The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post
If you’re just getting started with WordPress blogging, it all might seem a little overwhelming. And that’s to be expected—WordPress is a robust blogging platform with a plethora of features and countless plugins. And that’s not even including the abstract concepts of content creation or developing a content strategy.
But the idea of businesses creating content is here to stay: Two thirds of companies with an online presence have a content strategy. So even if you decide to hire someone to do the hairy business of writing your content for you, it behooves you and your business to familiarize yourself with the different parts that make up a great blog post. This guide on the anatomy of a perfect blog post covers each area in detail.
Blog Post Components
These are the parts of a WordPress blog post that you’ll see every time you publish a post. You can certainly ignore some of these—many people do and some of them even have successful blogs. But for the best chances at success for each post you write, and for your website as a whole, it’s a good idea to follow each one of these.
1. A Catchy Title
Your title—the headline of your article—is one of the most important parts of your post. Whether it’s on your website, Google, or social media, the title is the very first thing your potential readers see, so it has to pull them in. With a handful of words, you have to explain, describe and sell someone on the content of your article.
Pro tip: Having trouble coming up with ideas? Jot down list of titles as you’re writing your post. Once you’re finished writing, go look at your list and choose the best one.
2. A Catchier Introduction
The introduction to your post has to convince the reader that they did not make a mistake by clicking on your catchy title. It has to entice them to continue reading the rest of what you’ve written.
There are endless strategies for writing compelling introductions. Depending on the kind of site you’re writing for, you can cite some interesting information that the post will delve into. Or maybe you like to open with humour.
Pro tip: If you’re having problems writing your introduction, try writing it after you’ve written the rest of your post. This will give you a clearer idea of what your post is about and you can use your introduction to sell it to your readers.
3. Meta Description
The meta description of your post is nearly as important as your title and introduction. It’s the little blurb of text you see below the title of a search result on Google. As you can probably imagine, this can be almost as important as the title itself. This is your chance to entice a reader, in about 150 characters, to click your link.
A good meta description will have a brief description of the content in your article. It’s also a good opportunity to provide your potential readers with the value they’ll get from reading your post. Like your title and introduction, it should be engaging and compelling.
Pro tip: You can add and change meta descriptions by installing an SEO plugin, like the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress.
4. Post Excerpt
The post excerpt is a short summary of your article that WordPress uses to display on things like your website’s blog page or blog widget. By default, WordPress will add the first 55 words of your post to the excerpt setting. Even if you write killer introductory paragraphs, this might not always translate to the ideal summary you want your readers to see.
Instead, write a quick summary of your article to use as your excerpt. Not only is it more professional, but it will give readers more information when they’re scrolling through your posts.
Pro tip: Your meta description can be a great starting point for your post excerpt.
5. A Quality Featured Image
Featured images are a way to communicate the content of your blog post in a visual way. It gives your readers the initial impression of what they’re about to read.
More than this, featured images also provide a way to build trust and consistency with your audience and your brand. The images you choose should always be high quality, and they should match the tone and style of your other featured images. This will communicate professionalism and instill a sense of trust to your readers.
Pro tip: Be sure to optimize the images you upload to your WordPress site for maximum site performance and SEO.
6. Categories and Tags
All of your posts and pages should be well organized and make use of categories and tags. This helps Google and other search engines determine what kind of content you have on your site and rank it accordingly.
More importantly, it makes your site easier to understand and browse for your readers. If a reader discovers your website and enjoys one of your posts, they can navigate to the post’s category or tags and read similar articles. This also affects SEO, albeit indirectly: One of the factors in Google’s rankings is website usability.
Categories are broad subjects that your posts can be linked together under. Most websites can do well with a handful of categories to describe their post catalogue. For example, if you had a blog about music, your categories might be the genres you write about.
Tags are more specific. They describe in more detail what the post is about. In your hypothetical music post where the genre is the category, tags could be used to describe a band, album name, song names, and so on. You can use as many tags as you’d like, though you probably want to stick to a reasonable number.
Pro tip: Categories and tags can sometimes have a negative impact on SEO because of search engines indexing them. You can use the Yoast plugin to disable this.
7. Page Slugs
In WordPress, slugs are for used for changing the URL of your posts and pages. They can be configured for pages, categories, tags and even authors. By default, WordPress will try to set the page slug to the title of your post, but depending on your title, that doesn’t always work.
Slugs are meant to make your site more easily accessible, both to your readers and to search engines. And as with categories, this setting can affect your SEO directly and indirectly. They should be readable, relevant and succinct.
Writing Great WordPress Posts
Writing great blog posts is far easier said than done. If you ask 100 people how to write well, you’ll get 100 different answers. Thankfully, blogs have been around for a while, and there are a few guidelines you can follow that will get you moving in the right direction.
Short, scannable paragraphs are more successful in holding a reader’s attention online. Our phones and computers are constantly bombarding us with notifications and distractions, so our attention spans are limited. Keep your article moving and your readers engaged by limiting your paragraphs to two or three sentences.
Use subheadings to organize and break up your post. It makes the information easy to digest and keeps the pace of your article moving from one idea to the next.
Use numbered lists and bullet points where appropriate. This also makes your content more easy to scan and absorb and gives it the impression that it’s moving; the reader feels like they’re progressing quickly.
Adding images throughout your article is another way to give readers a break from reading, but it’s also used to give your readers visual context to your writing.
Pro tip: Plan what you’ll write before you write it with an outline. It will make your writing flow more smoothly, help keep you focused on the task, and it provides you with sensible places to add subheadings and lists.
Having great content and a content strategy is vital to the success of any online business. If you’re running a WordPress site, it’s probably because you recognize this and see blogging as a valuable tool to connect with your readers, clients, and customers. You aren’t be wrong.
Whether you’re running a personal blog or an e-commerce shop, the knowledge herein will give you the tools you need to write blog posts that are optimized for the web and will engage and excite your current and future readers.
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