I was approached the other day by someone looking for some guidance on their website. They were wondering why they had absolutely no traffic coming at all. I told him that I’d take a look to see if anything jumped out at me. Here’s what the site consisted of:
- A Home page (that looked out of date and just had a couple pictures)
- An About page with one sentence
- A Contact page that was incomplete
- A Product and Services page that had 4 images and no content.
I explained to him that the search engines aren’t finding any value to the site. There’s nothing there aside from a few images. If he were to remove the pictures, there would be nothing but an empty site.
He needed content.
When I told him this, he said he didn’t have a clue about the components of an article or even where to start.
I wrote this article for him and everyone out there that wants to know how to write great articles that people (and the search engines) will love. Take advantage of these article writing tips and bring your blog or website to the next level.
I’m not the best writer in the world (my brother is the writer of the family). But I do know how to write great articles that attract readers. Let me show you how.
Write Your Headline Last
I usually write my headline last. Why? Sometimes when I write, the ideas that spawn take a different direction than I expect.
Here are a few tips for writing a solid headline:
- Take your time. I once took three hours to come up with the headline that I liked.
- Your title should have 15 to 65
- Grab their attention.
- Try to avoid clichés.
- Try to use multiple keywords (as long as it works).
- Use strong nouns and verbs
- Adjectives and adverbs aren’t as helpful as you’d think.
You’ll notice that my title doesn’t include a single adjective. I could have easily called this “9 Killer Components of an Article that Will Absolutely Blow Away Every Reader”. But statistically speaking, people are becoming numb to the overuse of adjectives (not to mention this is an awfully long title).
Your headline is one of the most important components of an article.
Write As if Your Having a Conversation
If you really want to know how to create great blog content, write like you’re speaking to someone. This can sometimes be challenging (for me as well). You don’t want to come across sounding like an encyclopedia. Remember, you’re not Wikipedia.
One thing I do is create a person that I’m writing a good article for. I envision who this person is, what challenges they are having, and what obstacles they are trying to overcome. Then I ask how my conversation (written article) relates to him and how it will help him. Obviously, in this case, I’m keeping the individual that I spoke about at the beginning of this article in mind.
Wow the Reader
There’s a lot of information out there. So what’s going to capture your reader and keep them on your site? Even better, what’s going to keep them coming back for more?
You want to give them something they aren’t likely to find elsewhere. Here are a few quick components of an article that will keep them coming back for more:
- Video series
- How to guide
- High profile Interview
- Step-by-step actionable content
- A resource post.
- Something controversal.
If you provide the reader value, they’ll be back for more.
Quantity AND Quality Are Both Important Components of an Article
I know how the old saying goes, “Quality over quantity”, right? Wrong!
First of all, if you have an article that’s less than 250 words, you’re just wasting your time. How much value can you really share with so little information?
Personally, I don’t like it when I finish an article and it’s less than 500 words. Preferably, I like to have longer articles that exceed 1000 words, if possible (in case you were wondering, this article is 1287 words long). Here’s why I prefer longer articles:
- It naturally forces me to dig deeper into the topic, providing more value.
- I will naturally have more long-tailed keywords (more on this in a bit).
These two things allow me to please the reader and the search engines.
Note: Quality doesn’t mean I’m writing as if I am an Ivy League professor. In fact, I usually try to write as if I’m talking someone in middle school. Believe it or not, this seems to come across better to readers.
I’ts important to know how to write great blog posts that are designed from an article outline. I usually brainstorm or mind map the components of an article before I actually write it. I then take that information and put it together in an organized outline.
Also, try to keep your paragraphs short and highlight or bold important points. This paragraph is a good example of this.
You can also use bullet points.
You see, most blog readers don’t read everything from the beginning to the end. They typically skim through your article. For this reason, we want to make it easy for them to skim. Make sure they don’t miss the important points.
Proofread Your Work
When you finish writing a good article, take a few minutes to proofread it. You could even have a friend or family member read it over to make sure there aren’t any mistakes.
Sometimes when something is in my head, the idea doesn’t make it to the page (even though I think it did). This is why it’s so important to read it over again to make sure you got it right.
Also, be sure to check the spelling and grammar. There are plenty of tools available to make sure you get this right.
A Touch of SEO
I think people tend to over-optimize their content. Just because something works with the search engines, doesn’t mean it will in the future. Always write for the reader. Don’t ever forget this!
With that said, here are a few things from an SEO perspective you should be able to naturally work in:
- 500 words or more
- Use several long-tailed keyword phrases throughout.
- Have your primary keyword phrase in the URL
- Have your primary (and secondary, if possible) keyword phrase in your title.
- Bold or italicize your keyword phrases (naturally).
- Use at least one image.
- Make sure you’re using “alt” tags in your images.
- Make sure your article is easy to read.
- If it works, use your keyword in a H2 tag.
- If you’re questioning your keyword density, it’s too high (I’m usually less than 1%)
Again, only do these things if it flows naturally. Never force something into an article. Always write for the reader. For more information about this, read about on-page negative SEO.
Hot Types of Articles
If you’re looking to capture some attention, here are a few things to get your creative juices flowing:
- Case Studies
- Comparisons (abc vs xyz)
- Share something no-one knows about you.
- How-To Guides
- A summarized compilation of your best material.
- Something controversial.
Write for the Reader, Not the Search Engines
Did I say this already? Yes, I did. I just wanted to make sure I was perfectly clear on this.
If you follow the article writing tips I provided about the components of an article, you should be on your way to writing a good article that your readers will absolutely love.
So what now?
- Brainstorm some ideas.
- Put together an outline.
- Write an article that offers value and wows the reader.
- Throw in a little SEO (if it works).
- Write a killer headline (even if it takes you 3 hours).
- Publish it to your site.
Get to it and start writing!