This guest post is by Ginny Soskey of Shareaholic.
A perfect blog post is hard to come by. Sometimes the mistakes are small, like a grammatical error, and other times the mistakes are so glaring that you just can’t look away.
You spend so much time coming up with post ideas, optimizing, editing, and promoting that you should make sure your posts are near perfect so your efforts don’t go to waste.
To help you make sure you’ve covered all your blogging bases before you hit “post,” I’ve created a handy infographic outlining the perfect post with some key learnings below:
It’s essential to start your post off with a great headline.
In Shareaholic’s publisher network, the most shared websites tend to optimize for keywords in their headlines, include headlines less than ten words, and stick to “list” and “how to” kinds of posts.
Think of your headline as a tweet—would you click through to the link if it showed up on your feed? Crafting a headline in the form of a tweet also ensures that your headline is short enough to be shared via Twitter.
People like to scan, and large blocks of text scare them off. Try to break up your copy with several sub-headers as it will make it easy for readers to digest your content. Having sub-headers will also help them to comprehend your post as the main points are brought immediately to their attention.
Numbers, bolded text or larger font size are all ways you can create sub-headings for your blog. If you have several authors for your blog, be sure to tell them how you want your sub-headers to be styled in your editorial guidelines.
3. Optimized copy
SEOmoz’s infographic of the perfectly optimized blog post will guide you to see where you should place your keywords throughout your post.
To identify your keywords in the first place, make sure to check your content analytics tool to see what organic keywords and topics are popular with your readers.
Having visual and interactive elements to your blog post is essential to engaging visitors on your blog. Find stock photos or Creative Commons Licensed material using Compfight or even create one of your own.
The best part about using visuals in your posts is that it’s easy to reuse them to promote your blog on Pinterest, which Shareaholic found to be the fifth largest traffic source in the world. Among our publisher network, we notice that websites with branded visuals get the most shares on Pinterest while along benefitting from the brand exposure of including their name in those shares.
5. Embedded CTAs
Ultimately, you want your readers to take some form of action from your blog. That could mean subscribing to your blog so they come back again, or maybe downloading an ebook or other offer from you.
Make it easy for them to do so by embedding a call to action (CTA) in your post. From what we see in our publisher network and on our own blog, CTAs above the fold do the best, as your readers don’t have to scroll to take action.
This is prime real estate on your blog, as it is displayed no matter which article your readers are viewing. Use this area to show off links to your social networks, subscriptions to your RSS feed and email list, and free downloads of white papers, infographics or badges.
One of my favorite plugins for the sidebar is Social Media Widget—it’s easy to customize and use for bloggers of any level. Having these buttons will help keep your readers connected with you long after they leave your article.
7. Social sharing tools
After you create content that people enjoy, you need to make sure it’s easy for them to share it through their social networks.
Make sure your social sharing tools are prominently displayed on each post. Also, you should choose social sharing buttons that your readers are likely to use—you can use content analytics to determine where people are sharing your content and then include those social networks in your sharing buttons.
8. Related content
It’s not always love at first “site”: it may take a few posts to convince your reader to share your content or subscribe to your blog.
A related content tool speeds up this process by engaging your current readers with suggested posts at the bottom of each article you publish. This is sure to increase your pageviews and improve your overall time on site.
As social media has gained popularity, commenting on a blog post has expanded from the real estate directly below the post to other networks like Facebook and Twitter. Commenting systems have evolved to accommodate to this change and one of my favorites is Livefyre—it works in realtime and integrates seamlessly with Facebook or Twitter.
Knowing how to optimize your layout for maximum pageviews and social shares is incredibly important to growing your blog. What are some of your favorite tools to help create a perfect blog post? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
Ginny Soskey is a marketing manager at Shareaholic. Shareaholic creates social sharing, related content and content analytics tools for more than 200,000 websites, reaching 300 million people each month. You can keep up with Shareaholic on the Shareaholic blog to get more tips on blogging.