How to write a blog post that brings readers and makes sales.

This week on my free Live Webinar we discussed how to write a blog post, and specifically the 7 elements it takes to make a really great post that brings in readers and results in a nice conversion rate.

I have a bit of a system for kicking out blog posts, and I'll share that with you here in detail. Once you know the elements that should be included, you can simply use that as an outline every time you want to create a really great blog post.

I'll start by giving you the brief version. Each blog post should have a keyword phrase, good title, image, good content, call-to-action, signature and a PS. Keep reading for the details on each - and a little bonus: the 8th element. ;)

7 Elements of a Great Blog Post

When I sit down to blog I start with an outline, which includes all 7 of these elements. I may not know the content of each element upfront, but I like to put a frame around my work and then basically fill in the blanks.

We'll walk through these elements in order, but first I'll show you an example of what that looks like on my screen:

Obviously this is just a basic outline. A placeholder for each of the elements. I find this to be a great starting point as it gives me a structure to work with. And besides, a blank screen can be daunting when you're under pressure to write! From here, I simply flesh out each of those elements as I go.

1. Keyword Phrase

The biggest part of learning how to write a blog, is learning to write exactly what your readers want. You find that out through keyword research, and you deliver it through keyword optimization.

So choose a topic and then pick a keyword phrase that best suits your topic. Or choose a keyword phrase, and create content around it.

You won't always find a great keyword phrase to match the topic you want to blog about. That's okay. Your readers will appreciate a few off-the-wall posts that are written more for "visitor optimization" than search engine optimization. ;)

I chose a longtail keyword phrase for this blog post: "how to write a blog"

2. Title

The title of your blog post is incredibly important. Arguably one of the most important elements of the entire post. The post title also becomes the page title (meaning it is used in the Title Tag and shows up in the Title Bar of the browser window). It also becomes the Anchor Text for the hyperlink in the search results - meaning this is what people will see and read when they are deciding which result to click on. And whammy #3 - your post title becomes the Anchor Text for all of the inbound links pointing to this post that are created automatically through your blog.

Your title needs to be interesting and engaging. It has a big job - it compels people to click through and start reading. Two things go into a really great title: a keyword phrase, and a little copywriting skill.

If you happen to create a really long title for your blog post, consider editing the permalink. You might use a shorter version of the title, that still includes your keyword phrase. Here is an example from the blog post you are reading now:

Permalink: http://www.clicknewz.com/1993/how-to-write-a-blog-post/

Speaking of permalinks, if you want your post links to look as nice as mine see: Smart Permalink Structure. And here's a bonus tip for you - that permalink structure allows me to use shortened versions of the URL on sites like Twitter.

You may have seen me tweet a link to this post as:
http://www.clicknewz.com/1993/ Try it - it works! Cool, right?

3. Image

Images engage your reader, break up long boring text, illustrate points - and they can also be used to draw the eye in specific directions.

Since my topic is "how to write a blog post" I simply used screenshots, which can be very effective. Other options for images within your posts include:

  • Your own images/photos
  • Flickr
  • Inexpensive stock photos

4. Content

I actually write the content last, after I have outlined the other 6 elements, and simply type in a placeholder to start. But once I have my blog post outlined I sit down to flesh out the content. I often do this in outline format as well, and then go back to flesh out each point into a paragraph or so.

5. Call-to-Action

This element ranks right up there with the Post Title as one of the most important things you can include in your blog post. The call-to-action lets your reader know exactly what they should do next, and why.

Ask yourself: why am I writing this post? Why are they reading this post? What ONE action do I most want them to take after they read my post? (Never assume it's obvious.)

Don't leave your reader hanging. You owe it to them to lead them to the next best click. See: Using a Call To Action

6. Signature

A signature serves two purposes. First, it tells your readers who you are and that you care enough to identify yourself and sign off appropriately.

You can do this via plain text, or you can create a signature image like the one that I use. There are free signature makers around the web, or you can sign a piece of paper and scan it into your computer.

Oh, and the second purpose - it is a nice thing to have above a P.S. :D

See: Dear Mystery Blogger (It might be YOU!)

7. PS

You see it at the end of long sales letters. You see it in email marketing. Start using it in your blog posts, too! This is one last chance to make an important point, or share an important link. It is best used for supporting your call-to-action.

Readers who scan your blog posts will catch the title, the images, the sub-headlines, the bullet points and the PS. Use it wisely!

Bonus: The 8th Element

Once I have my blog post written, but before I publish it, there's one more thing that I add to top it off.

Links.

I like to link back to posts in my archive wherever relevant, both for internal links (SEO) and for the readers reference. This helps to keep your archived blog posts fresh, and connects similar discussions.

I also link out to other blog posts on the same topic, written by other bloggers. This creates a pingback or a trackback on their blog, usually in the comments area of the post I link to, and is also good for both of the same reasons.

For the best results, link to blog posts that rank well for your keyword phrase - or better yet, a similar more competitive keyword phrase. That way you can benefit from having a link on this high-traffic blog post that is related to the topic of your own blog post.

You can check that post to see if other trackbacks appear before you decide to link to it. Some bloggers don't allow them, or don't have a theme that shows them.

Of course, is the blog post is really great - you might want to share it with your readers anyway...

A Quick Recap:

  • Do your research, and choose a keyword phrase
  • Craft a great title that includes your keyword phrase
  • Choose or create images to compliment your topic
  • Flesh out your content with an intro, a main point, and conclusion
  • Include a strong call-to-action
  • Add your signature
  • Wrap it up with a well-written P.S.
  • Link to related posts, on your blog and others

I hope this has helped clarify some of the points I made on my webinar, and on twitter, about how to write a blog post. As usual, I took this opportunity to create an example of each point in this very post. Scan back over it and you should be able to easily point out each of the elements!

Best,

p.s. While you are reading this PS, I am reading 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by Darren Rowse (aka @Problogger). I'll post a full review in my next post. Be sure to subscribe in the blue box at the top right so you don't miss it!

Edit: You'll find the review now online at: Problogger Review: 31DBB

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 15 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Not sure if I've said it enough but Your the greatest!~Thank you yet again for everything that your doing!

    Stay Boosted!!
    C.J. Hallock

    • Yo CJ, don't forget I'm the one that introduced you to Lynn. (Snicker snicker). I'm no big time Guru, but I'm confident that I know which "Guru's" can help you the most! And my ledger has says that Lynn is number-1. (That last statement was for the other readers, not CJ, he already knows :)

      Lynn I DO have a very serious but easy Question:

      Concerning naming post titles, but More Specifically, "As They Appear Inside the Address Bar," Ready?

      I've been told by a successful blogger / marketer (not as successful as you though), that you get a little more SEO benefits by setting up your post's to end with ".html" :O

      Can you Please comment/explain/advise?

      Gary Anderson
      @GanderCo
      FaceBook.com/GaryAndersonII

      P.S. Almost forgot...
      Gary, the Other StayBoosted! Guy :D

      • Can you explain why the link structure makes a difference in regards to SEO?

        • Oh-oh! I feel like a high school kid that just got asked a question I didn't study for (Yikes), but I can tell/say what I "Think" I can explain.

          What I think I know is that 1) the "link Structure" absolutely positively (I think lol) should be as keyword loaded/focused as possible while still keeping it attractive to humans. 2) The title-tag should show the "blog POST" name first, and then the "BLOG name" after the post name (did I say that right?). And 3) is more of an extra helpful little "Trick"... To craft the post's "URL Slug" (hope that's the right terminology) so that it is more attractive to the spiders. Meaning, that the "Slug" (there's that tricky word again) may be different than the Actual post title as it is seen by "Humans", for reasons as you stated above, to keep it short but powerful for the spiders.

          Have I confused me yet? lol.
          All that being said, I cannot explain 4) Why, or of what "SEO" value it would be to name the url with "html" at the end, except that I was told to do it last year by a professional blogger and it DID seem to work quite well. I even obtained Google PR of 1 within 3 months or so.

          But I have no understanding as to why, or why not to use "html" at the end of a blog post url.

          Now: I know and you know, and I know that you know that I know, that I am the student and you are the teacher! Now that we all know who knows what or not (wait... wha?), How'd I do?

          Don't be nice, tell me the truth, I can take it! :D

          Thanks too much's!

          Gary.
          GanderCo

          P.S. Is your head hurting as bad as mine now?

          • My short answer is: If there is some benefit to having your posts end in .html I have no idea what it is. Or why. Obviously my blog posts do not have that and tend to rank just fine. I'll look it up and see if I can figure out what's behind that recommendation...

            Here you go:

            The SEO benefit to this is debatable, but it can be useful should you need to migrate away from WordPress, since the pages can easily be made static and retain their URL structure.

            WordPress versions prior to 2.3 lacked canonical URLs, making .html something very beneficial to add (forcing the URL to be canonical). Now it only provides limited, if any SEO benefits (see External Resources for further analysis).

            source: http://codex.wordpress.org/Using_Permalinks

  2. We have a retail site and just started our Blog site.simply-bags.com today. Great timing thanks for the article.

  3. Chuck Morgan says:

    Great post. I forget sometimes that blog posts, like web pages, should be optimized in addition to supplying the content. I'm going to start adding images from now on as well. Great point, thanks.

  4. Scott Lovingood says:

    I love the framework idea. I have used that type of concept in project management, coaching and many other areas that I have worked in for for some reason haven't applied it to my blog posts yet.

    Luckily I have lots of room to improve on nearly all the ones you pointed out :) Now to go create a default blog post with all those elements in it :)

    What do you think of Zemanta for including pics in your blog posts? Just loaded it myself and it appears interested though it does have some issues.

    PS Now I need to go work on including images, a call to action and a PS on my post http://www.AskTheWealthSquad.com/seven-key-people/

    Maybe I will do a before and after shot

  5. I just had to write a comment to this blog post. OMG what a wealth of information. This is the greatest ever!!!

    I am new to the blogging community and have been struggling, I read this post and it is like the lights have come on. And in addition you make it sound "caveman simple."

    Once again thanks for the great information.

    Respectfully,

    Peggy
    theplainandsimplegirl

  6. DoktorThomas says:

    Intriguing post.
    With as much experience and insight as you display, I am surprised your links push users to external sites while loosing the open page to your site. Might I suggest that you have links open in a new window so your patronage does not have to re-find your page where the link was... Everything I clicked sent me away... if nothing else, it is a subtly un-hospitable message. ~DT

    • Thank you DT - your comments are appreciated. We have actually discussed this dilemma at great lengths, both here and on my forum, in the past. The majority agreed that popping open new windows incessantly was annoying and a major turn-off. We also came to the majority conclusion that most of my readers (after polling) are fairly web savvy - and know how to control how links open. For example, I right click to "open in new tab" to avoid the pop-up effect, or losing the current page, without even knowing how the link is set. It's a user override.

      Still, I appreciate your input. Thank you!

  7. Thank you! I'm new to blogging and had no idea what i should be doing. I will follow the elements.

    Thank you

    Rick

  8. I just published a review of Problogger's workbook & 31 day challenge (PDF format). Some of you may enjoy this one as much as I did! See: http://www.clicknewz.com/1937/problogger-workbook-review/

  9. Another Clicknewz post to save under the slim but valuable "Daily Reference" folder. I think any decent English teacher would give you an "A"! Having a good outline, if I recall, was a favorite recommendation of the best teachers (thanks for reminding me!). Being clear on the keyword phrase before starting is also a valuable tip.

  10. Such valuable info! I love the tip about using the shortened permalink on places such as Twitter. I just tried it and it's so cool it works like that. THANKS! As for images, that I have had the most trouble with. I either forget or just don't find images that I would like to use. I try to take my own pictures to use but I'm not a pro so they don't always turn out LOL Looking forward to typing out the steps you use and start to follow them myself.

    • I use iStockPhoto a lot, or with affiliate marketing you can use product images from the merchant of course. I like Chris Brogan's tutorial on using Flickr, but I never find much I can use on the link he most recommends using...

  11. I have been having all my links open in a new window. Thought it was the best way to do it, since I didn't know about the right click thing. Guess I'll go back and redo all my links.

    Thanks for the valuable info.

    • It really depends on your topic and your market, and your objective of course. If it's an affiliate site, you want to lose them to the merchant - and as quickly as possible, right? But people who run sites that are monetized with Adsense for example, like to keep their visitors on the page unless out through Adsense. Do what makes sense for YOUR links ;)

  12. Wow, Lynn, what an awesome, awesome post. You certainly don't hold anything back. I'm taking notes, so don't be surprised if you see my signature on every post from now on (among other things).

    I've also decided to reverse-engineer how you write your product reviews. Or would you care to make my life easier and write a (very detailed) post about that? Pretty please? (Incidentally, that would make a great infoproduct, especially coming from you.)

  13. This post is such a "keeper" and it is definitely going to change the way I blog. I can't thank you enough, this is killer info. Scanning in my signature now and making a template for posts. Can't wait for the product review post too :)

    • Thank you Christie. I am working on turning this post into a PDF download, for easy reference. I'll keep you posted on that - and also on the "how to write a product review" post. I'll have it out this week ;)

  14. Nice tips. I missed the 6th and 7th elements in my blog. I hope you'll give some more tips on how to insert useful keywords in a blog post. I'm quite confused with the keyword research topic.

  15. Most bloggers don't spend too much time writing their blog post. They are after of the number of their post within the day than the usefulness of their post for their readers.

    • Visitor Optimization goes a long way if you're trying to build a readership or make sales. I can't imagine that those types of blogs are doing very well, with the exception of MFA blogs (Made for Adsense).

  16. This is a terrific post. I have not used a signature in my blog posts in the past, and it is a great way to make the post more personal. I love reading and applying the tips you provide. Thanks!

  17. Mario Sanchez Carrion says:

    Personally I find the signature and the PS kind of gimmicky, but I'm not saying they're not effective. Just my personal opinion. The other tips are right on the money. Very good post.

    • In what way, Mario? I would definitely be interested in hearing your thoughts on that.

      As for me, my biggest frustration is getting to the end of a great post and having NO idea who wrote it. Maddening!

  18. Chris Donaldson says:

    This is a great post. As a writer that has had a modicum of success in screenwriting (nothing produced but a few things purchased/optioned) - structure is always something I keep my eye on. So to have a framework like this is pretty nifty. I also recommend an editorial calendar, which is something I'm sure you've discussed (I'm new to the site). Thanks for the tips!

  19. A great checklist to produce real engaging posts - posts that will entice prospects! Thanks for this very interesting article. Well said. CHeers ;)

  20. Hey Lynn,

    Thanks for your information on structuring blog posts. I started my blog MariaAbroad.com in Febuary and even though I already get a reasonable number of visitors(about 20/day), they dont seem to stick around very long and my bounce rate is very high. However, I have already received 2 requests for a guest blog posts, so I dont think my content is that horrible. I also have been a little lazy with writing articles on a regular basis, as my fulltime job already consists of mainly copy writing (in a different languange though) and in the evening I am all written out... Well, I will try to implement your structure advice in the future and hope it will make my readers happy! Thanks again, your advice is always helpful!
    Maria

  21. Wow, that is a lot of good stuff there. I feel kinda lucky to be reading it for free.

  22. Lynn - you continue to bring a wealth of knowledge to your readers. I was so impressed with this post that I'm passing it along to my clients along with the link to your site.

    Thank you for your contributions to making our business lives so much better!

    Lisa Drew, Lyrical Biz
    Minneapolis, MN

  23. Hi, thanks for great tips, I will endeavour to implement them asap. At the moment visitors to my blog and associated website come with the 'blue moon' so any improvement on this would be an improvement.

  24. Lynn, I have to say you are the best. I love your posts, they are so helpful for me in my business. I look forward to learning more everyday! Keep up doing what you do best!!

  25. Lynn, i understand what you are saying, and I have to admit that your blog is read by many and mine is read by few, but i a hard time writing only for what people want to hear and not what I feel led to say or teach.
    what about content that is true to the writer?

  26. Update: I've published the requested topic How to Write a Product Review ;)

  27. Lynne I listened to your webinar today and read this post on writing blogs. I thought this excellent advice and went on to write my latest post and realized, near the end, that I ignored 95% of what you said. Someday I'll learn!

  28. A very helpful, informative, and useful blog topic. Thank you for sharing the info; if we are going to blog, we might as well do it in the most effective, appealing way!

    Now, the million-dollar question of the day is, do I go back and tweak all my blogs so they fit this format, or do I make the commitment "from this blog forward" to include the key elements?

    • Great question!

      I go back and edit older blog posts all the time. Sometimes I'll add a reference link, or a new resource, or a call-to-action if I forgot one.

      Look at your stats and find the 10 most popular posts that get round & read most often. Edit at least those, and check your stats monthly to look for archived posts you may want to update.

  29. As usual, excellent information. You show, through example, how things are done.

  30. Joe - Auto Insurance Missoula says:

    The "signature" I like that. I'm going to add that asap.

  31. Very nice and valuable tips, i ll must try to use them in my work.
    thanks

  32. storybeader says:

    really enjoyed reading your post and will subscribe to your newsletter. One correction (had to share this!)

    "Of course, is the blog post is really great – you might want to share it with your readers anyway…"

    Correction:
    "Of course, IF the blog post is really great..."

    Hope you don't mind, and looking forward to learning more. {:-Deb

  33. HI Lynn,
    Sorry for the late comment on this post - I've just realised your great looking site is WordPress driven and I had a question about your site structure that I can't work out by looking.

    From a SEO point of view and also a visitors, what are the pro's and cons of posts vs pages in WordPress. Looking at your site structure, there are no obvious pages, just posts and you seem to link them by great use of categories. And then you have your hot topics, which could be pages?

    Very confused :) and would love your insight!

    Thanks
    Wendy.

    • I am not sure that there is any major advantage to using pages over posts, or vice versa. I also have traditional HTML websites that enjoy great search engine rankings. It's less about the format, and more about the content - and mainly about the inbound links.

      Blog posts may rank fast due to being 'newsy' and current, but they'll tank in the SERPs just as fast without any inbound links. My new web pages on established HTML sites rank quickly too. So I can't say with 100% accuracy that there's any advantage there. Again, the power is in the links.

      I do have pages on this blog, which you see linked across the very top, above the header: about, archives, hot topics, reviews, internet marketing - and also a blog roll page. All of those are more for "visitor optimziation", to make it easier for readers to find the information they're looking for...

  34. Hi Lynn really very nice information, When we write blog post first we should have make one attractive title, also we should have notice that how people search on google with the topic that we are going to write.

    I specially notice this when I write one post for my blog, when I write on "how to..." article I specially keep attention on it.

  35. Hi Lynn-

    Your information is excellent, thank you for sharing. There are a few draft posts that I need to work on this weekend. Based on your post and some great comments my goal today is to organize my structure. I'm new to this business. I have to also thank Donna Gunter, http://www.onlinebizu.com/ she just sent me your link!

    Stay well.

  36. Thanks for the great thoughts Lynn. I set up a personal blog a few months ago, and have yet to even post. Maybe this will inspire me!

  37. Thanks for the post. Very informative. Blog writing can seem very easy from the outside. However, while starting to write one, there are so many things to keep in mind. Excellent work.

  38. Hi
    Great post. I am new to the Internet Marketing world and am just in the process of sttarting my first blog and im sure the tips here will be of much use.
    Many thanks
    Julian

  39. One thing that you might add related to keyword research is competition. For example, on the search term "how to write a blog", Wordtracker shows 61 searches per day. This isn't too bad, but when you look at competition, there are 2,430,000 other websites out there who have this same phrase on their page and 138 of them have optimized their page by using these keywords in their both their title and Alt tags. So, this particular phrase may be hard to rank for if you are trying to get organic traffic.

  40. Hye,
    This is my first time visiting your blog.
    I found interesting information here and this is really2 good as a newbie like me.

    Thanks...i'll follow this blog

  41. Thanks for the great thoughts Lynn. I set up a personal blog a few months ago, and have yet to even post. Maybe this will inspire me!

  42. really awesome , thanks a lot , from now on i will do a lot of keyword research before posting in blog .

  43. Awesome post and thoughts, Lynn! This is certainly the general outcome for most of my blogs I post. Although, if you're looking to drive the traffic to an offer, if I use any images, they're usually to illustrate the point that I want them to do something for me. Click on an offer and go to it. I find this really keeps focus on what you want them to be doing!

  44. What an awesome site, Lynn. I arrived here from my http://www.RyanHealy.com newsletter.

    I've created websites, have dozens of great ideas, and still feel stymied. Each thing I do seems to require more techie learning. Sometimes I think maybe my ideas just have no value. I sure wish you lived next door for about a week so I could do a brain drain. hahah I'm 65, have had my own city tourism magazine for 10 years and a well visited sister website.

    But at 65, i'd love to get something going with money making blogs, leave a legacy to my son and his family, and be able to guide the small businesses that I've created simple websites for.

    I'll keep reading and see if I can sort things out. Maybe I'll order the 31DBB. Again, thank you! (AND Ryan for sending us your way)

  45. Thanks for your post..This is certainly the general outcome for most of my blogs I post. Although, if you’re looking to drive the traffic to an offer, if I use any images, they’re usually to illustrate the point that I want them to do something for me.

  46. Thanks Lynn for the great post. It's nice to have all the elements of how to create a quality blog post. I'm sure that every post I've written is missing at least one of these. So thanks for handy list, I've got it taped to my wall :-)

  47. Lynn,

    Thanks for th great post and thoughts. You really confirm the importance of keywords within the title and post itself. I would define this as purposeful writting as opposed to random blog posts that generate no traffic because the plans' foundation is faulty.

  48. Hi Lynn, the most challenging part for me is getting my keywords right. Although I have to say, practice does make perfect, so using your great tips helps a lot :-)

  49. Lynn, I've been blogging for years, but hadn't thought about the importance of my signature, About link, and P.S. Many thanks this terrific list.

    Follow me @b2bmarketing on Twitter.

  50. I just heard your audio seminar on OnlineCopywriting101 - I'd not heard of you before. Wow. Thanks. Thank you for being so grounded and a great role model for women to see another who's "made it" and is still grounded and "everyday" lovely and kind. I needed that today!

    Blissings!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] do myself, and I shared my outline for blog posts in my How to Write A Blog Post tutorial. I also recently shared a detailed PLR Article [...]

  2. [...] How to write a blog that brings readers and makes sales [...]

  3. [...] your affiliate sites including a tutorial on choosing keywords & phrases, an outline for how to write a blog that gets traffic & makes sales, a tutorial for writing product reviews, a web page [...]

  4. [...] signature and P.S. etc – all before the actual content is written. You can see my process at: http://www.clicknewz.com/1993/how-to-write-a-blog-post (which also serves as a visual example).”Follow the above link to Lynn’s blog. I take no [...]

  5. [...] How to Write a Blog Post (that brings readers and makes sales) [...]

  6. [...] find everything from an easy checklist on how to start a wordpress blog, a live example of how to write a blog (did you know there are 7 elements you should include in every post?), one of the free – and [...]

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