6 Simple Guidelines to Apply When Crafting Blog Content for SEO
Blogging is now a crucial part of content and digital strategy. Here are 6 simple tips for anyone to get the most out of their content strategy.
Do you remember the first time you ever stumbled upon a blog? They are such a ubiquitous feature of the internet landscape today that many people forget that these online spaces were once called “weblogs” and had to be coded from scratch. Nowadays, of course, just about anyone who can operate a computer can start a blog to document their thoughts, share their creative writing with the world, showcase their art or hobby, or keep customers apprised of what’s happening with their small business.
Of course, just because it’s easy to start a blog doesn’t mean it’s easy to build and maintain a successful one. For many people, blogging is a full-time occupation, and it’s hard work. Still others struggle to master even the basics, let alone advanced tactics, even though they know that blogging is crucial to the digital marketing arm of their company’s operations.
That’s why we’ve compiled this collection of helpful hints and hacks for anyone who’s looking to squeeze the most success out of their content strategy. Keep reading to learn more!
You Don’t Have to Pen War and Peace
Like it or not, most of your audience is going to have a relatively short attention span, a very busy schedule, or both. To that end, you’ll want to keep your blog posts on the short side; anywhere between 300 and 1000 words is a safe length. If you have 2000 (or more) words’ worth of message to convey, consider breaking the blog post up into two or more parts to keep each part under 1K.
In general, it’s better to write shorter blog posts more often than to publish just one very long missive occasionally.
Keep the Paras Short and Sweet, Too
It’s not uncommon to see blog posts in which each paragraph is only one sentence long, but that’s a bit extreme. For maximum readability, aim to make a para break every three to four sentences if the sentences are brief, one to two if they are complex. And it’s perfectly OK to have a couple of one-sentence ‘grafs sprinkled throughout the piece.
Breaking Up the Blog
Have you ever clicked on an interesting-looking title, only to be confronted with an impermeable wall of teeny tiny text with no breaks? Chances are you couldn’t hit the backspace button fast enough. When you are creating a blog, make sure to break up your text into short, easily consumed sections (in addition to making the paragraphs compact).
Bullet point lists, images like photos or graphics, subheadings and pull quotes can help provide visual interest that draws the reader in.
Consider Your Tone...
Before you ever put pen to paper — or fingertips to keyboard — think about who your audience is, and how you want to address them. As a general rule, a chatty, conversational tone is usually appropriate. Address your readers in writing as you would if you were speaking directly to them.
Don’t feel the need to embellish your writing with complicated phrasing or fifty-cent words. Make your prose clear, concise, and easy to understand. A blog post that reads as dry, academic, stiff, formal, stilted, or old-fashioned isn’t going to win over readers (or leads).
...But Not at the Expense of Professionalism
Just because your blog posts are informal in tone doesn’t mean they can be sloppy. Use an editing tool like Hemingway or Grammarly to check spelling, agreement, verb tense, and other basic rules of language. Steer clear of emoji, and limit your use of acronyms. A lot of people have developed the bad habit of ending nearly every sentence with “lol.” Even if you are laughing out loud that frequently, using this acronym as punctuation just isn’t professional, no matter how casual your blog is.
Make no mistake: blogs with spelling mistakes, grammar issues, or punctuation errors will not help you achieve your goals. It may even lose you readers, so take a few moments to proofread and edit your work — or better yet, have someone else do so.
It’s OK to Outsource
Let’s face it: not everyone is a good writer. And even good writers of other types of content — magazine articles, novels, technical manuals, scientific material — might not have a flair for blogging. If you know you don’t have the chops, there’s no shame in outsourcing this task.
In fact, it may be beneficial. Professional bloggers know not only all the aforementioned tricks of the trade, but they understand the complicated relationship between blogs and search engine optimization.
Unless you have a real interest in SEO — as well as the time to keep abreast of this ever-changing industry standards — it’s probably best to let the pros take care of this aspect of your digital marketing efforts.
With Practice, You’ll Be Blogging Like a Pro
If you want to learn how to be a great blogger, there are plenty of guides and listicles to help you. You can also glean a lot of helpful information from reading lots and lots of blogs; take a look at your competitors’ blogs and those of colleagues or professional peers.
At some point, however, you will just have to make the leap and publish that first post. The more you blog, the better you’ll get — and the more traffic you’ll drive to your site.