Anatomy of a Good Blog Post

We read differently online than we do print media. Here are ways to write blog posts so readers stick around.

blog post

Make your posts scannable

Online readers scan and skim. Therefore, use short paragraphs, lists, headings, bold, italics and other text formats (but not so many that it’s jarring).
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Write series

Breaking up a long post into a series can make it more digestible. Not only that, a series fills more slots on your content calendar (score!). Use common sense when deciding. Series work well for stories or tips that can be broken down into small chunks. Recipes or tutorials don’t work so well in a series.
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Use cliffhangers

When you do write a series, use cliffhangers at the end of each post so people will want to come back for more.
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Start well

Start your posts with a strong first paragraph using keywords. (It’s good to understand SEO.) It’s been said (no one knows for sure) that keywords near the top of a post are weighted more than those that come later. And if you start your posts with an image, make sure you read the image tips.
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End well

What do you want your reader to do at the end of your post? Sign up for your newsletter? Buy your book or product? Leave a comment? Read another post? Think of the last paragraph or sentence as your opportunity to guide them to the door of that next step (this is called a call to action). Hopefully they’ll walk through!
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Don’t write what others skip

I read a lot of blogs. Just like every other blog reader, I skim. But I’ve noticed lately that I often skip large portions of text entirely, like post intros and conclusions. So then I started thinking, if my readers are probably not reading large portions of my posts, why write them in the first place?
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Write just enough not more

It’s no secret that traditional publishers often ask authors to fill out their content with, well, filler. This is because there have to be enough pages to justify the cost of printing a hard copy book. Online writing is different. Filler isn’t needed. Your posts should be long enough to express your thoughts adequately but not more.
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Create pillar content

Pillar content is the handful of posts that are your go-to posts. They are not time-sensitive (sometimes they’re called “evergreen content”), they’re your best stuff and they’re solid examples of what you’re blog is about. Link to them on your About page and whenever you need to give your blog a boost. Initially work up to at least 10 or 20 pillar content posts or series and then add to them regularly as your blog grows.
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Internal links are links to other posts or pages on your site. They keep your visitors clicking (and “sticking”) around, exploring all the good stuff you have to offer (and increasing your pageviews in the process, which is especially helpful for monetizing).
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Link internally with good anchor text

Internal links are good, but we can make ’em better with great anchor text. Anchor text is the visible part of a (hyper)link. For example, in this link, How to Blog, the words “how to blog” in that link are the anchor text. When you use strong and keyword-rich anchor text (as opposed to something like “click here”), you are basically casting a positive SEO vote for the page to which you are linking. Obviously you always want to vote for your own site, so always use strong anchor text when linking internally.
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Know when to use good anchor text when linking externally

Another time you might want to use strong anchor text is when you’re linking to a friend or fellow blogger. On the other hand, you might choose not to use strong anchor text (ex. “You can read the post [here]….”) when it’s a site you don’t want to cast a vote for (such as when you’re referencing a site you don’t necessarily endorse). The thing to ask yourself is, “Is the site/post I’m linking to something I want to cast a favorable search engine vote for?” If the answer is yes, use strong anchor text.
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Interact in the comments

If you have comments open, make sure you interact. It might not be possible to respond to every single comment, but people will be more likely to leave comments if they see that you engage. If you don’t think you’ll be able to respond to comments, just leave them closed or direct interaction to one of your social media platforms.
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Promote your content

Create a promotion schedule and share your content across social media after posting.
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Follow the dos and don’ts of design

The quickest way to tarnish your great content is to display it in bad design. Use a great theme and follow the dos and don’ts of design.
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