A good blog post is more than 800 or so words with a picture here and there and a few mentions of a keyword for good measure. You can’t just sit down, type a few paragraphs and call it a day – maybe that worked back in 2009, but it’s 2019 and a lot of folks are creating content.
You need to stand out, and you need to be optimized.
Industries may differ but there are a set of essential ‘bones’ that make up a good blog post. A good blog post being one that is easy to read, favorable to Google’s indexing, and one that can be easily shared on social media. So let’s get to it.
Pick an engaging title and featured image
The title and image will be the the first thing your prospective reader see, so you need to make them count. Boring, bland, or generic titles won’t grab the reader and scream ‘Hey you! Read this!’ They’ll get ignored because that’s what generic titles do, they fall into the background.
Similarly, an engaging image will either attract the eye or avert it. If you’re using stock images that are painfully staged, poor quality, or otherwise just something no one really wants to look at then your post went get many views. We’re big fans of using Pexels to source high-quality free images for commercial use. We also use them for our social media graphics for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The title and image are the key attention getters for you so don’t leave them to the wayside.
Start with a good hook
Once your site visitor is intrigued by your title it’s your job to keep them engaged, that begins with a good hook.
No, not that hook, we’re talking about the first sentence of your post.
The first sentence you write needs to be engaging and ‘hook’ the reader in for more. A good hook is the difference between site visitors continuing to read your blog post or bouncing and never returning. Fortunately there are plenty of resources to make you a pro. Some quick tips though:
- Start with an interesting fact – one that grabs the reader’s attention.
- End the story at the start – something like ‘And with that change we acquired our 100th customer’.
- Use an anecdote that catches the eye.
- Ask a (good) question.
- Use a cliffhanger.
- Confrontation can be okay.
Armed with these tips, start your post with a hook that jumps out and screams ‘Read me’ not one that gently says ‘It’s okay to leave’.
Break up your sections with headings
This is one has two benefits: for one, it makes your post easier to read and follow along, and secondly because it’s easier to read Google will look more favorably on it.
That’s right, Google cares about how your posts are formatted and will rank you accordingly. Well-formatted posts make it easier to tell what the blog post is about and allow Google to fit it in with existing content already on the web, so be sure to break things up into distinct sections. It will give your post a rhythm and flow, and your search rank will thank you for it.
Most content management systems will give you the ability to set header inside your posts, we recommend ‘h2’ or ‘h3’ headers, the smaller the number the larger the header (ironically), h1 headers are usually used for the post title and h4+ are generally a bit too small for a section heading.
Play around with it though!
Link to at least one source
This is another thing that Google likes – they appreciate it when you cite your sources.
Linking to sources outside your website shows that you know what you’re talking about, that you’re reacting to another post in your industry and have something to contribute in a larger conversation. It also helps Google understand what type of content you’re creating and where it fits in with your industry, which is a big boost to your search ranking.
Don’t overload your content with links, but including 1-2 external and maybe one internal optimizes your post.
Have a CTA at the bottom of the post
What’s the point of a blog post if there’s not a CTA (call to action) included? You’re not just writing your posts to share an opinion on something, you’re writing them to bring people to your website and get them to do something after reading.
After all they made it this far, you better have something for them for the effort. Speaking of CTA’s though, here’s ours: we’ve created a google doc template which you can download by filling out the form below (don’t worry we won’t spam you, we’ll just send some tips and articles on blogging best practices once a week, you can unsubscribe at any time):