As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, one passive way to make money online is by maintaining a blog. Blogs are great because you spend time once writing quality blog posts, and they can be working to help generate traffic forever. However, writing writing quality blog posts isn’t always easy. For a deeper dive in what it takes to write good copy, I’ve compiled a list of recommended books here. This article will serve as a quick-start guide that sums up some of the stuff covered in those books.
Headings Are Critical
David Ogilvy said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar”. People have short attention spans, and they don’t want to read a bunch of text. The overwhelming majority of your users will skim your headings before reading any of the body, and even then, very few will read every word in your post.
Headings don’t just help your human readers, google also appreciates your use of heading tags. You can use proper headings to help increase your rank for key words. This will help drive traffic to your blog.
Whitespace and Font Size Matter
Nobody wants to stare at a wall of text and try to extract value out of it. If you want people to stick around and read your content, you have to make sure that the font size is appropriate (I like 16px or greater) and that there’s adequate whitespace.
Adequate whitespace means you’ve broken up the copy into digestible paragraphs. White space does so much for your content, including communicating the separation of idea, making content more legible, and generally making everything more aesthetically pleasing.
Keep it Simple
To provide the most value to your readers, you should be trying to keep your content as simple as possible. This goes back to people having short attention spans. If it takes too much time for the reader to figure out what you’re trying to say, they’ll likely move. Avoiding complex and unnecessary jargon, keeping sentences short, keeping paragraphs short, and using smaller words all contribute to an easier read.
Google, in their infinite wisdom, has added readability into their ranking factors. With plugins like Yoast, you can see how well your copy ranks on the Fleisch readability test and adjust it accordingly.
Keep it the Appropriate Length
There’s a lot of back and forth on what is an appropriate blog length. Yoast recommends more than 1000 words, however, they also caution that longer articles require greater organization. This is one of the few cases where google and your audience may be at odds. Very few readers will open up a 1500-2000 word blog post and read it word-for-word unless it has phenomenal sub headings, bold text, white-space and other elements to keep them engaged.
Having more words makes sense from an SEO perspective. More words give Google more information to determine what your post is about. More information increases your odds of ranking for more keywords and keyword variations.
Because of this, I try to keep most of my content between 500 and 750 words. This is a bit arbitrary but I try to ask myself if I would sit down and read my content. If the subject that you’re writing about requires thousands of words you shouldn’t shy away from using thousands of words. But if you’re going to use thousands of words you need to pay extra attention to organizing all that content in a way that will keep your audience reading.
Keep the Reader on Your Site
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that you’re retaining new visitors. This can be done by making sure that you’re linking to other articles in your blog that are relevant. Keeping your content valuable and entertaining is also important to retaining visitors. You keep your visitors coming back for more great content and fill them with a sense of excitement every time they see you’ve posted a new article.