Six different ways to style your articles for both readers and SEO
As a blogger, you should always be striving to provide quality content worth reading (and that you’re passionate about!), but it’s also good to consider how you’re organizing your information within each post.
Most experts recommend keeping your blog posts fairly short; especially since our culture is fast-paced and wants information quickly. Many sources, from what I’ve noticed, recommend a post length of 400 to 600 words. Long enough to give worthwhile information, but short enough to capture attention. (If you haven’t written a blog post before, read up on the basics of creating an article for your blog.)
Implementing different formatting (such as the types below) will break up the text and provide visual interest — especially if your post is on the longer side.
1) List Format
Typically used for ordered lists, bullet points or numbers format these blog posts. If you’re writing a how-to post about, say, five different ways to teach your dog to sit, then you’ll typically use this format.
Just like in school when creating an outline, you can also bullet point your blog article’s every section — but expanding each part’s point into full sentences and thoughts. BUT, my recommendation would be to use bullet points for each step/thought/different way, while expanding upon each bullet point underneath with full paragraphs. This format is easier for your readers; they can skim and jump to the points that they’re interested in or read the full article — but having it bullet pointed makes the article easier to read (and more likely to be read) overall.
However, because it’s so easy to think of and write listed blog posts, it’s easy to type out articles with not a lot of thought OR quality content. Be thoughtful to your readers and avoid making this mistake; instead analyze your message and its value to followers. Provide quality writing — even if it’s in the shortened form of a formatted list.
The How-To: Access bullet points and numbered lists at the top of your visual editor. If you’re in the text editor, click on the “li” box. You can, of course, also simply type in the appropriate number for each section.
2) Question-and-Answer Format
Blogging doesn’t get much easier than this: with a quick draft of questions, you can let your interviewee do the talking. This format would be appropriate for FAQ posts as well; it could be a great way to highlight some of your business’ customer service or technical support staff members.
The How-To: Typically with the Q&A format, your question’s text would be either made bold or italicized and on their own line — with the answers in your blog’s normal font formatting, following each question.
Slideshows, pictures, photo galleries — they all add visual pop to blog posts and pages. Without photos, articles lack an attracting first impression. Don’t forget to add a photo to each one of your posts if possible — photos provide visual impact and are what initially draw readers into your posts, just like a great photo of a dish convinces you to try the recipe.
4) Infographic Post
For a traffic-catching boost, add a blurb before or after the infographic, highlighting the main information (and keywords!) in the infographic.
5) Video Post
The How-To: Read up on adding videos to blog posts and pages here.
6) Essay Format
While blog posts are typically recommended to be on the short side of 500 words, there may be some worth in occasionally writing a longer article. Recently, I browsed an article by ProBlogger here that explored the results of longer-form blog posts. Based on their research, they found that often (though not all the time) they garnered more visitors on the longer articles, as opposed to several short posts on a particular topic. Essay type posts are more often shared, and are easier on the reader (they won’t have to click link after link to read the full article/series).
However, this is not to say that a blog series or shorter articles aren’t effective (ProBlogger suggests that blog series are great for page views), but rather that you don’t need to shy away from writing the occasional essay-type article for your blog. If you can add more value and quality content to your blog post by adding more, do it! Some readers do want in-depth articles that give them more information than short, concise ones. Also, longer texts often come with more keywords, and thus more SEO pull.
Keep in mind that writing a long essay — or any type of blog format — doesn’t mean that it should be a straight, solid block of text. Break it up so that it’s more readable with white space and shorter paragraphs; add headings, bullet points, pictures, blockquotes, videos, etc. Adding these visual changes will help with any type of blog post you write!
What other article formats do you use in your blog posts?
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