Optimize your content for the screen, and watch your blog performance skyrocket.
In the previous installment of our series on building the perfect blog post, we discussed how best to cater to the reader by crafting content tailored to your target audience’s particular needs and interests. In this post, we’re going to share key strategies to bear in mind when writing for the web.
Whether you’re organizing text to be screen-friendly or structuring metadata to increase traffic, building a successful brand publication requires intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of internet publishing.
Write for the Web
The best writers consider the readability of their content, no matter the medium. But when it comes to writing for the internet, specific factors must be addressed: does it look clean? Is it digestible? How will this appear in different formats? Remember: visitors to your page might be reading your content on a large desktop, but they also might be navigating it on a five-inch screen. Aim to make your piece easy to peruse in either scenario.
Whereas print writing generally fleshes out one idea or concept per paragraph, online content works a bit differently. To avoid walls of text, paragraphs should be kept to a three-sentence maximum, and the piece should be broken up with subheaders so that readers can easily skip ahead to the sections that are most applicable to their needs. Images and graphics are also a helpful way to add texture to your piece (just be sure they’re high-resolution and will display well on a variety of devices!).
You should also include links to helpful, reputable resources — both to substantiate your claims, and to further spice up the appearance of black text on a white backdrop. Standout quotes that express key concepts from the piece and calls to action (CTAs) are other smart additions to improve the reading experience for visitors.
Strike a Balance Between Evergreen and Of-the-Moment
While the focus of your blog content will vary based on your industry and specific goals, it’s a good idea to find a healthy balance between evergreen content that’ll be as helpful to readers in two (or ten!) years as it is on the day of publication, and timely content oriented around current events.
URL slugs and titles will be your best friends as you find your blog’s equilibrium. Keep in mind that URLs should never be updated, so it’s essential to craft evergreen slugs. If you structure your URL and metadata correctly, there’s a good chance readers will find your blog posts long after publication.
On the other hand, your online content isn’t set in stone once you hit “publish.” Here’s one way to look at it: URL slugs are meant for Google, while the content itself is meant for the reader. Titles especially can (and should!) be changed as industry news and trends alter the online landscape. What’s more, the articles themselves can be continually updated in order to boost traffic or better assist readers with finding products that can help them — like yours!
A prime example is this article from EQ. While the title grabs readers’ attention with a knowledgeable yet accessible tone, the URL — /why-covo-chose-st-louis — is strategically optimized for search queries. One plays to the needs of visitors, while the other capitalizes on keywords that will drive traffic.
Optimize Your Metadata
Along the same lines, metadata can help users find your content — if it’s structured correctly.
Keep in mind the differences between various platforms. For example, Facebook is an emotional search engine, while Google is a fact-driven one. Facebook Open Graph Data uses original titles and descriptions to trigger a flash of interest and excitement that drives user traffic. Google Metadata, alternatively, provides structured descriptions of what users can expect to find when they click your link. Both platforms offer best practices for optimizing your metadata, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the nuances of each as you’re building your blog presence.
Build Your Blog, Build Your Business
Whether you’re looking to expand your social media audience or aiming to become a trusted resource in your industry, establishing a well-curated blog made up of carefully crafted posts is an important first step.