At the beginning of their blogging career, many bloggers just simply start out by writing their random thoughts down. This is actually a good exercise to do every day when you want to develop your writing skills. Writing your thoughts down is one thing though. Writing them down in a way that appeals to readers and make them want to continue reading, is another.
The structure is the skeleton of your blog post. Without it, it just falls apart. And when your blog post lacks clear structure, readers will find the text hard to understand. Even when you might be discussing an interesting topic, the chaos of words will scare away your readers and they move on to greener pastures..
There’s just too much information online and people have too little time to absorb it all. When your blog post does have a good structure, your reader easily understands your main points and message. They’ll be encouraged to take action, share your blog post and this will drive more traffic to your website.
The following guide will take you step by step through the components you need to create a well-structured blog post and offer you some examples of different types of blog posts.
6 Steps To an Effective Blog Post Structure
A blog typically consists of 3 parts; an introduction, a middle (body), and a conclusion.
Let’s dive into this a little deeper.
Part 1 Introduction
#Step 1: The Title
The title introduces your content. Without an attractive title, your blog will likely go unnoticed. We are overwhelmed with the amount of information that is offered to us every day. Most people therefore only quickly scan websites and articles.
According to Forbes Magazine, 59% of people shares an article on social media without even reading it. If your title doesn’t lure in readers, they definitely won’t read the rest.
“59% of people shares an article on social media without even reading it”
Use these tips to create an appealing and effective title:
Short title. Use a maximum number of 10 words for your headline. This makes sure your title isn’t cut off when shown in Google or other search engines.
Start with a draft. Create a working title, and then create 25 different versions. Usually your best ideas are found in the last section.
Choose your words wisely. The first 3 and the last 3 words receive the most attention from your reader.
See “100 Blog Title Templates” for more tips and templates.
#Step 2: Introduction or Lead Paragraph
This is the opening paragraph of the blog post in which you summarize your main ideas. After the title, this introduction reels the reader in or throws him back out to sea. It explains what the post is about, and tells the reader why they should read on. Keep it short to one paragraph consisting of 3 or 4 sentences.
Something that works well to attract readers, is sharing your personal experience. Make it recognizable. People love to read about other people’s experiences, especially about their failures and how they overcame them. By sharing something personal, you connect to your reader. And they’ll be more likely to read on.
Optional: if you didn’t explain what the blog post is about in the lead paragraph (maybe you used a quote to introduce your blog post), do it in the second paragraph.
#Step 3: Main Body
This is the biggest part of the blog. We live in an age of skimmers and scanners, so you need to keep your blog clear and easy to read. You do this by using several short paragraphs, bullet points and numbered lists.
Your main body can consist of one or several sections that are all interconnected, but they need a subtitle of their own. The subtitle indicates what you’re going to discuss next.
Use a lot of space and don’t be afraid to limit a paragraph to only one sentence.
It is easier on the eyes to have several short paragraphs than to have one long one.
Using images in your blog not only contributes to your reader’s visualization, but it also makes the text more accessible to the reader.
#Step 4: Summarize
Create a subtitle for the conclusion. You can use the word “conclusion” or a sentence that clearly indicates the main message. Summarize your message and main ideas in a few sentences and lead up to a call to action.
#Step 5: Call To Action
A call to action aims to persuade your reader to take an immediate action. It’s a marketing term used in advertising, selling and blogging. “Register Today” and “Book Here” are common examples of call to actions.
However, a call to action can also be a discussion question. A discussion question engages your readers to share their own thoughts in the comments section under the blog post.
Rather than limiting your blog post to a monologue, involve your readers and make it interactive. This is a good way to build up a relationship with your reader and see how effective your post is by the amount of comments you get.
Different Types of Blog Posts
There are different types of blog posts that you can use. Here are some of the most common examples.
1. The List Post
People love reading lists. The list post is the best way to present your ideas in a digestible format. The structure makes it super easy to scan through and easy to share.
Example: “5 Tips For Bringing Blogging Into Your Daily Life”
List posts have a bigger chance to go viral, which will drive up traffic to your website.
There are different orders you can use to present your ideas:
Numerical: from e.g. 1 to 5 for “Top 5” posts. This can either start with the ‘best’ or the ‘last’.
From easiest to hardest: when you’re writing a “10 Ways To” post.
Alphabetical: when you’re writing about a number of things that are all equally good e.g. “5 Books That Help You Become a Better Writer”.
2. The “How To” Post
Right now, you are reading a “How To” article. As the title suggests; “How To” posts show people how to do something. You can draw from your own experience, or do some research and construct a valuable piece of information that helps to enrich your readers’ knowledge.
Example: “How to Combine Profitability With Passion When Choosing a Blogging Niche”
“How To” posts are structured in a step-by-step guide or tutorial. For example, start with #Step 1 and build it up from there. Offer a conclusion in which you let the readers know what the end result should look like.
Find a balance between giving too much information and giving too little information. Write from the reader’s perspective. If your blog is focused on beginner writers, don’t use too much writer jargon.
Provide clear instructions, preferably with pictures. If you skip a step, it will only confuse your reader.
3. Review Post
The review post discusses your experience and opinion of a certain item or trip. You can review anything you wish, from a book to a 3 day sailboat adventure. Just give your honest opinion about it and list both the positives and the negatives.
Example: “Apple iPhone 7 Review”
The review post can also be used as a promotional post and marketing tool. Businesses offer bloggers free items or services in exchange for a review. When you have a promotional post, it is better to actually tell your readers that it is a promotional post, so you don’t lose credibility. Readers may think you got bribed into writing any positive feedback.
Things to include in a review post:
Overview: what is the product or service that you are reviewing?
Your experience: sum up the good points and the bad points.
Price: readers need to know.
Rating/conclusion: what do you think about the product or service? You can use numbers, stars, or other symbols to show your verdict.
Links to more information: share website links for your readers to get more information if they need it.
4. Interview Posts
Interview posts are a great way to increase traffic to your website as the people you’ve interviewed tend to share your post amongst their network. It links you to big names in your industry (provided they cooperate).
Example: this interview of NPR with author and humorist David Sedaris.
When you have a set (8-10) questions, it’s easy to just send it around to as many people as you like. Be careful not to generalize though. You can have some general questions, but include some questions specifically at the person you want to interview.
To include in your post:
Introduction of who your interviewee is and what he/she does.
General questions about their work and specific questions about their life. Try to avoid using boring questions.
Round off with involving your readers, asking them to leave a comment.
5. The Round-up Post
In a round-up post you can bring together expert knowledge on a particular subject in your field. Round-up posts can be used for links to big names or blogs, and contribute to your credibility. It shows that you’ve done your research and know the most important actors in your niche.
Example: “20 Monthly Blog Income Reports That Blow Your Mind”
You can do this for your own blog as well. For example, you can make a blog post about your 10 most popular blog posts and link to each one of them.
When you write a round-up post, make sure you:
Put the experts in alphabetical order. This way you don’t step on anyone’s toes. Or, put the responses in the order in which they arrived, and mention that in the post.
6. Personal Story Post
It can be scary writing something personal and sharing a part of…well, you. You might feel a little bit vulnerable and think that everybody is going to judge you. This is a normal thought, but try to see the bigger picture. When you connect with your readers on a personal level, it will help to increase their trust in you.
Example: “The Secret to Attracting More Clients to Your Blog”
When readers feel like they know you, like you’re a friend, they come back because they like listening to you. They most likely will share your posts, and start buying from you if you have something to sell. Be careful not to promote what you sell in your personal stories though. Self promotion in a post makes you sound like a desperate sales man.
Instead of trying to hit your reader in their wallet, try to hit them where it matters; the heart and the mind.
Write from the reader’s perspective. What do they gain from your post? Is it educational? Is it showing your human side? If your post isn’t valuable to your reader, it’s not worth publishing.
You don’t have to share your most intimate private life. Although sharing an embarrassing anecdote works really well, you can look for small stories to accompany your business lesson.
Try to think of unrelated personal experiences and connect them to your business tips (see the example above).
Start Building Your Skeleton
Getting a good structure isn’t that hard, but it does require a little thought and planning. Just use the examples above and start building your skeleton!