You keep hearing that you need to include a blog on your website. Create content! Draw people to your website! Give them great information!
It sounds good in theory (and in reality, it is) but what does it all mean?
Today, instead of hounding you to start creating blog content – by writing posts or recording videos, let’s talk about what your blog posts need to be considered good.
A Not-Awful Headline
The headline of your blog post is one of the most important parts. Without a good title, people have little reason to click on your post and actually read it. You have a lot of options for writing a decent headline:
- Ask a question your readers might ask. Is a Home Inspection Really That Important?
- Write a numbered list. 15 Things to Do Before You Sell Your Home
- Explain something. How to Find Your Perfect Home
Avoid clickbait headlines. We’ve all seen them. They usually sound something like this: She opened the door, and you’ll never believe what happened next!! Very rarely does the content match up with the pretend excitement of the title.
Hook ‘Em in the First Few Lines
Okay, so you had a decent headline, and people clicked on your post. Now you’ve got to keep them long enough to get them to read your blog. The best way to do that is to start with a story. No, I don’t mean a 3,000 word tome on buying a home. It’s simpler than that, I promise.
Consider your blog post topic and think about one person you want to talk to. It could be the young wife who was very anxious about the extra costs of buying. It might be the older man who couldn’t understand why he had to paint over his fuschia walls before putting it on the marketing. Talk to that specific person.
It’ll sound something like this: “You’ve looked at so many houses, they’re all starting to run together in your mind. You’ve figured out your budget down to the penny and refuse to go any higher. But now, you’re being told you need a home inspection, something you didn’t budget for. How important could it be? Just imagine…”
From there, tell a (brief) horror story about the buyer who didn’t get the home inspection – you know you have one and then explain why a home inspection is so important. You’re talking directly to one person, but there are a lot of those same types of people out there. You’ll have related to your ideal reader from the very beginning and given them a reason to find out more.
Break Up the Content
Guess what you should never ever do when you write a blog post. Keep typing all the way down so that everything is in one or two really long paragraphs. Most people will never even attempt to read your post if you do that. There’s a better way.
- Have you noticed that each section as it’s own heading? That’s called a heading or subheading.
- Did you catch the bullet point list up top? They can be bullets or numbers.
- What about the short paragraphs of two to three sentences? Yes, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Breaking up the content makes it more readable. Many people land on a website and start skimming. When you make your content easy on the eyes, people are more inclined to sit still long enough to focus on your words.
Include Links When It Makes Sense
Linking to other relevant content on your own site gives people a reason to stay a little longer and read more of your content. Let’s say you mention a specific neighborhood in a blog post. If you’ve got an information page for that neighborhood somewhere on your site, link to it. (And if you don’t have specific pages for the neighborhoods you specialize in, now is the time to start adding some.)
Maybe you reference home inspections in a blog post on the closing process. Link to an older blog post you wrote about home inspections. It takes a while to build enough of a library to be able to do this, but it’s worth it. When people like the information you’re sharing, they’ll click on those links to keep learning more.
If you cite statistics, data, or hard facts from other online sources in your blog posts, link back to them within the post itself. Try not to link back to content that requires a log-in or registration in order to view it. This gives people the opportunity to see where you get your information, as well as the opportunity to investigate a little further.
Add a High-Quality Image – But Don’t Steal It
A good image or two in your blog post will do a few things.
- Give the reader something to look at in the initial scan before they read.
- Give the reader an idea of what your post is about.
- Make your post more shareable on social media.
Only use images you’ve taken with your own camera, purchased from a stock image site, or that you have express permission to use. Make sure to cite the source of the image if you didn’t take the picture. Don’t use images found on other people’s websites. It’s a violation of copyright and could get you in a lot of trouble.
Add a Call-to-Action at the End
You drew a reader in with your headline and relatable introduction. Their eyes didn’t glaze over because you kept your paragraphs short and added subheadings. Your reader learned something, and they liked it well enough to read to the very end.
Give them something to do. This is called a call-to-action.
- Subscribe to your newsletter.
- Follow your blog.
- Leave a comment.
- Share the blog post.
- Contact you with questions.
Every blog post should give a reader something to do at the end. You have to ask for it, though. Try this: “Like what you read? Sign up for my weekly newsletter to get more tips on the home buying process!” Make sure the sign-up for your newsletter is clear to the reader.
If you can remember to include these things in every blog post, you’ll be ahead of most of your competition. The next step is write good content. Think about every question a buyer or seller has ever asked you – start there with your content. You’ll be amazed at how many blog posts you can create. And when you format them well, you may be surprised at how many more people will stick around long enough to read your blog posts.