If you blog for your own website, you would have at one point or other thought about the anatomy of a good blog post. What separates the good, the bad, and the ugly? What makes a blog sticky, so that people will read it all the way through to the end?

Blogging is a writing form that has its own unique set of rules which are different from other forms of writing such as print media.

Here are some useful tips to help you write that next sticky blog post:

Catchy Headings

Try to come up with a catchy heading – when I first started writing this post, the initial heading was simply “How to write a blog post”. Boring! The title would certainly convey the essence of the blog post, but it doesn’t do a great deal to grab a potential reader’s attention. So I came up with the current title, which I hope has succeeded in getting you to continue reading my post!

Valuable Content

Assuming you have been successful with coming up with a catchy title for your blog post, the next step is to encourage your readers to read on. So the quality of the first few paragraphs of your post will be critical in determining whether a reader continues to read what you have to say. If you can make it informative and entertaining, you have a great recipe for holding people’s attention all the way through your post.

Content is a powerful marketing tool on the internet. Your subscribers will appreciate content which is informative, but unless they are reading all of what you write, they are not getting everything you have to offer.  The ability to provide valuable content presented in an engaging style will help your business to grow its followers each day.

Types of Blog Posts

As well as writing blog posts in a standard paragraph style, try using a variety of formats for different posts. Bullet points and lists are a couple of popular blog post types, since these formats allow a reader to quickly scroll through a post and pick up the essentials. Many Internet users use a scanning style when reading web pages, and bullet points and lists allow these types of readers to get the gist of an article without getting stuck in the detail.

Sub Headings

Use heading tags to format the sub headings in your article. Using sub-headings to highlight the key points in your article will again allow readers to quickly scan through a post and spot the key points that they are interested in.

Length of Post

A good length to aim for is a blog post of around 400 to 600 words. A minimum would be around 250 words and a maximum of 1000 words. Too short and you haven’t got enough time to explain anything properly (and your readers may feel short changed), too long and you risk losing people’s attention.

Your Writing Style

Keep the style of writing your blog post informal – it’s not an academic exercise! Blog writing tends to be casual in style, and often conversational in nature – as if you were talking to a friend. Although a blog style is relatively informal, the use of proper grammar and spelling is still important – imagine that you are talking to a friend, not texting!

Visuals

Spruce up your blog post with a good photo or two or by adding an entertaining video to your blog post. Ensure that the image selected is appropriate to your article and well positioned to enhance your post. Photos that tie in with key points in your post are especially good, since they provide another way for your lazy readers to quickly pick up the key points you are making.

Photos can be sourced from popular photo sites such as istockphoto or through Flickr. YouTube is a popular source of videos for blog posts. When sourcing images or videos from external sources, check to make sure that you are not breaching anybody’s copyright.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Apply search engine optimization (SEO) to your blog posts by following the basic principles of good SEO. For each blog post, ensure that you include an appropriate meta tag and description. While this may not be important for your readers, the search engines will love you for it.

Format

If you have been applying my tips for writing a sticky blog post thus far, you would have written a nice catchy title and a strong opening paragraph or two. The middle part of your blog post may expand on your earlier paragraphs or provided some additional points for the reader to consider. It’s now time to complete your post with a conclusion and a call to action.

Conclusion / Call to Action

A number of readers will read the title of a blog post, the opening paragraph or two, and then scan straight through to the conclusion of the post. Your conclusion should convey the overall message of your post in order to give these readers a sense of having “got it”.

Many blog posts also finish with a “call to action”. This could be one of any number of calls to action – such as subscribing to a newsletter, or asking for your reader’s opinion on the blog post issue at hand.

So when writing your next post, start with a catchy title, a strong opening paragraph or two, an entertaining middle section, and a good wrap up in your conclusion, and you won’t go wrong. Add a little extra polish with photos or videos, and you’ll definitely have a winner!

Please share your tips on writing a sticky blog post.