Elements Of A Blog: Did you know that the average attention span of humans is just 8 seconds? Apparently, a goldfish has more attention span than us – 9 seconds.
Even in 2000, the average attention span of humans was 12 seconds.
Although, according to a BBC report, these statistics are questionable, there is no denying to the fact that in this era of Internet and smartphone, at a time when information is being bombarded at us from every possible direction in every possible form, we are unable to stay focused like before.
And it impacts, like every thing else, the field of marketing as well, digital marketing to be more precise. How do you get the attention of prospective customers who can’t concentrate? How to write content that not only ranks in the first page of Google result for a search but also grabs the attention of the readers?
Elements Of A Blog: How To Write A Good Blog Post That People Will Read
As a blogger, you might have asked this question to yourself many times. How to make your readers read the article till the end? What to do in order to keep them on the website?
Blogging is not just about writing thousands of words. In order to write an awesome blog, a blog that, for sure, will rank in Google’s top 10, you have to keep in mind two factors:
1. Content, and by content, I mean the material of the article you are writing – its quality, language, way of presentation, structure and everything else that makes it an amazing, informative article, that should be read till the end.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is the technical aspect of writing, so that it ranks (and ranks in top 10) in Google.
I have seen many blog posts with amazing content, content that are rich, to the point, and delivered in a beautiful language. These writers have rich vocabulary, strong knowledge of English grammar, and are wordsmith at the same time. But the articles are not optimized properly and so, they are nowhere near the first page of Google search result.
The lack of optimization in these articles could be due to lack of proper knowledge of SEO or because one is too stubborn to move on from what he or she had learned about writing, which, in most cases, is traditional, literary writing.
On the other hand, there are many articles that are in Google’s top 10 but are not readable at all. The language is pathetic, with no proper structure or flow, lots of grammatical errors, sometimes even inaccurate information, and so on. Yet, they rank despite not being much helpful to the readers. These bloggers are definitely great with Search Engine Optimization but have no knowledge or skill of writing.
It is for this reason many companies hire just writers and leave the SEO to a dedicated team who specializes in that. Fair enough!
But a blogger, content writer to be specific, is one who can maintain a balance between both these two aspects. One is not a content writer if he or she has no knowledge of SEO and stuffs. Maybe a very good and creative writer but not content writer. Even to become a self sufficient, independent blogger, you must be a Jack of both the trades, if not the master.
Elements Of A Blog: Understanding The Structure Of Blogs
Before getting into how to write a blog that ranks in Google, a marketing blog to be precise, you need to understand that blogs are different than a prose, an essay, or a journalistic piece of writing.
Just like each of these has a certain language and structure of its own, blogs too have its own language and structure. And here, unlike in the case of prose, essay or a news story, the structure and language is highly dependent on the medium, audience and their intent, and technology.
If a person wants to read a story by say Neil Gaiman, or an essay by Noam Chomsky or a news report by Robert Fisk, he or she will go ahead and read it irrespective of what the medium, technology or language is, the intent being a constant in this case, which is reading what they have written on a particular topic.
In Content Writing, marketing is your intent and the reader’s intent is to look for the answer or solution to a particular problem. In this process, they come across your blog. So, you must ensure that they read it and become aware of how you, the information that you provide can help them with exactly what they want, how your product or service can help in providing solution to their problem.
Since it is happening on the Internet, where you are competing with hundreds of others, you have to ensure that the structure and language of your article is such that:
1. It is SEO friendly,
2. It has the right content in the right format.
The first step towards writing great blog posts, keeping in mind the audience, technology and medium, is understanding the structure of blogs, especially the different elements of a blog.
This article will deal with the elements of a blog that makes them successful, both in terms of SEO and content. Other aspects of writing a great blog will be covered in two subsequent articles.
So, let us look at the different elements of a blog:
1. The Headline Or The Title Of The Blog
They say, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’. The same rule doesn’t hold true for blogs.
The title of a blog plays a huge role in determining whether or not people will read it. Even if your article is first class, no one will even click on your article if the headline is not attractive. Remember, you are writing for a species with a decreasing attention span. Your title should be interesting enough to grab their attention.
At the same time, it shouldn’t be a clickbait. Do not over-promise. That will definitely get readers to click on your article but they won’t come back again.
The title should be such that it indicates what your article deals with and it is interesting enough to hit your reader at the right place. Creating a sense of urgency helps a lot. Emotional appeal too is effective at times.
2. Meta Description
The snippet of the article that shows up under the headline of each article on the Google search page is the Meta Description. Both WordPress and Blogger have an option for you to set the Meta Description.
However, sometimes, despite writing the Meta Description, Google picks up some other sentences from the body of the article.
In any case, you should give the Meta Description because if the headline grabs the attention of the readers, the next thing they will read, before clicking on the article, is the Meta Description. Include the primary key word in it and elaborate on the headline in an attractive manner.
3. Featured Image
Also known as Post Thumbnail, it is the representative image for a blog post. For example, if you share your post on Facebook, you will see a display image on the shared post just above the link. This is the featured image and it helps in grabbing the attention of the reader while they scroll through their feed. It also helps in SEO which will be explained later on.
4. Informative Body Broken Down Into Parts
The body of your article should be to the point and informative. Also, it should be broken down into segments with proper headings and subheadings. There should be at least one H2 with the Primary Keyword. The content under each of the headings or subheadings shouldn’t be too long. In fact, you should write small paragraphs. Do not give all the information in one single paragraph, least of all in the lead. At the same time, do not drag too much. It will irritate the reader.
5. Call To Action (CTA)
Many bloggers spend immense time and energy to write a blog and it turns out great. But they mess up with the CTA. Remember, your goal is not just to get the readers read your article. They need to ‘convert’ as well. So, give CTAs keeping that in mind. Create urgency.
Give two to three CTAs, depending upon the length of the article, at proper intervals. Don’t give them at the beginning of the article.
Linking other relevant articles on your site is very important from the SEO point of view. It also helps in providing the readers with other relevant information, sometimes even clearing their doubts.
These are the six most essential elements of a blog. With knowledge of the elements of a blog, you can now plan the structure of the blog accordingly. These six elements help in writing blogs that rank because these elements contribute to both good SEO and quality content (material) that is readable. We will cover these in the next parts of the article.