How amazing is your blog content, really?
You might be writing those most stunning prose, with the most relevant topics, but are your readers singing your praises from the rooftops?
Are they constantly coming back for more?
There are countless ways to improve your blog posts, and in this post I am going to show you seven ways to do just that!
So let’s jump right in with the most important one first…
1. Create a Stunning Headline
The headline is the key to a great blog post.
Because without a great headline, you may never get the reader to read your post in the first place.
So, although the rest of your blog post and all the tips that are in it are very important, the headline is the linchpin of it all.
The big question is then, how do you create an amazing, compelling and shareable headline?
Simple answer: You steal from the pros of course!
- Buffer has assembled a great list of the most viral words for headlines
- Jon Morrow is well known for his headline prowese and has created this power list
- And Coschedule has given us a great tool for testing our headlines too (check it out below)
Take a look at the above resources, and before you know it, crafting killer headlines will be what you are known for!
2. Make Your Posts Infinitely More Readable
Once you have your readers on your website (and blog post) you have to encourage them to read keep reading.
Unlike essay writing (that we were all taught in school), blog post writing requires you to make your content easily scannable and readable. That means, you have to space things out, and separate the important parts so that they are easily seen and scanned by the reader.
So how do you go about this?
Quite simply follow these guidelines and you will soon be creating better, more engaging blog posts:
- break up your text into meaningful sections with sub-headings (H2, H3 etc)
- make lists of items more readable in bullets (like this)
- make sure your website design contains enough whitespace
Further Tips: This post on improving your blog writing will also help you get readers reading further
3. Show Them Your Best Stuff
With your post now infinitely more readable, you would think you have done enough, right? However, there are still a bunch of things you can do to bring your post that extra step further.
Highlighting the most important takeaways or action steps is a great way to bring attention to key findings, fun facts, steps in a how-to and more. Within WordPress there are only so many things you can do to achieve this (bold, italic, headings etc).
- key findings
- fun facts
- steps in a how-to
and more. Within
Within the WordPress editor itself there are only so many things you can do to achieve this (bold, italic, headings etc). So, if you really want to highlight something I suggest putting it in a “box” which stands out. Such a box a different color, having a border, and perhaps even different colored text (although this is often not needed).
Such a box should have
- a different color
- possibly a border
- an image or icon
- and even different colored text (although this is often not needed)
Below is an example from my blog, which also has an icon at the top:
How do you create such a box?
There are two ways that I recommend to my clients,
- add a shortcode – this is a simple code you put around the relevant text that magically adds it to a box in the post (here is some quick box shortcode examples) – the downside is this requires programming knowledge!
- use a plugin such as Thrive Architect (here is a detailed review and walk-through by Colin) which has a variety of such boxes built-in (and more)
Either way, this results is your readers being drawn to the most useful content within your blog posts, which keeps them reading further.
4. Get Them To Tweet The Highlights
This next one is fun. Not only does it highlight some key phrases or quotes in your content, but it can get you extra retweets as well.
The idea is simple: wrap your favorite quote or sentence in a very visible box, and add a tweet button below it.
They call them Tweetables or Click To Tweet.
Not only does this highlight great quotes from your blog, it also helps break up your content into more readable sections (and it encourages sharing too!).
Here is an example from a recent post on my blog:
Within the last year or so, a number of plugin developers have created or added this functionality making this super easy for WordPress website owners. Depending on which plugins you use, the following are some of the ways you can use tweetables:
- coschedule plugin (free)
- social warfare (part of social share buttons plugin)
- tweet dis (feature rich tweet this plugin)
If none of these plugins suits your needs, you can also use Click To Tweet. This is a website where you can create pre-populated tweets with a link you can then use in your blog posts. Clicking on that link creates a pre-populated tweet.
5. Go Visual And Impress
Visuals are becoming the key to social sharing and content on the web. You might have see me talking about this all this time.
Adding images to your blog content can help break up the walls of text often seen in blog posts, which some people just find downright intimidating.
But there are other benefits.
For example, images can also create more options when sharing on social media.
Another forgotten benefit is branding. By keeping your images in-line with your branding guidelines (colors, fonts and logo) you also ensure that your presence around the web is spread more widely. So, if someone shares your post, the main image should be branded in such a way that it is clear it is your post.
Some simple tips to help:
1. Add an image at the top of your post that is branded and the right size to share on your favorite social channels. If you are not sure what sizes you need, check out this post from Dustin Stout who helps you solve this problem quickly and easily.
2. Add images throughout your post which either add to the post (demonstrating a point or example) or break it up with further branded images.
A great tool for achieving all of this is Canva, my go-to tool for image creation.
6. Keep Giving Them More
Something that you may have noticed when reading this post is that I am giving you a ton of useful information, but also linking to additional tools and resources as I go along.
Let’s face it, none of us know everything. Sure we might like to think we do, but honestly?
So, when you are writing a blog post it is of great service to your readers to highlight additional resources and material to help them with a specific point or problem. Of course, this could also be material already on your blog, but don’t be one of “those people” who just links to their own stuff. It doesn’t help you or your readers.
As you write your blog post always keep in mind:
- what additional and helpful material can I link to
- what have I written in the past that supports what I am saying
- what other content can support my post
Another bonus of linking out to great resources is that Google considers it a ranking factor (see point 4 in this post).
It is one sign of a great piece of content and your search rankings might increase as a result!
7. Make Them Do Something
People love walking away from a blog post having learnt something. Even better than that, they love being able to apply something straight away and see fast results.
You can take this idea and apply it to your content by giving people small, actionable tips throughout your content (just like I am in this post).
This enables your readers to know what and how to apply what they have just learnt or read, and then associate the results with you!
That will definitely keep them coming back for more, right?
Here are some ideas for getting users to take action:
- share actionable tips at the end of every section (like this)
- encourage them to take action in the final paragraphs of your post
- put step-by-step items in easy to consume lists, graphics or content boxes
- create a downloadable guide with a checklist or summary of the post
What better way to get your readers returning for more of your actionable tips!
What Should You Do Next?
There are a boatload of tips in this post, and there is no way you are going to run off and apply them all at once.
I get it.
So what should you do instead?
Make a list of the most useful, interesting or relevant tips from this post and start applying them one at a time over the next few months.
Start with improving your headlines, as this will probably have the biggest impact.
Then, once you feel like you have a handle on that, move on to the next tip on your list.
And if you see some great results, feel free to let me know.