A blog is only as good as its content. Increasing the quality of our blog posts can bring traffic, inbound links, social bookmarks, subscribers, comments, and other rewards every blogger works hard to achieve. This post lists ten simple things you can do to produce better posts, every time.
Write headlines that promise value
The reason numbered headlines are so in vogue is that they’re incredibly specific about what the reader will get by reading the article. You can be both specific and gripping without numbers, however, as long as you use your headlines to give readers an enticing preview not of what your article is about, but what it has to offer. A good strategy is to think of your headline as the sign on a door you want readers to open: what kind of sign would make the reader want to peek inside?
Begin with a gripping lead
A great headline will get your readers to open the door, but the strength of your first paragraph will determine whether they step inside. The first few sentences of your posts should expand on the headline and get more specific about what the content has to offer, whether it be entertainment, humor, information, or important facts.
Signpost your logic with sub-headings
I tend to go against the grain in my reasoning for using sub-headings. As far as I’m concerned, sub-headings help your visitors read, not simply scan. Good sub-headings give readers an angle to approach the following paragraph, help interlink your ideas, and break up complicated thoughts into manageable chunks.
Utilize whitespace and images
Whitespace is the empty space in your blog layout (whether it’s white or not). Whitespace around your text makes it much easier to read, and a simple way to introduce more whitespace into your posts is to use frequent paragraph breaks. Another strategy to make your posts more readable is to break up your posts with relevant and illustrative images.
Weave appropriate links into your words
A good rule of thumb: whenever you write a string of words specifically relevant to content you’ve seen elsewhere, or a previous post you’ve written, turn those words into a link. There are a great number of benefits to doing this. You may be noticed by those you’re linking to, you can get traffic from trackbacks, it can encourage readers to explore your blog, and it adds another layer of depth and detail to what you write.
Suggest further reading
When appropriate, direct readers to other content you’ve written on the topic at the end of your post. Some bloggers do this with the ‘Related Posts’ widget, but you’re more likely to capitalize on reader attention of you suggest the links within the body of your post, while they’re still in ‘reading mode’.
Engage the reader
A simple strategy for increasing your comments is to ask readers what they think. Opinions are much more freely given than experiences, so asking for opinions is likely to produce better results.
Rigorously edit what you’ve written
Check for typos, make sure your links work, check that your logic is clear and your formatting is displaying correctly. Fixing up your posts at a later date may cause the post to re-appear in feed readers, which won’t be appreciated by those who’ve already seen it.
Make it shorter
Delete unnecessary words, sentences, and paragraphs. Retain only the minimum amount of information needed to make your point. Readers are more likely to commit to reading something they know they will finish. You don’t need to make every post you write short, but you will always benefit from making it shorter.
If you have the time, let your posts marinate
When you’ve been working on a piece of writing for an hour or two it can be hard to look at it with fresh eyes. You’ve probably noticed how different a piece of writing can seem when you re-read it a few days later, once you’ve had time to forget the thoughts behind each sentence. Letting your posts sit for a time will allow you to better look at your work from the perspective of a reader, and work out what needs to be improved.
A proper blog structure leads to better conversion
Most marketers know that blogs have insane potential to turn your visitors into your customers. But, conversions through blogging thus depends on various other factors other than the content you write.
To convert your blog into a lead magnet there are many components that need to fix for optimizing your blog for better lead generation or conversion.
You need to create a proper blog structure, which is easy to navigate and provide all the option to subscribe any piece of information. Conversions through blogging depends heavily on your blog structure. The structure of a blog, in turn, is affected by various blog elements like:
- Sticky Header: A sticky header will consist of all necessary information about the company services and products, culture, and working methodology. No matter how much you scroll down it will remain with the webpage on the top place. This makes users to find any service related information easily.
- Blog Categories: The list of blog categories must be placed right below the header with a subscription on the right side. Giving an easy option for readers to navigate through different category section on your blog will make them to consider the content. That’s how they will subscribe it to get updates on regular basis.
- Subscription Option: An easy subscription will always add new contacts to your lead generation sheet. Thus, providing an easy subscription box on the top of your blog post or at the right-side column of your blog homepage is considered most effective. However, you can pull more contacts by showing pop-ups on your blog on different time intervals.
- Search Bar: The search bar should be placed just below the category section for the users to look up other pieces of content if they want to.
A blog structure defines the extent of good user experience (UX) and easy navigation and thus must be designed strategically.
Place Call-to-Action (CTA) to boost conversion
A Call-to-Action (CTA) if placed strategically have the potential to turn your blog into a lead generating machine.
Basically, a CTA is the box through which your users can join the readers community and that’s how you’ll be able to collect leads on your blog.
However, the placement of a CTA is based on user behavior. And a personalized CTA works 42% better than an untargeted one since that is created based on user behavior.
By analyzing the different behavior of users on your webpage or blog you can place a CTA in three different styles on your blog, which are as follow:
The Inline CTA is used correctly only if it is placed after ample information that has been given related to the CTA in the blog.
The Sidebar CTA is placed on the side of the blog, which is mainly for gated content subscription or other important events in the industry.
The Bottom CTA is placed after the entire blog post. Once a reader gets finished with post reading then it is a smart way to show him a way to subscribe the information on regular basis.
Isn’t it clever? To analyze different user behavior on your blog you can take help of Hotjar. The heatmap tool will show you different user actions on the different section on your blog. This will help you place CTA strategically on your blog homepage and posts.
Empower engagement on your blog post
Engagement on your blog shows the level of involvement, thus it is always good to interact with your audience. By letting your readers get in touch with your blog post through social network is a popular yet most effective way to engage people with the content. But, to achieve higher engagement level on your blog you need to place social sharing plugins at the right place.
Only 45% of marketers think that their Facebook efforts are effective. This is due to wrong placement of social sharing buttons and social engagement counter. The social sharing buttons can be placed on the sidebar and below the post.
The sidebar social sharing counter should be sticky so that the user gets the opportunity to share the content whenever he feels like without having to search for it.
You can also give an option to share your post on their social networks by placing a social sharing counter at the end of your post.
However, using the Click to Tweet plugin will increase the chances of the article being shared by providing a stat or fact within the post for the user to directly tweet it.
Integrate Optin Forms to collect more leads
Optin forms are the most efficient way to pull readers into your customer’s list.
The opt-in form needs to be integrated to the blog in a way that it doesn’t pop up before enough information has been provided to the reader.
An opt-in form must no doubt include the mandatory fields, but it also needs to be as short as possible. The optin form can be integrated in various sections in different styles.
An exit overlay pop up comes up when the user shows an intent to quit the blog page. The time intent pop up turns up after the user has spent certain amount of time on the blog page. The scroll intent CTA pops up after a certain extent of scrolling has been done by the reader. The sticky header and footer CTA pops up are placed in the header and footer respectively.
Optimize the loading speed of your blog
The content and the design of an entire blog page will go down the drain if the blog page doesn’t load fast. More than 40% of people abandon a webpage if it takes more than 3 seconds to load thus, a webpage must load within or less than 3 seconds.
Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to optimize webpages for mobile devices with quick loading speed. Google AMP has been introduced keeping both speed and mobile first approach in mind. Integrating Google AMP to your website will not only push your page up the SERP but will also make sure than it comes up in a carousel, on top, that only accommodates AMP pages.