You can have the best copy and the smartest message in the world. But if your blog post isn’t formatted correctly or cleanly, it can significantly cut into the impression, impact and conversion potential of your content. Here are 8 steps to help you create the perfect blog post.
Spacing consistency - How you choose to handle spacing is up to you. Space between sentences, between paragraphs, before the beginning and end of bulleted lists, etc. Just be consistent. Nothing stands out more than inconsistent spacing.
Bullets and sub-bullets - Similar story. If you start with carets, stick with carets. If you use circular bullets, stick with them.
Short paragraphs - Online copy needs to be read in short bursts. A reasonable paragraph in print will look impossibly long and intimidating online. My general rule of thumb is that a “traditional” paragraph in print should be at least two, and maybe three, paragraphs in online or blog format.
Links - I hate blogs that highlight every other word or phrase linked to somewhere. But if you reference a person specifically or content from elsewhere, give them the courtesy of a link. It’s a great way to get their attention and also participate in the online community (plus encourage more link-backs to your blog in the process). This isn’t as much about formatting as it is etiquette, but it’s still important.
Photos - Every blog post needs a photo, ideally something that anchors the post and will accompany it in syndication. Pick something relevant but unique, from iStockPhoto or any other rights-free source.
Calls to action and related articles - Don’t leave your readers hanging. Every good blog post should offer something next. It doesn’t have to be a call to action to a lead asset, it can simply be links to other, related and/or associated articles. Just don’t leave your readers in a dead-end.
Highlight guest authors at the top and bottom of the post - When you allow a guest blogger to contribute something, give them the courtesy of a highlight up front and at the end. This helps them get more noticed and more fol-lowers to their own channels as well.
Always link back to anyone mentioned (individual or company) and let them know - If you do happen to mention specific companies or individuals in your post, link to them and give them a courtesy heads-up (via email or phone) that they’ve been mentioned. They’ll appreciate it, and likely share the post with their networks as well.