As a web development agency, our industry has seen such a colossal amount of change happen in such a short period of time. Regardless of your business size or stature, the days of just having a website are well and truly gone; it’s now about maximizing web performance in order to generate more visitors, then turning visitors into customers.
One of the easiest, yet most important and organically effective web performance strategies is submitting thought-provoking content that can be in the form of a news article, testimonial or a blog that is relevant to your field, on a regular basis.
Writing a blog is a simple activity that has numerous ripple effects including increasing your search engine ranking if done appropriately. Following the same questions asked by numerous clients, I thought I would write a beginners guide to writing a structured blog, which will hopefully send you on your way!
The history of blogging
The first form of blog structure first appeared in late 1983 and was commonly used among newsgroups under simple, moderated discussion forums with daily updates. It wasn’t until 1999 that we saw the rapid growth of blogging with the release of non-technical web publishing tools being used. 1999 also saw the release of popular blogging websites blogger.com and LiveJournal.
How to structure your blog
According to Social Solutions Collective, blogging experts will usually suggest writing between 300 and 800 words but the secret is to actually write something that you are passionate about! If your content is both useful and meaningful, it doesn’t matter if your word count reaches 1000 words if it still get’s your message across!
When writing a blog, the reader won’t have time or will quickly lose interest if they see hundreds of lines; so the key is to provide key information that they can see right in front of them instantly.
Headings & Subheadings
Although it may sound harsh, visitors normally don’t read content on the web; they usually scan the headings to see what interests them first. If you provide headings that engage the audience, the reader will then take the time to read what you are blogging about.
Sub-Headings are also a great way to break up your blog up into sections, meaning they are much easier on the eye by breaking them up into 2, 3 or maybe 4 sentences. Including headings is also beneficial from an SEO point of view, meaning that this naturally helps with increasing search engine rankings.
Capture your audience with different blog styles
- Much like Sub-Headings, having bullet points in your blog have the same impact. They look much easier on the eye when scanning through the article and can be a great jumping off point to break topics into sections.
- Using bullet or numbered points are also great from an SEO perspective. Google loves bullet points and just like headings and sub-headings, search engines will crawl through your content and rank your headings and bullet points, such as when asking a question as a topic heading
- Using titles such as 8 ways to improve your blog structure… or offering reviews or top tips such as 8 Tips on constructing the perfect blog… also provide the same impact as bullet and numbered lists.
Take them on a journey with hyperlinks
So you have a visitor reading your blog, what next? Once you have your audience, don’t be afraid to take them on a journey and provide opportunities for them to click other links which could possibly lead to:
- An older blog post that is relevant to what you are talking about
- Promoting a new product or service
- Social Media profile, try and get them to interact or follow you!
- An existing, informative blog that inspired you to write your blog
By writing informative content, this presents you with the perfect opportunity by inserting clever hyperlinks into snippets of text in any sentence. Once you can master this, you can guide the reader wherever you want to
By adding social media presence around the blog, if a visitor enjoys your blog, provide them with the option to share and post the blog elsewhere! With functionality such as ‘Share This’, visitors can plug, share and promote your content elsewhere.
Call to action
Usually a blog post will provide a call to action instructing the reader what they want them to do next. These actions could include you visiting their blog, their social media, their website or a direct link to buy their product or service and can occur at any point during the blog but are usually found at the end.
For the purpose of this blog, a great example of a call to action would be to give James Cox a call on 01565 653 616 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how you can implement a blog on your website, or with help writing Search Engine Optimised and friendly content for your website.