JILLYN: Hi. I’m Jillyn, founder and executive director for Technology Aloha and I’m here today with our content manager, Kelli to talk about formatting blog posts. We’ll be splitting our topic into three sections. What makes a good template, the importance of the elements you should include in each blog post, and why the same template for every blog post makes sense for your readers and for your business. So to get started, Kelli, what makes a good template?
What Makes a Good Template?
KELLI: A good template is a good layout for your blog post. It starts with the title and a short introduction and then either right before or right after the introduction, you include a topic related image. Then, you want to divide your post up into sections and subsections and properly mark them so people can quickly scan your blog post. That’s actually what most people will read before they decide they even want to read your blog and they’ll skip if they think that the sections don’t sound relevant, or don’t sound like they want to read it or just they don’t feel like they’ll have time if it’s a super, super long post.
JILLYN: Everybody’s got limited time, right.
KELLI: Mhm. So, this part is going to be a little bit technical but you want to make sure you’re using proper headers to show search engines along with your readers what you find most important. So, heading one should be the blog post title and then regular paragraph text for the introduction. Topic one would be a heading two and then you would want to use the paragraph text to explain your topic number one and then you do another header two if you go into another topic with again, paragraph text below that and then if you have subtopics within those areas, use a header three to mark those sections and it will make your post so much easier to read. Just remember, don’t use h1 more than once. The heading one is only for the title. Your blog post should feel like a pyramid with your title at the top and then each topic and subsequent subtopics should support your message.
JILLYN: That’s absolutely right and the using of those h1, h2, h3 in order and making sure that it does kind of look like a Christmas tree or a pyramid is really important for a lot of reasons. First of all, it helps Google index your posts correctly and correctly attribute subjects and purpose of the post but the other thing is, and this is becoming a bigger and bigger deal, Americans with Disabilities Act requires that you use this format to be ADA compliant and there is some danger there for businesses for not following this. So, it is very important not only from a reading perspective, not only for an SEO perspective but from a liability perspective.
KELLI: Exactly and if you can’t visualize this on your own, one of the blogs that we linked to in the description will show it, I’ve also put in how this looks into the description of this podcast. Along with being ADA compliant, there are certain elements that should be included in blog posts. Jillyn, what kind of elements go into a good blog post, and could you go over some of them?
(UNSPOKEN) The Pyramid of Headers
Blog Post Title (H1)
- Introduction (paragraph text)
- Topic 1 (H2)
- text (paragraph text)
- Topic 2 (H2)
- text (paragraph text)
- Subtopic 1 (H3)
- text (paragraph text)
- Subtopic 2 (H3)
- text (paragraph text)
Most Important: The Introduction
JILLYN: Absolutely. So, I would say that the intro synopsis or that introduction chart back at the very beginning of the post is perhaps the most important piece of any blog, and here’s why. Think about the value that your subject holds for your readers and when I say subject I mean that of your post and that of your blog overall for your business and for your customers. Are you filling a need? Answering a question? Sharing industry or product information? Regardless, be sure that you introduce that in the short introduction paragraph at the very beginning of the post. On the Technology Aloha blog, you’ll always find that intro synopsis before the image for the post. It tells your readers why they should continue reading and it gives them the information that they need to decide whether or not the post fulfills their needs and answers their question.
KELLI: That’s really good. Is there anything else?
JILLYN: You also want to know why this post is an important piece. So, if you’re wondering why this is the most important piece, first, it shows respect for your reader’s time. Second, it gives your readers what they need to make an informed decision on whether or not to continue reading. It doesn’t benefit your business for people to read posts that aren’t useful to them but if you consciously make an effort to produce useful content and write a good synopsis for your post as an intro you will build goodwill and you will build a loyal audience.
KELLI: Yeah, that intro really is important. Are there other elements that we should make sure we include?
JILLYN: Yes, definitely. So, as you mentioned earlier the image is really important. That old adage about an image being worth a thousand words still holds true today. In fact, in our fast-paced world, it may even be more true today. Images capture our attention and imagination, they illustrate topics in a way that words don’t, and including an image with every post will make your post more interesting and more engaging. Images are also an opportunity to help control the perception of your brand and branding is important. Most of the time when one of your posts is shared on social media, the featured image is going to be what most people will see and focus on. Here at Technology Aloha, we have really specific requirements for the subject matter of our images and we have specific filters that we use every single time for every single post. It’s part of our brand and when our posts are shared online those aspects make that post image immediately recognizable and belonging to our brand. This increases the value of every post and every share.
KELLI: Yeah, images are really important for branding so it’s really helpful that we have that. It also helps me when I go in and look at images. If it doesn’t look good for the filter then I know it won’t look good with the brand. So, I know that external links are important but why would you want to have people leave your website on your blog.
JILLYN: That’s definitely one of those counter-intuitive things and it’s probably the aspect that new bloggers leave out the most. So here’s the thing, you spend a ton of time creating these posts and you don’t want that hard-earned traffic following a link off your site never to return and we get that. However, as long as you’re selective about the external links that you use, the value they provide is greater than the risks they pose. External links build credibility. They provide your readers with additional and valuable information and perspectives that might not exactly match yours. That’s valuable too. They improve the SEO of your post and your site overall, they’re also an excellent opportunity to reach out to related businesses and blogs to ask for reciprocal links or for a friendly share to their online community which expands your reach.
KELLI: That’s really helpful. Should I also include internal links on my blog posts?
JILLYN: You definitely want to include internal links. Internal links are less scary but they’re no less important. Like the external links, internal links often provide additional information for your readers but they also help Google and other search engines understand the structure of your site and where a particular post fits in that hierarchy. They’re also a great way to help readers become customers or clients. For example, on the Technology Aloha site, there’s a call to action or CTA at the bottom of every post that leads readers to the related service we offer.
KELLI: Yeah, the call to action is very, very important and for those of you wondering, I am asking the questions as if I don’t understand this so that you can kind of hear it explained to you if you don’t personally understand this. I kind of know the answer but I like hearing JILLYN explain it because she’s very good at making a very important technical piece sound simple.
Consistency in Templates
JILLYN: Thanks Kelli, I appreciate that. So, one of the other things that’s really important when we’re writing blogs is that we use the same template for every post or at least the same template for every post that’s in a specific category. Why would you say that is?
KELLI: So, the main reason you would use the same template is you’re going to save yourself so much time. Why waste your time to make every blog post look super different from each other?
JILLYN: I completely agree with that. I understand that creativity makes you think that different posts layout every time would make things more interesting for your readers but it actually takes them more time and it takes you more time, and using a template means that you sort of have a preset outline which saves you time in the planning and research stages as well.
KELLI: Exactly. A template shows others consistency and that you’ve planned ahead. It gives readers a pattern to follow and you can use your images to make every blog unique. You’ve got options for the creativity parts as well.
How to Make Your Posts Unique
JILLYN: So, what if I want to make my blog posts look unique?
KELLI: So, focus on the content, don’t talk about the same thing every time, and make sure your images apply to the content and are interesting and visually different from others. Obviously we want to have some similarities, that’s why we use the same filter but the images are a great way to break up what can feel like monotony when it comes to building your post layout.
JILLYN: One of the other things to keep in mind is that it’s unlikely someone is going to come to your site and ready fifty blog posts all in one shot. So they’re probably going to read one or two and then move on and then hopefully come back. Alright, I think that is all the time we have for today. We’ve included some links in the description from several of our blog posts that cover the topic we discussed today and if you have any questions about formatting blog posts or have other topics you want to hear about on our podcast, please reach out on social media or contact us at technologyaloha.com. I’m Jillyn.
KELLI: And I’m Kelli. Thank you for listening to Into The Inbound with Technology Aloha. We hope we added a little aloha to your day.
Links to Related Posts
- Anatomy of a Blog Post, and Why It Matters
- How to Format a Blog Post for SEO
- How to Write a Great Blog Post
- How to Write a Good-Looking Blog Post
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Into the Inbound with Technology Aloha