If you run a business with a website, you’ve probably heard you should have a blog. That’s because blogging can be a powerful way to increase traffic to your site, establish your expertise, boost search engine optimization (SEO), increase conversions and develop an ongoing relationship with your audience.

But these benefits don’t magically occur by writing one blog post. Instead, they result from a commitment to producing high-quality blog posts time after time.

Luckily, it’s possible to craft top-notch posts by adhering to a few tried-and-true guidelines. Whether you’re new to the world of blogging or you want to take your blog to the next level, incorporating the following components into each post helps ensure your blog gets results.

Element #1: The Headline

The headline is one of the most critical components of a blog post—and it’s also the easiest piece to overlook. By the time you finish composing a lengthy post, it’s tempting to slap on a relevant headline and call it a day. But it’s important to spend time crafting the perfect title for your post.

Research suggests headlines can influence traffic to a post by as much as 500 per cent. According to digital marketing agency Koozai, the most alluring headlines contain one or more of the following elements:

  • Descriptive adjectives
  • Keywords
  • Numbers
  • Promises (“These 9 Kitchen Hacks Will Save You an Hour in the Kitchen,” for example)
  • Rationale (tips, hacks, etc.)

Each time you craft a headline, experiment with different combinations of these elements until you settle on a version that sounds enticing without being overly gimmicky.

Element #2: The Introduction

Most blogging experts agree that the best introductions incorporate stories. In fact, using anecdotes in the introduction can increase readership by as much as 300 per cent and increase time spent on a page by a whopping 520 per cent.

In addition to engaging readers, the introduction should also provide a sense of what’s to come: What is the rest of the post about? How will readers benefit by reading the post? Convince readers that they have something to gain and they’ll be much more likely to read on.

Element #3: Subheaders

When readers look at your blog, do they see a massive wall of text, or an organized and visually pleasing post? As you can imagine, the latter is a much better approach to retain readers. And that’s where subheads come in.

Aim to start every new section with a subheader, which allows readers to quickly gauge the post’s content. Subheaders have the added benefit of providing an extra SEO boost. H1 subheaders should include target keywords, while H2 subheaders can include secondary keywords or keyword synonyms. In short, subheaders are a simple and effective way to make your content more readable and boost search ranking. 

Element #4: Main Copy

A critical part of making your blog post reader-friendly is to incorporate visual assets. In fact, one study found that people recall photos six timesmore easily than text. Posts with a higher number of images also tend to draw more backlinks.

This means you should select high-quality images that are relevant to your post. Ideally, aim to include one visual for every 350 words. And remember to credit visuals when credit is due. 

Element #5: Visual Assets

A critical part of making your blog post reader-friendly is to incorporate visual assets. In fact, one study found that people recall photos six timesmore easily than text. Posts with a higher number of images also tend to draw more backlinks.

This means you should select high-quality images that are relevant to your post. Ideally, aim to include one visual for every 350 words. And remember to credit visuals when credit is due. 

Element #6: Call to Action

If blogging is part of your business plan, then you want your posts to inspire readers to take some kind of action—whether it’s signing up for an e-course, purchasing your product, or sharing your content on social media.

The only way for readers to know what action to take after reading your post is for you to tell them. Your call to action can live in the sidebar, header, or footer of the post; what matters is that it’s there and the request is reasonable. (For example, you wouldn’t ask someone to enroll in a $10,000 course after they’ve read one blog post, but you may invite them to join your newsletter.)

Element #7: Sharing Elements

Social sharing buttons are a simple call to action proven to increase a post’s reach. Experiment to find out whether your site benefits from share buttons that are static or floating, and whether buttons perform best in the header, footer, and/or sidebar.

Blogs are a critical component of any content marketing plan—but in order to be effective, they need to be executed well. Before crafting any post, make an outline that includes each of the elements discussed above. Emphasize quality at every stage of the process and you’ll be well on your way to blogging success.

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