Do you always worry about what format should you use when you start to write a new blog article?
So do many bloggers.
We know instinctively that we should never judge a book by its cover, BUT we always do!
Choose the wrong blog format & you lose trust. Get it right, the website bounce rate decreases, engagement, and time on page increases.
Here are simple techniques that can help you focus on your reader or the subject you are writing about but also knowing that the blog format you are using is perfect.
Let’s dive right in!
1. Format blog article around your reader’s expectations
Before starting to write, we absolutely need to get our reader’s expectations right. If we fail the bounce rate of the blog article will be very high, and the time we’ve spent on writing could have been spent elsewhere.
Simple, the keyword he used on Google, gives us a hint on what the audience’s expecting of our article.
If I typed on Google “how to write a blog post,” the expectation I have is a Guide article that could walk me through all the steps on how to write a blog post. Everything else, Listicle, Case Study are inappropriate because they don’t meet my expectation.
The format of our article should always be in sync with the keyword our audience will use.
Here are the primary blog format templates I found on BuzzSumo that content managers mostly use to create an article:
- Listicle: Most used type of blog post, very easy to scan.
- Guide: Step by step article, a tutorial that walks the reader through solving an issue.
- Explanation: What or Why article, great for explaining an idea, concept, or opinion.
- Case Study: Research, is excellent to show what we have discovered.
Nearly every search results are formatted in a way that one of these rank highest depending on the keyword you use. Google’s goal is to rank highest every page that will resolve the searcher’s intention and match it with the most accurate article, often in substance and format.
In Saia, when you want to create an article and add your primary keyword, he tells you exactly what kind of format template your reader will be expecting based on the data from search results.
2. Nail down your introduction with a framework
Have you ever read 2 lines of an article then left?
Well, that’s because the introduction didn’t capture your attention, so you didn’t even bother reading the article.
Introductions are critical moments, and it’s when people decide if they should leave or not. Brian Dean from Backlinko created a framework for introductions called APP.
APP is a simple framework for creating introductions. It’s about Agreeing with your audience when you start, give them a Promise then show a Preview.
Another framework that’s used is Ask a question. It goes like this: “Did you ever felt lost before writing an article? I feel you. What I gonna show will significantly ease the writing process.”
It’s great to tell your reader, “Hey, I understand you have this issue, but here you’ll have it solved.” Neil Patel is the master of Ask a question he uses it everywhere, blog articles, podcasts, videos, conferences.
You can also create your own mixing others framework, but remember the purpose of this is to catch the attention of your audience.
Some bloggers have lengthy introductions, and others have next to none. But What you should remember is, try different things and see what works for you. In all of that just remember that your primary goal in an introduction is not to summarize, it’s to captivate the reader at all cost!
3. Subheaders help you and your reader
You see this in nearly every blog post. Subheaders are a great way to split your blog post in a digestible size for your audience.
Not everyone will read every part of your article, and some people just skim online content to find something of value to them, it’s okay. All you want to do is provide a blog format helping them skim and stop to read when they saw a subheadline or paragraph of value.
Other people only read the subheaders and decide if it’s worth it to read it all. In fact, we all have different habits on the web, acknowledging it with a digestible format increases the time spent on site.
In short, to increase your writing speed, you can use subheaders as your outline. Doing so will simplify everything you need to finish your blog post.
Humans hate ambiguity and uncertainty, and it’s part of our brain and how he evolved. Reducing all the possibilities by using a predictable outline for you and your audience is a winning strategy when it comes to writing content. It helps you focus on gathering research & what you can bring to your audience it’s way more valuable than having a big chunk of text without any blog format.
The blog writing format is essential, but so do the blog appearance itself.
4. Narrow blog layout helps the reader to focus
The website design is at uttermost important. This is what your audience will see the first time they enter your website!
Even Google says that your Design can affect your rankings! In the E-A-T Guidelines, they explain to their testers to give a score of trustworthiness depending on what they see on the page. Be careful of what you do with your design. I know they are many blog templates avalaible, but don’t use something that could damage the user experience.
Your layout must be simple to follow, clear, and ease the reading session. The number of words on a line can be either daunting of motivating.
When the layout is narrow, it motivates the reader to read because their’s not that much words to read on the line. Be careful of your font size! Not everyone has good eyes. Make your blog posts accessible to people with disabilities.
Don’t use unreadable fonts, please…
Serif fonts are great for headlines, but horrible when used in the paragraphs. Get help from a good designer. It will increase the perceived value of your blog. You may have high-quality contents, with deep research, valuable advice, but if you present it poorly, you’ll hardly reap the benefits of your work.
Medium website is excellent for that, their font is readable, and their font size is big, making it very accessible. I try to follow their guidelines because I think it’s are great start.
5. Always keep the paragraphs short
Have you ever been on a website with a BIG chunk of text to read?
It’s so frustrating because the author didn’t even try to put the necessary effort to ease my session on his website. He just gave me this unreadable thing.
Do you know what I always do?
Hit that big back button to go back to the search engine and find another result that has made the necessary effort.
Some blog writers always format their article to have 1 single sentence for each paragraph. Personally, I don’t like to go to such extreme, and most blog articles use 1-3 lines for a paragraph. Keeping it on this range is healthy.
For instance, I often see famous bloggers have 1 line paragraphs at the beginning then later in the text they use 4-5 lines. I suppose if someone read 3/4 of your blog article, it isn’t accurate anymore to judge by the number of lines in a paragraph because they are very likely to finish it — they are already engaged.
It’s a simple trick to just keep in mind because today everyone is busy, so ease your reader’s eyes when reading at 3:42 am while they are eating a burrito.
6. Use lists everywhere you can
Everyone love LISTS!
Surely the best blog format.
Lists are easy to read, understand, skim. They are everywhere in many blog posts. Now lists are even a type of articles that people loves to read.
Because it helps us digest information quickly and in our head, we tell ourselves “There are 5 items in the list, I know I will read that at lightning speed, let’s give it a try.”.
They are important, not only in blog post format, but they are also used in search engine results, Facebook feed, Youtube videos or your contacts in your phone, lists are everywhere!
Never hesitate to use them when possible, it’s rarely the case that you created too much of them.
7. Give emphasis when needed
To grab the attention of your audience on some part of your text, you must give it emphasis.
There are multiple ways to do that :
- Use bold text
- Special design element
Breaking the pattern is a great way to grab attention. It must just look different from the paragraph text.
The most used emphasis of all is the Bold text, but don’t put everything on bold because it will lose its weight.
8. Use images complete what you are talking about
Like the old saying, a picture’s worth a 1000 words.
Use images as much as you can. People are more visually oriented. If you can complete what you are saying with an image, do it!
It can even be a meme, that’s what I was using in my last blog, and people were talking about the memes I was using on my articles. It was a funny way to illustrate what I was saying, and people will associate it to the text and remember the subject easily because of the meme.
But, if you can show graphs, screenshots, infographics it’s even more valuable because they can show it to their peers.
I hope these blog writing tips were helpful to you!
Now all you have to do is apply it when you are going to write your next article to see results.