Great content is key to growing your readership. Once they find you and see what your blog has to offer, they’re going to keep coming back for more. But what is it that makes content “great” in the first place?
In a nutshell, content that ranks on top of Google search engages readers. so converting casual readers into engaged users is the goal of the kind of content you want to write. Below are factors you need to consider when writing your next great blog post.
It might not be something you have thought about but the first thing your reader is going to notice (or hopefully not notice) is the amount of time it takes to load the page. The actual content isn’t the only thing that comprises great content. It also has to do where the content is published.
For starters, run your site on GTMetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights to help you see what keeps your site from loading faster.
If you aren’t hosting and managing the site yourself, most of the suggestions featured here will be too technical for non-developers, but you can do things like optimize image size and disable laggy plugins. Get help from a web developer to resolve technical issues for you.
Because technical changes might even beyond the ability of a developer due to lack of access, consider changing your web hosting. There are lots of hosting services to choose from, but only a handful of them are worth signing up to. Matthew Woodward covered in his post the best web hosting to choose from in terms of performance. This should help narrow down your choices.
How you present your content affects how visitors react to it. If it’s a wall of text without images, then expect them to leave your site faster just as fast as it loads. There are many blogs that are doing everything right and readers aren’t afraid of bailing early in hopes of finding something more readable.
Make your sentences and paragraphs short. Use a maximum of 20 words per sentence and three sentences per paragraph. By decreasing the content’s length between thoughts, you make it easier for people to read your content, keeping them on your page longer.
Another way to engage visitors with your content is through the use of visual content. While you can feature royalty-free stock photos, most of them don’t really capture what your content is all about. There are lots of screen capture tools out there that make it easy to create a GIF or if you need to flesh out your ideas even more, most have the option to create a video with or without audio.
If you don’t have one downloaded already, one screen recorder tool that does both is CloudApp. By producing custom images, GIFs, and even videos on your content, you can get the attention of visitors much more effectively.
Font is ultimately a personal choice since there’s not one font type that people prefer over others. At the same time, you don’t want to use font types that are difficult to read or those with a bad reputation like Comic Sans.
What does matter a lot is the font size and content width of the blog. You don’t want a font that’s too small or too big for your blog’s content width. To fix this, use the Golden Ratio Typography (GRT) Calculator. Choose the font type then enter either the font size or the content width. The tool will help compute for the size and width you must use on your blog.
Lastly regarding the font color, black over white background should work just fine. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Finally, you need to make sure that your call to action is clear from the very start of the article.
First, your CTA will depend on what you have defined as the most profitable action a user can take. For example, you might encourage people to purchase a product or service from your site, but in some cases, it might make more sense to offer them a free trial or to download an ebook.
Also consider the value of a secondary CTA, like encouraging readers to sign up for your newsletter.
Finally, make your CTAs as big and visible as possible. Use buttons with contrasting colors to your blog’s theme to help them stand out from the design. This way, visitors won’t miss them and will be compelled to take action on them.
Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about factors that Google loves before they even crawl your site. The title is the first thing that people see about your page because it is displayed in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs. Therefore, it is paramount to make your titles indicate that it will deliver on what the searcher is looking for.
Check out the title of the pages that rank well for your search query. They should give you a baseline on how you should write your blog post’s title. For instance, if the titles have numbers in them, i.e. Top 10, 20 Best, etc., then you should consider adding numbers in yours. That also means the article will be a listicle or content that enumerates something about your topic.
Make sure that the content delivers on the promise of the title to avoid having them leave your site right away after clicking (more on this later). Ideally, include the name of the company at the end of the title so users can associate the content with your brand. However, only do this if you have a place in your title to do so.
The maximum character count for titles is 60. If your title exceeds the maximum character count, then the title will appear truncated on SERPs. To help you get the most out of your title, use a tool like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to help gauge the quality of your title based on different factors.
The tool then will score your title – the higher the score is, the better it is for readers. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that people will click on it. Nonetheless, having a higher Headline Analyzer score is a good indicator that your title is well-written.
Similar to the title, compare the meta descriptions of the top-ranking pages and see how they wrote them. Then basically copy and emulate what you feel is the best description of all the ranking pages combined.
The character count for meta descriptions is 160. Keep your description within this number to avoid getting truncated on the results page. Make sure to include your target keyword in the description, preferably in the first 50 characters of your description. Google highlights exact match search terms found in the meta description.