In this section of our blog building guide we will be discussing how to create traffic winning content for your site.
We’ll be looking at:
- Writing for an online audience
- How to write content that actually adds something of interest to your site
- Making you blog posts look inviting
Back in Step 1 we talked about the importance of having something to say and in this guide I will be encouraging you to think carefully before committing that post.
High Quality Content
There is a common belief that Google somehow prefers constantly updating dynamic sites. This is not the case.
If your fantastic resource on flared trousers is the number one destination for seventies fashion tips today then why wouldn’t it be so tomorrow? If your site promises daily sports results then fair enough – you need to keep it updated! But a site about a slowly changing subject does not require updating for the sake of updating it.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t revise and improve posts over time, I am constantly updating the Blogercise pages with new information. But if you don’t have something useful to say then come back when you do!
Posts with Value and Purpose
Every post you make to your site should add something to the total content of your site.
By that I mean each new article should have a defined purpose. Before you post any new article consider whether your website users will have a genuine interest in what you have written. Think about
- Why would they want to read it?
- What is it telling them?
- What value does the post have?
If you can’t answer these questions – don’t make the post.
It is far better to have a site that is crammed full of fantastic information than one with a 1000 articles about nothing in particular.
If you are running a music review site then stick to posting music reviews. People will come to the site because they like reading about new album releases, they do not want to know about your Bronze swimming certificate or that you are thinking about posting a new review one day soon.
Try to make sure your content has a defined purpose. Think about what the post is trying to say and check that it does accomplish this goal. Posting in this way has the following advantages:
- Your readers can find content that you are looking for
- Search Engines will know what queries are relevant to your site
- You hold your users attention
How to Write content for Blog Posts
Writing content for Internet publication is a special skill in its own right.
It should be obvious from your own experience that people tend to adopt a “scan” approach to reading websites. For example, are you reading this site right through from start to finish? In most cases I expect not, you will be scanning through each page for headings or phrases that jump out and appear useful to you. If you want to engage your readers you need to get their attention.
Headline: The headline is your first, and sometimes only, opportunity to get your reader’s attention. Do not waste this opportunity! It is worth spending some time trying out a few ideas.
- Google displays up to 66 characters of a page title, so although you can make it longer, remember that only the first part will be shown in the search engine results page.
- Makes sure the title is representative of the content.
- Think about inspiring interest, pose a question, challenge your readers intellect, find something thought provoking.
- Appeal to your audiences emotional side, this can be a very effective way of engaging with people.
Paragraphs: Break up your text. When a reader is scanning over your page they are looking for specific points of interest that appeal to their current search for knowledge. A single big block of text will be largely ignored. If the opening line has no interest to the reader then you have likely lost them.
By breaking up your text at logical points you provide numerous potential hooks for your readers to buy into your article. Defined sections that address specific points of interest also help them to navigate your page and locate the information they are looking for.
When we browse web pages we have very little patience and if the page is making us work then more often than not we will skip on to another site. With millions to chose from there is always somewhere else to look!
Bullet Points: Lists are a great way to deliver detailed information in a quick and accessible format. Not only will the list standout on a page but the format is ideal for getting your key points across to browsers with a short attention span.
Blogs such as Zen Habits have made fantastic use of the list format.
Highlight: Considered use of BOLD and italic text styles can help get your readers attention. These styles can be used to highlight important points and draw visitors into your articles. In addition, try to use “Blockquote” styles if your website system supports it.
See how you noticed this!
Structure: The first section of your post should entice your reader into wanting to read more. Perhaps it will pose some questions that you will go on to answer, summarise the key points of your article, connect with your reader emotionally.
This technique has long been mastered by the newspaper journalists who are experts in enticing you into the detail of their articles.
Authority: If you don’t believe in what you are writing then no one else will. Only you can sell your site and the information in it. No one is going to do it for you. At least not until you have won a few people over to your ideas!
If you can’t write with a certain degree of authority you might want to think about whether you are writing about the right topic for you. If it’s not something you can get into then no one reading your site will be convinced that your site is a prime destination for that niche. Blogercise is obviously the leading blog building resource!
Attention to Detail
Remember to re-read your posts and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. This is probably slightly hypocritical coming from me as I have problems with getting this right!
An error free site will help build your authority, it will help convince readers that you are a competent expert in your field. If you can’t get the basics right then why would your visitors be convinced by the rest of your writing? Take the time to update broken links, fix mistakes, and keep content current.
Accuracy in your blog writing may not seem like a short term win, but your readers will quickly pick up on mistakes. Get this right from the start and make the best impression possible
These simple actions will help hook in your first visitors and encourage them to return.
Creating Blogging Headlines
A blog post’s headline is your first, and often only, chance to get a reader’s attention. Newspaper writers have known for years that certain headlines are much better at drawing us into the rest of the article than others.
Getting the headline right can make a massive difference to the number of hits on a particular page so it is worth thinking through the title carefully. Before publishing the post set aside a few minutes to consider the blog’s title and see if there is anything you can do to make it more inviting!
- Emotion. People are more responsive to strongly emotive headlines. Words like “Love” or “Need” are much more powerful than “Like” or “Might”
- Intrigue. People have an innate curiosity, see if you can stimulate some interest by creating an intriguing headline.
- Ask a Question. If you ask a question people will either want to answer it or find out your answer. Either way they will be tempted to click though to read more.
If you want to learn more about inviting blog headlines then you need not look any further than newspaper headlines. Grab a copy of a national paper and spend some time thinking about which stories sound the most interesting and why.
In the next part of our 10 step blogging guide we look at how to promote your website and build traffic.