In this post you will find out why blog posts are important, and how to do them right.
A good blog post can attract large amounts of organic traffic, loads of comments and social shares.
Let’s get into it.
What Is A Blog Post?
A blog post is a singular webpage with an informative, or discussion based purpose. The blog is a collection of these posts.
They are kind of like diary entries — the individual post is one entry, the whole blog is the entire diary.
Why Are Blog Posts Important For Businesses?
Because they can generate lots of organic traffic from Google and social media. This general interest can eventually turn into leads and possibly customers/sales.
To truly understand why blog posts are important, you need to understand the value of content marketing, and ultimately inbound marketing.
This post is not for that however.
The first thing you need to do is find a good topic to write about.
Here are 3 strategies you can use.
Buzzsumo’s web content analyzer is one of the best free content marketing tools available.
Here’s how we’re going to use it.
Enter your keyword into the web content analyzer.
A results page should come up with the top performing content on the web. This will give you an idea of what’s doing well.
Now, don’t forget to check out the “Evergreen Score.”
It will tell you how well the content performed in its first 30 days of going live. A higher evergreen score indicates a piece of content that has sustained success.
Buzzsumo allows you a handful of searches per month on the content analyzer. You can also sign up for a free 7 day trial.
YouTube is also another great free strategy for finding quality topics to write about.
YouTube’s search function runs much like Google — they own the platform if you didn’t know.
Here’s how we’re going to do it.
Enter your keyword into the YouTube search bar.
Pro Tip: Look at the YouTube search suggestions for more keyword ideas.
Click enter on the search. The results page should come up.
You can get some blog post ideas from here, but we can do better.
Alter the search filter, hit “Sort By View Count” and “Upload Date – This Month.”
Now we’ve got some good blog post ideas.
You can tinker around with the search filters to get different results.
This strategy will work better for specific niches.
Just like YouTube, we can take advantage of Udemy’s search engine to find blog post ideas.
Let’s put our keyword into the search.
You can mess around with the search filter here too.
Find a highly reviewed course from the results.
Click on it and you will be able to view the course table of contents.
And just like that, you’ve got lots of great blog post topics to write about.
A template for your blog post can save you loads of time. There’s no need to waste time trying to come up with something yourself.
Now, it needs to be said — not all templates are suitable for all topics. You need to choose one that fits the content you are going to write.
With that out of the way…
Here are 3 popular blog post templates you can use.
1. The traditional list post
The traditional list post is very simple, and effective.
You have an introduction, multiple subheaders and a conclusion.
Looks like this in Google docs.
Each subheader is a point — the blog post will be broken down into multiple parts.
The above Google doc would have 3 parts.
The number of subheaders will also be in the title.
It was Buzzfeed who popularized the list post method — dubbed listicles.
List posts are usually a large numbered list, but they can be small too. Each point is usually brief, but they can also be in-depth.
Buzzfeed’s thin list posts are much criticized for being low quality and clickbait.
Brian Dean on the otherhand endorses what he calls “expanded list posts.”
Compare the wordcount of these two list posts.
Either way works, the template is the same. Depends on what you’re writing about.
2. The case study
The case study is another classic template you can use.
A case study is basically a detailing of something (usually an event) and how it resulted in something favorable.
“How I lowered my power bill by 50%.”
“How this company lowered its expenses by 60%”
Here are some blog post examples.
From Slidebean — “The REAL cost of content marketing: turning $70K into $200K.”
So how do we make a case study blog post?
Start with the header.
You want to list the benefit or result of this case study.
Then the post structure.
The basic premise of a case study is problem-solution-benefit.
This is how you’ll want to structure the post.
You can have as many steps for whatever your case study solution is.
3. The list post + case study combo
This is something I really like.
Combine the numeral structure of a list post, with the problem-solution narrative of the case study.
Here’s how it’s going to look.
Simply combine the two styles together.
Here’s one way to do it.
Same structure as a typical case study, except the H2 subheaders are each individual strategy.
Each H2 subheader will have multiple H3 subheader steps.
Here’s how it’ll look.
It’s really just a more detailed case study — suited to ones that are rather complex.
There are other templates out there, but they are generally just variations of list posts.
I’ll list some anyways…
1. Tools of the trade (list post variation)
2. Expert round-up (list post variation)
3. Ultimate guide
Now that we’ve got our topic and template down, it’s time to start putting together the post.
We’ll start with the headline — arguably the most important element.
Before we go into how we’re going to do our headline, we need to cover something first.
Page title (title tag) vs. header (h1)
It’s important that we know the difference between the title tag and the h1 tag.
They are not the same thing.
The page title (title tag) is the header represented on the SERP.
It looks like this.
The h1 tag is the header at the top of the webpage.
They are often confused as being the same thing, because sometimes they are. The copy is exactly the same.
The best headline practice applies for both of them, so I think it’s best to make them the same.
With that out of the way…
Let’s get into it.
Feature + front-load your keyword
This is going to be covered under “Optimize For SEO” later, but it needs to be addressed here too.
You need to put a primary keyword in your header.
It also should be early on in the header.
Here’s an example.
Now, it’s not the end of the world if it’s not front-loaded.
It just increases click-through rate on the SERPs (more on this in the SEO section.)
Front-loading isn’t as important if you’re targeting a long-tail keyword.
This post is a good example of that.
Include an odd number
You want to feature an odd number in your headline.
Because numbers are addictive to the brain — they are specific and measurable.
Research shows they make headlines clearer.
Why an odd number though?
Because they have a 20% higher click-through rate.
Keep it short and sweet
The length of your header is very important.
You want to make it short.
Just how short?
This study from Buzzsumo says 12-18 words for Facebook engagement.
HubSpot’s research shows 11-14 words win out on social media.
A headline length somwhere between 10-20 words will do.
In my opinion closer to 10 is better.
We are making our page title and h1 tag the same, and search engines cut off the title tag after 60 characters (about 10-15 words.)
The truth is many sources suggest different headline lengths.
Data from HubSpot and Outbrain has optimal length for all different metrics.
What’s most important is not to compromise your headline for the sake of its length.
Add some title modifiers
Title modifiers are small words or phrases you can add to your header to make it rank for a wider net of search terms.
Here are some title modifier examples.
- 2019 (current year)
This post is using “2019” and “Actionable Guide.”
Notice the brackets/parantheses too?
It’s a great way to add a title modifier.
Headlines with them tend to do better too, according to Outbrain’s research.
Now that we’ve got a topic, template and a header… It’s time to do the subheadings.
Each subheader is the headline for a specific part of your post.
They are the structure of your post, the frame.
To do them right, follow these guidelines:
- Keep them short
- Divide the topic of your post intelligently
- Feature a keyword (more on that later…)
- Use a number if you can (like the main header)
Subheaders are so important because people scan as opposed to read online.
When combined with a table of contents, it makes post navigation really easy.
Keyword in atleast one subheader
Just like the header, you want to feature a primary keyword in atleast one subheader.
Popular WordPress SEO plugin Yoast recommends this.
RankMath is the same.
Putting a keyword in a subheader gives Google more information to better represent your webpage on SERPs.
If done correctly, site-links can appear on your SERP result.
They look like this.
RankMath says these can increase click-through rate and build your authority.
So we’ve completed the headline and subheaders of our blog post.
Now let’s do the introduction and conclusion.
I do the intro and conclusion at the same time because they are similar.
They are both short, and summarize the main body content.
Look at the intro and conclusion for this post.
Here’s what to focus on here.
- Keep it short
- Your intro doesn’t need a subheader
- Your conclusion needs a subheader — “Final Thoughts” works well
- Preview/summarize what the post is about
- Display some benefit/social proof if applicable — “A good blog post can attract large amounts of organic traffic…”
- Include a call-to-action for audience engagement in the conclusion
Now it’s time to attack the meat of the blog post.
I can’t tell you what to write. That’s up to you.
I would advise to be credible, cite sources, be factual. Don’t take your audience for fools.
What I can do, is help you to know how to write it.
You’ll notice I use a lot of short sentences in this post.
I do this because short sentences are easier to understand. They increase readability.
A sentence that goes on forever is mentally exhausting to the reader.
You want to keep sentences under 20 words.
Even 15 in my opinion.
You’re going to want to do the same with paragraphs — keep them short.
Paragraphs should be no longer than 4 lines.
Look how hard long paragraphs are to read compared to shorter ones.
There was even a 1939 study that showed this.
Use a lot of images
Images have the power to say a lot more than words… “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Science seems to back this up.
We process visual information 60,000 times faster.
Images are also a great way to breakup walls of text.
It can help make your blog post easier to scan.
Look at how many images I have used in this post.
PRO TIP: Use Greenshot to take high quality screenshots.
It has an editor that allows you to make clean, professional screenshots.
Use bullet points/numbered lists
Bullet points and lists are a great way to break up specific points of information.
Reciting the findings of a study?
Use bullet points.
Don’t overuse them. Every now and then when it makes sense.
We’ve finished writing the post.
Now it’s time to optimize for SEO.
NOTE: Some SEO steps I went over earlier.
It makes no sense to write something then come back later and change it (for the sake of SEO.)
With that out of the way, here is what you need to address.
Page title (title tag)
We covered h1 and page title earlier in the headline section.
We’ll go over it again really quick.
This is the page title.
This is what you need to do.
- Feature a keyword
- Front-load the keyword if possible
- 10-20 words length
- Use an odd number
- Add a title modifier
You should be able to do all of this on WordPress.
Install Yoast or RankMath.
Here’s what it looks like on my end.
The meta description is the blurb below the page title on SERPs.
You don’t need to put a keyword here, searches engines don’t look at meta descriptions.
People do though.
A good meta description can increase click-through rate.
CTR is a user experience signal — Google tracks these.
So in a way… it does impact SEO… Which is why we’re addressing it.
Here’s some keys to follow.
- Write like a copywriter
- Keep it under 160 characters
- Use emotionally charged language
- List a benefit
- Give them instant gratification
The last aspect of your SERP representation you need to address is the URL.
A good URL is going to be noticed by Google, boosting your SEO efforts.
There are many parts of a URL, we are focusing on the page-specific slug.
That’s this part.
Follow these guidelines.
- Keep it short (3-5 words)
- Make it descriptive
- Feature a keyword
- No capitalization
- Use hyphens to separate words
Litter your blog post with internal links to your other posts.
This boosts the SEO of your blog post by creating a better website link architecture.
Actively go back to old posts and add relevant internal links
Here are some best practice guidelines.
- Make sure they are relevant
- Use a descriptive anchor text
- Don’t link the same webpage twice
In this post we detailed why blog posts are important and how to do them correctly.
Did you find this helpful? Give me your thoughts.
What strategy did you find most beneficial to your blog posts?
Is there something I missed?
Let me know in the comments below.
Lars Erik Larson is a digital marketer based out of Perth, Western Australia. He specializes in writing long-form B2B Marketing Blog posts that build brand and rank highly on Google. Lars runs Wordsmith Method, a content marketing business targeting small businesses and startups.