The blog-universe is ever-expanding and the fight to be on the top of search engines like Google is harder than ever.
Tapping into the short attention spans of users and have them engage with your content is a harder feat than winning the lottery.
Which begs the question, how do you craft a perfectly pristine blog post with the potential for viral status? You follow our checklist of course.
Blogging has exploded in the last few years and more and more people are creating new blogs to help solve issues and help provide useful information for their readers. So you’ve got an amazing idea about a blog post that answers a question or solves a problem.
You write it. You share it across social media. But no one reads it. Your page views remain in double digits. You’re confused as to why more people aren’t reading, engaging or sharing your articles. You’re at your wit’s end. What do you do?
Don’t give up! Go back to the drawing board. There are a few key factors in writing the perfect blog post. In order to stand out, you have to be sure that you’ve gone beyond dotting all your ‘I’s’ and crossing all your ‘T’s’.
A lot of work goes into crafting a share-worthy blog post with a high viral coefficient. And while having a great idea or a problem to solve is only half the battle.
We’re about to break down the 10 Factors needed to ensure the Perfect Blog Post every single time. Don’t forget to opt-in to our FREE Blog Preparation Checklist that keeps your post perfect every time!
10 Factors to the Perfect Blog Post Every Time
1. A Captivating Headline
A headline is the first factor that draws your reader in and compels them to click on your content and devour it. The first important aspect of a great headline is that it tells the reader what is in for them and what’s more, it gets the reader to read your first sentence.
What problem is it going to solve? What question is it going to answer? What skill is it going to teach them? You get the idea.
Not only does a great headline answer a question or addresses a problem, but it also contains power words that stand out to the reader. Words that pull at an emotion or sparks interest. Your headline should wow your reader and be so captivating that they can’t help but click. There are some rules and tips to follow to craft a headline that wows!
When creating your headlines follow these rules:
- Your headline should always give the user an idea of what is in for them.
- Always include a keyword phrase for SEO in your headline
- Be concise. Keep your headline short and sweet. Eight words or less is a good benchmark.
- Be specific. For example use numbers to quantify results where relevant.
- Add intrigue. Your headline should play to your reader’s curiosity and needs.
- Always brainstorm at least 25 headlines. Play with keyword phrases and power words.
For a more comprehensive look into headlines that captivate and engage be sure to check out our in-depth guide Cracking the Headline Code and pick up your free Headline Template & Swipe File.
2. Add a Featured Image
The next factor is a relevant featured image that speaks to the subject matter of your blog post. But what the hell is the featured image anyway?
Well, the featured image is the bit of visual content that shows up on top of a post, and it is what is seen when the post is shared across social media.
It is essential that your post always has a featured image and that it is appropriate to the subject being discussed in your blog post. If you want to be seen then having a featured image is crucial.
When choosing your featured image there are 2 things to consider:
- The Featured Image Dimensions
- The Image Content to be Featured
Dimensions of your featured images are important to ensure that they are optimized for social media network sharing. The following are the dimensions needed by Social Media Platforms:
- Facebook – 1,200 x 628
- Twitter –1024 x 512 (displays in the timeline at 506 x 253)
- Instagram – 1,080 x 1,080
- LinkedIn –1200 x 630
- Pinterest – 600 x 900
- Google+ – 506 wide
Seems overwhelming? Not to worry. You don’t have to resize your featured image for each social media network. The good news is that all of these platforms automatically size your featured image to match their needed dimensions.
However, when choosing your featured image make sure the dimensions are set to these layout options:
- Horizontal – 1024 x 512
- Portrait – 800 x 1200
The content of your featured image as we said, should be appropriate to the content you are offering in your blog post. So what should go into this image?
Well, keep it simple. No need for words, because this image will be right above or beside your headline. Just keep the colors bright and vibrant so that it pops and grabs the views attention.
Use stock photos and be sure to have the right to use those images and state the source where necessary. Include alt text and alt tags in your featured image. Another tip is the rename the image with the keyword associated with your post’s subject matter.
Great sources for free stock images:
3. Introduction and Hook
Now that your enthralling headline has made your reader click to consume your content; it is important to build on that and hold the reader’s attention. The first sentence hooks the reader and engages them so they keep reading.
Your introduction should fully outline what the reader is going to gain from reading this article. The problem should be identified that you’re going to solve, the question that you’re going to answer should be stated and the skill you’re going to teach them should be apparent.
Hook Strategies to consider:
- Hook them with an emotional story that is relevant to your post goals. The key here is to play to your reader’s emotions and to connect and engage them.
- Use a relevant quote by a popular world figure.
- Use statistics from a reputable source that gets your point across quickly and encourages the reader to continue reading.
4. The Backlinks Game
Post worthiness with Google Search Engine index is one that contains relevant links that are:
- Inbound links to a relevant blog post on your site.
- Outbound links to relevant information from reputable sources; especially if they have a really great following and SEO rank.
Adding outbound backlinks help to boost your credibility and shows your readers that you have done your homework. What’s more, is that it really helps Google index your site right and boost your SEO.
The way you use backlinks is important. There are rules to follow. Never just paste a link in the middle of the text.
Always highlight a few words that pertain to the link and add the hyperlink that way. You also want to make sure that all links open in another window or tab. You don’t want to send your readers away from your website.
With internal links, you want to be sure to only link your own blog post that is relevant to the information you are sharing. This should be organic and should build on the information you are already serving your readers.
So we’ve discussed the main headline of your blog post and how it needs to readily identify what the reader is going to get from reading your article. Well, subheadings work in the same way.
Think of this as the blueprint of your post. A lot of online users simply scan a post to see what it is about and your subheadings can help them get the gist of it if you create them correctly.
Aim to have 3-4 or more subheadings in your blog post. If you are writing an article like this one that gives numbered steps to solve a problem then naturally you will have more subheadings.
Adding keywords to your subheadings boost your SEO. Don’t go crazy here. Only add where appropriate and keep it to 1 keyword or keyword phrase. You also want to use H2 or H3 headline tags in your blog’s editor.
Each subheading should have one main idea that is compelling to your reader. Again that first sentence should continue to hold your reader’s attention.
Make sure that when you scroll your blog post that your subheadings tell a chronological story on their own and give an overall gist of what the blog post is about.
6. Visual Content: Images
Blog content with visuals is 43% more persuasive. In fact, 65% of people are visual learners and 90% of the information that we take in that is processed by our brains is visual. Based on those numbers having visual content is integral to your business’ success.
There are 5 types of visual content that will set your blog post apart from the rest and ensure your content does what it supposed to do; lead to engagement and conversions.
- Images: these most definitely should be high quality and optimized for mobile to load fast.
- Videos: Mix in a video presentation or tutorial you made to help explain your post’s ideas.
- Infographics: A concise way to outline your information and they are shareable on social media sights like Pinterest.
- Presentations: A great way to share large chunks of information in a visually pleasing way.
- ScreenShots: A great visual image to help explain a how-to guide to solving a problem.
Regardless of which form of visual content you choose make sure that it is of high-quality. Images should be optimized for mobile and fast loading.
Your post should contain at least 3 relevant images and be aesthetically pleasing and helpful. When using stock images as we said earlier, be sure that you hold the rights to them or credit them appropriately.
All your images files should be renamed with appropriate keywords. Don’t forget to use alt-text and tags on your photos as well.
7. Blog Post Content
Now let’s talk about the meaty factor of your blog post. The part that your readers came to see when they clicked that awesome headline. We’ve also talked about having subheadings with H2 and H3 tags to differentiate them. So let’s get to the meat of the content itself.
The way you structure your content is extremely important. Firstly the length of your blog posts should always aim to be over 800 words. Why? Because search engines like Google love long-form content.
It means that your blog post is in-depth and well researched and will provide quality to the reader. The sweet spot for blog length is really 1200-2000 words.
Paragraphs should be kept concise and short. A great paragraph has 3-5 sentences but doesn’t be afraid to mix up paragraph lengths.
Likewise with sentences. You want to keep them concise and to the point. Have a variety of short sentences and long sentences. Though try to keep them between 10-17 words long. This is one of the hardest parts for me while I’m writing because I am naturally wordy. Which is what self-editing is for!
The best thing to do is always outline your blog post and then write the entire thing straight out. Once you’ve written the first draft, you can go back in and edit. During the second draft, you want to just shorten sentences, add or delete the information as necessary and consider word choice.
Next, you want to check grammar, spelling, and punctuation. A great tool to use for doing this for you is Grammarly. It has truly been a gift from the gods. Grammarly is absolutely free, but if you want more features then there are packages available.
Be sure to break up large chunks of text with visual content where relevant. Don’t go overboard with this. Your content needs to flow naturally. Quotes should be set with a blockquote.
8. Social Media Share-ability
Whew! Your blog post is very close to being completely polished and ready to publish. Hang in there. Let’s talk about Social Media Share-ability. This is not the act of sharing your post all over your social media platforms.
This is about having shareable nuggets within your post. Those tasty morsels that your reader just has to tweet or that image that is so Pinterest-worthy. This is what leads to your blog post going viral.
Either way, your blog post is going to get some traffic. But you don’t just want some traffic. You want quality traffic that is engaged and leads to conversions.
To ensure that your blog post can do this. Have at least 2 tweetable morsels in your post. Pull out your best knowledge on the subject and phrase it in such a way that users have to tweet or share it. Use Social Warfare to do this. It sets your quote out in a visual way and is a bit of a call to action for readers to tweet it to their followers.
Include shareable visual content like infographics that explain a problem a lot of people have.
9. A Call to Action
If your blog is a business then you should definitely have a Call to Action at the end of every post. Whether that call to action is an opt-in to your email list with a freebie attached or a lead magnet is up to you.
Be sure that your call to action leads to something that is relevant for the post. For example, at the end of this post, there will be a call to action to download a FREE Blog Preparation Checklist to make sure that every post you create is optimized for viral status.
Your post as we have said a few times should have a clear goal. Your opt-in should further that goal and help the user in some way.
10. Social Media Optimization
The final factor you need to consider is Social Media Optimization. You’ve polished your post and made sure it had all the best components to be a perfect post and now it’s time to share it.
Before you share it though, be sure to make sure your post is optimized for social media. That means your featured image.
Your featured image as we said earlier, is what everyone sees when your post is shared on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. So you have to have an optimized featured image for this sharing experience to be the best. Which we touched on earlier.
What about creating sharing graphics for social media? You can do that also and use them in your Social Media Automation programs like Tailwind, Hootsuite, Buffer, and MeetEdgar.
The following are the dimensions you need to create your graphics for sharing:
- Facebook sharing graphics have the right dimensions 940px x 788px
- Instagram graphics have the right dimensions 1080px x 1080px
- Pinterest graphics are vertical and have the right dimensions 735px x 1102px
Once you’ve created your graphics be sure to add keywords where necessary and a call to action. For example, when creating your Pinterest graphic you can include a call to action. On Instagram be sure to share with the adequate #hashtags that suit your brand, niche, and the post’s content. For Facebook, make your graphics with bright, warm colors that pop and stand out from the competition. Keep your tweets on Twitter to less than 100 characters to be the most effective and include a short link to your blog post.
You did it! Now you’re ready to hit publish and share your blog post on social media!
Perhaps you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed? Maybe? I know it seems like a lot. And you’re right it is.
But blogging is serious business and you want to make sure that your readers receive quality content that makes them want to shout it from all of their social media rooftops, and keeps them coming back for more.
You want to be memorable.
Break up the tasks into chunks. Perhaps one day you can focus on preparing freebies, and opt-ins, and landing pages.
At another time you can focus on batching blog posts and then take a separate day to edit them and get them to publish-ready. Whatever you do, don’t cut corners!
To help you remember the actionable steps you need to take to ensure your blog post is perfect and polished every time.
I’ve created a Comprehensive Checklist to match this blog post. Now you have all the steps right at your fingertips each time you have to prepare a post for publishing.