5 Blog Post Title Types that Drive Traffic

Blogging is equal parts art and science and it’s important to test out post types that will work for your business. A big part of discovering what content your current and potential readers are most interested in is to test out blog post title types. Your post titles are one of the most valuable SEO tools that you have at your disposal. Why? Because the titles that best engage readers are also usually the ones that are the most search engine friendly. Pretty good bonus, right?

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These are five of our favorite blog post title types:

  1. Numbers, numbers, numbers: Have you noticed that our posts typically start something like “5 Top Tips…” or “3 Things to Know…” Readers typically love lists because they are easy to scan and read.
  2. How-To:  Do you have expertise you want to share with readers? You might be surprised just how many things you know how to do that can be broken down into short and sweet how-to posts. No how-to is too simple or too complicated. Someone is always looking for it.
  3. My Experience with…: Our posts about moving from SquareSpace to WordPress are some of our most popular. Why? Because they mix lots of “How-To” knowledge with our personal experience. It makes technical posts much more relatable.
  4. Behind the Scenes: Similarly, our Working with Your Spouse post is also hugely popular. That’s because people love reading about the “behind the scenes” action that goes on in running our business. Try out something similar on your blog.
  5. Lists of resources: The most applicable to all industries, the good ol’ fashioned list is a tried and true blog post title type. You can use a list type post to highlight people, places and products that you recommend.

There are, of course, plenty of other post types to try out, but give these five a whirl on your site.

How to Attract Customers with Your First Paragraph

When we teach a client how to blog for their business we typically emphasize two critical pieces above all else: post titles and the first paragraph. We’ve covered post titles in the past, so today lets talk about that other important element: how to attract customers with your first paragraph. It’s easier than you think to write a great first paragraph that attracts customer and engages readers.

Your first paragraph needs to do three key things:

  • Convey the benefit of reading the post.
  • Repeat the key points from the post title.
  • Entice the reader to keep reading in as few words as possible.

Generally speaking, I believe that first paragraphs should be very short — maximum two or three sentences. That’s because most people don’t read posts anymore! Instead, the average person simply scans, looking for key words and phrases that let them know this post or article is worth taking the time to read. As such, as short first paragraph packed full of juicy info is the best chance you have of roping in potential readers/customers.

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How to Attract Customers with Your First Paragraph: Convey the Benefit
One trick you may notice if you’re a regular reader of this blog is that we typically make our post titles benefit-oriented. A “How-To” or other list-type post title insinuates that you will leave the post with important tools to help improve your business/life in some way. The benefit is the new knowledge.

How to Attract Customers with Your First Paragraph: Repeat the Post Title
We think about every single word that goes into our post titles. Why? Because we see value from content and SEO perspectives in repeating the post title in the first paragraph. By using repetition so early we are able to engage our readers and keep them on the page. That strategy doesn’t work, however, if your posts titles aren’t written in a way that makes them a natural fit — so, you need to be sure your post titles make sense in the context of the first paragraph.

How to Attract Customers with Your First Paragraph: Entice the Reader
In this post, for example, we’ve emphasize that “it’s easier than you think…” as a way to get folks to keep reading. This method of enticing you the reader is great because (1) it’s true! (2) it lets the reader know that even if they have basic knowledge they can probably make these strategies work for them. Enticing the reader also means making them feel comfortable and confident that what they read and learn will have a practical application in their life or business.

Are there exceptions to the short first paragraph rule? Certainly. But, generally speaking, if it takes you 10 sentences to explain what your post is about and why someone should keep reading, you haven’t properly outlined and/or edited your post.

Read every sentence and after each be sure it’s conveying a benefit, echoing the post title and/or enticing the reader to keep moving forward. If it’s not ticking one or two of these items, cut the sentence completely and see if the paragraph suffers as a result. If it still reads fine…keep it out!

Kate's Tech Talks: How to rescue old blog content

This week's edition of Kate's Tech Talks is a wee bit different than usual. Instead of my mug in front of the camera, I'm narrating a short screencast in which I share my top three tips for how to rescue old blog content from your archives and give it a fresh, new life. Anyone that's been regularly blogging for even just a few months has faced this conundrum: how do I get new readers to check out my old content in a way that is natural and interesting? On my lifestyle blog, La vita e' bella, it's something that I've experimented with over the years and found three super successful (and easy!) ways to accomplish.

Without further ado, my tips.

5 Must-Ask Questions to Create a Great Homepage

On Tuesday we chatted about how every homepage needs one top priority or goal. When it comes to people DIYing their own sites, I'm such a believer in the power of focus, focus focus to create a great homepage.

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Now, I'm not saying to build your entire site around one goal (although, it's not a terrible idea), but your homepage really needs to make one monster, smash impact and I think focusing your visual and content-related efforts on one goal is a great place to start.

How do you decide what your top priority should be? Here's a handy list of questions that I've put together to help you out. You may find overlap in your answers to these questions -- that's OK...keep an eye on patterns and words that repeatedly pop up!

Create a Great Homepage

  1. What's the crux of your business at the moment? Are you trying to provide information, foster a community, build a readership to sell a product in the future. The purpose of your website right now is really important.
  2. How does your website support your business? If you have an online company, your website may be your business, but it's important to clearly know the role your site plays.
  3. Are your short- and mid-range plans for your business? How can your current site play into your plans for the future? For example, if your goal is ultimately to sell a lot of stuff online, you're going to need to focus on building a list and/or traffic and your homepage -- even now needs to work toward that goal.
  4. What's your great technical or design skill at the moment? How can you use your DIY strengths (and downplay your weaknesses) in order to make a big impact? If you don't have the technical skill to program a pretty opt-in form, then collecting emails might be a TOUGH goal for your homepage -- unless, of course, you can outsource it.
  5. What are some of your secondary and tertiary goals? Make a laundry list of all the goals of your homepage. Sometimes seeing what's important, but definitely not in the top spot, can help you really refine the purpose of your homepage.

Really, you need to be giving your site's goals/priorities a thorough thinking-through just like you would for your general business or a product launch.