How to write copy that engages users has greatly changed in the last few years! 50% of people are now reading content via mobile devices and this changed the way in which writing for the web needs to be done! So you really might want to read this guide on how to write effective blog posts!
1. Making an Effective Headline
Before writing the main body of a blog post, it is essential to spend time to get the headline right. By the headline I mean the page title (on this page it is ‘How to Write Effective Blog Posts in 7 Easy Steps”). Before selecting a headline title for any blog post I do, I normally write around 10 to 20 possible options and then I use the Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule. This is one of my favourite tools and it’s FREE! It is free and turns making titles into a fun game as you seek to get a pass rate of 70% and thus a headline that has impact!
Using the tool (you can get access here) you simply enter the headline that you are planning to use and click ‘Analyze now’ and, within a second, the tool will evaluate the effectiveness of your headline. A score of over 70 tends to mean that the title is good enough to use!
The tool works by analyzing 4 factors and these are the use of:
- Common words – words that include 20 – 30% of common words that are essential for structuring a sentence. Such words can include: as, with, in and at.
- Uncommon words – are ones that make the headline somewhat unique and they should ideally make up 10 – 20% of the headline.
- Emotional words – in a headline, are ones that invoke emotional responses in the reader. 10 – 15% of the headline should include emotional words such as ‘sensational’, ‘remarkable’, ‘worthwhile’.
- Power words – on the other hand, are aimed at grabbing the readers’ attention and getting them to react. Having at least one power word will improve your headline title.
Where can I find a list of common, uncommon, emotional and power words you might wonder?
Free Trigger Words PDF!
200 words and terms that invoke emotions, call to actions and are great for writing headlines!
2. Short Paragraphs That Read Well on Mobile Devices
If I write a long paragraph that is many sentences long, like you are reading in this specific paragraph, you might well begin to find it boring (please don’t click away yet as just trying to make a point here about long paragraphs). Then, if you try or are reading this on a mobile phone or cell phone, you will most likely find it an effort to read this. The bottom line is that long paragraphs look rubbish on mobile devices! So the key to making web copy is to find and use techniques that are suitable for reading on ALL devices. This means that you should really break down paragraphs into smaller ones than what this paragraph has become. A paragraph that is just one or two sentences long is enough! Writing small paragraphs in the way I am suggesting goes against everything I learned when doing a PhD, and it has taken some effort myself also to not to write a paragraph as long as this one you are reading!
So keep it simple and short so that there is a lot of white space around the writing. Make it easy to read on all devices.
If you view this on a mobile device, you will find that this is much easier to read with one or two sentence paragraphs, rather than huge chunks of text!
3. Use Bullet Points and Other Ways to Break up Text
Using bullet points is a great idea when writing web copy because it:
- Is a great way to break up a page visually.
- Provides a useful way to present facts and in such a way that it is easy to remember the information.
- Offers a way to present information in a brief way.
4. Grammar – Free Tool
It is natural to make grammatical mistakes when writing so much text and not all of us have degrees in English. The great news is that the Grammarly is a wonderful solution to this.
If you use Google Chrome, you can install the Grammarly add-on. You can also choose to install it on Windows on your machine and Grammarly helps to guide you when you make grammatical errors in any document, email, web page etc that you are writing.
The super amazing thing = It is FREE!
If you want to avoid grammar errors in your writing, Grammarly is an absolute must!
5. Write with Passion
You might have already read this point in the post about how to choose a blog niche, but, in case you missed it, a key point is that you really want to choose a blogging niche that you can be sure that you will still be passionate about, after you have written 50 posts on it.
If you write one post every week, for a year, will you still have any enthusiasm to continue blogging?
The key to successful blogging is to ensure that you choose a topic that you love, rather than only choosing a topic/niche because of money. You might feel that blogging about financial products could be fantastic for affiliate advertising to make an income for yourself, but will you be able to sustain writing?
So, if you want to write effective blog posts, ensure you have the drive and enthusiasm by choosing a topic that you will still be motivated by in a year time and that your readers will sense your passion.
6. Blog Post Length and Being an Expert
One of the most common questions I am asked is, “How long should a blog post be”?” and this question is useful to discuss when looking at how to write effective blog posts.
Imagine you come across a blog and read some of the posts and the posts are 150 words long.
- That brief piece might be interesting, but it will have taken little effort and research and there is a limit to what it can teach or inform you about.
- Furthermore, if you think about how many words will be on your webpage, you will find that 200 or so will be from the text on the menus on a page and the text on the bottom of your web-pages, such as where you have the contact information and terms and conditions links etc. Basically, if you write short blog posts, more than 50% can end up as the template rather than on-page content. Search engines, such as Google, will thus see little text on which to assess your site and to rank it. You really should add at least 600 words as an absolute minimum.
- Blog posts that are 2,000 words have been proven to perform better than posts that are very short for search engines.
Your strategy, as a blogger, should be to offer your followers good quality content that helps them in some way. It might entertain them, help them find solutions to problems, or provide them with valuable information they didn’t otherwise know.
My advice is to:
- Aim for posts that are 1,000 + words and if at all possible, 2,000 words.
- Write just once a week and do a great post. Do not worry about blogging every day.
7. Do Research and Offer Good Resources
The inclination, when I first started to write blog posts, was to avoid linking out to other sources. Why send traffic to other blogs and other people, I reasoned!
Now I think differently! Anything that can add to the quality of the blog post I am writing and help my followers to have access to great information, I will include. Your readers will begin to see you as the expert and one to follow.
Avoid being lazy and linking to general resources such as Wikipedia.
Do link though, to resources that are specific to your niche and that offer genuine value to your followers.
Take the time to make sure you are providing accurate and quality information and try to avoid using long words, if possible. Make the content as simple as possible to read by using language that everyone will understand. Use the terminology that is commonly used in your niche and, more than anything, be natural and let your personality come across in your posts.
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