How to Write a Successful Blog Post
The headline is the most important part of your blog post. 80% of viewers never make it past the average headline. However, if your take a little time to get it right a great headline can boost traffic to your post by 500%.
There are a few basic principles to writing a great headline. First, people viewing the headline will tend to take in the first three words and the last three words, anything in between will get lost. Make sure you put the important terms at the beginning or end of your headline. You don’t want a long headline either. It’s good practice to keep your headline to no more than 55 words. Headlines longer than that will get cut off on Google’s search results pages.
The ideal length of a headline according to research was by Outbrain was 16-18 words. this was shown to give the best click through rate. The infographic below by Salesforce suggest a formula for the perfect headline. This won’t be appropriate for every blog post, but trying to optimise a headline around this formula will certainly improve your results.
A Great Headline = Numbers + Adjective + Target Keyword + Rationale + Promise
- Numbers: Using numbers in your titles gives a 12-25% increase in click-through rates.
- Adjectives: Words like useful, free, epic or best have long been known to attract more attention. Try to use adjectives that are less commonly used by other bloggers for another small boost to your CTR.
- Target Keyword: If you want your post to be found organically find out what people are searching for. Using the right keywords can make a big difference to your search traffic.
- Rationale: Tips, steps, hacks, or tricks, there are lots of options here.
- Promise: The best post titles promise to solve a problem for the reader
As an example they suggest “32 Awesome Tips that will help you Succeed at Content Marketing”.
For a different but equally effective approach to writing titles I’d recommend Dan Shure’s article on Moz, ‘Are Your Titles Irresistibly Click Worthy & Viral?!‘
Try start your post by telling a story. One software company found that by introducing their posts with a story they could increase the number of readers by 300%. The readers were spending an average ot 520% more time on the page than compared to posts without a story in the introduction.
The best introductions also summarize the main points of the post. What is it about, why should you read it, and whats in it for the reader. You could try taking the ‘inverted pyramid‘ approach to your article. A method used by journalists that prioritizes the most important information. The top of the inverted pyramid are the most important facts, the who, what, where, when, why, and how. This information is given at the beginning of the story. The central section covers more in depth but important information. At the end of the story you put the general background information.
Break your story up with subheadings that help the reader scan the article. Every section of your post should have a subheading. These are important for SEO as well. Google gives extra weight to keywords in heading tags.
Only use the H1 tags once for the title of the post. H2 2 tags are ideal for section subheads, and ideal opportunity to include some secondary keywords, or variations of the main keyword.
The ideal length of a blog post, when considering a persons attention, was found to be 1600 words by Buffer. This is the amount of text an average viewer could read in 7 minutes. However, if you want the top spot on Google longer posts do better. Research by Moz found that longer posts got more links and ranked higher in the organic search results. Ideally you should aim for in depth content with greater than 1800 words.
Visual content is a key element to a successful blog post. People remember visual content much easier than text, and it can be absorbed by the brain much faster. A sensible goal would be to include one piece of visual content for every 350 words, and place your first image …
Blog posts with strong visual content attract more backlinks and have a lower bounce rate. Using images when you share your content is important to, stories with images get 94% more views. Social media posts with images can increase engagement by 650%.
To be effective your visual content should be relevant and of good quality. Avoid using feel good stock photos, people tend to ignore them.
Getting your content read
Mastered the art of write a successful blog post is only half the challenge, you have to get it in front of people who might want to read it. Good on page SEO will give you a good start, but there is never any guarantee that it will rank well to start with.
Social media is where most content marketers look first to find viewers. When you publish your post remember to advertise it on your social networks.
Add sharing links to the bottom of your page. If you’re not sure how to do this try using a service like SumoMe. This has additional benefits as well. You can use SumoMe to build email lists, create heatmaps that show where your visitors are clicking, or add calls to action.