A blog is essential for any freelancer. It’s brought me many clients and is a great marketing tool to grabbing new people and directing them to my little Internet-place but if you’re not including certain aspects, it could be a waste of time.
If you’re finding that your blog isn’t attracting the right type of reader (and encouraging them to stay), it may be because you’re not including these six elements:
1. A click-worthy title
The key to a successful blog post is to get readers hooked into visiting it in the first place. This can be done by creating a click-worthy article title that also helps with SEO.
There are many elements that contribute toward creating a click-worthy blog post title but you can start by using:
• Numbers – i.e. this blog post!
• Negative and position emotions – i.e. “These 7 elements could be ruining your blog post”
• Questions – i.e. “Are you missing out on blog traffic because of these 7 things?)
There are also tools such as the Coschedule Headline Analyser that not only take these things into consideration, but optimize them for the organic results through SEO.
It’s essential to be using photos and visuals in your blog posts because people pay more attention to these than words – especially when your articles are more than 1,000 words long.
Use images on your blog as a hook to entice new readers in. And guess what? It doesn’t take up a ton of time. In fact, you can use free tools such as Canva to create a template that you simply delete and re-add information based on the blog post you’re writing.
You can also use branded stock photos to create a cohesive brand across your website which allows it to be identified elsewhere (my favorites come from Haute Chocolate!).
In every blog post that you create, use a selection of images that can be used for:
The vast majority of blog post templates allow you to insert images into your blog posts and you should always take advantage of the featured image section.
Use a selection of images throughout your blog post to break up text.
Inserting branded images into this section aids with making your blog fit-in with the rest of your freelancing website and also provides you with a way to make your articles look more aesthetically pleasing.
Once you’ve added a variety of images throughout the blog post itself, you should also get into the habit of creating separate images to share on social media.
In general, you should create two images of different sizes: 800 x 1200 px
Images of this size are perfect for use on Pinterest, where vertical images have been proven to be the most successful. You can also use the same image for posting on Facebook, where the additional length will help you to stand out in a busy News Feed.
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The 1024 x 512 px size is the recommended image size for a Twitter post but the horizontal features mean that they’re also ideal for posting on other social media platforms such as LinkedIn.
Once you’ve created a version of each of these graphics, try experimenting with different wording, colors and styles. You can change the title of the blog post slightly (i.e. wording this exact article as “blog post checklist: 7 things to include”) and change the background of your featured image using the Canva template you created previously.
I usually create two or three versions of each size and use them to post on my Pinterest boards. This helps with trying to bring traffic to the blog post whilst providing people with a variety of images that best suit their own board-styles and branding.
3. An attention-grabbing introduction
After your images have been included, the next thing that you’ll use to hook a reader is to write an introduction that grabs their attention. It’s the first thing that somebody reads when they click on your blog post and is the make-or-break factor when it comes to them reading the remainder of the article.
TopTip: Use an attention-grabbing intro to encourage readers to actually read your post!
Typically, I use the following structure:
• Explain a problem and how it relates to your audience.
• Elaborate slightly.
• How you can change it (and how they desperately need this blog post in their life).
For example, if you’re writing a post about writing useful website copy, something like this will do the job:
The content that your website uses is important for making sales.
As a business owner, this can lead to you missing out on important leads and conversions on your site.
However, you can avoid these issues by writing content with converting tactics in mind to make the copy on your website more valuable to both your readers and a search engine by following these tips.
Personally, I always write my introductions last. This is because I have a clear vision on what the blog post is about – something that I rarely have before I start writing!
Breaking up text
We’ve all heard about how important it is to craft blog posts that are ‘written for the Internet.’
There are many ways that you can format a blog post so that it’s Internet-worthy, including:
Along with being great for your blog’s SEO, heading tags help with breaking up sections of your text. The chances are, some people may already know some of things that you’re talking about and just want to skip to the parts they’ve not read before.
Using headings to segment the article allows people to do this and they’ll be less frustrated when they don’t need to manually search.
Once you’ve segmented your blog post into relevant chunks, it’s important to break up the text beneath these sections into readable bursts.
Although this is generally dependant on the nature of the blog post you’re writing, I generally go for the two/three sentences per paragraph rule.
This makes it easier for a reader to digest and becomes less overwhelming when you’re not faced with worded mush.
6. Lists and bullet points
You should also think about using bullet points and lists to break down your paragraphs even further.
These are ideal for explaining step-by-step actions or instructions and are much better than being overwhelmed with text.
As you can see, your blog posts aren’t really as simple as writing a rough draft and uploading. These days, people expect more from online articles and if you aren’t doing the right things to attract readers and encourage them to stay, you could be missing out on valuable traffic.
Elise Dopson is a freelance marketing and careers writer who loves nothing more than seeing fellow entrepreneurs successfully grow their biz online. She can be found on her blog at elisedopson.co.uk.