Around 7 million blog posts are published every day.
That’s a lot of competition.
How do you even begin to stand out when there’s so much content out there ready and waiting for your audience to read?
The good news is there’s a lot of sub-par blog posts out there that don’t provide the information readers need or that are published just for the sake of publishing.
The key to standing out is to create great content that’s informative and valuable. This will keep readers coming back and bring credibility to your business at the same time. One of the most overlooked (yet simplest) parts of writing a blog post is its structure. The way a piece flows and the transitions you apply to take readers from one part to the next are crucial to creating compelling blog posts that encourage people to keep reading.
Why a good blog structure is so important
Blog post structure is important first and foremost because it makes a piece easier to read for consumers. The easier it is to read, the more likely they are to make it to the end and soak up the value you’re offering.
On top of this, a well-structured blog post is better for SEO and does your topic justice. Structure improves readability, which means your audience is more likely to find the answer they’re looking for in your post. Google will notice this through the amount of time people spend on your site and it will push your posts up the search results.
8 steps to creating a perfect blog post structure
1. Compelling title
The first thing readers see before they start reading your blog post is your blog post title. It should give them enough information to make them want to click through to your post to read the main points, but it should also share what they’re going to get out of reading it.
List posts (listicles), roundups, and how-to headlines perform particularly well, and titles with 6-13 words attract the highest and most consistent amount of traffic.
Use Jasper’s powerful headline generator to come up with a number of different titles. We recommend creating between 10-20 for each piece and choosing the best one from those.
2. Irresistible intros
Once a reader clicks through into your blog post, the next thing they’ll read is the introduction. It’s important to set the scene with your intro and encourage your audience to continue reading - basically, a lot weighs on this part of your blog post. Get it wrong, and it’s easy for someone to click out and find another post that hooks them from the start.
There are several ways you can create an irresistible intro:
- Ask a question: encourage readers to consider the answer to a question
- Aggravate a pain point: talk about a huge pain point readers might have
- Start with a stat: kick things off with a surprising statistic
- Tell an anecdote: use a personal story or experience to create a human connection from the get-go
- Begin at the end: share the end result of the process you’re going to talk about or put the ending of your story at the start before digging into the meat of it throughout the post
Jasper’s blog post intro paragraph template will quickly come up with a compelling introduction you can use in your pieces. Simply enter what the piece is about, the audience you’re targeting, and the tone of voice you want to relay.
3. Use headings
No one wants to read huge blocks of text. In fact, blog readers are notorious for scanning posts to find the information they need. Bloggers can make it as easy as possible for them to do this by adding in headers and subheadings where necessary.
Breaking up your posts into H2 and H3 headers gives it structure and provides hints into what each section will reveal. The key to remember is that your post should make sense if people just read the headers. Make sure they offer value and work as an outline or brief summary for people who don’t want to read the entire post.
Helpscout’s post on blog writing examples incorporate headings to make posts scannable.
4. Short paragraphs and short sentences
Just like headers break up the text, so do short paragraphs. Gone are the days of paragraphs that run on for sentences and sentences. Internet users prefer to see a bit of white space around the text, so give them what they want.
As a general rule, blog post paragraphs shouldn’t be longer than three sentences. This might seem short, but it keeps your blog post scannable and helps readers find breathing space if your post is particularly long.
Shopify’s short paragraphs make it easy to scan their blog posts.
5. Formatting features
While we’re still on the topic of making your blog post readable, let’s talk about formatting features like bullet points and numbered checklists. Again, elements like this help break up the copy and make your post scannable.
It can also be a good way to keep your posts exciting: instead of having hundreds of paragraphs on top of each other, break them up with a bulleted list here or a numbered checklist there. Bullet points make it quicker for consumers to read your posts (which is crucial in this day and age when everyone seems to be starved of time), and they can help you rank higher in the SERPs by providing an opportunity to incorporate multiple keywords.
Add a call to action (CTA) to the end of your post so that customers know exactly what steps you want them to take after they’ve read your blog post.
BuzzSumo uses bullet points to list out key things readers will find useful.
6. Add visuals
Visuals like images, illustrations, infographics, charts, and graphs add interest to your blog posts and content marketing in general - plus, they’re great for sharing on social media and with your email list. They provide another perspective to blog content and break up paragraphs. The most common type of visual in blog posts is original graphics (32.5%), followed closely by stock photos (29.5%), and charts and data visualizations (15.1%).
When planning your blog posts, don’t overlook what graphics you’ll include. In fact, the earlier you start planning them, the easier it will be to incorporate them into your blog posts.
Think about creating:
- Illustrations to highlight processes
- Videos that run through step-by-step guides and tutorials
- Charts and data visualizations to highlight key points
- Infographics that showcase customer survey information
The more original you can be with your visuals and the more aligned they are with the content of your blog post, the better.
Intercom uses screenshots, illustrations, and pulls quotes to add a visual element to its blog posts.
7. Tell a story
While great blog posts tend to follow a simple “what, why, how” structure, in that they lay out the topic, they go on to talk about why it’s important, before concluding with information about how a reader can do it, there is still room for storytelling.
In fact, blog posts that incorporate personal anecdotes and have a clear beginning, middle, and end tend to perform better because they keep readers’ attention for longer (after all, humans have been soaking up stories for thousands of years).
Even if your topic is fairly dry, you can still inject some storytelling elements. Think about adding:
- Personal anecdotes to make your blog post stand out
- Real-life examples that illustrate the point you’re making
- A beginning, a middle, and an end that follows the traditional storytelling journey
QuickSprout does a good job of starting its blog posts with storytelling techniques.
8. Read it aloud
When your blog post is ready to go, try reading it out loud to see if it flows well. This is a particularly good exercise to identify any transition points that aren’t working, or if there’s a stilted flow to the piece.
Reading it aloud can help you pinpoint these parts so you can rework the structure and make sure your post links up the way it should.
Better blog post structure: get started today
Blogging and coming up with blog post ideas is an important part of running a business. It attracts new customers, helps push your site up the search engines, and helps you create authority and credibility around your brand. The more you can help people with your blog posts, the better, but they have to actually want to read your posts to begin with - not an easy task when there’s so much competition out there.
Creating a good, clear structure is one of the easiest ways to make your blog posts stand out. Ensuring readers want to continue reading is crucial if you want to keep them on-site and make an impression. Use the tips we’ve listed here to structure your blog post with key formatting features, compelling headlines, and storytelling techniques.
Tap into Jasper’s powerful suite of templates to help you out. Build out your blog post introductions, create captivating headlines, and even create your entire blog post using the long-form assistant.