Blogging for business doesn’t result in conversions unless the content is targeted to the right audience, written in a clear and concise manner, and posted at regular intervals. If your blog doesn’t meet the following 10 criteria for great content, it’s time to make some changes if you want to see increased conversions from your blog.
Users come to your blog to learn something, so it’s up to you to make sure you’re being a good teacher. Here’s how to ensure your blog meets the criteria for great content.
10 Criteria for Great Content
I. Proofread it x2
Proofreading your content once is common practice, but it’s less common to have someone else proofread it for you a second time. If you want to be uncommonly good, you have to take measures like these to increase the quality of your content.
Allow another employee or a freelancer you work with to look over your finished content one more time to catch any lingering errors or usage problems.
II. Stop spelling numbers and symbols
The Nielson Normal Group says “People fixate on numbers, as they stand out on the page as hard facts.” The eye is visually attracted to numbers and symbols, especially when they’re scattered among text. The curves and difference in lines stand out to us and appeal more than letters.
Next time you’re writing content for your blog, replace any spelled-out numbers or symbols (ten percent becomes 10%) with their number or symbol for better results.
III. Pay attention to anchor text
Placing links in your blog posts is good for SEO, as long as the links are to reputable sites. But the link itself isn’t the only thing that matters. One of the most important criteria for great content is using the right anchor text within your content.
People decide whether or not to click on a link based on the anchor text it’s buried in, so if you’re not linking the correct words or using a description that elicits clicks, you’re wasting your time. Use actionable words like making your home office more peaceful instead of just linking keywords like work from home.
IV. Use a variety of headings
Headings help the reader separate the content they’re reading into manageable sections. It makes the content seem less daunting from the start, and it also serves to give the content better flow and direction. Readers that are only looking for one part of the content can quickly skip ahead to it when there are proper headings in the text.
It’s also visually important for dividing the text into sections and keeping your blog post from appearing as a gigantic, impenetrable wall of text.
V. Format your content
Bold, italics, underlining, indentations, text alignment, text color, font – these are all important aspects of formatting your content, and if you’re not using some of the above ways to format, your content probably looks boring and homogeneous.
When there’s a point you want to drive home, highlight it using bold or italic text. Indent lists and quotes to set them apart from the rest of the text. Sparingly use color to draw attention to certain words or phrases. Formatting your content is one of the easiest criteria for great content to meet.
VI. Chunk it up
We talked a little about the impenetrable walls of text that many brands are guilty of creating on their blogs. Headings alone don’t solve the problem – you have to cut your text into smaller chunks throughout the post or article to make it more readable and user friendly.
After every 3 sentences or so, hit Enter or Return to effectively “chunk up” your text into bite-sized portions.
VII. Be active, not passive in voice
Passive voice – The criteria for great content has been difficult for many business owners to meet.
Active voice – Many business owners don’t meet the criteria for great content.
Active voice appeals more to readers than passive voice. It’s stronger and more actionable. In the future, be mindful of your words and whether they’re active or passive.
VIII. Lose the jargon unless you’re B2B
Industry terminology, or jargon, is usually a bad idea for blogging and branded content. Unless you’re a B2B company marketing to other companies that definitely understand the jargon, you risk going over readers’ heads and confusing them with words they’ve never heard or simply don’t understand.
IX. Be more selective
Not every thought that pops into your head while writing should make it into the final draft. Be selective about the text you include to ensure the final product is trim, clear, and concise. Being more selective will help you check off one of the criteria for great content.
X. Include references and sources
Some readers will want to see concrete references to credible sources in your content. Sure, not every reader will be interested in checking those references or learning more about a figure or fact you cited, but even those that don’t check the sources will appreciate that you provided them.
It’s a signal to your readers that you take the quality and credibility of your content seriously, which is the final criteria for great content.