Everyone seems to be blogging these days and getting attention, let alone, building a readership is becoming more and more challenging. During 2012 I received several requests for a how to post on writing an engaging blog post. My long answer to the question is found in Writing a Blog Post. My short answer is: write for your readers. Know who your audience is and what they want to know, then give them what they want.
Before you begin to write consider what your topic will be, what impression you want to convey and how you want your audience to respond.
1. Attention grabbing post titles
Post headlines ie. titles are important when it comes to gaining search engine attention and traffic. The best way to write a good headline is to keep it simple and direct. Create keyword rich, relevant titles that are as short as possible. Place keywords at the beginning post titles as they rank better there.
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. — David Ogilvy
2. Informative subtitles
Subtitles make pages easier to read and help communicate the main points you want readers to remember. Each section of your post ought to have a subtitle that relates to and expands what’s conveyed in the post title. Create Focused SEO with Subtitles by placing keywords in sub-titles in your posts.
3. Long tail keyword phrases
Long tail keyword phrases with 3 or 4 keywords are more popular than they were was previously. These days they have keyword power in the blogging world. Use but do not over use a variety alternate keywords and keyword phrases within the natural flow of your writing in the body of the text.
Long tail keywords are the opposite of “head” terms, which are more popular or more frequently searched on. For example, “fish tanks” is a head term, but “compare prices whisper aquarium filters” is a long-tail keyword. – Long-Tail Keywords
4. Optimized images
If you want to get increase traffic flow and who doesn’t? Then be aware that keywords people type into search engines can result in traffic to your images as well as to your posts. Get the most out of image search by assisting search spiders to understand what’s in each of your images with descriptive ALT text.
5. Deep linking to related older posts
Writing a new post on a subject you have previously blogged on creates an opportunity to create a strong backlink to the earlier post. A deep link is a link that goes directly to an internal page of your website and not to your home page. If you want your blog to rank well deep link your new posts to your older, relevant posts.
6. External linking to authoritative posts
It’s important to communicate you have researched before writing and to provide credit where it’s due by directing readers to your sources. Those links increase the chances your readers and the bloggers whose posts you linked to will comment. Also note that when linking to other bloggers’ posts in a post of your own you can help both posts rank better if you use relevant keyword anchor text to link to authoritative sources and resources.
7. Accessibility and readability
Text block formatting affects accessibility. How you structure your posts makes a big difference to readability. Avoid creating any large blocks of uninterpreted text as they are hard to read, and don’t get carried away with decorative and colorful fonts and/or special character use for the same reason. Ordered lists and unordered bullet point lists improve readability and create emphasis that helps readers recall what they read. Be sure there’s white space to allow readers’ eyes to rest momentarily and then read on.
So you have a blog, and you’re worried that it might not be accessible to people with disabilities? Don’t worry! A few simple changes can increase your blog’s potential readership. – How to Make Your Blog Accessible to Blind Readers
8. Conversational writing style
Don’t be afraid to write passionately in a conversational tone with confidence and conviction about what you know best. Posts written in a conversational writing style are more likely to be recalled than posts on the same topic written in a formal writing style.
The most important thing to do is to believe in what you write. Everyone can tell when someone is writing about something they are not passionate about. — Writing Advice and Tips on How to Engage the Reader
9. Comment baiting
Structure your posts so they engage readers and spark discussion. Comment baiting occurs naturally in both verbal and written conversation. Using a question in the title and/or text and/or at end of your posts can serve your blog well, as more search engine users now search for information by asking questions.
10. Eye appeal engages
Don’t overlook the fact that eye appeal engages. Image galleries, slideshows, collages, videos, brainstorms and mind maps, polls and surveys are all attention grabbers. They create unique opportunities for reader engagement and discussion in ways that plain text and images don’t.
One of the key ways to make your content stand out is to engage your readers. Blogging is a relationship building enterprise. Readers want to feel a connection to you. They expect receive responses to their comments or questions. Mind your manners. To keep your engaged readers coming back, reply to all to comments:
- to acknowledge points raised;
- to clarify and answer questions;
- to provide additional information;
- and to encourage those, who have yet to comment to enter the discussion.