Like many business owners, you may feel lost when it comes to blogging. You probably know it will benefit your business and is worthy of your time, but aren't quite sure how to do it properly.
There is a specific format that successful bloggers use, and the good news is it's not that complicated.
In fact, when formatting a blog post properly, beyond having an enticing introduction that convinces people to read your post, you only need to focus on doing three things: being helpful, accommodating scanners, and attracting search engines.
If you can plug your information in using these three principles, you'll be reaping the benefits of blogging in no time.
Here's how to use these blog formatting principles in 13 easy steps:
Make it Scanner Friendly
1. Use lots of pretty yet pertinent pictures. People are able to grasp things quickly through images. And since they're scanning, you're going to get their attention quicker than if you had no images. But make sure to pick ones worthy of attention.
At the very least, you should include one good one, but using further images to show examples of what you're talking about is really helpful. It adds value and helps people short on time - which is most people on the Internet - absorb what you're talking about.
2. Use numbered lists. Numbered lists are a great go-to format because they signal to people that your content is going to be well organized and easy to read.
Using odd numbers in particular is advantageous. When people see blog posts with odd numbers in the title they feel more compelled to click than if it was an even number.
Here's a blog post by Baker Marketing Services that explains why: http://bakermarketingservices.com/2013/03/3-powerful-reasons-for-using-odd-numbered-lists-in-your-blog-post-titles/
3. Use headlines and subheadlines. The more you break up the copy in your blog post, the more you entice scanners.
Using compelling headlines and subheadlines not only helps those in a hurry, it helps guide people through your content and gives them a reason to keep reading.
4. Put key points in bold. Now you don't want to be excessive with this, but you do want to consider that people are not going to read everything in your blog post. Think about the most important information you want your readers to walk away with and put it in bold.
5. Use bullet points. Using bullet points is another great, user-friendly way to organize your information. Scanners dig bullet points.
6. Keep paragraphs short and concise. Long paragraphs will turn off visitors to your blog quickly. Having super short and to-the-point paragraphs will help ensure they don't click elsewhere.
7. Link to your other blog posts. Not only does this help encourage people to read your other blog posts, but it allows them to easily access other useful information.
You can include links to your other blog posts in the body of your blog post or put them at the end. You can say something like, "If you liked this blog post, you might also like..." or "If you'd like to learn more about this topic, read..."
8. Provide lots of useful information. In addition to packing your blog post with content that truly helps people, don't be afraid to include outbound links to further information.
You want to add the most value possible for your readers. This keeps them coming back and is likely to motivate them to share your blog with others.
9. Invite comments. At the end of your posts, ask readers how you can help them or what problems they have pertaining to your topic.
This opens the lines of communication and helps build relationships, which is a big benefit of blogging.
And not only does it help assert you as an expert, but it's likely to give you good ideas for future posts. It may even give you ideas on how you can better serve your customers.
Attract Search Engines
10. Use keywords in your title and keep it short. Generally, you want more important keywords in the beginning of your title. Your title should be 65 characters or less and should serve to answer questions people are asking about your topic online.
Just doing a Google search for your topic will help give you a good idea of how to title your post. As you start to type stuff in the search box, Google will start to give you suggestions.
You can also use a tool like ubersuggest or the Keyword Planner Tool in Google Adwords.
11. Place keywords strategically. Use keywords towards the beginning of your post. They are also most effective when used in headlines and in bold or italics.
12. Include social media share buttons. How often your content gets shared is an important factor for SEO. Make sure that people can tweet, "like," or +1 your post after reading it by providing prominently displayed social share buttons.
13. Further encourage sharing. Using Click to Tweet is a great way to make it easy for people to quote you and link to your blog posts on Twitter. People on Twitter are essentially promoting your blog for you. Good stuff.
Want to learn more about blogging successfully? Check out my other posts on blogging:
5 Tricks That Will Turn Your Blog Posts Into Marketing Mojo
9 SEO Copywriting Tips To Improve Your Google Rank
All You Have To Do Is Ask: Six Ways To Get People To Share Your Web Content
What's your biggest challenge when it comes to blogging? Love to hear from you. Please comment below.
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By Sabrina Gaffney
From blogging to bios, freelance website copywriter Sabrina Gaffney, a.k.a the Cagey Copywriter, offers a powerful profusion of web copywriting tips for optimum marketing results! Connect on Google + or LinkedIn.