Before I started this blog and writing about my business, I never properly looked into the science behind how to write a proper blog post so that it’s easy to read and digest whilst also having the maximum impact and engagement for the reader.
I was told I had to blog consistently about topics I was passionate about and interested in, and not worry so much about the layout of the post, length of the post, visuals and all the other super important things you need to take into consideration when writing the perfect blog post.
But don’t worry, i’ve simplified all of this into just 7 Simple Steps for you to follow below. At the end of this post i’ll also provide you with a Free Downloadable Cheat Sheet for you to use every time you write a new post.
The 7 simple steps to writing the perfect blog post
These are the 7 simple steps that make a perfect blog post are:
- Headline: The 6 words that count most
- Storytelling hook
- Fewer characters per line at first
- Featured image
- Subheads for scanning
- Content and the magic 1,500 word post length
- Soundbites for sharing
How to write the perfect headline
Here’s a fun fact from Copyblogger: Eight out of ten people will read your headline. Two out of ten people will read the rest of the post.
This shows how important it is that your headline follows the following basic principles:
According to KissMetrics usability research, readers will read the first three words and last three words of a headline. They also go on to state that we don’t just scan body copy, we also scan headlines. It’s very important that we try and make the first three words and last three words of the headline stand out as much as possible.
Here’s an example from emails by 99U showing the first three words and last three words highlighted:
Search Engine Optimization
It’s important for the headline to be 55 characters or less in order to fit the entire title on a search results page and avoid being abbreviated by an ellipse.
The best headlines play on the mind and human psychology. Here are some different headlines that are backed by psychology:
Surprise: Windows Mobile Devs To Microsoft: wheres our money?
Questions: Do you know where you fail in your marketing strategy?
Audio Referencing: The Best Google Docs Features You’re Probably Not Using
Curiosity Gap: The Countries Where It’s Easiest To Become A Self Made Millionaire
Numbers: 5 Can’t Miss iPhone Apps
Specificity: 7 Simple Steps You Can Follow To Earn $1,037 Online In The Next 30 Days!
Negatives: 10 Ways The Internet Is Destroying You
How To: How To Structure Your Coaching Program
Start your post with a Story
Once you’ve mastered headlines, the next step is to hook the reader with a good introduction to your post. According to Alex Turnball at GrooveHQ, the best way to introduce a new post is by storytelling, which led to a 300 percent increase in readers!
As you can see in the image above, there is a huge increase in both the time spent on the page and the readers who finish the story completely. You will notice that I start all of my blog posts off with a story which helps my readers connect and relate to me before I continue.
Use a featured image to show less text at the start of a post
Did you know that there’s a psychological effect on how we view content? By placing a featured image on the left or right of the start of a post, it shows fewer characters per line and helps people read and comprehend the text faster. As you can imagine, people are generally lazy and will stop reading a post if they think it will take too much time or be too hard to read.
If you take a look at all of my blog posts you’ll notice I use a featured image on the right of the start of my posts.
Use Subheadings in your posts
You probably do this every day without even realising it, people scan content on the internet, they don’t read everything. Jakob Nielson from Nielson Normal Group states that 79%o of users scan every web page they come across, and only 16% read word for word. Therefore, you must use subheadings to make your content scannable. You’ll notice how I use subheadings throughout this post to structure the content and show the user where they are up to in the post.
There are six different types of headings that should be used for the following:
- H1: post / page title
- H2′s and H3′s: subheadings and sub-subheadings
- H4: your blog’s name, and possibly related widgets
- H5: same as above: sidebars etc.
These types of headings are showing the importance of the content to both the reader and the search engines, so make sure you’re using them appropriately!
The perfect post length
This topic has caused much debate over the years; how long should a blog post so the reader will read the whole post, and google ranks it highly with SEO.
Well, Medium has put together the following graph which shows the average total reading time of a blog post should be around 7 minutes to capture the most attention from a reader. This is the perfect length so the reader will both finish reading the post whilst also getting enough value out of the post.
7 minutes of reading equates to about 1600 words.
When it comes to social shares and engagement, the sweet spot, according to QuickSprout, is 1500 words or more.
Posts on Quick Sprout that are longer than 1,500 words receive 68 percent more tweets and 22 percent more Facebook likes
This proves that people are after valuable and actionable content. Once they find this type of content they will read it, take action on it and share it for you!
Add Social Sharing Options To Your Posts
Once you’ve put together the perfect blog post that has an engaging headline, starts off with a story, and has a great structure and great content, people are going to want to start sharing your post…
The normal social sharing buttons are commonplace on most websites these days, and they are essential, so make sure you have these on your blog. You can find my favourite social sharing plugins in my Resources section.
However, there are also more engaging ways to allow your visitors to share your blog posts, like the “Tweetables” i’ve been using in this blog post. People love to share quotes on social media. Make your perfect blog post as quotable and shareable as possible!
Here is another example of a tweetable:
One blogger even reported receiving 800 shares on twitter by using a tweetable in his blog post.
If you’re running a wordpress powered blog, you can download the Tweetable plugin here.
A few final notes
These last few topics are personal favourites of mine and essential if you are trying to get the reader to take action on your blog posts such as join your list, purchase your products or signup as a user on your site.
Call To Action
A call to action is a statement usually used at the end of a blog post to tell the user (not ask them) to do something. This may be telling them to download an actionable PDF Cheat Sheet they can use to implement what they have just learn in your blog post, or to enter their email and subscribe to your newsletter for more similar blog posts in the future. It’s important that the call to action is specific and tells them to do something. Here are a few examples:
– Signup for your free trial immediately!
– Your free trial is just a click away!
– Order now, while there’s still time
– Download your actionable Cheat Sheet now to implement the strategies you’ve just learned
Hubspot have put together a great blog post about call to actions and best practices.
Make it visual
Everyone likes visuals, they turn a boring post into an engaging post and compliment the written text well (if used correctly). Using visuals also gives the reader more reason to share your post, since visuals are also the most engaging on social media. According to Hubspot, you should use a visual for every 350 words of text.
Now it’s time to take action and try for yourself
Okay, that’s everything i’ve got on writing the perfect blog post. My advice to you now would be to click the download button below and download the Cheat Sheet which shows you a visual of everything we’ve just discussed! Download it, print it out and refer to it every time you write a blog post.