Two Tips To Boost Your Blog’s Success

Posting good, evergreen content that educates, entertains, and/or inspires your target audience is the core of a successful blog – but great content that takes agonizing hours to write and doesn’t keep readers on the page is a waste of your time and theirs. Here are a couple of tricks that will help you write faster and retain readers:

Change the World, Obama. | Nobel Prize for Peace version

Photo by sara b.

Create a blog post template
Devising an article template will help you write posts in minimal time. Once you establish a basic “look” and layout for your posts and assemble your topic notes and/or resource material, you’ll do less searching for inspiration and more filling in the blanks. Think of this as a general plan – not a rigid template – that addresses your introduction, image placement, paragraph length, and closing statement.

You’ll write faster if you have a solid idea of the article’s overall content and direction before you begin. You can use your template to accomplish this – simply spend a few minutes jotting notes about the points you want to make in the intro paragraph, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Then go back and fill in the content.

Here’s a basic outline for a tutorial-type post:

  • Compelling title: Your headline serves the dual purpose of conveying content and grabbing readers’ attention. It will also help with search engine optimization (SEO) if your title contains a keyword or keyword phrase.
  • Intro with a hook: Your first paragraph will be your hook, designed to compel the reader to continue. If your intro is interesting enough to get people to read the first four sentences, they’ll be more likely to read the entire article.
  • Describe the benefits: Entice readers with a promise. Tell them how they’ll benefit if they read your post. Explain the issue and how you’re going to help them overcome it.
  • Resolution: What are the readers’ options for a workable solution?
  • Implement the solution: Provide practical advice readers can easily follow and describe the steps they’ll take to get there. Demonstrate how they can get solid results.
  • Conclusion: Tell them what you told them in the body of the post.
  • Call to action: Invite readers to subscribe! Always include a call to action and ask readers to subscribe to your blog or newsletter email list.

Check out this great infographic! How To Write the Perfect Blog Post

Format each article to be “scannable”
Note PaperHow a blog post is formatted can influence whether or not you hold your readers’ interest. Although great content should be the core of every post, the way you present information can also affect your blog’s readership and ratings. Incorporating customary operating procedures into each article you write will help you both standardize your process and tick all the boxes required for building a successful blog. Here are a few basics you’ll want to be sure to weave into every post, every time:

  • Avoid long paragraphs. Reduce large paragraphs into smaller groups of four or so sentences. If you format each post using small paragraphs, you’ll keep more readers on the page. Break up text with bold subheads. Bolded subheads will both stop and hold the reader’s eye and define blocks of information for them.
  • Use bulleted and numbered lists. Avoid long explanations separated by commas; instead, break strings of data down into bulleted or numbered sections. This method will help the reader scan your article.
  • Include links to relevant sources. Linking to pertinent information online is helpful to readers and good for you. Google likes to see articles refer to related content, and such links will build authority for you with search engines. Too many links can be detrimental, so don’t use more than one link every 200 – 300 words.
  • Add images. Images break up the copy and provide visual interest. Strive to include at least one good image in every post, whether it’s a graph, infographic, screenshot, photo, poll, or illustration. Note: you’ll need to understand and adhere to copyright basics carefully.
  • Decide on a post length. Blog posts should be long enough to successfully get your point across succinctly. You’ll read references to “correct” blog post length that range from 200 words to 1,200 words; some experts suggest that search engines prefer longer posts because it increases their ability to “read” what the post is about. You decide!
  • Email posts as an excerpt. As I’ve mentioned before, I recommend that blog posts be sent to subscribers as an “excerpt” (first couple of paragraphs only) as opposed to emailing the entire article. Subscribers who receive the full article don’t need to visit your blog to read it. An excerpt will encourage more actual website visits, which will help boost your traffic stats.

Next week book blogger Casee Marie will demonstrate how to use WordPress’ Editorial Calendar plugin. Creating an editorial calendar is another smart strategy that can keep your blog organized and on track. Don’t miss it!

Do you have any tips and tricks you’ve learned that have helped you blog faster, better, more successfully? Please leave a comment and share!

BlogIt!Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and you’ll never miss my weekly posts! It’s easy: Just enter your email address in the upper right corner of this page. I’ll never sell, share, or rent your contact information. That’s a promise! And if you want to learn the basics of blogging, read the reviews for my book, Blog It!

Photo attribution: sara b.

, , , ,

22 Responses to Two Tips To Boost Your Blog’s Success

  1. Anne R. Allen July 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    Great, simple overview of how to write a blogpost. Thanks. Definitely sharing this!

    • Molly Greene July 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

      Thank you so much, Anne!

  2. Bridget Whelan July 1, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    Thanks Molly. I have learned a lot from reading your blog, not just the advice but also by the way you implement it.
    The one tip I’d like to pass on is a useful source of photographs where most of the high quality pictures are free to bloggers through creative commons.

    • Molly Greene July 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

      Thank you so much Bridget. I recently added a new plugin called Compfight that lets a blogger add Creative Commons images right in the post and even gives the proper attribution – I will blog about it soon!

  3. Laura Zera July 1, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    I don’t know how many times you’ve coached to end with a call to action and I still never do it. D’oh. Although I did put one of those header bar thingies that you (and/or Jeri) recommended. Gettin’ there… LOL!

    Can’t wait to read next week’s post, too. I did not know of this Editorial Calendar plug-in of which you speak! Sounds like a good one.

    • Molly Greene July 1, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      I was blogging for almost two years before I felt bold enough to ask readers to subscribe. We move at our own pace, and that’s the way I like it 🙂

    • Jeri July 9, 2013 at 9:01 am #

      “Little by little, one travels far.” One of my favorite Tolkien quotes 😉

      • Molly Greene July 9, 2013 at 11:38 am #

        I wish I’d paid attention to that little gem back when I was 20 years old!

  4. Victoria Grefer July 1, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    Fantastic tips here. I can’t tell you how much my blog expanded when I did research about how to write a blog post. Making it scannable is HUGE. And using a template saves you so much time!

    I always try to include a bulleted list as part of my template. I’ve heard from multiple sources that SEO likes that.

    • Molly Greene July 2, 2013 at 8:09 am #

      Hi Victoria! Great tip about the bulleted list. Sadly, I haven’t paid as much attention to SEO as I should have, so I appreciate the reminder!

  5. The Desert Rocks July 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Good tips. As a creative writer I can’t see using a template because originality in each post is crucial, but there are other things I need to learn more about like emailing snippets and getting readers to come read the rest. Thanks.

    • Molly Greene July 2, 2013 at 8:06 am #

      Thank you so much for the read and comment! By all means, use what works for you and ignore the rest. As always, it’s just food for thought and I’m happy if any small part of this helps!

  6. Elizabeth Ducie July 1, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Another great post Molly. I’ve just finished a series of articles on my blog and am taking a month off before relaunching with a different angle, so this is particularly useful for me right now.

    • Molly Greene July 2, 2013 at 8:03 am #

      Thank you so much Elizabeth, and best of luck to you on your re-launch!

  7. ZenyaGFX July 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    Another great article. I’ve never thought of a “template” for blog posts, but it’s a super idea.


    • Molly Greene July 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

      Hey Jennifer! Try the template route and see if it helps. I’m all for anything that takes the over-thinking element out of the equation, and the template idea does that for me. Thanks so much for your read and comment!

  8. Debbie Young July 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Great post, Molly, thank you! I’ve just published my 250th blog post but your advice is still always helpful, whether new ideas to me or confirmation that I’m doing something right!

    • Molly Greene July 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

      Oh my gosh – 250 blog posts? Let me see, at one post a week, I’ll reach that figure in about two years. I still have so much to learn, and so much writing to do! Thanks so much for your support, I appreciate it.

  9. Candace Johnson July 3, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    These are great tips, Molly. I’ve also started adding links to some of my past blogs on my current one, and that’s also increased views to older, relevant posts.

    • Molly Greene July 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      Thanks, Candace! I’ve heard linking to past posts also helps with SEO, but what do I know?? SEO is not my strength.

  10. Brian July 5, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

    Great article, with great comments. I’m going to try your suggestions and I’ll post in my blogs about the results, with links back to you for the details. It’s funny to blog about blogging, I do it often and find it amusing. In the end, if you are helping people, good karma is coming to you! I’ll be trying out the Compfight plugin as a response to someone who gave me good feedback about my blogs needing more color. Like I said, good comments that were as helpful as the original article.
    This is a great resource and I will subscribe.

    • Molly Greene July 6, 2013 at 8:58 am #

      Hey, Brian, thanks so much! I’m loving Compfight but there are several other free-type resources you can tap for blog images. Here’s a post that might help: Copyright Basics For Authors: – also, check out the “Resources” page on my website. So nice to meet you!