on topic. Too often, bloggers who write long posts end up going off on too-distant tangents. While there’s nothing wrong with it (some will even argue it adds to the conversational feel), it distracts from your main point. The result is watered-down impact for whatever message you were hoping to communicate. The more you stay on topic, the lesser the chances of that happening.
6. Maximize your chances at going viral. This is, of course, easier said than done. But it will never hurt to stack all the cards you can in your favor. How? The easiest way is to tie your post to a heavy-circulation subject. Around this time last year, for instance, there was a huge discussion over the white rapper Kreayshawn, her music and all the controversy surrounding her. That’s why it wasn’t very surprising to see music blogs tying posts that have nothing to do with Kreayshawn to her, either using her as an example or attacking the subject from an angle that will peripherally involve the upstart rapper (so she can fit into the title).
Another way to maximize your chances at going viral is to be controversial. Attack your subject from a controversial, sensational angle and present a polarizing position. While the link juice from other blogs may not be as heavy as during the heyday of Digg, all those “shares” on Twitter and Facebook can be just as valuable.
7. Don’t be afraid to write long. As a rule, blog posts are supposed to be kept short. These days, though, long-form has been slowly making a comeback even in blogs. With tools like Instapaper and Pocket allowing readers to archive their material for later text-only reading, perusing long rows of text from a screen is no longer the daunting challenge that it used to be.
The point is, if your subject matter requires a long post, do it. You can break the post into multiple sections spanning multiple pages if it helps readability. It’s a new world — keeping your blog posts to 500 words is no longer the hard and fast rule that it was a short while ago.
8. Be aware of LSI keywords. For the most part, you don’t need to pay a lot of conscious attention to this. If you’re a competent writer, you’re likely incorporating LSI keywords already without knowing it.
Just to cover all your bases, LSI is a way of measuring the use of associated keywords in your post. A post about the beach, for instance, will have secondary keywords related to the main keyword, such as “water sports,” “summer,” “sand,” “holiday vacations,” “island resorts” and similar terms if it was organically-written, rather a mere SEO play. LSI has become a key component in major search ranking algorithms, so you need to write with that in mind.
9. Express strong opinions. The stronger your opinions, the more polarizing the writing becomes. In turn, it encourages readers to comment and move the conversation forward. Don’t be afraid to express strong opinions — they could be the sticky element your blog has been missing all this time.