Last week, I shared eight reasons why every writer should blog and also linked to my new series on setting up and using WordPress. Today, I want to look at the four key components of a successful post.
Title: What might make for a great article title may not be a great blog title. Blog titles need to appeal to both readers and search engines. When blogging, avoid short titles and don’t use a play on words, a clever twist, or provocative thought. The title must make it clear what the post is about, include words a search engine will like and make the best use of the space. Here are some formulas for what works well:
- Answer a question, as in “How to…”
- Ask a question, as in “Why people…”
- Give a numbered list, which I’ve done in this post.
- Use a title and subtitle format, which I’ve also done in this post.
Content: What we write in the body of our post is critical. As they say, “content is king.” We’ll talk more about this in future posts, but briefly, our posts must be well written, carefully proofed, concise, and scannable.
Category: Each post needs a category, which is like a folder of similar posts. Always pick one category for each post; don’t use the default of “uncategorized.” We want a handful of carefully considered categories, appropriate to our blog’s theme. I recommend at least three but no more than eight. Using categories focuses our thoughts, organizes our work, and helps readers find related posts. Plus, I understand categories help search engines.
Tag: I once thought a tag was synonymous with keywords, but they are different. A tag is a word or short phrase that connects one post with similar posts. One SEO expert said to use no more than six tags, but another said one is ideal. I recommend one or possibly two tags per post. I also pick tags I’ll likely use again. Tags help readers discover other content on our blogs and can aid search engines.
Most bloggers focus on content, but give little thought to the title, may sometimes use a category, and usually skip tags. Yes, these extra considerations may distract from writing great content, but with practice, they will come quickly and take little extra time.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.