I wrote about copywriting in the last ingredients post, and whilst blog writing can fall under this category (if its purpose is sales), I feel that there are some very different things that need to be taken into account when writing a blog post. Many blog writers prefer to be called content writers or content creators if their purpose isn’t sales, but to promote great content (much like The Writer’s Cookbook).
In this post, I’m going to explore just how to write a blog post to make it audience-friendly, search engine-friendly, and get your readers coming back for more.
Search engine optimisation is imperative if you want your blog to reach as many people as possible. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but if you use WordPress, I’d recommend the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.
External and Internal Links
Linking to external sites helps with your search engine rankings and makes your site more reputable.
Internal links keep people on your site — they introduce them to posts that they may find interesting that are related to the blog they’re already reading.
We live in an increasingly visual world, and the perfect blog post takes this into account. Including images it helps to break up the large amounts of text on the page. They should tie in with what you’re talking about, not be randomly inserted because your dog looks super cute. An image that is there and serves no purpose is worse than no image at all.
Statistics suggest that longer blog posts perform better in searches. The most important thing to take into account should be the quality of the content, and if you’re going to end up writing about how cute your dog is to reach the right amount of words, stop yourself. It won’t help your search rankings either, it will just confuse Google’s Bot.
Headings and Subheaders
Headings and subheadings are great for people who skim read. Many people who stare at a computer all day every day get into this habit, but they still want to check out your blog — make their lives easier by adding in relevant headings and subheadings so that they can still understand what you’re writing about without needing to read the whole thing.
Yes, I know I yammer on about audiences a lot, but that’s because your writing is pointless without knowing who it’s for, and blogs are no different. The perfect blog post should have one person in mind. That person could be you, or it could be your best friend. It could be someone you’ve made up. It really doesn’t matter so long as you know who you’re writing for.
Many writers are selfish (myself included) and only write the kind of things that they like to read. So long as you don’t have the world’s oddest sense of humour, that’s fine. If you continuously aim your work at one person, you will gain a sense of consistency. This consistency is important for you to keep your audience interested.
What’s in it For the Reader?
People aren’t going to stay on your blog if what you’re writing about doesn’t interest them. The perfect blog post (and blog in general) should give something to the reader. This is usually in the form of information or advice. Information could be about you (although nobody’s going to care unless you’re famous, sorry) or about a particular area (such as writing).
If you’re more established, want to reach a wider amount of people, or feeling generous, you could also consider giveaways and competitions for your reader.
What are you writing about? What’s your blog about? Try to be consistent in what your blog is about. This will make it easier for people who are looking for advice in a particular area to find your site, and will make search engine optimisation easier.
If you want to write about completely unrelated topics — for instance Maths and beauty advice — I’d put them on separate blogs. Having such random and unrelated topics will do nothing for your SEO and will only end up confusing your audience.
Something to Say
Have an original take on what you’re writing about. Originality is key, and it’s how you keep your audience coming back. You don’t have to write about an original topic — a lot of blogs borrow ideas from each other — what’s important is how you approach it.
Despite the amount of blogs posted everyday, that doesn’t mean that they’re all going to be as awesome as yours. Using these simple ingredients you can boost your site’s rankings on search engines, as well as reach more people by knowing who you’re aiming your blog at. Writing the perfect blog post isn’t impossible, and now you’re one step closer to writing it.
What’s the most important thing to you when writing a blog post? What do you think is needed to turn a good blog post into the perfect blog post? Continue the discussion in the comments below, on Facebook or Twitter.
If you enjoyed this, you can find the rest of the ingredients series here:
That’s it for the ingredients series! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it. If you have any areas you think I’ve missed, feel free to get in touch here.