Everyone seems to have a blog these days – in fact, as of June, 2014, there were more than 42.5 million blog posts published on WordPress.com alone. That said, to make your blog stand out from the crowd, your posts must be more than just present; they need to be great. This article will cover the fundamentals of writing a great blog post.
1. Eye-catching titles and headlines
Before anyone reads the actual context of your blog, they’re going to see your headline – so embrace these odds and take the opportunity to write something catchy. It’s a well-known fact that blog posts with eye catching headlines get more reads and shares online – which not only boosts your blog’s success and opens doors for monetization, but also improves your SEO rankings which will direct more viewers to your blog for quite some time.
That said, writing eye catching blog titles is often easier said than done. Here are a few ideas to make your headlines great:
- Be direct – short headlines that are to the point and on subject read more positively with online viewers
- Make it clear to the reader what they will get out of reading your post – what’s in it for them?
- Make it catchy – things like rhyming, alliteration, or shock value work well in many cases. Numbered lists (ie; 10 ways to get your home organized for spring) are favorable with both readers and search engines.
- Keep a set of headline templates that work – why reinvent the wheel?
2. Use proper segmentation with sub headlines
When people open up a blog post in their browser, they can be a bit of a tough sell – people don’t typically load a post and read it in full; they scan it first… if they like what they see in the scan, they’ll go back and read it in full. Think of your catchy title as the taste test and then use sub-heads as your appetizer – it should leave them wanting more.
Using subheads allows readers to scan your article easily, getting a clear view of what they will get out of reading your full post. Your subheads should communicate clearly what your article is about – in an entertaining way – while also not giving everything away.
Also, for SEO purposes, make use of subhead tags (H1, H2, etc.) – these tags give important information to search engines that helps them better analyze your information; this contributes to your higher search ranking.
Page Segmentation Sample
3. Easy to share
When people see something they like, they like to share it with friends – making this easy for them to do will make your blog and post even more attractive to your readers while you gain more blog traffic from all the Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twiter shares. There are tons of WordPress plugins that get the job done quickly, giving you easy and clear share buttons and track-able links that will also provide you with insight into how often people are sharing your content and which posts receive the most shares. You can then leverage this information to post more on-par content to appeal to your audience.
Some Plugin Suggestions (for WordPress blogs)
- Sociable – Enables you to have readers share and rate your content, providing direct feedback to you in a customizable way
- AddThis and Shareaholic – Gives access to easily installable floating share buttons, recommended content, social analytics, and more.
- Social Metrics – Track how your blog is doing across major social media networks
4. Have your own voice
If everything is grey, it all blends together – so you need to give your blog color to make it stand out; this means taking on a voice within your blog.
Take a stance with your posts, share your opinion – and back it up in an educated way. Let your readers get to know you. Your voice is what sells your blog and makes it your own – and it is what makes readers fall in love and keep coming back.
Your blog’s voice is an important part of its brand. For example, a professional blog about finance might be written very professionally – however, that same blog written with an upbeat tone that brings in personal examples told in a humorous way is likely to get far more traffic. It has voice, it has personality, it has a soul – this is what people want.
From a marketing perspective, your blog’s brand is its identity. That brand contributes heavily to your readership and reputation and attracts not only your audience, but also advertisers. Your tone and voice should be true to yourself and should appeal to and match your target audience and advertisers; hopefully these two things marry well and are not mutually exclusive.
Once you have defined your blog’s voice, stick with it – consistency is important in blogging and, while that tone will initially get your blog post attention and make it great, that consistency will make your blog great as a whole on an ongoing basis.
5. Call to action
Ever been on a website and not really understood the point? Leaving out a call to action on your blog is like that… it leaves your viewers hanging and confused and is a quick way to make your blog post and blog irrelevant.
Make sure that every blog post has a specific purpose for you – that purpose may vary. One post might serve as a way to interact with your readers, while another invites comments and spurs discussion. Another might invite readers to sign up for your newsletter for more in-depth information. Regardless, having a set purpose and intent for each post – and then sharing that intent via a call to action to your readers is important.
Want samples? See my hosting reviews here, here, here, and here. Noticed the big colorful call-to-action buttons – those CTA attracted at least 50% more clicks to the hosting companies that I am promoting ;)
Now, Tell Us Your Secrets!
There are many things that turn an okay or good blog post into a great one – and the above are just a few of those ways. Interesting content that is unique, purpose driven, and full of relevant information from a good, reliable source never goes bad. Better yet is giving that post personality.
What are your tricks for turning good content into great content? All tricks, tips, and thoughts are welcome.