Editor’s Note: As a designer, it’s important to have a strong online presence, and a successful, well-crafted blog can give you a boost. If you’re looking to start a blog or take your current blog to the next level, this excerpt from Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton gives any blogger or blogger-to-be tips and tricks for fresh, compelling blog content. After all: Not all blog posts are created equal.
ANATOMY OF A COMPELLING BLOG POST
So just what separates a mediocre blog post from one that is awesome?
You have an advantage: if you’re reading this you are most probably a creative person with plenty of ideas for making your blog unique. Nonetheless, there are some specific features to a blog post that will help ensure that it is read, enjoyed, and shared. Let’s take a look at these essential elements.
On a business blog, the headline you choose is all important, because people will decide very quickly on the basis of your headline whether or not to click through and read. On the other hand, descriptive headlines often work perfectly well for creative blogs, especially if the blog content is visuals-led. You don’t have to be ultra cute with your headlines, but you do want your blog to stand out from the crowd. Ask yourself: would this headline interest or excite me enough to click through and look?
I’ve just presented you with a list of blog article types that work, but that’s just a starting point. Each time you blog, ask yourself: “Do I really care about this?” Great blog posts inspire others not just because they are entertaining or informative, but because the blogger is sharing something he or she cares about in their unique style. It has to come from the heart, and when it does your readers will feel a real connection.
Remember that a blog post can be text, video, photo(s), audio—or any combination of these. If your main content is a photo or photos, make sure they are a good size. No one minds scrolling down to see photos if they are big and stunning. If you opt for a mainly written blog, do include a relevant photo, if you have a good one, as it breaks up the text and can enhance the message.
My advice to bloggers is always to keep it short—250 words is plenty. If you are naturally verbose you might find this tricky, but it is good discipline. If it’s 1,000 words long, it has to be a really great blog post to keep people reading all the way down. The exception to this could be a tutorial or recipe, or something broken up into steps. As you find your blogging voice, why not experiment—you might find the occasional “long post” is well received. Basically, brief and often is better than long and infrequent.
By this I mean things like a reasonably sized clear font in a dark color on a white or pale background, no background graphics beneath the copy, generous line spacing, short paragraphs and short sentences. These are all basic factors that can get overlooked. Your aim is to make it as easy as possible for people to read your blog posts, get the gist of it, comment, and subscribe.
Links between sites are the fuel of the web. Include links within your posts whenever relevant. For example, if you reference another site or article, make it into a link. You might also create a trackback from the. If you are showcasing your work, include a link to your store or portfolio.
If you want people to share your blog posts, offer lots of opportunities to do so and make it easy. For example, have “Tweet this,” “Google+1,” Facebook “like,” or “Share this” buttons.
Learn more about best blogging practices in Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton, available now from HOW books.