The 4 Essential Characteristics to Make Your Blog Influential
Even though many regard him as the world’s greatest novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky probably would have made for a terrible blogger. The combination of profound (if at times occult) subject matter, verbose phrasing, and grandiloquent sentence structuring simply would not have gone over well among today’s time-deprived, “information-now” readers.
Case in point, there is a margin that defines the boundaries of effective blog writing. Contemporary blog readers want to see brief sentences, succinct paragraph structures, and appealing visual combinations of media (photos, videos, infographics, dynamic blockquotes, etc.)
High-Value Information Should Go Without Saying
Of course, this is all assuming the quality of the content (i.e., the general information) that you’re providing is top-notch. Even if you were to implement all of the forthcoming criteria to perfection, your blog would still be worthless if it doesn’t provide high-quality, tangible value to the reader.
In other words, by far the most essential component of a blog is useful information. It’s as simple as that. Do plenty of research. Become an expert on the topics you’re discussing. Tell readers things that they don’t already know. Don’t insult a reader’s intelligence. Give them value, and give them a reason to sit there and read your posts from start to finish.
With all that in mind, here are the top four supplementary characteristics that will make your blog valuable – and influential – to your audience.
The Top 4 Traits of a Successful Blog
#1: A Brilliant Title (And a Captivating Intro)
Another thing that goes without saying is that most readers don’t have much of an attention span these days. You have maybe 60 words – including a catchy title – to capture a reader’s intrigue. Squander this opportunity, and they’re likely to bounce off your page and go to the next Google search result.
However, what’s key to point out is that captivating titles and intros are crucial before a reader even makes it into your blog. Many describe Google meta titles and meta descriptions as the bait that determines whether a potential reader will take your hook and enter your blog.
Let’s say you go onto Google and type in the search phrase “Best California Wine 2020.” You’ll be met with a barrage of search results, naturally, and guess what? Like everyone else, you’re going to scan the first page and choose the result with the most captivating meta title and meta description.
Here are some examples of some bland meta titles and descriptions for this particular search phrase:
- Top Picks for the Best California Wine for 2020
Are you looking for the best California wine for 2020? Be sure to read this article and check out our top picks.
- Best California Wine 2020: The Updated List
Can’t decide which CA wine to buy? Here we offer our top picks for the best California wines for 2020.
On the flip side, here are some examples of MTs and MDs for the same phrase, that offer much more value and overall “curb appeal”:
- Best California Wines for 2020? An Expert Vintner Shares Her Industry Secrets
We all know CA boasts some of the finest vineyards on the planet. Here, a world-class winemaker shares some crème de la crème picks for 2020’s best California wines.
- The Best California Wines for 2020 (5 Artisan-Crafted Picks That Will Change Your Life)
The Golden State boasts some of the nation’s most vibrant winemaking traditions. Browse our expert’s hand-picked selections for the best California wines for 2020.
These latter MTs and MDs offer a level of trust, credibility, and value that the previous ones do not. Even using the word “vintner” suggests an advanced-level knowledge of the topic, which means readers will be more likely to visit from Google.
#2: Practical & Functional SEO Elements
Incorporating SEO elements into an article or blog post is never really fun, but it sure is necessary. In a nutshell, essential SEO elements allow people to see your post on Google. Without proper SEO structure, no one will see your content – no matter how high-value or wonderfully written it is.
What do we mean by “SEO elements?” In terms of content writing, the use of keywords and keyphrases is probably going to be your most useful tool. If you’re writing a blog post on the “best Alfred Hitchcock movies of all time,” for example, you’re going to want to incorporate variations of this keyphrase into your MT, MD, H1 (article title), some of your subheaders (H2s, H3s, etc.), and throughout your text.
Of course, over-stuffing keywords/phrases is never a good idea. In fact, keyword stuffing can be downright counterproductive in terms of Google ranking your page on its list of search results. Try and use keywords as naturally and organically as possible and make sure they flow throughout the article in an organized, structured way.
#3: Variation of Media Elements
Another essential SEO element involves using various media such as photos, videos, tables and charts, and infographics. Incorporating these into a blog post helps to break up the monotony of large blocks of structured paragraph text. They can also improve the overall visual appeal of an article, potentially making a massive difference in lowering the rate that readers bounce from your page.
Of course, make sure that any image, video, table, chart, or infographic you use is available for legal use. Either use your own that you’ve created, or invest in a subscription service like Shutterstock or Getty Images.
#4: Content That Is Brief, Concise, and To-the-Point
Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that your writing style isn’t overly tedious or wordy. Try and write in a way that’s brief, concise, and straight-to-the-point. Neither Google nor your average contemporary reader likes to see posts with high word counts and/or long paragraph blocks.
It’s also essential to break up your paragraphs with plenty of headers and subheaders. This not only improves the visual appeal of an article, but it makes the content more “scannable” as well. You might not even realize it, but when you go into a new website from a Google search, the first thing you do is scan the headers. This makes sense, as header text is the largest text on the page – it provides a natural focal point.
More importantly, though, use quality headers that make sense and flow with the article’s overall structure. After all, readers won’t even start reading your content if they look at the headers and don’t see any real value.
Traits of an Influential Blog: A General Summary
There are dozens of different factors that go into creating a successful and influential blog or website. First and foremost, however, is the quality of information you’re providing. Be an expert on the topics you’re blogging about. Or, if you’re not an expert, do plenty of pre-writing research so it comes across as though you are.
Aside from that, incorporate the following four criteria into your posts as naturally and organically as possible:
- Fabricate a catchy title & intro (including the MT and MD)
- Incorporate SEO elements like keywords and keyphrases
- Use a variety of media
- Write in a tone that is brief, concise, and to-the-point
Implementing these factors into your blogging may not make your posts immediately shoot up Google’s list of search results, but they will improve your content’s overall quality and value – that’s for sure.