You have a story that everybody wants to hear, but how do you get people to your blog?
The perfect blog post is about more than just great content. The way you format your post is almost paramount to the actual content itself. Readers may not even realize that they like these formatting nuances, but a post that’s organized and designed well can help keep them reading and sharing.
Here are 10 things you can do to turn your content into the perfect blog post:
1. Pick the ideal title/headline.
Coming up with a direct but enticing title is the most important part of your blog post. You want readers to find your article easily with a simple search. Picking a title that will accurately match what the reader is searching for is obviously important when nearly every new Internet experience begins with Google.
The tricky part is striking the perfect balance between a relevant title and an exciting one. The perfect blog post title will be fun, funny, ironic, or controversial while keeping the core point of the article clear and present.
2. Make the main point clear right away.
The perfect blog post will let readers know immediately what they are about to read. Unlike a novel or movie, you don’t want the crux of the blog post to develop slowly. Internet readers have short attention spans, so make sure you open with an intro paragraph that lays out the post and lets the reader know he or she has come to the right place.
3. Compile a list.
One easy formatting trick is to organize your post as a list. Make your different arguments into numbered or bulleted points, or include bolded subheadings. Top-10 lists and rankings are interesting to readers and give the post a clear reason to be read to the end. This format organizes the material and clearly shows readers the key points.
4. Make it link-worthy.
The perfect blog post will have content to which other bloggers will want to link. Posts with “How to…” or “Top 10” in the title tend to get a lot of blogosphere attention. A great blog post also needs to have a large number of outbound links in the body. This will help other bloggers notice your work and give you a return link; it will also let readers know you have done your research.
5. Make it attractive.
Making your post look nice is a quick and easy way to make readers happy. Before making a post public, take time to go back and format it to your liking. Form organized or bulleted paragraphs, remove unnecessary content to shorten up the post, enlarge titles and subject lines, and so on. A perfect post will be a pretty one.
6. Include multimedia elements.
Even if your writing is the richest on the Internet, adding images or videos is crucial to breaking up the text and keeping things interesting. If you are writing a travel post, include attractive images of the destination. If you are writing an editorial piece, embed a fun video clip that helps illustrate your point. Multimedia elements liven up a post and are important aspects of the perfect blog post.
7. Stick to the point.
For a blog post to be perfect, it needs to be concise and to stay on topic. As stated earlier, blog readers have short attention spans. When they search for a specific subject, they want the post to deal with that subject and not meander among several topics. Unless your post is about a Hollywood star or political scandal, mentioning such a person or event will draw readers who are really seeking a different topic.
8. Use keywords.
The perfect blog post will be constructed with keywords in mind. A simple search using Google AdWords on a subject will let you know which related keywords are most commonly searched. Keeping those words in your title and throughout the body will make it easy for your audience to find your post and will make it clear that they have come to the right place.
9. Keep length in mind.
Though it depends on the nature of your blog, keeping your post to an appropriate length is crucial. There is no optimal post length, but if it is too long, you risk readers’ growing impatient and leaving before they are done. In general, keeping a post under 1,000 words is a good rule of thumb. Keeping it between 500 and 800 words is ideal.
10. Be original.
Don’t simply say what everybody else is saying. Add your mark by mixing it up and making your post stand out in some way. The perfect blog post will make your audience stop and think. It will conjure some sort of emotion and make readers talk amongst themselves. A good indication that you have done your job is engagement. If a post has readers commenting or arguing, you know you have given your audience something valuable to talk about.
Sarah Fudin currently works in community relations for the University of Southern California’s Masters in Teaching program, which prepares teachers to earn their teaching credential. Follow her on twitter @USCTeacher. Outside of work Sarah enjoys running, reading, and Pinkberry frozen yogurt.
A version of this story originally appeared on DailyWritingTips.com.