When you first start blogging, it can be easy to put the cart before the horse. In other words, it’s not uncommon for bloggers to be concerned primarily with optimizing their content before they get to the actual content creation. Unfortunately, following that process won’t get you where you want to go. While you will want to optimize the content on your blog for more visibility (pun intended), your initial concern should be the quality of content.
After all, you should always write for users first and search engines second. If your content is poor, it doesn’t matter how optimized it is. Users won’t have any reason to seek it out.
Use these blog content tips to write posts that users will want to read, share and subscribe to:
Before you write a single word, it’s crucial to consider whom your audience is and what they might want to take away from your blog. Without understanding what your audience wants, it’s impossible to decide on what to write and how to write it. For more information on writing for your audience, please see a previous post we wrote on the subject.
Once you have determined your audience, take some time to examine the blogs of your competitors. What is that blog doing well that you can learn from? What is it doing poorly that you could improve on? In addition to thinking about these questions, you’ll also want to make sure you’re not replicating a competitor’s content. Think about providing something your competition can’t or taking a different angle on a popular story in your industry.
As much as possible, aim to produce scannable content on your blog. Since most users will quickly scan content before deciding whether to stay on the page, you’ll want to avoid complex sentences, large blocks of texts, and posts without images. To make your content scannable, opt for short paragraphs, bullet points or lists, and images or graphs. Ideally, you’ll also want to keep your posts between 250-500 words.
Although not mandatory for every post, you will want to include calls to action at times. For blogs, a soft call to action, which is one that invites users to further explore the content on your site, is particularly appropriate. Calls to action aren’t entirely self-serving, either. They will help direct users through your site.
So, before you go take the time to optimize your content, make sure that you have content worth optimizing. Without excellent content, your blog will be a really nice cart, but there will be no horse to pull it along.