If you’re having trouble pulling in high reader numbers on your blog, it might be time for you to reevaluate the style, format, and substance of your content. Even if you’re doing everything you’re supposed to do as a blogger—write for your target audience, keep your posts short and sweet, stay on stop of current trends, and so on—it can be hard to establish a prominent online presence. Great writing skills will only get you so far in the blogosphere. Being a great blogger requires a host of indispensable skills, among them a keen sense of networking and a work ethic that would make the typical 9 to 5er blush. It’s a full-time job, no doubt about it.
But even the strongest work ethic won’t get you anywhere as a blogger if you don’t have compelling and engaging content to draw in readers and fellow bloggers. That’s why you have to go the extra mile to optimize your content if you want to make the leap from web obscurity to viral popularity. Among other things, that extra mile could be a popular blog post format meant to hook readers on your content. I’m talking about stylistic posts that go beyond the typical three paragraph update. I’m talking about blog posts that yield results.
Popular Blog Post styles
Let’s take a look at some of those popular blog post styles:
The infographic is one of the best tools for the blogger looking to optimize their content. You’ve probably seen dozens of infographics on the web, even if you didn’t know what it was at the time. Infographics are graphical representations of complex ideas meant to explain a number of concepts to a reader using pictures, diagrams, graph, and text. Infographics come in handy for bloggers that deal with data-rich content because they boil down huge figures and concepts into a relatively breezy and pretty picture. What’s more, infographics are fun to read and pleasing to look at, making them an easy target for readers who want rewarding content. Tech bloggers and small business bloggers might be best suited to use infographics in their posts, though the device can work to explain content for virtually niche.
Another great style for content creation at a blogger’s disposal is the news round-up. A blogger constructing a viable news round-up for the day would probably write a paragraph or two summing up the recent news in their target niche, inserting hyperlinks in keywords throughout that link back to the news source that originally reported the story.
If you run a higher education blog, for example, you might use the news round-up to give your readers the latest scoop in the industry, providing links to the most interesting stories about college news, trending issues within higher education, and so on. When used effectively, news round-ups could turn your blog into an unofficial news hub for your readers to refer to whenever they want an update on the day’s events. It’s a fairly common practice among bloggers, but that’s because it drives up page views.
Top 10 lists
Ah yes, the trusty top 10 list—always a winner for content optimization. There’s something about the numbered list that draws all types of readers to a post. Maybe it’s excitement behind ranking products or services, or maybe it’s the fun that many readers have when they debate rankings in the comments. Either way, assembling a top 10 list of any topic—cars, fast food chains, beauty products, social media tools—will invariably boost your readership, simply because people just can’t resist reading them. Just be sure that you don’t overdo it on the top 10 lists; too much of a good thing might wear on your readers and cause them to wander elsewhere.
Ask powerful questions
One of the best ways to draw your readers into a post is to ask a single, powerful question that sparks their interest. The question doesn’t have to be controversial or groundbreaking in order to have the intended effect; it simply needs to evoke a sense of curiosity in the reader. For example, a blog that discusses social media might feature a post with a provoking question as the title like “How often do you really use Google+?” or “Facebook: Yesterday’s news?”
These types of questions will invariably interest some of your readers, because they demand answers on issues at the very center of your niche. Invoking the powerful question for a post will definitely cause a stir on your blog, you just have to figure out what question will elicit the biggest response.
What are your favorite blog post styles for optimizing content?
Samantha Gray is a freelance writer based in Houston, Texas, where she also volunteers as a tutor for a literacy organization. She received her bachelor degree online and enjoys advising others how they can do the same. Questions and comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.