Do you sometimes feel like a headless chicken when publishing content for your blog?
There are so many moving parts and it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t have a grip on things.
But a grip today you will have, my dear Jedi.
Let’s make your life easier by following a blog post format that works every time.
Follow the format below for a blog post that the search engines love and readers love even more.
In a hurry? Download and print this handy-dandy checklist. Refer to it before you click publish and you’ll have a solid blog post every time.
I. Seduce Readers With a Blog Post Format They Can’t Ignore
This is all about the looks.
First impression and all that jazz.
How do you do this?
Format your post for the skimmers.
These are the people who give your article one look and decide if it’s worth reading or not.
Does it look sexy? Does it ooze of mouth-watering beauty?
That’s all they care about at first glance.
If your article has visual appeal, then they might just give you a minute or two of their precious time.
The good news is that you can do this very easily.
Here are the three important things you can do to get a blog post’s sex appeal up a notch.
✅ Write a headline that fascinates humans and guides search engine bots
This means including your main keyword in the title as well as having a catchy headline. The keyword helps bots know what the blog post is about. The catchy, interesting and relevant headline pique’s a skimmer’s interest and gets her to consider reading your blog post.
Here’s one of Twins Mommy blog post. Increase website traffic is the main keyword and 54 simple ways piques reader’s interest.
top tip: It is also recommended that you write the headline in title case.
✅ Make good use of H2 and H3 subheadings
H2 and H3 headings are your best friends.
For a skimmer, it’s a quick way to guess the content of your article without reading it.
SEO-wise, it’s a great place to put secondary keywords you’re trying to target (you do have secondary keywords, right?)
✅ Make peace with short 1-sentence paragraphs
It’s time to disappoint the inner grammar warrior in you.
Most people get frazzled and overwhelmed over long lines of text when reading on the web. So embrace white space.
This means writing paragraphs that are 1 -3 sentences long.
See how Derek Halpern of socialtriggers.com writes his blog posts.
Lots of white space. Short sentences. We likey online.
✅ Edit your article
You may have an enticing headline, powerful subheadlines and all the white space in the world.
But if your article doesn’t have any meat in it. If it doesn’t help anyone. If it’s all fluff…
Then no one’s going to read it. It’s not going to get shared. And you’ll have wasted their and your time.
If you need some tips on how to write blog posts that are not boring, here’s Neil Patel with some tips on how to write fun and engaging articles
✅ Have a call to action at the end of your article.
Every blog post should have a purpose.
Is it to get someone to sign up to your email list? Is it to teach something? Is it to get social shares?
Whatever your purpose is, make sure you follow through by getting your reader to take action.
And one of the ideal places to do this is at the end of your blog post.
The reader has read your article. He’s pumped up. He likes you.
So take this to second base. Take your relationship to the next step.
Hit him with a call to action he can’t refuse.
II. Oil the parts that make your blog go round
This isn’t a blog post format, per se.
But if you want a blog post that people can find. A blog post that’s SEO-optimized. A blog post that follows blogging rules and etiquette…
Then customize it so that it flows with your blog’s site structure.
✅ Assign your blog post to a category
A website’s structure is one of the most important parts of a well-organized blog.
This means that every blog post should be part of a group (also called a category) that talks about one topic.
Your job right now is to make sure it’s easy for search engines and humans to know which group a blog post belongs to.
How do you do this?
Assign that post to a category. Just one little check mark is all it takes.
If you’ve set the categories on your site to be indexed by Google, I recommend adding the post to only one category. This prevents duplicate content.
WordPress automatically copies your title and makes it the permalink.
Don’t let it do this.
Instead, make shorter permalinks that are easier for people to remember and don’t look spammy.
For best practice, use a combination of your main target keyword with some of the secondary keywords.
So for this blog post instead of
This is where you change the permalink in WordPress Gutenberg.
✅ Write the excerpt (optional)
The excerpt is “an optional summary or description of a post”.
It’s usually used as a summary in category archives. Normally, the category page will include the image, title and the first few words in the article.
But if your WordPress theme allows it, then you can customize the summary of each article by writing an excerpt.
In the new WordPress Gutenberg, you can easily write this on the document window on the right.
III. Post images that do the job
The images on your blog are not just eye-candy.
They have two important functions:
- to encourage the skimmer to read
- to make it easy for readers to share your post
For this reason, choose with care which images you post.
Another important consideration with images is making sure they are optimized for speed. This helps with SEO ranking.
When it comes to images on a blog post, here are the things you need to do before you click publish.
✅ Upload a featured image
This is also the image that gets used throughout your site. Preferably, use the main keyword for this image’s file name.
✅ Upload images for use on Facebook and Twitter
Are the file names one of your secondary or LSI keywords? So instead of image01.jpg, make this file name low-carb-diet.jpg
✅ Add images, gifs or videos to support your article
Get them to help explain the gist of the article so it’s easier for the reader to understand it.
Top tip: do not use the main keyword for all your image’s file names. This is added into your keyword ratio and you don’t want for it to go over the limit. Use secondary or LSI keywords instead.
In the new WordPress Gutenberg, you can easily add the alt-text. However, the only way you can change the title is by going to your image gallery.
IV. Optimize Blog Posts For SEO
First things first. Make sure your blog is already optimized for SEO. If you haven’t yet, then read this post, SEO Tips for Bloggers for better search engine rankings h
Have you got that?
Now let’s talk about all the elements in a blog post that boosts your SEO.
Important: I’m assuming here that you already have a list of keywords for this blog post. Ideally, have at least 1 main keyword, 3 supporting keywords, and 3-5 LSI keywords.
The keywords to have in every blog post
This is the keyword you want to rank for.
This usually has more search numbers, has higher competition and is about 2-3 words long. Chances are you won’t rank for this phrase immediately. It’s what you aim for down the road. For example, if your post is about the ketogenic diet, your main keyword may be keto diet plan. It has 74000 searches and medium competition level .
These are also called long tail keywords.
Often, this will include the main keyword but with more details. So with the Keto post, one of your secondary keywords could be Keto diet plan menu. It has 3600 searches and easy competition.
These are words that are related to your main topic. So your LSI keywords for the Keto blog post above could be ketogenic diet, healthy recipes or low carb diet.
✅ Put the main keyword in all the right places
Ideally, there are 4 places to write your main keyword. These are in the title, in an H2 subheading, and at least once or twice in the article. The first one, preferably, in the first few paragraphs.
Some people suggest adding the keyword a lot of times. In my experience this isn’t necessary. This is especially true if you use secondary and LSI keywords as well.
top tip: If you get stuck, and you can’t decide how many times you should add the keyword, just follow what Yoast says.
✅ Add secondary keywords
If it makes sense to add a secondary keyword in your title, then do it. If not, add secondary keywords in h2 subheadings and at least once in the article.
✅ Don’t forget the LSI keywords
Add your LSI keywords in headings and within paragraphs in the article whenever it makes sense to do so.
✅ Turn Yoast Green
Aim for Yoast to turn green whenever possible.
But remember this is just a guideline. Sometimes, I find that turning it orange is enough.
However, if it’s red, go through your article again and see if there is anything you can do to make it turn orange.
Here are the important Yoast settings to consider: (Add yongibarnard screenshot)
✅ Edit the Snippet:Make sure you write the meta title and description. Here’s MOZ’s guideline on length https://moz.com/learn/seo/meta-description
- Is the title length is 50-60 keywords?
- Is the meta description 50-300 characters?
✅ The Gear Icon
- Allow search engines to spider it
- Allow search engines to follow the links
- Customize the breadcrumb if your WordPress theme allows it
✅ The sharing Icon
Customize title and description for Facebook
Customize title and description for Twitter
V. Power up your blog post through Links
Have both internal and external links.
Internal links help with your site structure (as I mentioned in this article on SEOing your blog). It also makes it easy for search engine spiders to crawl your site.
External links help with the relevancy of your article (and stop linking to Wikipedia! That’s what everybody does)!
✅ link to related articles on your site
✅ link to external authority sites?
V. Conclusion and Other Things
These are all the things you need to know for writing an effective blog post format. It helps you rank in the search engines and it gets your target readers to engage with you, too.
If you have other personal requirements for your blog post before clicking publish, add it on to this list and make it part of your workflow.