Writing a blog post is just part of the process. Many small business owners write blog posts regularly, but then post them in a way that looks odd to readers, or, even worse, can hurt their efforts at SEO rather than help.
Formatting a blog post isn’t difficult, but it’s important to know what to do. Here are some Dos and Do Nots as you create your content.
- Write in language that’s friendly, but professional. The language should be easy to understand and devoid of jargon.
- Use subheads. Think about blog posts as something people skim. That’s how we all read these days, especially online. The subheads of your posts help your reader hit the high points if he or she doesn’t want to read it all. Additionally, subheads (use the H2 tag — see below) are useful for SEO purposes.
- Hyperlink to one internal post and one outside source. That means somewhere in your blog post there are words that link to another one of your blog posts. Somewhere else in your post there are words that link to an outside source. Ideally, you have one or two of each.
- Use bullets or numbered lists. I grow weary of these, but the truth is, we all love to read them. We love to click on them. And it’s easy to cruise through them in our skim-reading fashion.
- Write at least 400 words. If you can, 500 is better, but some topics just aren’t worth it. Truly, it’s best to write a few long posts, between 1,000 and 1,500, but those are harder to do, so aim to write one per quarter if you can.
- Write an excerpt for your post that appears on the main blog page. WordPress will take some of the first few words, but often leaves an ellipses (…) at the end and cuts off the sentence. Your blog will look much cleaner if you choose a sentence or two that sums up the post.
- Use a featured image so the main blog page looks good.
- Use WordPress plugins to help with SEO. Try Yoast SEO or All in One SEO.
- Go crazy hyperlinking everything. It’s irritating to read and not good for SEO.
- Ignore grammar and spelling. While some people may not notice the your/you’re mistake, others will. The error is a stumbling block for readers and makes you look less professional.
- Paste text into the visual editor of WordPress without pasting it into notepad or a similar program first. Microsoft Word and even Google Docs add a bunch of code to text in the background that can affect the formatting of your blog posts in WordPress. Alternatively, you can switch to the text editor and paste the text in that way. Then switch to visual editor to make things bold, add hyperlinks, etc.
- Use an H1 tag. While it might sound like a good idea, Google and other search engines read H1 as your headline. You only want one, and it’s the headline you write in the headline box.
How to use the H2 Tag
If you use WordPress, you probably paste or write your text using the visual editor. When you are done, switch to the text editor to add H2 tags where you want subheads. To do that, write <h2> before the subhead and </h2> after the subhead. No spaces. Switch back to visual editor and you’ll see the change.
Please note that switching back and forth between the two editors can make things funky, so it’s best to do everything you need to in text editor and then switch only once back to visual.
What questions do you have about posting your blog entries?