Whether you just started your blog yesterday or you've been blogging for years, it's always important to know how to write a great blog post.
If you've never done it before, writing your first blog post can seem scary.
You can have all the SEO strategies, Pinterest graphics, and complicated funnels you want, but if you aren't writing high-quality blog posts, you're not going to get very far.
So let's get into the eight essential elements of a great blog post.
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You can't just throw a blog post together in 10 minutes. You need go through a process to really write and format (I wrote a post about how to format a blog post right here) a great blog post.
For some added help, grab your copy of the Blog Post Template below!
Step One – Create a comprehensive outline
Before you hop onto WordPress and starting typing away, you need to back up a step and write a comprehensive blog post outline.
You might be tempted to skip this step, but it really is important.
When you put together a quality outline, you'll be able to decide what topics and sub-topics you want to cover, and the points that you want to make in each of those sections.
You'll also include quotes or stats from authority sites that you want to include in your post.
Creating a blog post outline forces you to think about all that stuff, and your blog post will be better for it.
How to Write a Good Blog Post Outline
First, I create all of my blog post outlines in Google Docs that are stored in my business Google Drive account.
(I swear by Google Drive and keep pretty much everything for my whole blog and business there).
Second, I start my outline by drafting all of my H2 and H3 headings for my blog post. H2 and H3 headings are super important to your blog post!
Google uses H2 and H3 headings to figure out what your post is about, and we always want Google to be happy.
Plus, headings make the text easier to read for people who are just skimming (as people tend to do when they read on the internet).
In fact, a study has shown that 79 percent of users always scan any new page they come across and only 16 percent read word-by-word. (Source).
And third, knowing what your headings will be will help you focus and make it easier to figure out what you need to write.
So don't skip writing your blog post outline.
Step Two – Create a blog post title that will get clicks
Your blog post title needs to do two things:
- Include your main SEO keyword
- Be catchy and clickable
This isn't a post on how to find your SEO keywords (which is a big topic), so we're going to assume that you already have your SEO keyword picked out.
So moving on to the “catchy and clickable” part of the game, let's talk about that.
One study showed that 97% of people will read your title.
So, yeah, it's important.
According to Bramework.com, there are nine popular blog post titles right now:
- How To
- Where, What and Why
- Mistakes, Fixes, Errors
- Ultimate Guide (or Complete Checklist)
- Keyword Triggers
- Increase, Boost, Grow
To check in and see if your blog post title is as good as it needs to be, check out the Coschedule Headline Analyzer.
This free tool is super helpful for improving your title. It will make all kinds of suggestions for improvement. It's a necessity if you're trying to write a killer blog post.
Here's an example of the analysis of the title for this post:
Step Three – Use headings and sub-headings
After setting the title, the next thing you should set up in your actual blog post is the H2 headings and H3 subheadings.
Headings are crucial for three main reasons:
- They help Google know what the article is about
- They catch people's eyes when they are skimming through your article (which is how people read on the internet).
- They help you organize and structure your post in a way that makes sense for the reader.
And it's not just me saying that.
People only read word-by-word on the web when they are really interested in the content. They usually skim the pages looking for highlighted keywords, meaningful headings, short paragraphs and scannable list. Since they’re in a hurry to find the very piece of information they’re looking for, they’ll skip what’s irrelevant for them. So don’t expect people to read content that seems neither easily scannable nor relevant for them.uxmyths.com
So “meaningful headings” are an important part of the package when writing your first blog post.
How to use blog post headings for a killer blog
Let's talk about H1, H2, and H3 headings.
Your blog post title will automatically be formatted as H1. Nothing else in the post should be coded as H1.
You should, however, have many H2 and H3 headings.
H2 headings should be used for the main sections of your blog post.
H3 headings should be used for sub-categories beneath the H2 headings.
At least some of your headings should include your keyword(s) and their variations. (But don't keyword stuff and put them in every single heading. Google doesn't like that).
Your headings should also be designed to get people to stop scrolling and actually stop and read your content.
On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.nngroup.com
Good headings will get people to stop and take a look at your actual content. They're important to writing a great blog post.
Step Four – Break your blog post up into short paragraphs
Your 8th grade language arts teacher probably drilled it into you that proper paragraphs are five sentences long. (I know mine did).
Unfortunately, that rule does not transfer over to blog posts.
Most Internet Users Scan, NOT Read. This is the cold fact that each writer should face. People WANT fast answers and quick results. They’re really not after long discussions. If you use long paragraphs, readers will skip your article and will rather search for other articles that can easily be scanned.brandglowup.com
So, short paragraphs are essential to make sure that your readers and reading as much of your post as possible.
So what do I mean by short paragraphs?
Your paragraphs should be 1-3 sentences. (Yes, a 1 sentence paragraph is fine…I can feel my 8th grade teacher wincing at that…but it's true!)
You'll notice that this post is entirely written in short paragraphs. And so are all my other posts.
Want extra help writing the perfect blog? Grab your blog post template below!
Step Five – Add links to your blog post
There are two types of links you need to add to your blog post: inbound links and outbound links. Google likes to see them both.
Let's talk about both of them.
How to use inbound links in your blog post
An inbound link is a link to your own site, usually to another related blog post.
You can work these in naturally as you're writing your post. For example, in this post I linked to my post called “How to Format a Blog Post the Right Way” because it's clearly relevant to this post, and the reader might genuinely be interested in both.
Link to as many other blog posts as you can (within reason) when writing your killer blog post.
How to use outbound links in your blog post
An outbound link means a link to any site other than yours.
You should include a few outbound links to high authority sites. You can easily do this by Googling the topic you're writing on, checking out the top few articles, and taking some quotes or statistics from them (with full attiribution through the link to their content). It'll really help boost your amazingly written blog post.
Step Six – Add great images to your blog post
A blog post should almost always include at least a couple images (plus a Pinterest image).
Images catch the eye and may stop the skimming that people are doing.
And of course in many cases, images can be helpful for explaining the topic you're writing on.
What to do to images before and after adding them to your blog post
There are a few things you need to do to your images to make them SEO-friendly when writing a blog post.
One. Images should usually be JPEGs, not PNGs. JPEGs are smaller and therefore will slow your site down less. The only time you really need a PNG image is if it has a transparent background (JPEG images can't do that).
You can convert your PNG images to JPEG images using a free tool like this one.
Two. Compress your image before you upload it. Compressing it won't hurt the quality of the image, it will just make the file size smaller. You can use free tools like compressjpeg.com and compresspng.com to do this.
Three. Rename your image file to add in one of your keywords. Do this before uploading it.
Four. Install the Short Pixel plugin. It will automatically compress every image on your site even further, speeding up your site. Plus when you first install it, it'll go back and compress all your pre-existing images.
Five. Always be sure to add alt text to each image you use. Alt text is used by visually impaired people using screen readers, so your alt text should describe what the image is. But if you can get a keyword in there, do it. It's a great way to make your blog post accessible and SEO-friendly.
Where to find great images for your blog post
If you don't take your own photography (which I don't), you'll need to get your images from stock photo sites.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Pixistock (stock photo subscription that also comes with Canva templates)
- Haute Stock (stock photo subscription that also comes with Canva templates)
- Ivory Mix (stock photo subscription that also comes with Canva templates)
- Deposit Photos (paid stock photo site)
- Stock that Rocks (paid stock photo site)
- Pexels (free stock photo site)
- Canva (the free version has some stock photos, but the Pro version has many, many, many more)
You'll find some great stuff on that list. One of the ways to write a perfect blog post is to have pictures to entice visual learners.
Step Seven – Add some extra formatting to your blog post
Adding extra stylistic elements can help catch the reader's eye and get them to read the content.
It's a tip many bloggers skip when considering how to write a blog post.
Extra stylistic elements include:
- Stylized block quotes
- Bullet point lists
- Numbered lists
- Bold text
- Italic text
- Highlighted text
- Colored text blocks
Use all of these elements wherever it makes sense to do so.
Step Eight – Include a useful takeaway in your post
We've been talking a lot about stylistic stuff. But let's talk about actual content when it comes to writing a great blog post.
Your post should solve someone's problem and leave them with a useful takeaway to solve that problem.
That's the whole point of all the other elements of a killer blog post.
Make your content AMAZING and everything else will follow.
Don't forget to grab your blog post outline template!
So those are the elements of a perfect blog post. I hope it was helpful!
What are the must-have elements in your blog posts? Tell me in the comments!
More blog tips you'll ♥️:
- The Best WordPress Plugins for Bloggers
- What to do Before and After Publishing a Blog Post
- How to Create a Resource Library on WordPress to Grow Your Email List
- How to Customize ConvertKit emails
- How to Create an Evergreen Webinar Funnel to Sell Your Online Course on Autopilot
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