Blogging 101: 7 Things You Need to Include in Every Blog Post
It’s no secret that blogging can take up a good chunk of your time so if you’re anything like me, you want to make it as effective as possible.
When I first began creating content, I knew I needed to put together some type of checklist I could run through before I hit “publish” on every post.
This helps me ensure that I’m providing the most value to my readers and that I’m making it easier for future readers to find me.
So without further ado, here are seven things you should include in every blog post:
1. A catchy title
Your title is arguably one of the most important factors in determining whether or not people read your blog post. If you choose a weak title, most people won’t read it no matter how great the content in the post itself is.
In order to come up with a great title, you should include two things:
A long-tail keyword (more about this later!)
When you add a long-tail keyword, you’re optimizing your blog post for search engines. And by being specific, you let people know what they can expect to get out of your blog post and persuade them to read it.
Example of a weak headline: “Things I Learned About Freelancing” -- boring and kind of generic.
Example of a catchy headline: “5 Things You Need to Know About Becoming a Freelance Writer” -- specific, includes a keyword, lets the reader know what to expect.
Bonus tip: One of my favorite blogging tools is the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. It’s free to use and it analyzes your headline for word balance, SEO-optimization, and length.
2. Featured image
Along with a catchy title, including a featured image with your blog post will make it more appealing to most. Plus, a featured image can be used in your blog’s layout in a number of different ways.
Fortunately, there’s no need to spend tons of money on stock photos because there are tons of great options online for free.
3. Short paragraphs with sub-headings
One thing that always makes me cringe is when I click on a blog post only to find that it is just one huge wall of text. Not only is it hard to read but it just looks bad.
The reality is, most visitors will skim your blog post and look for only the most useful info. So if it’s not easy to find, they’ll most likely say, “See ya!”
So make sure all of your paragraphs are short (I recommend two to three sentences MAX) and include lots of sub-headings and bulleted points.
Bonus tip: Aim to add a new sub-heading roughly every 300 words. And numbered list posts are always a great way to get readers engaged.
4. Simple, conversational language
Okay, this is one that I have to work on frequently myself as I have a tendency to write long, overly complicated sentences. While that may be something that other writers can appreciate, this won’t be the case for most people.
So avoid using complex phrases and complicated jargon in your writing. Just talk to your readers like they are a friend and keep it simple.
Bonus tip: Purchase the Hemingway Editor -- it will review your writing for things like the passive voice and sentences that are difficult to read.
It will also give you a grade for readability; personally, I aim for about a seventh-grade readability for all my blog posts.
5. Internal and external links
It’s always a good idea to include internal and external links in every blog post. However, not all external links are created equal. Only include links to high authority websites.
If you use spammy or low authority links it can hurt your ranking in Google. And internal links are great because:
a) It is helpful to your audience and allows them to learn more about a particular subject.
b) It incentivizes your readers to spend more time on your website.
Bonus tip: Include at least one external and internal link in every blog post.
Every time you begin a new blog post, you should choose a long-tail keyword to use at least five times in that post.
A long-tail keyword is several words or a short phrase that your audience might search for in Google.
Long-tail keywords are better because they are more specific and easier to rank for than a generic word or phrase.
For instance, if you are writing a blog post on how to get started blogging, “writing a blog” will be easier to rank for than just “blogging.”
Bonus tip: Consider using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool to help you research long-tail keywords. The keyword planner can tell you which keywords have the lowest competition.
And if you use Wordpress, you should definitely download the Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin makes it so easy to ensure every blog post is SEO-optimized.
7. Discussion prompt & email opt-in
Always end with some sort of question that encourages discussion from your readers. Sometimes your readers need that little extra nudge to actually leave a comment.
And you should always give your readers a chance to sign up for your email list.
Chances are if they already regularly follow your blog they will be interested in purchasing your products or services in the future.
Bonus tip: Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this post and if there’s any tips you think I should have included!
(See what I did there? *wink*)