Blogs have personality. Some are science, some are art, some are business and some are fun. Regardless of your motivation for blogging or the content you convey, there are structural elements of an ideal blog post.
The Pillars For Your Post
300-500 words is a guideline for a solid blog post. Most people read several blogs in one “surfing session” so if you’re too wordy, you’re likely to lose readers. If you have a really long article, consider breaking it into several posts and doing a mini-series. Infobesity is a common complaint in our uber-connected culture so trim it down to the essentials. If you use a video, podcast, infographic or photos as a focal point, you may only need a descriptive paragraph to introduce the subject. Good advice from Elmore Leonard, “I try to leave out the parts that people skip.”
A font size or color that makes your readers squint is not a good choice. This seems like stating the obvious but it’s a common mistake. Don’t sacrifice basic readability to an attractive motif. Use sub headlines, bullet points and highlighted keywords so your message can be absorbed quickly by the majority of readers, who are “scanners”. Jakob Nielson, web usability consultant, found in studies of online reading behavior that users will read about 20% of the text on the average web page. Structure your posts with this reality in mind.
Images capture the eye along with the reader’s attention. Get in the habit of using at least one image per post. Position it in the top part of the post so your reader can see it without scrolling. The ideal image visually partners with your words to add meaning to your message. Be mindful of copyright laws – there are more than a few good sources of low cost or free photos for blogs. The picture of pillars in this post came from Freerangestock.com. (The photo on the right is my grandson, because I can’t resist his cuteness and counted on it being mutual.)
Call to Action
Now it’s time to ask your readers to take another step closer by doing something. Invite them to leave a comment, register for your free opt-in or attend an upcoming event. Readers don’t tend to take action if you don’t guide them.
Let me know in the comment section what pillars provide strength for your posts. I want to know.
Wonder why blogging is important for your business? Check out the 3 minute video.