How to write the perfect blog post

A clear topic, bullet points, and subheads are just part of the winning formula.

A blog post should be 300-400 words. A client recently sent me an article to post on her organization’s blog. Her email said it might be “a little long.”

She wasn’t kidding! It was more than 1,300 words.

In this era of what I like to call the Internet-induced attention deficit issue, my client’s proposed blog post was about 1,000 words too long. Edit it, slice it, cut it, or split it into three posts.

Bloggers and Web masters have become obsessed with search engine optimization (SEO)—a collection of techniques that help your page rank high in Google. This attracts visitors to your site and brings bundles of fame and fortune. The folks at Google say the best way to get their attention is to create a page that is useful for a human reader.

Length and format

  • Headline: Your headline should be inviting, but not obscure. “Company results” doesn’t say anything. “ABC Company reports strong third-quarter earnings” tells the reader exactly what the post is about. Plus, it provides useful information for Google to index.
  • Topic: Focus your post on just one small topic—a single main idea.
  • Length: A great length for a blog post is 300-400 words. Your busy reader can breeze through it quickly.

Headings, bullets and images

  • Headings: Use one or two subheadings in your post. They break up the text, and make it easier for the busy reader to skim. When you format the subheadings as “heading2″ (using the HTML tag H2), it signals to Google that the text is important. Make sure the subheadings contain your keywords.
  • Bullets: Use bullet points to make a list of items easier to read.
  • Images: An image helps draw the reader into your story. The caption should summarize your main point. Give the photo an “alt” tag to tell Google what the picture is. It will also help improve your search ranking.

A lengthy, poorly-organized blog post is like a meal at Denny’s: there’s too much on the plate, and it’s probably not healthy. Concise writing will keep your readers and search engines happy.

Jonathan Lehrer is a public relations consultant. He blogs at MrCommunicator.com, where a version of this article originally appeared.

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