When you first start blogging, you don’t really know how to put together a blog post. You may not even know if your blog post ideas are any good. Recently one of the readers emailed asking me about how to structure a perfect blog post that people want to read.
Well having written and edited thousands of blog posts, here are some tips and resources that will help you structure a perfect blog post.
Since the article structure varies for different types of blog posts, I’ll cover the most basic post structure and then give specific examples of article structures for list posts, roundup posts, review posts, and how-to posts.
The Most Basic Blog Post Structure
Every blog post has four key elements:
- The title: grabs attention and makes a promise (which needs to be fulfilled by the end of your post).
- The introduction: hooks the reader, draws them in, and sets up the post.
- The main body: works through a logical sequence of points, holding the reader’s attention.
- The conclusion: ends the post decisively and calls the reader to take action.
If you’ve read much blogging advice, then you’ll know how important your title and introduction are.
You may struggle when it comes to crafting the main body of your post, and if you’re like a lot of bloggers, you probably leave off the conclusion entirely.
Here are four great types of strongly structured posts to try out today:
1. The List Post
Example: Ten Biggest Business Mistakes That Every Entrepreneur Should Avoid (Syed Balkhi)
I’m sure you have read plenty of list posts. They are popular with bloggers and reader alike.
List posts are easy to plan and structure, and your readers find them valuable even if only a couple of points apply to them.
List posts can be short or long, and normally consist of numbered subheadings with anything from a couple of sentences to several paragraphs expanding on each one.
When writing list posts, you want to be careful with…
#1: Structuring the individual list items. In the example post, linked above, I first explain the mistake then explain what to do instead, for each mistake on the list.
You can go even further with a structure like this and add in extra subheadings. See 16 ridiculously simple ways to get more email subscribers in which Kevin Duncan uses “Here’s how to do it” below each tip.
#2: Adding a call to action. Too many list posts simply end, abruptly, with the final item. Instead, end with something that briefly sums up the post. A simple sentence or a small conclusion is fine plus a call to action.
Here’s my conclusion and call to action from that post:
These are just some of the top business mistakes I see new entrepreneurs make. Have you made any of these business mistakes? Got a mistake that you see others making that I didn’t list? Share them in the comments below.
2. The Round-up Post
Example: 10 Things Exceptionally Productive Entrepreneurs Do Every Day (Michael Simmons, Entrepreneur)
This is a variation on the list post, and not only an easy way to structure a post but also an easy way to come up with some great content. A round-up post brings together experts in your niche to share their thoughts on a particular question or topic.
If you have just a few experts on board, it makes sense to ask them each several questions in order to provide enough content.
Round-up posts can also be used for links to great blog posts – perhaps with some thoughts from you about each post, and/or a quote from the post. You can do this for other people’s great content or for content on your own blog – e.g. a “Best of Best WordPress tutorials of 2014 on WPBeginner”.
When writing a round-up post, be careful with…
#1: Putting the experts in a logical order. Many bloggers do this alphabetically by surname to avoid suggesting that one expert is “better” than another. Others will put responses in the order in which they arrived (i.e. the first person to email you back goes first in the post).
#2: Editing the responses that you get. You may find that some experts provide a sentence or two and others write whole paragraphs. Sometimes, a hastily written email from a busy expert will contain typos. It’s fine to fix minor mistakes, and most people will be happy for you to cut their response down a bit if it’s too long.
3. The Review or Recommendation Post
Example: MaxCDN Review (WPBeginner)
This type of post doesn’t normally follow a list format, but it still has a structure. Typically, a review or recommendation post begins by introducing and briefly explaining the product or service and ends with a verdict on whether or not it’s a good purchase.
A review will normally give some points both for and against, while coming down on one side or the other. A recommendation may be more straightforward – and often shorter.
It might make sense to recommend five or ten products or services in a single list post whereas with a review, it’s harder to do this (though you could compare two or three competing products).
When writing a review or recommendation post, be careful with…
#1: Making it clear how to actually get the product. If the whole point of reviewing/recommending is so you can use an affiliate link, include the link in key places in your post (otherwise people may just Google the name of the product) rather than just having it once. Put it in the introduction and conclusion at the very least, and if you’re using an image of the product, use that as a link too.
#2: Separating your review into clear points. In the example above, I use an infographic to explain the importance of the CDN and then summarize the benefits in a bullet-list.
More examples of different review post structures:
- 23 Top Tools for WordPress Developers
- Switching Away from Disqus Review – Increased Comments by 304%
4. How-To Post
Example: How to Create a Sitemap in WordPress (WPBeginner)
A how-to post is fairly easy to write and structure specially when you put yourself in the reader’s shoes.
Jot down step by step instructions in an ordered list format. Once you have that, you can expand each instruction into it’s own section with more details or simply use your ordered list format.
When writing a how-to post, be careful with…
#1: Making sure that you and the reader start at the same point. For example, in the article above, I make a point to explain what is a XML sitemap before I started the how-to process.
#2: You have clear instructions about the process. If you skip steps, then it will leave the reader extremely frustrated.
Getting structure right isn’t particularly tricky, but it does take some thought. What will you be doing differently when you plan and structure your next post? Let me know in the comments below.
If you liked this article, then checkout my 14-point blog post checklist that you can use before you hit publish.
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Thanks for the handy advice on blogposts. It is helpful and straightforward. I am glad I read your article and look forward to receiving more like it.
Thanks for the comment Jenny 🙂
Awesome post Syed!! Really helpful reminder to create posts that resonate with the readers.
Although it may sound like an easy task, making a quality roundups involve research and effort. Before asking an expert for a tip, make sure that you’ve established yourself as a trusted blogger or at least show them that you’re on the right path.
This post provides some interesting tips. I’m sure a lot of startups will benefit from this.
Syed you’re good. I particularly love the post on reviews. Thanks