There is no “perfect” format for a blog post. Some folks may claim otherwise. But let’s be clear – there isn’t.
The truth is – the best blog post format is the one that helps you achieve your goals.
The best blog post format is the one that helps you achieve your goals.Click to Tweet
Goals for your blog might include:
- Increase Organic Search Traffic
- Display Expertise on a Specific Topic
- Showcase Specific Features of Your Product or Service
- Present Unique Uses for Your Product or Service
- Increase Fan Engagement
- Share Testimonials
- Encourage Inbound Links
- Highlight Business Partners
TLDR: Here's The Top 3
There is no perfect format. Luckily, understanding some of the basics can get you started as you figure out what works for you. In this post, we’re going to break down the 11 components we use:
1. Blog Post Copy
When blogging first came about the philosophy was simple: Blog as often as possible. Today, blogging is more about quality than quantity. Writing as much and posting as often as you can shouldn't be the goal. Rather, focus on sharing information your readers will value.
This doesn’t mean throwing up five words and calling it a day. Aim for at least 300 words. This length gives enough breadth you can say something relevant. There are also instances when it’s great to do a long-form post – like this one. These longer posts allow you to dive deeper into a subject. There is no maximum for how long these posts can be. The important thing is to remember your readers’ time is precious. Use it wisely.
10,000 words written in a single paragraph would be hard for even the most learned among us. When you write a long-form post, break the content into labeled sections. These labels are often referred to as headers. They allow readers to easily skim.
Break long-form blog posts into labeled sections. This will your piece more reader-friendly.Click to Tweet
It’s also a good idea to stay away from long paragraphs. Think three – four sentences max. And, you can use bold and italics to call attention to particularly important items.
2. Title & Page Title
Often the title and page title of your blog post are the same. However, it’s possible to list them differently. Why would you use two different titles? Because each title is intended for a different audience.
Your title is crafted for your readers. It's to attract the attention of humans. Your page title is intended for search engines. It's to help search engines recognize your post as relevant.
Spend more time on your Title and URL than anything else (well, maybe your meta, too)Click to Tweet
If you were trying to target a specific keyword or keyword phrase, you may incorporate it into your page title. However, if that phrase isn’t going to attract many visitors, you might alter your post title to do so.
Remember that Gershwin song? Blog posts need rhythm, too. Sometimes that means a longer, more poetic sentence. Sometimes not.
See what we did there?
Pictures play a huge role in the success of a blog post. As much as we wish readers would focus solely on the words we write, pictures really help grab and hold their attention. But, you don’t want to share just any picture.
The pictures attached to your post should always relevant. Rarely should a food blogger use an image of a car or a symphony an image of the moon. The images they share should be relevant to their topic.
What about stock photos? Yeah… they’re not going away. If you can, make them your own by changing the crop, adding a different filter or combining multiple into one. Are you stuck browsing and can’t find one? Try your smartphone and a trip to Goodwill. There’s probably an easy set of props you can use to take your own photo.
As a rule of thumb, share images that are 72 dots per inch (DPI). DPI plays a major role in determining the file size of an image. Too big of a file size and the page will be slow to load.
Similarly, size your pictures for the social media platforms you use. This will help them render without being cropped incorrectly. In the case of Facebook, this means using a picture that’s 1200 x 630 pixels.
Format the title of your picture to be search engine friendly. The title of your picture shouldn’t include any punctuation. You’ll want it to be descriptive of the actual picture. And, you’ll want to connect each word with an underscore. For instance, the title of our header photo is: insert title.
Blog post pictures should be relevant, 72 DPI, sized for social shares, and given an SEO-friendly title.Click to Tweet
It’s easy to forget that people also use Google for image searches. Those handy image alts and descriptive file names will give you some extra search presence.
5. Bullets & Numbers
Bulleted and numbered lists have a couple key advantages. For your readers, lists are easy to skim and fun to absorb. For search engines, lists can help add relevance to your post.
Links within your post come in two forms: internal and external. Internal links point to other pages within your website. External links point to domains other than your own. In most cases, we recommend using at least one internal link. But you want to make sure that link is relevant. For instance, we wouldn’t want to talk about copywriting and then link to a post about web design. The idea of internal links is to keep giving readers information they want so they stay on your site as long as possible. Earlier search engine algorithms considered posts with external links more relevant. This isn’t quite the same blanketed true/false statement anymore.
External links to trustworthy sites can help improve your posts. However, linking for the sake of linking isn’t such a great idea. Because an external link sends your viewers away, you want to make sure you’re sending them to something they’ll find valuable.
7. Social Shares
The advent of social media has given us an incredible opportunity to share our work with readers. This is why for every post we draft, we also draft the copy for sharing through the different social media platforms in which we participate:
- Facebook – These statuses are typically best when they are short and clear.
- Twitter – Due to a tweet’s short lifespan, you can write as many unique tweets for each post as you’d like. Just share them over time. We typically write anywhere from 2 – 5 tweets for each post. To make sure these are as re-tweet friendly as possible, we try to keep each tweet to 100 characters.
- Google+ – The platform allows you to use formatting. Surround the top line with * asterisks * to make it bold. Surround the second line with _ underscores _ to make it italics. And, include two descriptive lines of text beneath.
- LinkedIn – In most cases we repurpose one of the tweets as a LinkedIn status.
In addition to drafting social shares, we recommend you optimize each post with the proper share syntax for sharing on social media platforms. This allows you to control for things like Facebook link previews and Twitter cards. Adding this syntax requires a bit of coding. We’ll dive into why this is important and how in an upcoming post.
8. Meta Description
Meta descriptions are the snippet of text displayed beneath the title and link in search results. While your meta description can be as long as you would like, search engines will typically truncate them to 150 characters or less.
If you don’t draft your own meta description, search engines will pull part of the text from your post. Currently, no stat shows search engines use meta descriptions to determine their results. However, meta descriptions have been shown to increase click rates and drive more traffic to your site.
9. Categories & Tags
It used to be categories and tags played a major role in search engine algorithms. This doesn’t seem to be nearly the case anymore. However, categories and tags help readers navigate through your site and find posts they consider relevant.
10. SEO Friendly
Unless you're sending your posts out into the internet ether without a care in the world, you'll want to incorporate SEO (search engine optimization) friendly keywords. These keywords can be single words or multi-word phrases. They are the search terms your desired audience is frequently querying. By infusing your text with these terms, you're able to help people find you organically through search.
As with any published work, having an author makes your post more credible. And, the more recognized and trusted the listed author is – the more clout your post will have. Listing an author is particularly important if you have multiple contributors within your organization, allow guest bloggers to contribute or write from the first person perspective.
Does this mean the listed author actually wrote the post? Sometimes. It might be no one on your staff has the capacity or skill set to handle a blog. In cases such as this, a ghost blogger can come in handy.
When no one on your staff has the capacity or skillset to blog, a ghost blogger can help you share your story.Click to Tweet
Want to up your author game? Add an author picture and mini-bio (1-2 sentences) that links to the real bio. (Yeah, we’re still working on that here.)
Good ghost bloggers work closely with you to capture your voice, understand your product and service, and create compelling posts. They handle the writing so you can focus on what you do best.
I Need Help Creating a Blog Post
Do you not have the time to consistently produce content for your blog? Our creative team can help. We work closely with businesses and organizations to create a regular schedule of highly engaging and relevant content.
More Blogging Insights
Should You Handle Your Online Marketing In-House?
5 Essential Elements to Using Images on the Web
4 Tactics for Crafting Conversational Copy
3 Keys to Working With a Copywriter
What You Need To Know About SEO