When it comes to driving traffic to your site, one of the most effective and most misunderstood tools available comes in the exact form as this post comes to you: a blog post.
It is generally accepted in the web arena that frequent, good-quality blogging can increase traffic to your site significantly. As a matter of fact, a recent study by Hubspot found that frequent posts could increase site traffic 5 fold. For small businesses, the news is even better as the study surmised that there is an even more significant correlation between increased blog posts and increased site traffic than is the case for larger businesses.
It’s no coincidence then that many businesses are clamoring to start up a proper blog. But, before you strike up an account and start blogging away we wanted to give you a few tips for creating good quality posts.
Disclaimer: Admittedly, I’m a bit self-conscious writing a blog post about how to write a high-quality blog post. But, I’ve done my homework and I feel good about this one. So, here it goes…
Anatomy of a blog post:
If you’ve read some of our other posts, you may have notice a theme around keeping things simple. Blog posts are no different. You only have the reader’s attention for a short while (some estimate as little as 90 seconds for a typical post). So, you want to get your point across successfully and quickly.
To do this you must keep your posts simple:
- Use bulleted lists when it makes sense
- Don’t go overboard with formatting. Formatted text can be off-putting and difficult to read if it is overused.
- Hyperlink only when it’s relevant and important. If you over-hyperlink you’ll send the reader into a tailspin.
What else? Headings.
Use headings to break apart your thoughts. People read web content by scanning. And, if your content isn’t scan-able, you’re going to loose the reader in the minutia of the text.
You can also use images or videos to break apart the text. But, be careful that they are relevant and do not unintentionally drive the reader away.
Organize your thoughts and your workspace before you sit down to write. You can research while your in-between loads of laundry, or while your sitting at your kid’s soccer practice. But:
When it’s time to write try to find a place with low-level distractions and focus on the task at hand.
As mentioned above formatting text is important, but it can be over-used. So, be sure to organize your post properly with headings, lists, and small paragraph chunks. Which brings me to my next point:
Don’t be afraid to call out your main points.
Remember your reader is scanning and you want them to stop in the right places. Using block-quotes or otherwise calling out your main-points are good ways to make them pause.
As with most things in life, there is no all-encompassing and agreed upon consensus on the size of the perfect blog post. Ideally though, the size of the content should fit the subject at hand.
- Say what you need to say in a conversational, non-mechanical discourse. But, say it concisely enough that your reader gets the point, enjoys the post, and gains knowledge in the process.
- As a general rule most bloggers agree that a post between 250 and 1000 words constitutes an ideal length.
- For longer posts, balance out the horizontal reading with some vertical scrolling. This can be accomplished using the formatting techniques discussed above.
Edit, Rinse, Repeat, Edit Some More
Little can make your professional business look less professional than un-edited content. Spelling erors are extremely distracnig and will turn readers off almost immediatly. So, you must be diligent in finding those errors and correcting them.
To help ensure your post is clean of errors:
- Use a text editor that has a built-in spell check (i.e. MS Word) to help you find and identify spelling errors.
- Have a friend, co-worker, or family member read through the post before you publish it. Having a second set of eyes on your writing before you post it is always helpful.
- Write your post and then let it sit for a day or two. Read it again and it’ll be easier to find your previous errors.
And the last step: Summarize. Most readers appreciate a good article closing. Don’t feel like you have to repeat or summarize all of your main points in a closing paragraph, though. Just wrap up your thoughts and thank the reader for sticking with you this far.
Thanks for reading. If you like this post, be sure to check out our other posts and subscribe via Facebook or Twitter.