Crafting the perfect blog post can be a daunting challenge, even for seasoned writers. In fact, the idea of a “perfect” blog post is an ideal that can do more harm than good when it comes to producing high-quality content on a consistent basis. But once you can get in a positive mindset and carve out the time to actually sit down and write, it helps to know the parts that the modern blog post is made of.
Blogs have so many different features and components these days that it can be overwhelming for beginners. It’s important to keep in mind that each of the below blog features are designed to help you communicate rather than bog you down. Each component plays a discrete role in the publishing process–whether it’s organization, SEO, or navigation–and contributes to the overall success of the blog.
Your headline speaks to two audiences: humans and machines. Humans click headlines, while machines look for keywords. To get maximum traffic, your headline should speak to both of your audiences–depending on your distribution strategy.
For humans, write headlines that entice but don’t deceive. It’s a proven fact that humans love lists, e.g. 13 Signs You Were Born To Be A Photographer. Even better, use a compelling adjective to describe your list, and promise your reader a solution to their problem: 9 Simple Design Tips that Boost Landing Page Conversions.
For more human-centric headline tips, read 10 Surefire Headline Formulas that Work at Copyblogger.
Machines, on the other hand, like keywords and keyphrases. Make sure you include your highest-level keyword or keyphrase in your headline if you are looking for search traffic.
The preview is the part of the post that will show up on your blog page as readers scroll through your content looking for something that catches their eye. If you’ve written a good headline to entice readers to the post, the preview can help seal the deal. The preview needs to be informative and make readers want to keep reading the rest of the content. It’s not the place to summarize the full post, but rather whet their appetite even more.
Featured images are crucial for bringing readers into a story. It’s the image that shows up alongside the headline and preview on your blog homepage, and it will usually accompany any links to content on Facebook. Once a person visits the full blog post, they will still see the featured image at the top of the post. The featured image is extremely important, and it should capture the essence of what your post is about in an eye-catching way.
Share buttons are the social media buttons that can be found at the top and/or bottom of a blog post. Share buttons are shortcuts for readers who enjoyed your content so much that they want others to read it too. Of course, sharability is crucial for gaining more traffic and it’s the only way that a blog post can go viral.
Most content management systems like WordPress have built-in share widgets that you can use, but you can also try one of these free sites to generate sharing buttons for every blog post you write:
Your reader was enticed by the headline, intrigued by the featured image, the body copy is where you must deliver the goods. Besides having great grammar and content, the body copy needs to be reader-friendly. People don’t enjoy reading big blocks of text–particularly at their computers. One look at a never-ending sea of text, and your readers will be clicking the back button as fast as they can.
Here are a few tips to avoid this scenario:
- incorporate numerical lists and bullet points
- highlight important terms in bold
- avoid long paragraphs (more than six sentences)
- incorporate graphics and images that enhance the message
- use descriptive subheads to help readers find what they’re looking for
- cut out unnecessary words, sentences, and paragraphs–only the good stuff
Subheads are different categories within the post that break up the text and give a preview of the following text. Headings are categorized into header tags that help show the hierarchy of content. Header tags start at H1 and go to H7 as they fall lower in the hierarchy.
Header tag rundown:
- H1 headings give a clear indication of what the post is about and should be used for the headline.
- H2 headings should be used for subheads within the post.
- H3 and H4 headings can be used for other subheadings within the post to further break the copy.
Tags are words or short phrases that relate to topics covered in the post. Tags are clickable and lead to an index page with links to all posts written on that topic. While their SEO value is minimal, tags help readers navigate your blog, thereby boosting traffic for related content. It’s tempting to overdo the tags, but we recommend you don’t add more than six to each blog post.
Backlinks are links within the post that lead to other content, whether inside your domain or on another website. Linking to other posts from your company should always be a priority, but it is crucial to have a good mix of links to outside content as well. A backlink should also always be included in your author bio if you are writing a guest post, and the hyperlinked text should include the two-to-three-word keyphrase that you would like to rank for on search engines. Backlinks are very important for SEO and will help make your content more popular when searched.
A post should end with a short closing paragraph to tie the post together. It’s also a great place to ask the readers questions, suggest next steps, and/or link to relevant articles. Crafting a perfect blog post is just as much a science as it is an art, and as long as you can navigate the anatomy of a blog post, you should have no problem telling your story to the world.