There’s no re-do for a first impression. This is true in all walks of life, including on your blog. And like a wrinkly shirt or a hole in your trousers, a poorly structured blog post is a quick way to put off potential customers.
The following tips explore how to structure your blog post for maximum reader retention. Obviously, they are exceptions to every rule. However, this is the baseline we use for our content marketing campaigns.
And…we’ve seen some pretty amazing results. Just check out how we helped Tru Health increase their new customers by 300% weekly!
7 Tips to Successfully Structuring Your Blog Posts
1. Keep Paragraphs to 3 Short Sentences (roughly 40 words)
It’s not new news that folks’ attention spans are dwindling. Audiences are quicker than ever to disregard your message. In order to compete, your blog post needs to be reader-friendly.
Which means, avoid BIG chunks of text.
Long paragraphs take more mental work to read and comprehend. Keeping paragraphs to three short sentences, makes your piece easier to skim quickly. This means the average length of your ideal paragraph is just 40 words.
2. Use Descriptive, Clear Headers to Create a Cohesive Outline
Does the essay outline take you back to eighth grade English class? It’s all good. That’s one lesson you want to hang onto.
Because a good outline is a reader’s best friend. Clear, descriptive headers allow your audience to quickly scan your piece and determine if it’s relevant. This can increase time on page and reduce bounce rate.
Generally speaking, a blog post will use the following headers:
H1 – Used once at the beginning of the post to signal the title of the piece.
H2 – Used throughout the post to corral main theories.
H3 – Used after an H2 to signal components of the main theories within the post.
H4 – Used after an H3 to signal a further breakdown of the components being discussed.
3. Breakup Text with Relevant Images
No matter how amazing your copywriter may be, pictures are still essential to the success of your content marketing campaign. Pictures stimulate the brain in a way words generally don’t.
However, just any old picture won’t due. The pictures you use need to be relevant to the blog post in which you’re sharing them. Better yet, your pictures should be relevant to their placement within your blog post.
At a bare minimum, every blog post should have at least one image. However, we’ve found content performs better if we place an image every three to four paragraphs. This helps break up text, giving readers a brief mental break, while reinforcing our messaging.
4. Provide Helpful Internal and External Links
In the print world authors and readers perform herculean tasks to explore attributions and additional reading materials. In the digital world, all you need is a hyperlink.
Providing helpful internal and external links is an excellent way to add validity to your blog post and to improve your reader’s experience. However, it’s important to only link to relevant content. If you don’t, you can diminish trust with your reader and search engines.
Internal links point to a page within your domain. Incorporating these links is a great way to expose your readers to more helpful material and keep them on your site longer.
External links point to a page outside of your domain. Often these links are used in conjunction with attribution. However, external links can also be a way of promoting a partner, showcasing a client or supporting a cause.
5. Incorporate Call-to-Actions (CTAs) Where Appropriate
As the name would suggest, a call-to-action (CTA) is literally a call out to your reader to do something. In the case of blogging, this could include:
Clicking a link
Contacting you directly
Sharing your post on Facebook
Buying your product or service
Signing up for your newsletter
Why are CTAs important? Because the best way to convert a blog reader into a customer is to engage them – to get them to take action. Blog posts with CTAs have been shown to substantially improve conversion rates.
6. Optimize with SEO Keywords
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) might be today’s most played out buzzword – if it weren’t for the fact SEO is still essential to online marketing success.
SEO might be today most played out buzzword – if it weren’t for the fact SEO is still essential to online marketing success.Click to Tweet
Keywords are one of the predominant factors search engines use to determine your blog post’s relevance. This doesn’t mean you should just load your post with the name of your product over and over and over again. Search engines have gotten way too smart for that.
Rather, you want to incorporate keywords natively. This means doing the research to determine which keywords have the highest search rate (number of people searching for them) and lowest competition level (number of other online sites using that keyword).
Then, you want to infuse those keywords into your text seamlessly. This means when an actual human reads your post, it should flow smoothly and logically.
7. Provide an Extended Reading List at the End of Each Post
The longer a reader stays on your site, the more likely they are to engage and convert. By incorporating extended reading lists comprised of posts relevant to the top at hand, we’ve seen a significant reduction in bounce rate.
The ideal list features both titles and descriptions, to help encourage the reader to learn more by clicking.
Additional Copywriting Tips
Because of the potential for a long shelf life, optimizing old blog posts as part of your content marketing strategy offers a wide array of benefits.
It’s quite possible to have fantastic copy that just doesn’t convert. The ‘Conversion Equation’ helps you understand the science and art behind writing content that triggers action.
Simple tweaks to your blog post’s structure can help you get readers to read your content and increase your readership.