It’s time to build out your website’s blog, and you want to know what to include. Writing blogs can help boost a website’s search engine ranking, bring prospective customers from being only vaguely interested to ready to pick up the phone/fill out your contact form, and even help establish yourself as an industry authority.
To pull this off, you need to follow a few simple rules to blog writing:
- Minimum word count
- SEO informed vs. SEO dominated
- Well-placed internal & external links
- Easy to read format
- Appropriate call to action (CTA)
Believe it or not, web content writing is a niche with a lot of internal debate. We can go back and forth on the merits of SEO keywords themselves, whether or not to include a CTA, and how “salesy” a piece should read. Keep that in mind as we explore the digital DNA of an effective onsite blog post below.
A topic for another day – let’s dive in!
The Science of Web Content Writing
What excites Google’s web crawlers, the little bots responsible for your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs)? A few key factors: word count, SEO keywords, and page time.
Word Count: Size Matters
Content Informed – Not Dominated – by SEO Keywords
SEO keywords are an important part of seo best practices (see what I did there?). However, if you want content that ranks well in SERPs, and has the dual purpose of converting readers into customers, you need to place a priority on informative, authority-building content.
Yes, dabble those keywords in the post title (can you spot the keyword in this piece’s title?), and throughout the article’s headers and text, but don’t let keywords shape the entire focus of the piece!
From creative strategy, through to editing and uploading, you can keep tabs on those SEO keywords without letting them shape the direction of your content campaign. Don’t let keywords get lost in the shuffle, but make sure that the overarching theme backing your content is solid, actionable advice, and not one of the content marketing industry’s worst nightmares – keyword stuffing is so rampant, Google Support even had to call us out on it!
Yes, search engine optimization is important, but your blog also has the important task of converting customers.
Linking it All Together: Internal & External Links
One important aspect of writing blogs (by now, you’ve surely spotted this article’s primary keyword, right?), and webpage copywriting as well, is the use of internal (and, to a lesser extent, external) links. It’s hard to overstate the value of one to three well-placed, well-directed internal links with relevant anchor text.
In an ideal world, internal links flow to a relevant page, using anchor text appropriate to the link. Always strive to use a secondary (or primary!) keyword in your anchor text. For example, I’d write, “One best practice I’ve learned in terms of using internal links in blogs is to make sure the link provides supplementary value to the paragraph in which you’ve used it.”
External links are also valuable, but make sure you limit those to verified, accurate sources. On top of that, linking to a competitor is generally ill-advised. You don’t want to misguide your prospective customer into making a poor decision, and that includes hiring a competitor.
Easy Reading: How to Make Blog Posts Flow, So Readers Learn, Click, and Convert
As a wordsmith, this is where I say SEO best practices be darned! Just kidding – but, make sure your content flows smoothly. In addition to keeping readers on page as long as possible, you want readers to explore other pages on your site by clicking through internal links, and to be so impressed by your words of wisdom and actionable advice that they are converted into customers!
The Nuts & Bolts of Article Assembly
Here’s the gist of a reader-friendly article:
- Engaging title
- Bolded/italicized (still witty) headers & subheaders
I think we all understand that you’ve got to employ a bit of creativity to keep a reader interested once they’ve taken a gamble on you and clicked through to your site.
- 2-3 sentences per paragraph
- 2-3 paragraphs per section
- Reading score level of 6-8
Break it down for your customers – most readers are intimidated by a giant wall of text.
Even one sentence “paragraphs” are okay.
But word vomit isn’t, so make sure your thoughts are organized as concisely as possible!
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level scores are one way to assess your content’s readability. If you are writing to a more sophisticated audience, higher reading levels are a-okay!
- No internal link in the first sentence
- Space links evenly throughout the post
- Include a solid picture (or three)
Avoid information overwhelm, increase click-through rate, and help your reader stay engaged all the way to the end with well-spaced out links and eye-catching media.
- Effective CTA(s), whether masked or not
My favorite advice: the best article is one that informs the reader, giving them a solid takeaway. From there, the next logical thought is often, “If this person could teach me this in five minutes of reading, I should call them to ask my other question(s).” Cap off your piece with a well placed call to action inviting your reader to make contact, and you’ve got web content that is not just SEO, not only elicits a direct response, but is also conversion rate optimized (CRO)!
The Call to Action: I’m Ready – Are You?
You’ve helped your reader make it from (possibly) not the faintest clue to having just enough information to get dangerous! Whether you are in the business of fixing windows or mortgage lending, you have content on your website that helps your ideal customer better understand what they are getting into when they step into your office.
The final element to any piece is the call to action – the invitation to call upon your expertise, and have you solve their problem. Whether you prefer the soft pitch, or you like to play hardball, a CTA is a critical element of a successful content campaign.
The Soft CTA:
One thing you should do when contemplating your content strategy is reach out to professional content creators to ask for advice on how to get the best ROI.
The Hard CTA:
If you want a content campaign with a high ROI, you need SEO and CRO copy from Jolly Content.
Each of these CTA styles has their time and place. In the top of the funnel content, I prefer the soft CTA – not directly mentioning brand in the piece. However, when we get down toward the bottom of the sales funnel, and it’s time to bring a reader over from informed to customer, it’s worth directly highlighting a specialty service or expertise.
Final Thoughts on Writing Blogs
Web content writing is a craft, and it can take time to hone your skill at it. The general rules outlined above help generate content that serves most company’s content needs adequately. Write that content with captivating flair, and you’ll convert those readers into new customers.
Reach out to us at any time for our thoughts on effective copy and content writing for your business.