Toni's currently a MA student in the field of HCI. She has written for several content marketing agencies as a ghost-writer from 2013–2016.
How to Craft an Engaging Blog—Write Great Content for Your Website
Here’s the thing—writing online content is easy. However, crafting content that your site visitors will actually read is the real challenge. For newcomers, the idea of choosing article topics to write about and learning how to write that content can be a daunting enough task. It can be discouraging to know that you can write a well-researched, high-quality article, and there may be very few to no readers due to the low demand for information in said article.
So, there are two things to keep in mind when learning about how to write content—we must write well and also choose our topics wisely. The content-writing process can really be boiled down into three main steps.
- Write about an in-demand topic.
- Imagine yourself as one of your prospective readers.
- Format your content so that it's easy to read.
1. Write About an In-Demand Topic
Brainstorm Article Topics
Begin by making a list of some article topic ideas. The topics you choose should be in an area you know quite well. That is, well enough to offer information that’s beyond the basics. Writing what you know—or at least, becoming very familiar with topics you wish to write about—is important in ranking well with Google and making your readers happy.
It helps to gain the trust of your readers. If they trust you are knowledgeable in the area you write about, they’ll know who to when it comes to your specific topic, which helps to breed familiarity. This is essential when it comes to establishing your brand.
Research Relevancy of Article Ideas
However, this list of topics won’t necessarily translate to content people will read. You need to research the relevancy of your brainstormed topics. It’s all about supply and demand. If your topic isn’t in demand, it’ll be difficult to make your visitors readers and followers.
So, how do you research relevancy? Take your list of topics, and research them on threads on forum sites like Quora and Reddit. These sites can provide you with valuable information into what people are curious about. What questions are being asked about your topic? What concerns your potential audience regarding this topic? Your research should be able to provide insight into these questions.
While researching these feeds, have an SEO keyword tool such as the free Google Keyword Tool. Confirm the demand for information that you’re seeing in the forums by performing your own SEO keyword analysis. Research the keywords of your topics, the questions of your potential audience with your keyword tool.
There are a few things to look for when performing your keyword analysis. Find keywords that have:
- Low competition
- Decent top-of-page bid relative to others in your research
- Decent amount of average monthly searches
Make a list of keywords that are suitable for your article, with the most important ones going at the top of the list. Incorporate these keywords into your title, headings, and subheadings. Above all, it is important your writing sounds natural. If you try to forcefully stuff all the keywords into your article, your readers will think your writing sounds spammy and you’ll be penalized by Google in their ranking algorithm.
Remember: You aren’t writing for the search engines—you’re writing for your potential audience. By using keywords, you help Google’s web crawlers determine what your content is about. This helps your users more easily navigate to your content—if it fits their needs.
Always, always, always keep your audience in mind. This brings us to our next point.
2. Imagine Yourself as One of Your Prospective Readers
Who Is Your Audience, and What Are Their Expectations?
At this point in the process, you should have a good idea of what you’re going to write about and what keywords you’re going to incorporate. Now you must begin writing. Start by imagining yourself as one of your potential readers. What keyword are they going to Google? What does the user intend to find via this search? What questions are you going to answer for your audience?
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The information you provide should meet and, if possible, exceed your audience’s expectations. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Use their expectations to guide the topic format of your article. The flow of your content should better enable your readers to learn the information and maximize its usefulness.
Establishing Authority and Trust via Finely Crafted Evergreen Content
Provide your users with valuable, high-quality evergreen content that will be relevant for years to come. If your topic allows, write longer articles, without being repetitious. Specifically, avoid making your topic artificially complex, ensure your content isn’t thin for the topic and is timeless.
If you only provide the basics, those who reach your content will quickly leave if they think their time will be unfruitful. Time spent on page (average visit duration) and bounce rate (when users navigate away from your site) are important SEO ranking factors. And by making your content evergreen, you’ll find it easier to make updates to your content in the future. You will want to make updates to your content from time to time since Google incorporates a freshness factor into their ranking algorithm.
3. Format Your Content so That It's Easy to Read
Make Use of Text Formatting
Lastly, when you’ve finished writing your piece, you’ll need to format it so that it’s easy for your audience to read. Make use of bold, italicized, and underlined headings and subheadings. Your formatting should further the ease by which your readers get information from your article.
Make It Scannable
How do you read an article when you find a search result you’ve clicked? You start by scanning the page in a predictable fashion. You start with the upper left-hand corner, because experience has told you that the most important and relevant information is going to be contained here. This is a high-commodity area because it should tell your readers what the article is about (the title), and what content they are going to find in the article (a brief summary).
If the information seems sufficiently relevant, your visitors will scan the upper portion of your page and they will pay attention to the first few sentences of each of your paragraph breaks.Take a look at some visualizations that demonstrate user eye-scan patterns (and therefore, how they direct their attention as well).
By understanding how and where user attention is directed, you can better format your online content so that these areas of interest (AOI) contain important, relevant information.
The Blog Content-Writing Process
This simple three-step blog writing process really centralizes around the idea of generating content for your users. From start to finish, the focus is on understanding and crafting content according to the expectations of your prospective audience so that it increases their engagement with your work. By attempting to standardize this process, we better enable ourselves to consistently generate content audiences will read, engage with, and enjoy.
Pernice, K. (2017). F-shaped pattern of reading on the web: Misunderstood, but still relevant (even on mobile). Nielsen Norman Group.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Toni (author) on February 04, 2019:
Thanks so much Jack! Really hope newcomers get some value out of it.
Jack Calder from 25883 N Park Ave #1, Elkhart, IN 46514, USA on February 04, 2019:
Thanks for providing such a good information. For upcoming users!