I’m a big fan of the Food Network show Chopped, and one thing I’ve learned is that it’s really difficult to make a great meal from terrible ingredients like Twinkies and nacho cheese in a jar.
The same is true for blogging – if you want to write a great blog post, you’ve got to start with good ingredients.
I love having a variety of writers contributing to Christian Web Trends! The variety of perspectives, experiences, and styles that our staff and guest bloggers have brings a richness to this blog that no single author could.
That said, just because a blog post is “different” doesn’t make it good.
After 7+ years of blogging, I’m convinced there are certain elements that make a blog post good. Certain ingredients, I believe every blog post should contain regardless of who is writing.
I originally wrote this post as a guide for would-be Christian Web Trends guest bloggers, but if you do any blogging at all, cooking up your posts with these ingredients will take your writing to new levels.
7 Must-Have Elements of a Great Blog Post
1) Tantalizing title. Most people scan dozens of not hundreds of headlines and email subjects every day, but only click to read a small percentage of those. Your title/headline has to stand out and make people want to click.
2) Hook in the opening paragraph. Once someone has been intrigued enough by the title of a blog post to click to read more, your next job is to keep them there. After a person has read the first paragraph or two, if you have not convince them the rest of the article is something of value to them, they will move on to something else.
3) Connecting image. We humans are a strange bunch. We’re influenced by our head and our heart. The content and media that impact us most speaks to both our head and our heart. Words tend to speak to our heads, images tend to speak to our hearts. So, including a good, related image helps people to connect more fully to the topic.
4) Unique style and perspective. Blogs are personal. People don’t just read them for information, but to engage and have conversations with a real people. Writing with your own unique conversational style and including personal stories and essential for connecting with readers.
5) New insight. Unless you’re blogging for a news organization or Joe Friday, your readers are not looking for just the facts. People are looking for something of value, a new insight. Tell them how to do something more effectively than they’re currently doing it.
6) Formatted for easy reading. People don’t read blog posts like they read books. They skim. Don’t fight it; embrace it. Format your posts for skimming. Keep your posts short – 400-600 words. Use short paragraphs, bold headlines, and bullet (or numbered) points.
7) Conversation-starting question. One of the primary purposes of a blog post is to create conversation and engagement. We want readers to add their perspectives, insights and opinions. One of the best ways to spark discussion is by closing the post with a question.
Looking for an example of a post that includes all 7 ingredients? You’re reading it. 🙂
What do you think of these 7 ingredients? Are they all essential? What other ingredients do you try to include in your posts?