The 9 Qualities of Good Blog Content
Content can make or break you. Quality blog content can lead viewers to your website, engage your audience, and help you build an excellent reputation.
But blog content that is of poor quality can push customers away–and once their faith in you is gone, it’s tough to get them back.
But what exactly makes for good, quality blog content? Here are nine characteristics we believe can make your content great!
Readers want to trust you, so it’s essential that your information is always accurate. If it’s not–or if it becomes inaccurate over time, viewers will see you as untrustworthy and take their business elsewhere. This is why it’s always important to review your blog content periodically and update it for topicality and timeliness.
Another way to build trust is by linking to other quality sources with expertise in the topic of interest. This tells Google that you’re linking to reliable sources, which in turn, makes your content reliable. Google calls this an “authority score” and it is one of its ranking factors.
Pro Tip: if you share a stat or quote, always back it up with a source. Nothing is worse than a misattributed quote or (worse) a misstated one.
2. Spelling and Grammar
Words matter. How they’re spelled and used matters, too. Which means you need to proofread your copy and look at the words your word processing program underlines (usually in red or blue). If your copy gives readers pause for any reason–especially spelling and grammar–they will not trust you as an expert. It doesn’t matter if you are; they won’t believe you.
Shoddy copywriting reflects your attention to detail. If it’s done poorly, readers (and potential customers) will second-guess the quality of the products or services you offer.
Originality is key to quality content. We’re not just talking about avoiding plagiarism here. We’re talking about finding a unique angle or an overlooked feature of a topic that will entice the reader and give you an edge over your competition. Sometimes, it can just be your expert take on the subject; other times, it can be your unique style. Most of the time, though, it’ll be your take and your style–especially if you’re writing about something no one else has before.
So, before you start, look over your keywords, and choose a topic that hasn’t been overdone. Or, if you have to write something everyone else in your industry is talking about, choose a new way to approach that topic. Either way, you’re providing your readers with something of value and value is the essence of quality copywriting.
Readability isn’t just how easy your copy is to read. It’s the entire experience. An easy read is important, of course, but so are all the other little things that make articles enjoyable: a font that’s large enough to read for anyone, colors that are high contrast but not blinding, and standard fonts that stand out but aren’t weird, silly, or flamboyant (so, goodbye Comic Sans).
We like to use lists and bullet points for those wanting to scan the piece before reading it. Subheads work the same way. Any visual techniques you can use to give the reader’s eyes a rest will help the “digestibility” of the piece and thus make it more pleasant to read. Remember, 43% of people skim blogs. And those are just the people that admit to it. People like being able to quickly breeze through an article to find the information that’s important to them.
5. Value (Not Fluff)
It’s actually easier to write long-form content than it is to write short, powerful content. That said, search engines do reward pages that have longer content. It makes sense if you think about it; the more words you have, the more keywords you have–and search engines love keywords.
However, there is something even more important to the search engines than lots of words, and that’s user experience. Most of the search engine algorithms (including Google’s) factor user experience higher than word count. If you educate your audiences, offer insights they can’t find anywhere else, and minimize the fluff, search engines will appreciate it and so will your readers.
Quality blog content begins before the reader even navigates to your site. The headline is what captures their attention and attracts them to you. And, believe it or not, you need two amazing headlines, not just one. Why? Well, the title of the blog on a search engine result page should be different than the title of the blog on your website. This is because search engines will truncate the title if it’s too long. If you create tight, compelling blog title for the search engine, it’s OK to expand it a little bit for the reader when they land on your page.
Headlines are the most important aspect of your piece. They determine whether it’s going to get read or scrolled past. It’s not a throwaway component. Take time to evaluate your headlines. Brainstorm a few variations, but make sure you take an intentional approach to compose them. Headlines make the promise; your copywriting delivers on it.
Pro Tip: Don’t be misleading with your headlines. Headlines need to be clear depictions of what the reader can expect to find in your blog post. Always provide the reader with the information they seek.
7. Ledes (a.k.a. “Leads”)
Good ledes are gold. Done right, they’re just a few words, but those words pack a punch. More importantly, they whet your appetite for the promise you’ve made with the headline. In the first two paragraphs, the reader should generally know what you’re going to discuss–but that first sentence sets the tone. Readers don’t have much of an attention span, but if they make it past the first paragraph, there’s a good chance you’ll keep them until the end.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a technical term that has a number of connotations. When we discuss organic SEO, we’re talking primarily about your keywords. Keywords need to be placed in the appropriate places the appropriate number of times and in the appropriate manner. Besides in the blog copy itself, keywords should appear in “meta” areas and “alt tags.” These are the hidden text areas that only search engines will see and display. They help Google and other search engines understand what you’re trying to convey. Keywords are important, but there are other considerations, as well.
For example, the minimum word count for a blog should be 300. You should always have a photo (or better yet, several of them). Subheads are important. You should have a call to action somewhere near the end. These are just a sample. There really are so many more optimization items.
9. It makes the reader think
While you want to provide answers to your readers, you also want to leave them with things to reflect on.
Make your content count. Give your audience what they are looking for—good content from a trustworthy source. Your readers want an expert writer, one who adds value, not fluff. Give them quality content that’s easy to read and error-free.