1. Plan the structure of your article
So, you’ve got a great idea and you’re ready to start writing.
Hold the phone.
Taking a few minutes to plan out what you’re going to cover in your article is an important step in making sure that the piece you’re about to write is cohesive and flows well.
Here’s an example of an article that’s structured well vs. one that doesn’t really have a rhyme or reason:
The 7+ Best Gourmet Donut Shops in Edmonton You Have To Try
The History of Donuts
Homemade Donuts in Edmonton
- Bob’s Donuts
- Mary’s Magical Dough Balls
Whimsical Donuts in Edmonton
- Fairy Donuts Inc.
- Land of Dough
Best Donuts in Edmonton
Everyone knows I love donuts. Since I was a kid, donuts have been one of my favorite things in the world. Edmonton has some great donuts.
One of my favourite donut places is Bob’s Donuts. It’s located just off of Whyte Avenue at 1234 Donut Street. They have the best donuts I’ve ever tried and they’re made in really big oven and they have sprinkles on top. Did you know? Donuts originated in Belgium and moved to Canada back in 1944. Many people have made donuts in Edmonton, including another great bakery, Whimsical Donuts. They’re fairly new on the scene, but they’re very popular too. I love their Jupiter Donut. If you ever have a chance, you should really try them out!
2. Use headings to separate ideas
Headings – known as H1, H2, H3 and H4 in WordPress – are another tool that we can use to help our reader easily scan our information and to tell Google what our article is about.
Headings also allow us to communicate hierarchy in our content.
With headings, the example from our previous tip now becomes:
The 7+ Best Gourmet Donut Shops in Edmonton You Have To Try (H1 – aka Title)
- The History of Donuts (H2)
- Homemade Donuts in Edmonton (H2)
- Bob’s Donuts (H3)
- Mary’s Magical Dough Balls (H3)
- Whimsical Donuts in Edmonton (H2)
- Fairy Donuts Inc. (H3)
- Sparkles Donut Factory (H3)
Wondering how to set headings in WordPress?
For users on Classic WordPress:
For users on (new) Gutenberg WordPress:
3. Always include an introduction
Your intro should be 2-3 sentences and it should introduce what you are going to talk about while including your main and secondary keywords.
Let’s look at two examples.
The first example tells the reader right away what we’re going to be going over, and tells Google, too. This is good for getting your article to rank in Google.
The second example, however, doesn’t contain any of the keywords and doesn’t explain what the blog post will cover, so it’s much less clear to the reader and to Google what your blog post is about.
So you’ve been charged with driving without insurance.
Learn about the penalties you may face for driving without auto insurance in Alberta, including tickets & fines, criminal record, arrest & jail time.
There are times in life when we all get caught in a mistake we wish we hadn’t made.
Sometimes, there is a very steep price to pay for that mistake.
Hint: since you’ve already outlined what you will go over in your article, creating your introduction should be easy, as you’re simply weaving the outline together.
4. Stick to short sentences and paragraphs
It’s important to keep your text easy to scan. Use short blocks of texts – 1-3 sentences per paragraph is a good length.
Remember – this isn’t an essay, this isn’t a newspaper article or a book – it’s a blog post on the internet – where people want information, and they want it now.
5. Use bolded text to (only) highlight keywords and key points
When your writing is bolded, it sends an SEO signal to readers, and Google, saying “these words are extra important” – so use bolded text strategically.
I am beyond excited to share exactly why you have flies in your house plants, and how to get rid of small flies from house plants.
(Dear Google: this article is going to explain “why you have flies in your house plants” and “how to get rid of small flies from house plants”)
I am beyond excited to share exactly why you have flies in your house plants, and how to get rid of those pesky bugs!
(Dear Google: “beyond excited” is a key topic in this article)
6. Use bulleted lists
While we may be more used to the idea that the reader is curling up on the couch with a hot cup of coffee to dig in to what we’ve read, the reality is, that’s not the case in 2020.
There is most likely something else going on in the background that is dividing their attention and while they’re interested in the information you’re sharing, in reality, they’re doing a quick scan.
Make it easy for them to understand where one idea begins and ends, and make the key point of each idea easy to grab.
Including a bolded short, direct sentence on it’s own line right before your bulleted list will make it very easy for readers to understand the information quickly, and will also improve your chances of being featured in one of Google’s Featured Snippets.
Some of my favourite portable snacks for kids include:
- Apples – Make snacking on apples a breeze by cutting them up into slices, sprinkling them with cinnamon and bagging them so they’re ready to grab!
- Crackers & cheese – I always try to choose crackers that have between 3-5 grams of fiber per serving and love the convenience of pre-portioned cheese snacks.
- Celery sticks with peanut butter – For a little extra fun, add raisins to the peanut butter to create the classic “ants on a log” snack.
- Homemade trail mix – Create your own homemade mix of roasted almonds, pepitas, shelled sunflower seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate chips or chocolate candies and pre-portion for an easy snack on the go.
Our family loves making sure we have a number of healthy snacks, like apples, ready to grab whenever we need them. We love crackers and cheese – I try to opt for the ones that are highest in fiber. Celery sticks with peanut butter are a great snack, too. We either add raising to the celery sticks or make our very own homemade trail mix with whatever nuts we have on hand and sometimes chocolate chips, too. Dried fruit is a great choice, too.
7. Include Images
Industry best practice recommends to include an interesting photo that spans the width of your content area every 300 words – or at least once every full page scroll.
There are a number of free high quality stock photography sites that are great to use:
When working with these sites, it is common that a number of different image sizes are available.
It’s important that you use images that are as well fitted to your blog’s dimensions as possible.
Inserting images that are too large (2000 – 5000 px) will really slow down how long it takes for your post to load and that’s not a good thing.
Typically, the width of your blog will be between 650 – 1200 px. More commonly, between 700-1000 px.
A good rule of thumb is to download an image that is close to 1000 px across.
8. Build Internal Links
One great way to further build your relationship with your reader and to keep them engaged is to link internally to other articles you’ve written to encourage them to stick around and keep reading.
While there are a number of WordPress plugins that you can download and install that show a number of related posts, there’s a super quick and low-tech way that you can easily begin implementing today – and that’s with text links.
Here’s a few of my favourite ways to link to other content you’ve written:
Try adding a bolded line of text in the middle of your article and adding a link to a previous or related post like this:
Or, try adding a short list of related articles at the end of your blog post, like this:
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