Writing high quality content is crucial to the success of your blog.
To create content that goes viral or ends up at the number one spot on Google search engine is every blogger’s dream.
But did you know that understanding the basic structure of a post is also very important?
By learning to create posts that are organized, easy to read, and navigate, you are ensuring that your readers will stay engaged. And a high engagement rate means that people are interested in your stuff!
In this post I’m going to show you how to create content that gets more engagement, shares, and that can also rank higher in Google searches.
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1. Break Up Your Post Into Small Paragraphs
Long paragraphs are a big no no in the blogging world.
That’s because they make content difficult to read and follow. So always break up your paragraphs into blocks of 2 to 6 sentences.
Also make sure to use a font that’s easy to read – sticking to classics like Helvetica and Arial is perfectly fine – and pick a text color that contrasts again your background.
This doesn’t seem like a big deal when we are in the midst of creating a good post – we think if it’s good, people will stick around.
But that’s not the case – you have about 10 seconds to convince your visitors that your blog is worth reading. And if they come across a post that’s messy and difficult to read, you can bet your bottom dollar they will leave.
So take your time structuring your posts so they are easy to navigate and read.
2. Use Different Headers, and Lots of The
Headers are wonderful!
They easily break up your post and clearly highlight the major topics you are covering. Since most people scan through articles instead of reading them entirely (most people only read 20% of an article), you want to give them a way to quickly find what they are looking for.
If I’m reading a post called “10 ways to lose weight”, I probably won’t bother reading the introduction or conclusion.
I’ll instead scroll down until the beginning of the list begins. If I don’t see any headers I usually leave and find another post that is better structured.
- The H1 tag should only be used for the title of your post, the main heading.
- H2 tags are subheadings and used to introduce different sections, chapters.
- H3 tags are also subheadings, used within an H2 tag section.
- H4 tags are also subheadings, used within an H3 tag section (rarely used).
Here’s an example of how to use headers:
- H1 – Title – Homemade Japanese Food You Will Love
- H2 – sub header – Why Japanese Food is So Popular
- H3 – sub sub header – Because it’s healthy
- H3 – sub sub header – Because it’s tasty
And so on and so forth. You can see how adding headers can really help structure a post and make it easier to read.
3. Use Keywords in Your Headers
Keywords are essential to the success of your blog.
It’s the only way search engines like Google can crawl your articles and add them to their search results .
Say you are writing about traveling to Portugal – your main keywords will most likely be travel and Portugal.
Always use the title of your post to include your main keywords.
For the sub headers (H2, H3, H4), add other keywords that are related to the subject you are writing about. For Portugal it could be keywords like:
- Flights to Portugal
- Best Portuguese food
- Weather in Portugal
- Places to Visit in Lisbon
Or you can use questions that people have about traveling to Portugal. One easy way to find these questions is by typing ‘traveling to Portugal’ in the Google search box.
There you go!
You can now use these questions as sub headers or use them as part of your piece, to answer as many questions as possible so that your post is rich with useful information.
Headers indicate to search engines what your post is about. Therefore it’s important to take the time to name them appropriately.
4. Reduce Image Size to Speed Up Your Pages
This is super important if you have a lot of images on your blog!
Let’s take a look at my food blog, Pickled Plum.
It’s really heavy on images because I have to show cooking steps and the final dish on a plate. Each post has between 6 to 9 images – enough to substantially slow down my blog if the pictures aren’t optimized.
Full size images that have not been reduced take a long time to upload and this directly affects page speed. 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, so always make sure to optimize all your images!
How to Reduce Image Size
There are several ways to reduce image size and they are all easy!
You can do it in Photoshop:
- Click on File -> Export -> Save for Web -> choose your format – Jpeg for images and PNG for graphics -> rename your image before saving.
You can install a plugin. Some of the popular ones are:
- Ewww Image Optimizer
- Compress JPEG & PNG (that’s the one I use for this blog)
- ShortPixel Image Optimizer
- WP Smush
On a Mac:
Open the image in preview and click on Tools -> Adjust Size -> Resize the image or lower the resolution (don’t go any lower than 72 pixels).
5. Use Supplementary Content
- Bullet points
- Quote boxes
- Call to action buttons
- Embedded social posts
- Image cards
Anything that can enrich a post or add value to it is considered as supplementary content. The reason why it’s good to add supplementary content is because it keep the readers engaged, which means they will stay on your blog longer.
How long people stay on your blog signals to Google that your blog has valuable information to share. That’s very important when it comes to how high you rank in searches. The longer people stay on your blog, the better off you are.
Supplementary content is also good for sharing across social media channels, and to make extra income.
Take video as an example: On my food blog, I create recipe blog posts that contain images, bullet points, a recipe card, and also a video. Now why would I want to create a video when the steps of the recipes are already being shown in the pictures and recipe card?
The answer is that advertisers love to spend their budgets on videos! Video ads pay higher than banner ads because they are more interactive. Plus, videos do much better than pictures on platforms like Instagram so you get more traffic.
Just to give you an idea of how important videos are to my business, this past year I’ve added one new video a week to my blog and my earnings have shot up by 25%!
So take your time to create supplementary content because they are what separates the professionals from the hobbyists
6. Keep Your Writing Simple
I know it’s tempting to use fancy words or sentences to sound smart and educated. I’ve been there, I’ve done it, and wish I hadn’t.
That kind of thinking will get you nowhere with blogging.
Literally nowhere since Google prefers easy to read posts that their customers can read. Too hard to read means your posts will not make it to page 1.
Also, most people enjoy reading articles that are easy to understand, especially if it has to do with learning a new skill or looking for an answer to a question.
I find that the easiest way to write uncomplicated posts is by using my own voice. Often I talk out loud while typing so I can write in the same way as I would if I was talking to a friend.