There are millions of blogs out there and with thousands of new posts being added daily, how can you make yours stand out from the crowd? How can you cut through the noise? What makes a blog post successful?
I’m no expert, but I’ve written a lot of blog posts for different clients. I’ve been writing this blog and reading a lot of others for the past 12 months too. Here are 9 key ingredients that I’ve noticed successful blog posts seem to have:
1. Title. A strong heading draws people into your post. Think about who is reading your blog and what will appeal to them? What would entice you to click through and make you carry on reading?
2. Structure. Don’t make your blog post too long or you’ll risk putting readers off. There’s always a debate about how long a blog post should be. It needs to be short enough to keep readers interested but long enough to enhance SEO. I usually aim for between 400 and 1,000 words. There should be a basic structure that gives an introduction, makes a point and then has some sort of a conclusion.
3. Make it Easy To Read. Break up chunks of text with plenty of paragraphs, sub headings, bullet points or lists. I remember recently giving up reading a blog post because it was one long paragraph from start to finish. I’d gone cross-eyed before I’d even got half way through! I’ve also been dazzled (not necessarily in a good way) by some blogs which have crazy colours, patterns or fonts going on. Help your readers by making it easy to view your posts. I generally prefer to read blogs which are clean and simple in design, and broken down into easy to read chunks of text.
4. Images. Photos and images help to break up the text of a blog post but also add colour to what you are saying. They can help illustrate a point or provide readers with more insight into your life. Make sure your images are optimised to the correct size so that they don’t appear warped. When I first started blogging I had no idea about this and used to stick in an image the size of a thumb nail and hope for the best. Generally images with bigger pixels are better quality and in WordPress I tend to stick to dimensions of about 630 width by about 420 height. Remember to re-name images with a text friendly name to boost SEO.
5. Find Your Voice. The bloggers that I most admire have a very distinctive voice. They write in a particular style whether it be sarcastic, opinionated or with passion. There’s so many blogs I enjoy reading, but here are a few that I’ve got to mention: I love Whinge Whinge Wine because Fran can be quite sarcastic, she writes very plainly at a furious pace that makes me cry with laughter. I adore Absolutely Prabulous because Prabs is not afraid to laugh at herself and this is reflected in her brilliant writing which has me sniggering for ages. I also love 5 Little Doves because Laura truly writes from the heart about her family life, dealing with mental health issues as well as coping with the loss of her baby boy. Her blog has made me truly think about certain topics as well as left me in tears on several occasions.
Successful blogs are not afraid to state their opinion and initiate debate by saying what they truly think. Others are successful because they take a completely new angle or take on a certain subject. Sitting on the fence is safe, but those that take the plunge and speak up about what they believe in, often seem to be the most successful. Sometimes the posts that scare me to hit “publish” are often the ones that work out to get the most views or comments.
6. Make a Point. It’s easy to just chat along about any topic matter for 700 odd words, but the most successful blog posts always seem to make a point. They may make readers nod their head in agreement, they might make some readers think, or they may fire some people up and cause some controversy like this post I wrote a while back about mums taking their kids to school in pyjamas. Others might be funny and make some readers laugh in agreement. This blog post that I wrote about not getting any of our 4 choice of primary schools for my daughter has been my most viewed post of all time and went viral on Facebook and The Huffington Post. It was successful because it resonated with a lot of other mums out there who were either going through the same thing or were worried about it happening in the future.
7. Be True. The most successful bloggers are those who are true to themselves. They write from the heart and connect with readers by letting them see more about their lives. Readers feel like they get to know the writer and care what happens to them.
Be yourself and let your personality shine through!
8. Write With Care. Yes bad spelling and grammar can put me off as much as bad writing in general. But so too can those blogs that are trying too hard to impress, you know the ones with the long unnecessary words which ramble on. I think the blogs that work best are those that write as if they are in conversation, just chatting to a friend.
9. Think About Your Ending. Don’t just stop abruptly. What do you want your reader to do? You can always ask for more comments or ask people what they think.
There you have it! My 9 ingredients for what I think makes up a successful blog post. Do you agree? Are there any more factors that you’d add to this list? Which blogs do you love and what special ingredients do they use to make their blogs successful?