The Hidden Structure Behind Every Successful Blog Post that Sucks Readers in and Makes Them Hang on Your Every Word!
Every marketer on the Internet claims "content is king."
Well, the content might be "king," but on the Web, readability is "holy emperor."
Your average website visitor spends less than 4 seconds scanning a page before deciding whether to keep reading or to click away, looking at the next "shiny thing."
And let's say they do decide to keep reading; unfortunately, the same research indicates they'll read less than 28% of the words on the page.
So even though I hate to be the bearer of bad news…,
Most blogs—and the posts you spend hours upon hours writing—aren't being read by anyone!
And the overwhelming majority of the 5 million new posts published daily are just collecting dust, taking up ones and zeros, lost in the blogosphere, like tears in the rain.
But there's no reason to despair or take it personally.
It's time to buck up, Sports fan!
I'm here to "save your bacon" – that is, your blog – from Internet obscurity.
Because here's the deal…,
Writing for the Web is Different!
Sure, you've got to write clear, compelling, conversational web copy.
But don't stop there.
Before you just slap a new post up onto your site, you've got to make sure it's easy on the eye.
Your words don't do that all by themselves.
How they look on the page is what matters.
You've got to be aware of the "mechanics" of posting—the hidden structure that holds up every successful blog post and sucks in readers.
That structure includes "under the hood" elements like column width, font size and colour, and attention-grabbing images; word, sentence, and paragraph length; and using white space, lists, and headings to make your post simple for your visitors to take in at a glance.
So if the average visitor scans your page for less than 4 seconds, your most important job as a blogger is this:
Make your post easy to browse, and then easy to read.
Here are eight structural "secrets" that will help you do just that…,
Structual Secret #1:
Dr Jakob Nielsen, the guru of webpage visibility, conducted a series of "eye tracking" studies that revealed how visitors look at a web page during that critical first 4 seconds.
People scan in an F-shaped pattern, as shown on the heat maps below:
So put your most important content in the red "hot spots" within that F pattern.
A relevant image, a great headline, and lots of bullets and text highlighting (more about that in a minute) should go there.
Structual Secret #2:
Narrow columns of text are easier to read than full-page-width version.
That's why most newspapers traditionally lay out their text in columns of "an alphabet and a half," or 39 characters wide.
But that's way too narrow for online content.
Most bloggers agree that between 600-800 pixels are a good max-width for desktop resolution, which is pretty standard in today's most-popular two-column layout.
If you're using a platform like WordPress with a modern theme, you're probably already covered. You don't need to worry too much anymore about the width of your columns or mobile responsiveness.
Instead, you should concern yourself with the length of your paragraphs.
See how most paragraphs in this post are individual sentences?
That's because over half of this blog's readers are using a pocket-sized device, and you don't want giant blocks of text making reading a chore.
So when in doubt, optimise for mobile.
Stuctual Secret #3:
Well Placed Images
One reason most popular blogs include images every 300-or-so words is to increase readability.
Images are captivating and draw the eye.
They break up the monotony of the text and keep the reader on the page, scrolling.
Remember, most people are scanners, reading the headings and looking at the pictures (you know, just like we've all done with dozens of issues of National Geographic while waiting for the dentist).
But there's another, less apparent reason for using images…,
Half-width photos, in particular, decrease the width of the text. Helping to make it much easier to see, to scan, and yes to read.
Structual Secret #4
Fonts & Font Colours
If you've done more than a little Web surfing, you'll notice that most web pages and blog posts use a font structure like this:
In this post, you'll note text-based subheads towards the top and image-based subheads for the points covered in the listicle section.
The specifics aren't as important as using a clear, consistent structure with plenty of contrast to visually separate one section from another.
Again, you want to use a subhead or image. And another break in the monotony of the text every 300-or-so words.
So it has a massive impact on readability.
Using colour in your images is excellent, but using colour in your text is to be used sparingly.
The big, bold, red text makes your writing look more like an ad than an editorial.
And always keep this in mind:
Even though every piece of content you create is essentially a sales piece, you don't want your content to LOOK like a sales piece.
Instead, you want to "disguise" your content by making it look identical to an editorial.
More on this technique later.
Also, be sure to use a "plain vanilla" font like, set at a minimum size of 14 pt., increase your odds when marketing on the Internet.
For the love of all things holy, don't do anything crazy with your fonts!
Don't use anything that looks cute or cursive!
Trust me; you'll turn people off quickly.
Plus, just because you like a custom-designed heavy-metal blood-red font doesn't mean your reader can even see it on his browser or device.
The headline is the "on switch" that begins your reader's experience.
It's the first thing they look at to decide whether your content is worth reading, and it's more than 80% responsible for whether your reader stays or clicks merrily away.
Because readers are scanning, your headline has to grab their attention within the first 40-60 characters (or fewer than 11 words) and make sense on its own.
That's why most professional copywriters spend agonising amounts of time constructing the perfect headline.
Don't overthink it, though.
The most popular headline type is, and will always be, "how-to," which is super simple to write.
Think about it, and I could have easily named this post…,
- “How to Structure Your Blog Posts for Maximum Readability”
Another winning formula is the listicle…,
- “8 Readability Tips to Ensure Your Content Gets Consumed”
Easy enough, right?
Structual Secret #6:
No matter what your 5th Grade English teacher told you about how to write, readability studies prove that beginning with an incomplete thought, sentence fragment, or question will dramatically improve the "sticking power" of your content and keep readers on your site.
An intense cliffhanger, standing naked at the beginning of your post, hooks readers like crazy—especially if the first two or three words are essential and loaded with information.
Here are a couple of recent examples…,
- Be honest…,
- Let's discuss a question you'll inevitably get asked…,
- Are you game for a controversial discussion?
- If you want to be successful in network marketing, you must answer this dead-serious question…,
- The most poisonous advice for someone trying to grow his or her business?
And if you hook them with the headline and that opening first sentence, they're significantly more likely to read your (spectacularly-written) post right to the end.
The Internet is the poster child for "Short Attention Span Theater," so you've got to make every word earn its place.
People just don't have time to wade through the depths of your elegant prose looking for the "beef" they come to your website hoping to find.
With that said, there are two strategies for approaching a content strategy:
- Post frequent, shorter posts (500ish words, often daily)
- Craft longer, more authoritative posts (1800+ words) less frequently (usually weekly)
That depends on your style.
More content is generally better, provided the content you're producing is high quality, delivering value, and solving your audience's problems.
Poor quality content will hurt your authority and brand, so find a rhythm you can consistently produce without sacrificing quality.
Stuctual Secret #8:
Now that you know your site visitors are scanning break your copy up into easily seen and digestible "chunks" of information.
Remember that visual "F-shape?"
Break up your copy so that no paragraph is longer than about three lines (and remember, many readers are on mobile devices).
- Use subheadings.
- Highlight key text.
- Use bullet points or a numbered list.
And make sure there's plenty of white space, so your most important ideas stand out from the background.
Contrast is your friend.
If you've already posted on your blog, do yourself a big favour…,
Go back and look at how you've structured those posts.
"Tweak" them to make sure they're as readable as they can be.
It's the best way to practice the strong structure I'm talking about here.
And if you haven't got yourself started online yet, use these guidelines to create your online structure right from the get-go.
That way, whatever you publish online is easy for your visitors to read right from the start.
I'll leave you with a classic thought experiment:
If a tree falls in a forest and there's nobody there to hear it…,
…does it makes a sound?
Or better yet, if you launch a blog and it's improperly formatted, so nobody wants to stick around and read it, will it help you achieve your business goals?
Probably not, right? ;-)
So always take the time to structure your posts, so they're a breeze to read and enjoy!
Okay, so now that you know how to structure your content correctly…,
Now you need to learn how to generate some eyeballs actually to see it and read it!
And my best suggestion for you on that front is to take us up on an over-the-shoulder tour through…,
Our highest-converting ads and traffic campaigns!
Luckily we've put together a point-for-point tutorial revealing our exact process in this 100% FREE traffic workshop, which is hosted by none other than Tim Erway, the CEO and co-founder here at Elite Marketing Pro.
Simply pick a time and register right here.
You'll discover how you can put together a profitable ad campaign in just 10 minutes a day with as little as $10 in the initial ad spend.
You'll see how this exact formula to turned a $10 test campaign into $141,246.30 in sales.
And Tim will show exactly how we did it.
Hint: creating sales pieces that look editorial (like I mentioned above) is a big piece of the puzzle.
So if you haven't registered yet, why are you waiting?
Until next time,