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Blogs are fantastic tools for companies interested in attracting and educating customers about their business. Blogs don’t just provide great reading material, though — they’re also excellent for building an optimized web presence that will bring you more customers.

What Is a Blog?

A blog is a website that catalogs a person’s or a company’s thoughts and ideas. Individuals with personal blogs often share daily activities and adventures, while businesses use blogs as educational tools for their customers. Most blogs are organized either by time or by topic so visitors can find and read more than one post easily. Blogs are becoming increasingly popular as they play a key role in directing visitors to websites through SEO.

Image via Unsplash by andrewtneel

How to Format the Sections of Your Blog

Formatting your blog posts appropriately has two major benefits. First, your readers will likely spend more time on the article than they would otherwise, and second, thoughtful formatting can increase your SEO and draw more visitors to your webpage. Follow these steps to structure an effective blog post:

1. Choose a Heading

Start your blog post out with an effective heading or headline. Make the title thought-provoking and catchy to entice the reader to continue looking at the body of the article. Using an H1 tag will also make your headline large and stand out from the rest of the copy on your page.

2. Craft Your Intro

Directly below the heading, write an introduction that explains what the reader can expect to learn in the article. Some authors like to use a clear thesis that outlines every section or paragraph, while others give a less formal overview. See what works best for your writing style and readers.

3. Add an Image

Include a picture to catch the eye of your reader. Ideally, this image should be next to the intro paragraph or right below it. If you’re using stock photos, make sure that you have the rights to use the image. Some companies embed relevant videos rather than images at this point in the article to further educate their readers.

4. Use Subheadings

After your image or video, add a subheading using an H2 tag that explains what’s coming in the article. Use these subheadings to separate large sections of text and keep your writing organized. Most readers skim articles to find the specific information they’re looking for rather than read every word in the piece. Subheadings make it easy for your readers to find what they need.

5. Break Up the Content

Use stylistic tactics to break up large chunks of text. Consider using bullet points when making ordered or unordered lists and using smaller subheadings with the H3 tag to better organize big ideas. You can also use bolding and italics to draw attention to certain words or phrases and keep your readers from becoming fatigued.

6. Include Calls to Action

While the primary goal of your blog may be to generate traffic and educate potential customers, it’s wise to include calls to action for those readers interested in taking the next steps with your company. Depending on your business goals and the article’s topic, calls to action might include:

  • A button to like or follow your company’s social media page
  • A link to an online form to sign up for company emails
  • A banner that directs visitors to your e-commerce page

There are many different ways to structure calls to action throughout your blog. Try different styles and see which have the highest click-through rates for your readership. Also, try placing your CTAs throughout your piece to see where in the article they have the most impact.

7. Provide a Conclusion

Finish your article with a brief summary. The conclusion is another good place to include a CTA. Most readers, even if they don’t look at every section or word in your post, are likely to scroll to the last paragraph to ensure they’re not missing anything. A clear CTA with an enticing button or stylistic formatting to catch the eye can tempt a reader to click through.

8. Add Links and Backlinks

Ensure you’ve included links to your internal webpages and backlinks to external sources throughout your post. The exact number will vary depending on the topic and length of the article, but many organizations aim to include one or two internal links and one or two external links in their blog posts. Both links and backlinks help improve your SEO.

Tips for a Blog With Excellent SEO

If one of your blog goals is improved SEO, use these tips to help you optimize each post for the best search engine response:

  • Research keywords – Keywords are one of the primary ways search engines rank websites.
  • Outline your article – Establish a clear structure for your piece before you begin writing to ensure your article is comprehensive.
  • Provide a message – Ensure you’re sharing an important idea or message with your readers. Your blog post should have an easy-to-discern point.
  • Establish structure – Your article should use writing conventions like paragraphs, punctuation, and complete sentences.
  • Include headings – Use headings and subheadings to add physical structure to your piece, making it easier for readers to skim and read.
  • Use signal words – Include signal words like “first,” “second,” and “last,” to help your reader track the steps in a process and situate themselves within the article.
  • Get a second opinion – Before you publish your post, ask a colleague to read it for clarity and grammar. Correct any errors and strengthen the copy.
  • Consider length – The most successful blog posts tend to be more than 300 words but less than 2,000 words long. See which length works best for your readership and SEO ranking.
  • Link to other posts – If you reference ideas or topics you’ve written about previously, link to them. It will help establish your company as an authority on the subject.
  • Keep writing – Continue to add new posts to your blog. An active blog with consistent new content will rank higher than a stagnant one.

A blog can help you gain new customers through education and SEO. Learn how to format each blog post for maximum efficacy.

Knowledge Base: Content Marketing

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