Is there such a thing as the “perfect blog post”? Probably not. Certainly I’ve seen great blog posts over the years, and I have even been lucky enough to have more than my share of blog posts that ended up being popular. I have news for you, though: a blog post does not have to “go viral” on some social network in order to be the “perfect blog post”. In this blog post, I’m going to tell you exactly how to write the perfect blog post. And you don’t to be an incredible writer to do it.
That’s really a good question to ask yourself. I have been thinking about writing this blog post (about the perfect blog post) for a while now. Probably at least a year. And, finally I think I figured it all out. It really does not have anything to do with the topic (although it can help at times, especially if you are breaking some news or something on your blog). The perfect blog post really has more to do with the formatting and how you write it. If you follow along with me, you can write the perfect blog post: one that will actually have a chance of “going viral” if that’s what you want. If you don’t care about “going viral” on a social network, then that’s just fine: your readers will end up sticking around for a longer period of time, and actually reading your blog posts rather than just reading the blog title and then moving on.
Okay, So How Do I Write the Perfect Blog Post?
It’s really pretty simple. There are “elements” that you really absolutely positively must include in every single blog post. And, I highly suggest that you write your blog post in a certain “order”. By following this order and including these elements, you don’t have to be a fabulous writer in order to write what I call “the perfect blog post”. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Do some research. Google is your friend. Decide on your blog post’s overall topic, what you are going to write about, and search for it. If it’s about a company (one of my favorite things to write about), then search for the company name. Go to their “about us” page. You may able to include some raw data about the company like how long they’ve been in business, what they do, who their management team is, and soforth. If you’re writing about an organization, you may want to do the same thing: you will need some overall information about them to include in the blog post.
2. Start Writing Just go ahead and start writing. In the first paragraph, you need to write something that draws the reader in: make them want to read more by asking them a question. Make a snotty remark about something. And whatever you do in that first paragraph, you absolutely positively must tell them what you are going tell them. In this blog post, I did just that: I told you that I am going to tell you how to write the perfect blog post.
3. Include a Photo or Graphic No matter what the blog post is about, you absolutely positively must include a photo or graphic “above the fold” (towards the top, so the reader doesn’t have to scroll down to see it). You have about 3 seconds (maybe less) to thrill them. If all they see is a bunch of text, then they will move on to another site. Don’t let that happen. Include a company logo, a funny photo, or even some sort of graph if you have to. You can even include a screen capture of a web page. If I can’t come up with a funny photo for the blog post then I usually resort to a screen capture (I use the screengrab Firefox add-on). I save it as a .jpg file and I usually use Shrink Pictures to reduce the width to about 350 width so it fits in my blog post. As you can see on this blog post, I’ve included plenty of “pretty pictures” for you to look at. It’s best to use more than one graphic in your blog post. I like to use at least two, or even more. After writing hundreds of blog post, I have found that not only do people like photos, the search engines may even reward you for having a graphic in your blog post.
4. Tell them. In number two, I mentioned that the first paragraph should include something important: you tell them what you’re going to tell them. Well, this is your opportunity to tell them what you’re going to tell them. In this blog post, this is where I have my list of things that you must include in the perfect blog post. It’s a list in this case. But, it could be other content. It could be an actual review of a product. It could be a few paragraphs of what a new website does. It could be a lot of things. But, most importantly, it should include the findings of the research that you did even before you wrote the blog post.
5. Include Outgoing Links. Don’t be a link hog. If you’re talking about something, if you’re telling your readers about a website that you like or even about a company or something else that you can link to, then link out to that site. It won’t hurt you or your ability to rank in the search engines. Your visitors will love you for it (they can go check out what you’re talking about), and I have found that it really helps if you link out to a “trusted source”. In this blog post I have a few outgoing links: one of them is Google. When in doubt, link out to the Wikipedia page that describes what you’re writing about. You could actually find the word “blog” somewhere in your blog post and link out to the Wikipedia page about “blogs”.
6. Wrap it All Up. Put the bow on your gift. Your blog post is a gift to the world, it’s something that you’re telling people about, it is something that will help them in their daily life. The perfect blog post is useful. The perfect blog post is something that includes information about something. When the reader reads it they will say to themselves, “Gee, I didn’t know that before.” At the end of your blog post, include a paragraph of information that tells them what you told them. Recap your blog post. Give them an overview of what you told them. Tell them where to go after they read the blog post. Give them a link to a website if that’s appropriate.
I know that there’s probably a lot more elements that you could include in your quest for the “perfect blog post”. And, depending on who you ask, you will probably get a lot of different responses. In this case, though, I told you about my version of the perfect blog post in a way that’s not too specific: I believe that it doesn’t matter what topic you write about: just make sure that you tell them what you’re going to write about, tell them, and then tell them what you wrote about. And, if at all possible, include a few photos or graphics (or embed a video) into the post “above the fold”.