When you write your blog posts, should your priority be hooking in the humans or ranking with the search engines? The answer, of course, is both. But you could argue that without the humans to read the posts, there’s no point in the search engines. So, this post is all about the people. Here’s what humans tend to like most in blog posts:
1. Powerful headlines
Headlines are really important to humans. They’re what make us pick up and buy a newspaper and they’re what guide us around the web when we’re browsing. If you don’t nail the headline, people won’t read the blog post. So, give your headlines the time they deserve. Come up with as many as you can, then pick the best one and make it even better. Target your reader, make it intriguing, be controversial, ask a question that gets people thinking, choose your words wisely and keep it short!
2. Well-written, quality content
Most people quite quickly lose interest if a blog post is confusing, doesn’t make sense or bores them before they even get to the end of the intro. After the headline, your opening paragraph is the next most important part of your post. Give readers an idea of what the post is about, but don’t tell them so much that they don’t bother to read on. Make sure you plan your writing so that is has a clear, easy-to-scan structure. Then tell a story, start a conversation, tell the reader something they didn’t already know. Keep it interesting, be original and always make sure you proofread it!
3. Informal, friendly tone of voice
People want to feel a connection when they read a blog post, so be human and write in the same way that you might talk to someone over a coffee. Think warm and friendly rather than formal or technical.
4. Easy to read
People are often in a hurry, so make it easy for them to scan your copy. Use sub-headings, lists, bullets and don’t ramble. As a rule, keep sentences to a maximum of 20 words and paragraphs to three sentences. 300-500 words is generally a good length for your average blog post.
5. Inspiring images
We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we often do. Much like a book with an uninspiring cover, a blog post with a boring image is unattractive to humans. Choose images that are relevant, engaging and preferably not generic.
Ultimately, write for humans first, but don’t neglect the search engines. For example, write your copy, then go back through it and add in your keywords (but not too many, that upsets the robots). And remember, humans and search engines actually have a lot in common – they both like good quality, unique content.
Can’t find the time? Why not get in touch and see how I can help.