Upgrade your content marketing strategy with blogging best practices that increase readability and boost lead generation.
Small businesses that blog generate 126 percent more lead growth than their non-blogging competitors, according to Neil Patel. While 94 percent of B2B small business marketers use content marketing, only 9 percent of B2B marketers rate their organization as “very effective” at content marketing. When developing an effective content marketing strategy, it is important to keep blogging best practices in mind.
Formatting a Blog Post
As content marketing continues to flourish and more people are turning to blogs for information, it is essential that your high-quality content is useful, relevant, and engaging. According to Patel, 91 percent of the most successful business bloggers publish at least once per week. By regularly developing interesting content, your business can consistently generate leads.
Although quality matters more than quantity, there has been a steady increase in blog post length over the years. Bloggers are seeing more success with longer content pieces. In fact, you’re nearly 3 times more likely to see “strong results” in a post with 2000 or more words than you are with a 500-1000 word post. Google ranks posts with more than 1500 words higher, however, readers only read the first 420 words.
Here are some blogging best practices tips for effective writing and formatting to boost your blog content’s readership:
- Take the inverted pyramid approach to writing each blog by telling the story’s most important information in the first 2-3 sentences and filling in the secondary details further in the post.
- Write consistent actions with patterns to make reading easy for your target audience. A simple section structure could include a problem, solution, and tip that repeats throughout the post. Include varying sentence length to create a rhythm to your writing and make it more engaging.
- Readers are known to pay attention to the first three paragraphs, or content blocks, on a page. In fact, 81 percent of readers look at the first paragraph, 71 percent at the second, 63 percent at the third, and only 32 percent at the fourth. Focus on the first three paragraphs and outline your blog format so that your best points get listed in the first sections of your blog post.
- By writing engaging subheads, you’ll be able to draw readers further into the sections of your posts. The 80/20 rule states that 80 percent of the readers just read the post’s headline, so for every 8 people that read a headline, only 2 actually read the post. The same rule applies to subheads, in which 80 percent of your readers will only read the subhead and not the following section.
- Most readers don’t read the full post, but instead switch between reading and scanning modes. Keep skimmers and scanners in mind when structuring your blog post so they are able to use subheads as anchor points to read the sections that interest them.
- Add interactive elements like images, GIFs, videos, and infographics to keep viewers engaged and inspire continued reading.
Blogging Best Practices Using Yoast SEO
Before you publish your blog posts, optimize your content with Yoast SEO. In order to properly optimize your content for search engines, the plugin measures multiple aspects of your blog copy. First, you will need to enter a focus keyword, then the SEO analysis will check for the presence of that keyword throughout your content. The keyword must be included the title, first paragraph, heading(s), URL, meta description, and image alt text.
According to Yoast, blog content must be a minimum of 300 words in order to rank, keyword density should be between 0.5 and 2.5 percent, and the meta description should be 155 characters or less. Your copy should also include at least one internal and external link. When the criteria are met, Yoast will reward you with a green bullet. Red bullets are items that should be addressed immediately.
Once your blog is optimized, you can begin adding interactive elements such as images. According to Patel, blogging best practices include images to engage your readers and boost lead generation.
Images are a great way to break up the text and separate key points to make it easier for readers to understand. You can also incorporate screenshots to help readers visualize the point you are trying to get across. Images should be included frequently in your blog post. The general consensus is one image per 150 words. Also, the number of images you use will vary from post to post depending on the topic. For example, a step-by-step guide should include more images so readers are able to follow the steps exactly, whereas a blog about the benefits of social media marketing will require less. Including poor images is just as bad as not using images at all, so make sure they serve a specific purpose to your already captivating content.
When taking images from the internet, make sure you are legally allowed to use them on your blog. In many cases, you still have to provide attribution to the source if you use a free image. On the other hand, creating your own images can portray consistent branding. Also, try to include pictures of people in order to humanize your content and encourage your readers to take action.
When it comes to image size, it really depends on the subject of the image. You don’t want the image to take up the whole screen and overwhelm the content, but you also don’t want it to be too small for readers to see. Ideally, you want to use landscape images that are not wider than the width of your blog content. You should also compress big images so they don’t take too long to load and slow down your website. Finally, don’t forget to utilize SEO tactics by adding alt text. If for any reason your blog images don’t show up, the browser will load the alt text instead. Using your focus keyword in the alt text allows search engines to crawl your images and rank on Google image search.
Video Blog Best Practices
Copy and images aren’t the only things to consider when it comes to SEO. Videos should also be optimized in order to rank on search engines, increase site traffic, and boost engagement. Like written content, video SEO best practices include conducting keyword research and applying those keywords in the meta titles and descriptions. Videos should also have transcriptions, schema markups, and site maps to increase the chances that search engines find and crawl your content.
Using Infographics in Your Blog
Like images and videos, infographics are a great way to add visuals to your blog content. By adding infographics to your posts, you can increase engagement, readability, and content retention.