Blogging 101: Writing Blog Posts, Part 2

Who ever thought you needed to study in order to write a blog post?  Well, you don't.  There's absolutely no harm in simply writing a post and hitting "publish".  However, if you are trying to increase blog traffic and/or promote a business, paying attention to what you post and how you do it will help tremendously.

After all, the whole goal is trying to get people to read what you post, right?

This seemingly simple task is harder than it appears.  Why?  Studies show that most people scan posts rather than read them.  That being said, setting up your post to attract readers attention makes it more likely your post will be read as opposed to scanned.

If you missed part 1, you can find it here.  Here are a few additional tips to writing an effective post:

Anatomy of A Blog Post
The type of post you're writing often helps you determine the best layout to attract attention.  For instance, round-ups are likely to be photo heavy so the focus should be on good, clear, attractive photos and not so much the text.  Whereas information posts should utilize bullet points, font changes and/or sub-titles to help break it up and make it easier to enjoy.

Here are a few types of blog posts:
  • Informational
  • Instructional
  • Reviews
  • Lists
  • Interview/Profile
  • Personal Reflections
  • Inspiration/Motivation
  • Round-Ups
  • Photos Only

Post Layout
A basic look at what is incorporated into a typical post layout:
  • Title = it should give readers an idea of what the post is about.  If you want to improve your traffic, you may want to research SEO-friendly words to incorporate.  There is TONS of information on the web regarding Search Engine Optimization {SEO} and how to best utilize it.
  • Intro = start your post with a strong first paragraph.  You want to entice readers to read the full post, so it should tell them what they are going to get from the post.
  • Relevant Images = people are visual - good, clear photos enhance a post tremendously.  Too many photos often turn readers off.  Try to edit if you've taken too many.
  • Body = your main content.  Not too wordy will help encourage viewers to read this.
  • Ending = if you want your readers to do something specific {leave a comment, subscribe to your newsletter, etc.}, this is the place to put your call-to-action.
  • *sub-headings should be part of the layout if the post is long - they can help break up the content and make it scannable.*

Make It Scannable
As stated earlier, studies have shown that most people scan what they are looking up online.  You may have scanned this post prior to deciding to read it.  If key words or phrases peak a person's interest, they may go back and read the full post.

The question then becomes, how do you make your post more scannable?  

You can use things such as lists, headings, and sub-headings, photos, and formatting of text {i.e. italic, bold, underlined words and space between the sections}.  Also, cutting out excess words.  How many times have you opened a post only to realized it's much too long for you to read at that moment?  

Cut out the excess words and focus on writing just enough.

Of course, there are some posts that this wouldn't seem to fit, particularly, personal reflection posts.  For that type of post often the title is what will attract the reader as well as a clear, attractive photo.

Break Up With Your Post
Sometimes, as I'm writing a post, I realize it's going to be way too long.  Because of this, I'll often break it up into a series of two or more posts.  This makes it easier to write and easier to read.

There are also times when I know from the start I'll be writing a series.  In these circumstances, I begin with a list outlining what the series will look like.  Once my list is made, I add information under each bulleted idea, until I get a good idea of which items will be their own separate posts.

Here's a brief outline of the points of both parts of the series:
  • Be authentic
  • write how you speak
  • let your post marinate
  • add photos that will compliment your post
  • use a title that will bring readers in
  • utilize the first paragraph of your post to bring readers in and the last paragraph as a call-to-action
  • if it's a long post, consider breaking it up into a series
  • make it scannable
What types of things do you use to make your blog post enticing?

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Lauren said...

Great article and series. Very helpful. Thank you

Nanna Chel said...

Thanks for those hints. I need all the help I can get. LOL!