5 Elements Every Great Blog Post Should Have
by Ara Ohanian
August 23, 2018
The art of blogging can seem inscrutable to the uninitiated. There’s more to it than just pulling content out of thin air, though — there are dozens of components that go into play when it comes to crafting a great blog post.
These components will change depending on whatever goal you may have. Whether you’re looking to entertain your audience, educate them, or add value to a website, the elements you need to create a blog post will be different than those needed to create a sales funnel for new leads or provide opportunities for search engine optimization. Meanwhile, combining some or even all of these goals into a blogging campaign adds even more complexity to the task.
Yet even as a blogging campaign increases in scope of complexity and scale, there are some universal elements that you can apply. In fact, here are some of the most important and common ones that every blogger needs to become familiar with in order to be successful.
1. Search Engine Optimization
Being a blogger is more than just being a writer. You need more than just communication skills; you need to be a savvy marketer as well. In the connectivity age, that means knowing how to get your content in front of people who want to read it — and that means knowing how to optimize your content so that it’s found in search engine queries.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the primary method for ensuring that your content shows up — preferably near the top of the list — in relevant web searches. Bloggers, therefore, need to have a strong grasp of SEO mechanics such as appropriate keyword density and efficient meta-tagging, as these elements all help search engines identify content and rank it appropriately.
Even more important, however, is that you balance SEO designed to appeal to search algorithms against language designed to appeal to human readers. Using natural language is preferable to stuffing keywords into content to create artificial-sounding sentences. With search engine web crawlers becoming more sophisticated by the day, sites like Google are even finding ways to prioritize sites using natural language over those that use methods like keyword stuffing.
2. The Inclusion of Images and/or Video
Human beings are highly visual. We receive the majority of our stimulus through what we see, and that means both still images and video are extremely popular when it comes to the types of content that attract readers. Since the core goal is to get as many eyes on your blog posts as possible, integrating an appropriate amount of visual content into your blog is an excellent way to get your message out there to the masses.
It’s become a cardinal rule in the blogging community that you should almost always begin a new blog post with an image to go along with the title. This image should, obviously, be directly related to the topic of the post. It should also draw the attention of the reader and instill a desire to read the rest of the post as well. Additional images or even videos can be spread throughout the rest of the post, either every few paragraphs or to accompany a new subheading.
A word of warning, though: when it comes to images and video, you can certainly suffer from too much of a good thing. An overwhelming amount of image content can easily detract from the core message of your blog post in general, so keep the images on-topic and don’t go overboard. Additionally, be sure you add full meta tags to each image to enhance your post’s SEO, as every little bit helps.
3. Well-Researched and Authoritative Content
You can’t have a blog post without written content. Whether you’re arguing a political point, providing insight on a new development in your industry, or discussing a piece of popular culture, you need to choose your words with diligence and care in order to reinforce whatever point you’re making. You’re likely going to need backup to do this, so research your content well before posting anything.
When it comes to research, a quick trip to Wikipedia might be a good starting point but certainly isn’t enough. You’ll need to find authoritative sites to pull information from — especially if you’re citing any sort of statistics. If you’re quoting someone else, you’ll most certainly need to credit them in order to avoid claims of plagiarism!
4. Inlinks and Outlinks
The internet is defined by its interconnected nature. It’s called the “web” for a reason, after all; links connecting different pages and websites form a latticework of information, and you’ll need to ensure that your content is part of that matrix.
Building connections to other websites — outlinks — as well as older blogs you’ve posted already — inlinks — is integral to this process. Search engines naturally prioritize webpages with a healthy hyperlink network both within and without, so building both inlinks and outlinks is a positive facet when it comes to SEO. Likewise, providing links to research sources help to build authority with your readership. Allowing them to follow your outlinks demonstrates honesty and transparency.
5. A Strong Call to Action
Finally, every blog post needs a strong ending. The most effective way to do this is to include a call to action that calls back to the core message of the post. This call to action, or CTA, can differ depending on the content and the message, but the desire to get your readers to act is what should drive you as a blogger.
If you’re posting entertainment content, your CTA might be to ask for comments on the post to create a discussion. If you’re marketing a product or a service, your CTA could be a click-through link to a sales page. In many cases, a popular CTA is to ask your readership to share the post themselves on social media in order to spread the message.
Putting it All Together
Writing blogs can be tough. Juggling SEO concerns against providing engaging content isn’t easy, but the results can often reap great rewards. The challenges are the same whether you’re looking to market a product, raise awareness of an important issue, or simply entertain your audience. Keeping the above elements in mind, though, can help pave the way towards better success as a blogger in the future.
Entrepreneur & marketing strategist with a little background in computer science.
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