Before writing any blog post, ask yourself: “Would I read this? Why (or why not)?”
Think about the subject (it should be relevant to your blog niche), illustrations (do they add to the story and do you have permission to use them), and page layout (check for scannability).
1. Great headlines matter
Some people write the headline first, then the post. Some do that in reverse. Regardless of the process, the headline is extremely important.
Things to consider when writing your headlines:
- Balance “catchy” with search engine literalness.
- Is it short enough to be easily retweeted?
- Is it linkbait (if yes, rewrite!)?
- If it’s appropriate, add a number — but make it manageable. Headlines that promise the “30 best xyz” are rarely more than a list of links. And that’s far too many of anything to rank in a meaningful manner.
2. Post length matters
I’ve read articles claiming that short posts are shared more frequently than long ones. And vice versa.
In an infographic released this week, Contently claims that articles of 3,000-10,000 words are shared socially more often than those of less than 1,000 words, relying on this work from OkDork:
Image via OkDork.com
That said: research your niche for norms. Test, measure, evaluate. There are few universal truths (aka a silver bullet) when it comes to web content.
3. What makes a link post great?
Although a link post contains at least one link to an external source, often but not necessarily another blog, that alone is not sufficient to characterize a post as a “link” post. Good blog posts almost always link out. But link posts link out in a specific way.
A link post lets you share good content that is related to the topic of your site. In the process, it serves as a way to position yourself as a subject matter expert. You will also build relationships with other bloggers.
Link posts can can provide resources on a topic, offer a counter-opinion on an article, or add perspective on an article or issue.
Link post tips:
- As a general rule, don’t simply list links in a resource post.
- Instead, annotate and limit the number of links in a post, like this one: Effective plugins for a writer’s professional portfolio site. (Bonus: is this a good example of headline writing? Why or why not?)
- When writing link posts that provide perspective or counter-arguments, make friends with the <blockquote> tag. Make your arguments concrete by highlighting the words of the posts that are you links.
- Almost never share just a “bare” URL like this one: http://uwdigipub.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/wordpress-resources/. They’re ugly, not scannable and do zilch for SEO.
4. How to find good content?
Here are a few ways to get started in your content search:
- Subscribe to other blogs, sites
- Find aggregators that cover your industry
- Check out AllTop for your topic
- Set up Google alerts, especially if you want to cover breaking news
Dig deeper into writing great blog posts with these resources.
- CopyBlogger has been helping folks create great content online since 2006.
- ProBlogger is a community/website run by Darren Rowse; its goal is to help bloggers grow skills and promote blogging.
- WordPress.org has developed best practices for posting (in general).
P.S. This is a short-ish post: 535 words.