There is an abundance of content available to us online, more than we could ever consume, so what is it that makes one blog post stand out from another?
This article is ideal for you if you are a business owner that already has a blog and you are serious about getting better results. After all, a website is never a ‘set and forget’ project. If you’re like me and are keen to learn and implement improvements to your website on an ongoing basis then this is the perfect article for you.
Before we get stuck into the structure, let’s ask ourselves a few questions…
I’d like you to think of the different blogs you have visited over the last few weeks.
1. Did the layout and presentation vary between the ones you visited?
I know I can be influenced by the look of a blog and the first impression that it gives me. I know you should never judge a book by its cover but did the look of the blog influence you stay and read it or move on?
2. Which blogs made you want to read the content through to the end and why?
I have much more interest in longer form content than a short overview style. This is because I am more likely to be searching for more in-depth answers as part of my research rather than a quick brief overview of a topic.
3. You saved a blog to read later but how did you know it had the right content you were searching for?
I tend to have time set aside for reading and researching so I don’t necessarily want to consume the content straight away but I need to quickly assess that the content I save has the potential to be what I am searching for. A quick skim read is what I need at this point.
4. Can you think of an example of anything that distracted you from reading the blog or anything you found annoying?
I personally find any content that has flashing or moving things or too many pop-ups annoying and distracting.
5. Did the blog you were reading answer the question that you were asking?
This is what we are searching for want the blog to deliver. Answering the questions that people are asking is our No.1 priority.
6. Were there any blogs in particular that stood out to you and why?
Your own blog structure can evolve over time as you gain more experience, don’t think you have to implement everything at once. So let’s look at the best way to structure a blog post to attract and keep your readership. As we work through each section in more detail it will help you to understand the importance of each area and how you can apply those best practices to your to your own site.
Let’s get to work.
What’s the Best Way to Structure Your Blog?
Let’s start with an overview of the key elements to include in your blog structure before exploring each one in more detail.
- Calls to Action
Your blog headline is the first thing that is going to attract your readership. The headline should answer the question the reader is searching for. When you are working on your headline put yourself in the shoes of a person who has a burning question about the topic you are writing about.
One of the best ways you can find out what kinds of questions to answer is to ask your existing customers what problems or issues they faced before working with you.
To help you with your headline brainstorm session, here are some resources to help you validate your ideas: –
1. Ask Google
In the Google search bar, as you start typing in a question, Google will start to prepopulate the rest of the question. Google knows the questions that are being typed into its search engines, so this is an easy way to find out what people are asking.
2. Analyse your Headline
Analyse your headline effectiveness with the Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer. This analyser gives you a score on the effectiveness of your headline. It counts the number of words in your title and tells you if the title is too long or too short. It interprets the emotiveness of your title and tells you if it’s too negative or too neutral. Research suggests that a negative title can be detrimental so choose your words carefully.
3. Answer the Public
Answer the Public is a free resource which can help give you ideas about what people are searching for on a given topic. It analyses a keyword and provides you with questions that are asked around that keyword. It’s a good resource for inspiration.
Evidence of good use of headlines and their structure:
- Titles with 6-13 words attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic. (Source: HubSpot)
Spending time on creating good headlines makes an impact in attracting readership consistently.
In this day and age where there is SO much content to consume, people need to know whether an article is worth their time and effort to read #contentmarketing Click To Tweet
In the introduction, give an overview of what the article is going to cover and the audience the content is relevant to. People often make the mistake of thinking they can’t give the answer or the conclusion that the blog covers right at the start because they think people will leave the site knowing the answer straight away and not reading on. This is quite the reverse in reality. What people want to know the answer to straight away is this.
Is this blog worth my time and effort to read to give me the answers I need?
If the answer to this question is ‘yes’ then the reader is more likely to stay and read on. Even if they don’t have time to read it straight away, they can save it to come back to later.
It’s a myth that giving the best answer up front is like revealing the secret sauce too early. It’s THE best way to give fantastic value that engages your reader and keeps them there for longer and perhaps more likely to come back for more.
A good introduction improves your SEO:
- A good introduction will keep the reader on your site for longer and improve your SEO. (Source: Neil Patel)
The introduction should ‘hook’ in your reader and set the scene to answer the what’s in it for me question when they start reading. Make it clear what the blog is about and who it’s for. Make it clear and concise and get to the point quickly.
Headings and Subheadings
In this day and age where there is SO much content to consume, people need to know whether an article is worth their time and effort to read.
Headings and subheadings are critical to the blog structure for two reasons: –
- Visually. Headings and sub-headings help readers to skim read the content to know whether the content is what they are searching for. Headings can be bigger and bolder font so they are easier to scan and get a feel for the subject the blog covers.
- Technically. Applying the correct headings means that screen readers for the visually impaired can decipher the logic and structure of the website making your blog make sense.
Here’s an example of how to apply the heading tags as follows to your blog.
There should only ever be one H1 tag on your blog. Each significant topic within the blog should be an H2 heading. Any sub-headings that come under the main H2 headings can be given the H3 subheading tag.
Why good use of headings and subheadings gets better results:
- 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts. (Source: HubSpot)
That’s a huge percentage of people who are skim reading articles rather than reading the whole article. This is why using headings and subheadings are so important.
Use of Images on Your Blog
Images on your blog can be used to break up the text and add context to the blog.
Any images that you upload to your website must be resized if they have big pixel dimensions and optimised (compressed) for your WordPress blog. Heavy images can load slowly on your blog and too many unoptimised images throughout your website will slow your website down.
I recommend a plugin such as ShortPixel which optimises your images on your website.
Visual engagement gets better results:
- Articles with images get 94% more total views (Source: Jeff Bullas)
Articles which include images get far more engagement than ones which don’t. Images also break up the text and can keep readers engaged.
Links and References
There are two types of links to include in your blog: Outbound links and internal links.
Outbound links are links to other websites. These types of links help to inform search engines about the subject of your blog. It also builds trust for your site and helps with your website’s SEO. Make sure when you use outbound links that they are highly relevant links to your blog content.
Resource: How Outbound Link Improves Your Blog Authority & Ranking (SEO), Shout Me Loud
Internal links are links to other content on your own site. Internal links help to improve your own site SEO and passes the link juice from one article to another. Internal links must open in the same page on your website, unlike outbound links which should open in a new tab.
Present links using anchor text in your blog for best readability. You can include a reference to resources within the paragraph body, at the end of each section as or as a resource list at the end of your article.
How outbound links improve SEO:
- Popularity – put simply the more links an article receives, the more popular the content appears, the more positive search engines favour it.
- Relevance – linking to relevant content helps Google understand your niche and builds trust in your website.
- Reputation – linking to reputable sites can increase your own authority and expertise.
- Value – linking out to other relevant and resourceful information improves the consumer experience on your website and makes them more likely to return.
- Reciprocation – by linking to relevant content on other websites, this encourages relevant backlinks to your site and boosts your rankings.
Use a Conclusion
As you draw the article to a close, use a conclusion to recount the main points of the article and bring the reader back full circle. Don’t introduce any new material in your conclusion and keep it brief and to the point. Use your conclusion to provide the next steps or to ask a question as a call to action.
Why readers like to share what they read:
- 94% of people share blog content because they think it might be useful to other people (Source: New Your Times Study)
Publishing relevant content that answers questions that people are searching for means that other people will share it too. Make sure you include ways for people to easily share your content with social media sharing buttons.
Calls to Action
There is a variety of call to action options. Below is a list of suggestions. A call to action tells the reader what relevant action they can take. The reader will be at different stages of their buying journey so keep the call to action focused on the appropriate next step for the content you have published.
- A free (lead magnet) download – this can be included at any stage within the blog, not necessarily at the end.
- Links to connect on social media
- Include a ‘click to tweet’ in your article making it easy to share a quote from your blog on Twitter.
- Ask a question and invite the reader to comment on your blog
- Include an option to subscribe to your blog
- Add a sidebar to give further signposting options
It’s true that people will not read every word you write:
- On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely. (Source: Nielsen Norman Group)
Make your content highly relevant and clearly signpost your calls to action. Readers need to assess your content quickly in their decision to stay or click away.
In this article, we looked at the best way to structure your blog. We also looked at some statistics to demonstrate why structuring your blog effectively has a positive impact on your content and produce better results for engagement.
Cast your mind back again to the blogs you recently read and the questions I asked at the beginning of this post.
Do you have a better idea of why some blogs enticed you to stay and read compared with the ones you clicked away from?
After reading this article, which features in a blog would be most likely to appeal to you and keep your interest?
Most importantly, how will you implement and improve your blog structure today?
If you need a fresh perspective on how to implement a good structure then get in touch to see how I can help you.