4 Important Elements of Every Blog Post

by Ken Mueller on April 2, 2012 · 30 comments

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300px Periodic table.svg 4 Important Elements of Every Blog Post

Dansk: Det periodiske system English: Periodic table of the chemical elements Español: Tabla periódica de los elementos Suomi: Alkuaineiden jaksollinen järjestelmä (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are way more than four important elements of a blog post, right? Of course there are.

But I’m going to work under the assumption that you are already doing some of those. For instance, I hope it goes without saying that your blog consists of great, compelling content (at least “great and compelling” as far as your target audience is concerned).

I’m also going to assume that your posts are well constructed, that you allow comments on your blog posts, and that people can subscribe to your blog, or share your posts.

In short, I’m assuming that you have your blog set up properly. But beyond all that, I think that as you sit down to write each post, there are four particular things that you need to include. And I’m not talking about that SEO stuff like keywords. I’ll assume that if you’re creating good content which is related to your particular field, those keywords will most likely happen on their own.

So as you sit down to write each post, what are those four elements that you need to include, and why?

1) Images – Every blog post should have at least one image.

  • Having an image, particularly near the top, helps to draw people in and makes the post more eye-catching
  • An image in the middle of the text can be used to illustrate a point, and it also breaks up the text
  • Images are crucial for sharing, particularly on Facebook. If someone shares your post to Facebook, it will carry an image with it. A compelling image will make that Facebook share stand out a bit.
  • With the explosion of Pinterest, images take on greater importance. If you want someone to share your content on Pinterest, that must be done via an image. No image, or an image that is too small, prevents people from sharing over there.

2) Relevant internal links – Every post should have at least one link to another one of your blog posts or some other content on your own website. This does several things:

3) Relevant external/outbound links – I also try to link to at least one external article, blog post, or website in every one of my posts. Certainly you shouldn’t just randomly throw them in there just to have them; you should only link to things that make sense, which is why I used the word “relevant”.

There are a variety of reasons for this:

  • Readers will see that you like to share other people’s content
  • Sends readers to other content that you have deemed worthy
  • Adds to the level of value and trust that others put on you
  • Gives credit to others for their work, rather than claiming your thoughts as your own
  • Often draws the author of  the other content back to your site when they receive a pingback or see traffic coming from your site.
  • Relevant links that enhance your own content help with SEO, even more so now that Google is focusing more on content and context, rather than just keywords.
  • Outbound links increase your chances of getting inbound links.

4) A call to action- Now by call to action, I don’t necessarily mean what a lot of other inbound marketers mean. I’m not saying that every blog post needs to end with asking people to purchase your project or sign up for your email list or something like that. Sure, you can do some of that, but too much might keep people away. For me, most of my calls to action are merely questions I ask, based on the content of the post, to try to initiate some discussion. I want people to comment on my posts, add to the value of my content, and even disagree. Sometimes all it takes is an invitation to comment in order to spur people on.

The call to action can also be to get them to watch a video, download an e-book or whitepaper, or even to go to someone else’s blog.

You’ll find all of these particular elements in this blog post, and in just about every other post on my site. Sometimes I don’t have all of them, but they are generally there.

How are you incorporating any of these into your regular blogging? Are there any other elements that you feel are essential to every blog post you read or write?

 

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23 comments
kmueller62
kmueller62

@JonMikelBailey thanks for sharing Jon!

aromapannu
aromapannu

Thank you for this post. Great tips for a beginner. I am going to link your post so that fellow students can see it :-)

kmueller62
kmueller62

@EleanorPie hey, it's a process. we all have ways in which we can improve!

Diana Gross
Diana Gross

Great post, Ken. I'm somewhat new to blogging and need to work on identifying the "call to action".

girlseeksplace
girlseeksplace

Good points. I try to do these things already, but I'm going to make a more conscious effort to do after reading your suggestions. I don't have the time or patience to go back and edit old posts, but it's an easy fix from here on out.

kmueller62
kmueller62

@Mark_Harai thanks for sharing, Mark!

Shonali
Shonali

Couple other things I'd add: credit (for images, links, etc.) and disclosures. I know bloggers have become much more savvy about doing this, but it's a good exercise to announce not just any vested interest you might have, but any personal predilection you might have as well. That goes a long way in building trust.

The CTA is really important. I've been trying to do this more, even though my CTAs tend to be questions, as are yours. The simplest way to get people involved is to ask them their opinion about something. Sometimes they'll offer it anyway, if the post raises strong feelings in them, but very often, they won't - and asking is the best way to get them started.

Latest blog post: Change: It's A-Comin'

annelizhannan
annelizhannan

Nicely done, short , sweet and all the points.

BestRoofer
BestRoofer

Ken, I appreciate your articles that help to make me a better blogger.  Thanks!

Livefyre
Livefyre

@kmueller62 You're very welcome, Ken!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @C_Pappas Sure thing. It's something I really had to work at, and force myself to do. Now it comes pretty easily. 

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @girlseeksplace No need to edit old posts. But you should at least link to them in newer posts!

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

@kmueller62 You're most welcome Ken, good to hear from you : )

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @Shonali yes, one thing I left out, that I had intended to put in the section about images was to make sure you weren't just taking something off of the web. That's why i like Zemanta, It's a browser add on that finds free and creative commons types of images for your post, based on the content of the blog you are writing, and it brings the credit for the image with it. sooooo nice. 

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