Lesson 4: How to structure your post
Now that you know what topic you will write about and the keyword that you will focus on you need to be clear on the structure of your post.
In this lesson we are going to:
Discuss how long your blog post should be
Learn how to make your posts scannable
Step 1: How Long Should Your Blog Post Be
What’s the goal of this post? Are you aiming to attract a new audience? Are you trying to win people over to your perspective? Are you serving your current audience content you feel they will enjoy? Are you promoting your new e-book, course, whatever you have on the horizon? Are you sharing news about your blog/organization/business?
Knowing the goal will help you with the overall structure of the post itself and will also help to keep you on topic. How long should it be? How long will it be? There are varied opinions on the “best length” for a blog post.
At a panel we were recently at, a colleague used the example of writing a step-by-step guide for heart surgery versus writing a list of the best burger joints to eat at when you are drunk. You would be a little perturbed if the first article on heart surgery was 300 words long, the same way, as a user, you would be frustrated by a 1000 word blog post on where to eat when you’re drunk (likely because you found it while drunk).
Best practices for blog posts are that they should be more than 300 words in length. But, outside of that, you need to consider the best length for user experience.
In general, it is true, longer more informative content tends to rank higher. However, you have to write keeping your audience in mind. The currently generally accepted “ideal length” is between 700-800 words. But if you can’t hit that, don’t force it, you’ll only end up hurting your rankings.
Step 2: How To Make Your Posts Scannable
You want your post to have a clear introduction, headers to break up long sections of content, and a conclusion.
Humans have an attention span of 8 seconds, and they may be scanning over your post to see if it is worth their time. Make it easy for them to find the answer to that question.
You should have one main headline (defined as an H1 and depending on your template, usually the title of your post) followed by other headers dividing your posts into readable chunks.
Numbered lists, bullets, and images breaking up text also help. And you can even go through your final text and bold out the most important points so the don’t get missed. Finally you want to wrap it all up into a conclusion.
If you want examples, search for the topic you’re writing about and look at the top few posts (aka your competition). They likely will have created high value scannable content that Google likes.
That’s it for lesson 4. Now that you understand how to structure your post, we can discuss where to put those keywords you found!
Allow 20 minutes for this lesson.