April 28, 2020

How To Improve The Value Of Your Blog Posts: A Checklist

The internet is a madhouse and you’re trying to be heard (sorry, read) above the noise. A nicely written piece of content is you trying to stand out from the crowd. And once the eyes are on you, your content will determine how long they stay there.
  • Blog Post Checklist 0%
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    Does the blog post satisfy the search intent?

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    Does the blog post have a clear call-to-action (CTA)?

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    Is the focus keyword in the title and description?

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    Is the title is between 5 – 7 words or 55 characters?

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    Is the excerpt/description under 150 characters?

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    Is the copy free of spelling, grammatical errors, and written well?

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    Is the blog content scannable with short paragraphs, headings structured logically, and is using bullet points and numbered lists?

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    Have synonyms (LSI keywords) of the focus keyword been added into the content?

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    Are the images unique to the website, of high-quality, and sized appropriately?

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    Are the internal links useful and relevant to the content?

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    Are the videos unique to the website, of high-quality, and sized appropriately?

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    Is there a followup CTA clearly visible near the end of the content?

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    Is there a newsletter sign up subscription box present?

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    Is the blog post shareable to popular social platforms?

Whip that blog post writing into shape and keep that spotlight on you forever.

Note: The term blog for this blog post can also mean article. While the purpose of each content type is slightly different, the techniques can apply to both.

The Importance Of Eye-Catching Headline Titles

A good headline should hook your reader’s interest immediately. It grabs attention, showcases value, and tells readers what they’ll find on the page.
Because of this, it’s smart to spend some time working on your headlines as if they are the most critical component of your page.

It should convey a clear benefit.

On average, five times as many people read the headline that read the copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. – David Oglivy

The best headlines don’t rely on clickbait. They shouldn’t purposefully withhold information. Rather they offer customers something promising that they go through the rest of the landing page and eventually click the call to action button.

Some headlines will do better than others for different industries. See what is working for your competition and adapt from them. Some words will do better than others in your headlines – try using powerful and emotional words over fact or logical words.

The title is often used for the blog post title, the Google search listing title, and your social media title (when shared).

Blog post titles should:

  • Include your main keyword for the post
  • Keep it between 5 – 7 Words (or 55 characters for Google)
  • Be of emotional value: www.aminstitute.com/headline

Extra title tips:

  • Try to Avoid stop words (and, to, etc) – they take up valuable space
  • People dig numbers in headlines
  • Using more verbs than nouns is usually a winning combo

The Value Of A Descriptive Excerpt

The title and excerpt are used for more than just the blog
The title and excerpt are used for more than just the blog

A WordPress excerpt is a summary of a longer article, often used as a replacement on the blog index and archives pages to avoid needing to display the full content of each post. This excerpt is often also used for the Google search listing description and the social media description.

Note: If no excerpt is entered, most times the first bit of content  (first 55 words) of the post will be used instead – often this does not look great.

Manually added excerpts should:

  • Be kept under 150 characters for Google.
  • Try to have a call to action – eg Trail Today! Or Get A Free Quote!

Including the following in your meta descriptions tends to increase performance:

  • Include Main Keywords (And LSI Keywords).
  • Brand names people know.
  • “Official site” (a trust signal).
  • Promotions and sales (if relevant)

“Don’t waste your time chasing butterflies. Mend your garden, and the butterflies will come.” – Mario Quintana

Keep Readers Longer With Correct Headings & Formatting

Blog Post Formatting Examples
This was made using screen-grabs that were put into screely.com and edited with Skitch

People don’t read everything word-for-word anymore. 

The average internet reader today skims. There’s just too much content and too little time to do anything else.

The copy needs to be formatted in a way that makes it easy for readers to scan and find the information they need in a few seconds.

Great copy is formatted using a combination of:

  • Headings and subheadings
  • Bulleted lists
  • Font formatting such as bolding and underlining
  • Short paragraphs and sentences
  • Pull quotes

Make The Most Of Your Blog Post Headings

Headings and subheadings are the H1-6 tags you may see in website code.

The H1 tag is reserved for the blog post title, so start your headings with the H2 tag (Heading 2).

Check your headings and subheadings are structured correctly. Run your new page through this free tool HTML Headings Checker.

Use LSI Keywords in your subheadings and be sure to stay relevant to your topic. Keyword-friendly headings & subheadings make your content more visible to search engines.

Can you just read your headings and get a general idea what the post is about?

Be Sure To Include Bullet & Numbered Points

Make your blog post more easily understandable by using numbered lists or bullet points. It helps people read blog posts and find the information they are looking for instantly, without much effort.

Be Bold With Bold Text (But Sparingly)

Grab your reader’s attention by using bold text in your posts.

But only do this strategically.

Writing an entire paragraph in bold will make your blog ineffective.

Highlighting some important sentences is an ingenious formatting technique that will put extra emphasis on things you want to stick out in your readers’ minds.

Keep It Short Silly

Use short paragraphs, rather than long blocks of text for your content. Any paragraph over five lines long can be hard to digest. A wall of text can be off putting and may be skipped over.

The Hemingway App is a great place to start if you want to check your content.

To Quote A Phrase…

A pull quote is a key phrase, sentence, quotation or excerpt that is taken, or pulled from the text and reinserted in a layout, page or article in a graphic way. Its purpose is twofold:

  1. to attract attention by offering a teaser intended to draw the reader into the piece, as well as to add visual interest, excitement,
  2. and break up text-heavy content.

Since users almost never read but scan we need to provide them with some focus anchors to fix their attention to the most important parts of our blog posts.

Add Value With On-Page Links

Links to other blog posts and other websites are the backbone of the internet. They are also an SEO ranking factor (mainly if they link to you). But by adding links on your own posts, you add value to your posts and therefore adding value for your readers and visitors.

Interlinking your blog posts with each other makes them easier for Google to index, helps you rank in search engines, and it keeps readers browsing your blog!

Also, when you have a blog post that ranks highly in search engines and has a lot of backlinks, any internal links from that page to your other pages help boost those pages’ rankings.

Take a look at other posts you’ve written and add any relevant links to them that point to your newly published post.

Add Colour With Images & Videos

Images Say A Thousand Words
A carefully selected image can frame the content in the right way to say more than a thousand words

Images make it easier for people to read your content, keep them on your page longer, and help readers digest the information you’re giving them.

“The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.” – John Tukey, American Mathematician

Only use images you have permission to publish. You can’t just take any image from the Internet and put it on your blog post.

Recommended Image resources:

  • Canva – A design tool for non-designers. A great way to quickly create fancy styled images.
  • Unsplash – A collection of free to use high-quality stock images – Good for Featured Images
  • Pexels – Another collection of free to use high-quality stock images – Good for Featured Images
  • Shutterstock– If you’re looking to buy images then you can use a site like Shutterstock.

Your Featured Image Says A Thousand Words

Your featured image is the leading image that readers may see even before visiting your page – it is used for both on your own website in your blog feed and for social media posts.

Featured post images don’t just open up a great post, they also compel visitors to want to click on and read a particular article or page. You can look at the featured image as a magnet to help draw interest and curiosity.

Depending on your blog post layout, you may require a background style image that sits behind the text and adds a bit of energy to the introduction.

Try to use at least a large 1200px x 630px featured image.

Quick Tip: You can set a separate image for your blog and a different image used for social media posts – check out what your SEO plugin can do for you.

Breaking Up The Content With In-Post Images

Visually-appealing images will always attract readers to your blog post. Noticeable images in a blog post emphasise its message and also grab the viewer’s attention. It will be great fun to use images to break up your lengthy content into digestive paragraphs.

Reading fully text-ified posts is tiring and boring – so there is bonus points for relevant images that add to the ‘story’ of your content.

Sometimes, to make your content even stronger, it’s useful to incorporate relevant screenshots. Take a look at this free tool that adds a window to your screenshot.

You can also add annotate images to increase value. Check out Skitch.

Visually Use Image Graphs

Seeing data visually helps readers process it quickly.

Graphs can be an essential tool for content marketers who are in technical industries or covering data-laden topics. Data visualisations can divide the monotony of dry articles, and increase the chance of sharing.

By creating graphics, you add significant visual interest and give depth to your blog post.

Check out this free chart maker and Canva’s great graph examples.

Add Videos To Your Blog Posts To Increase Engagement

One of the easiest ways to increase time on page is by adding video content.

It’s a great way to stand out from the crowd and increase engagement.

You don’t have to be a videographer genius or spend a ton of money on fancy equipment to get started.

In fact, your smartphone is more than enough, and most smartphones can shoot HD video now that will more than suffice.

Add A Call To Actions To Get The Most From Your Readers

A CTA is anything you want for your customers to take action on. It could be subscribing to a newsletter, reading another blog post, or making a purchase.  Not every post needs to sell something. It just needs to give your reader a “next step”.

Every post should have a CTA of some kind.

Whether it’s as simple as a request for a share or a comment, or as big as making a purchase, every post should have an outcome.

There are heaps of plugins out there to add social share buttons to your website and blog posts. As seen above, a CTA can help complete your main objective (or be part of a funnel).

Sharing Your Blog Post (Again?)

Share Your Blog Post
You can make custom banner images with Canva easily!

Your first order of business is to get some immediate traffic to the blog post.

Here are some ideas for social media updates:

  • Share the headline or a variation of the headline for your post
  • Share a quote or excerpt from your post
  • Share an infographic or image from your post
  • Tag an influencer who you featured in the post

Share these updates to relevant niche Facebook groups, and your business’s Facebook page feed.

Quick Tip: Before sharing to social media, check with Facebook’s Inspection Tool to see if it displays correctly. LinkedIn also has an Inspection Tool to use.

Other areas you can share your post would be your Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google My Business.

Quick Tip: You can add posts for 7 days in Google My Business – great for local SEO.

Send A Teaser Email

Another to do gain some website traffic is by promoting the post to your own email list.

Now, many people like to include the entire blog post in their emails, but you shouldn’t do that.

When your subscribers get your full post in their inbox, they don’t need to visit your blog to get the content. Plus, it also makes them less likely to share, comment or read other posts on your blog.

Instead, use a brief “teaser email” that entices your subscribers to click through to your blog and share the post with their friends. This gets the ball rolling so that even people outside of your email list can find your post.

Be sure to write a compelling title that intrigues the viewer and is backed up by equally intriguing preview text.

Reviewing The Visitor Data

If you don’t review your post’s performance, how will you ever know what’s working and what’s not?

Staring at analytics is almost as addicting as your Facebook news feed. And when you start to see your numbers consistently grow, it gets even be more addicting. But checking your analytics daily is like watching paint dry – it is not very productive.

Looking at analytics data over time is helpful so set a day once a week to review your website visitor data.

Search Engines Are A Goldmine Of Information

Within about three months the post should be gaining some traction on search, even if it’s on the 30th page. That’s fine, because now it’s time to go back and optimise the blog post.

Quick Tip: Sign up to Google Alerts to track when a new post is indexed and displayed on Google.

Check the keywords the page is ranking for and decide if it worth editing your post to include these topics.

Did your blog post target the right topic?

Facebook & Instagram Data

Heading over to business.facebook.com will help see stats about your social media posts. You can look into the engagement and comments and decide if it was a success or needs work.

What Is Next After The Checklist?

Now that you have hit published, shared the post, and checked the visitor results, it might be time to make sure your business details are up to date across all the major internet platforms.

 

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Category: Tips

Author

“surfing the web and the waves”. - With a degree in Information Technology (majoring in Networking), a Cert IV in Small Business Management, and having been interested in website design and development since 2010 (With an interest in computers since about age 10) – Ryan has the skills, experience and knowledge with building websites, improving SEO and running online ads.