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:
- Introduces new readers to your older work
- Prompts readers to visit more pages, and therefore spend more time on your site
- Shows relevance of your overall body of work
- Provides a path for search engine spiders to crawl and index your site
- Helps you discover when someone is scraping or stealing your content by providing a pingback
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?