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The Zoom Guide To Writing High Traffic Blog Posts

Did the headline get your attention? I hope so. That’s its job.

For the last week I took a little hiatus from blogging to go to blog-writing school. Where is this school? It’s all around you. There are eBooks, blogs, and blog posts that can teach you everything you want to know about how to write great posts that people want to read and bookmark because they bring real value.

Zoom Traffic

I’ve studied quite a few things around the web over the last week. I have some links to share with you; to things you can check out and dive into on your own.

And I’ve assembled a checklist of all the essential elements of a great post. It’s not a template. It’s more of a quality control guide that you can use to check your posts to make sure they contain the things that make a great post great. I’ll be using it quite a bit to check my own writing.

Off to Blogging School

A lot of people have been writing about what it means to create great content. And why you should. So there are quite a few great posts and eBooks out there to devour. Here are some of the best:

Let’s start with understanding what an authoritative rescource is. Why it’s important to be one, and learn a little from a few people who’ve excelled in building blogs that are …

Right about now you’re starting to realize just how important it is to write great posts. Now the big question is, how?

  • We have to start with Brian Clark’s eBook Viral Copy.
  • Then we have to check out some of his other stuff like his Copywriting 101 series.
  • And then, it’s time to take a field trip. Pour over, study, and understand the great content written by people who’ve built superblogs in a very short time … zenhabits, Dosh Dosh, Freelance Switch. These blogs have all done very well, very quickly by writing great content. Authoritative content. Resourceful content.

There are a ton of other great resources out there. Pay attention to them all and learn a little bit from each and every one of them. And now that we know why and how, it’s time to boil it all down into something we can practice every time we write …

The Checklist for Writing High Traffic Blog Posts

The Post Idea

  • Be inspired. Write and build ideas with a creative angle
  • Understand the benefits to your readers that the idea conveys
  • Fit the idea into your subject niche. For your audience

The Headline

  • Be bold
  • State the benefits of the post to your readers in the headline
  • Describe what you’re writing about. The headline should be definitive of what you’re going to talk about

Images

  • Use good quality images that are appealing
  • The image should literally represent or very easily symbolize what the post is about

The Opening Paragraphs

  • Set-up the post
  • Focus on your readers
  • Provide an executive summary of the content

Your Authoritative Content

  • Maintain your character and personality. A dry read sucks, no matter how concrete the info is.
  • Create a step by step ‘How to’
  • Create lists
  • Tell stories and show examples
  • Link to the best resources

The Denouement

  • Write a final summary, take-away, lesson, or commentary

How to Use the Checklist

You can use the checklist to help you write great stuff, or use it as a quality test when a post just seems to be a little lost. What the checklist does is help you measure two things:

  1. Is it Authoritative? Does it have the best information from the best sources? Does it have the most detailed and easy to understand information? Is it trustworthy and believable?
  2. Is it a Resource? Is it worth bookmarking or referencing? Is it worth linking to or talking about?

Deliver these two things time and time again … build it … and they will come. The proof is in the blogs that have done it.

Not every post that I write or you write will be a diamond. Not even in the rough.

But there will be gems. And more of them.

Denouement
 

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17 Comments

  1. Shane, I’m happy to see you’re back and stronger, that is a great post! :)
    I’m still in the “trial and errors” stage with my blog, since I’m starting a new one soon, I wanna make the mistakes on SWR first so I won’t have to go through all this with the new blog. You’re absolutely right, about “authority”, right on the money! I strongly believe in conversational blogging, but came to realize (and that’s why my ebook is not out yet) that conversational blogging has a lot to do with writing authoritative posts. My post about Pownce and the one on Content Theft are the ones that got me the most traffic so far. When you create content for the readers and write with authority, it simply works! That post on Content Theft boosted my RSS numbers, like it’s not even funny.

    Looking forward to seeing what you’ll come up with next Shane! :)
    It’s always a good idea to take some time off, clear your mind, and take a step back.

    Well done with this one buddy! :)

  2. I really like that second point about a post being a resource, that hit home for me. I look forward to more gems! (Jem was a cartoon/doll rock star).

  3. Hey Jon, Thanks.

    Conversational blogging on SWR has always been your strong suit. But I can see how giving people some real ‘meat’ to link to with the 2 posts you mentioned makes sense as far as widening your reach.

    A combination of conversation and authority is good for SWR – gives it that ProBlogger/Shoemoney feel … but the new blog definitely has to be heavy on the authoritative resource side of things. Especially because of the subject matter.

    The time off was good. Allowed me to really step back and make some good observations. I’m going to try and keep up my regular posting schedule, but if it’s a little slower for a couple months in the name of ‘learning and creating’ quality … then so be it

    Hey Michael,

    The ‘resource’ quality of a post is so important. It can have great information or be extremely funny or whatever … but is it worth referring to or referring others to? That’s the million dollar question.

    Haha – I remember Jem. It used to torment me to no end :) Fixed! Thanks Michael.

  4. Glad to see you back mate and its like time well spent. You point out all the important points, guess I should read this post once in a way to make sure I am not missing anything. Things like “be bold” and why would anyone want to read it or refer it to others. How to make your blog a must read for your visitors?

    Thanks Shane for all the information in this post.

    Take care and cheers.

  5. Hey Robin, Thanks.

    It was time very well spent. Feel free to bookmark the post or print it out. I have the checklist printed out and I keep it in my Zoomstart binder with my notes and post ideas, etc so I can check my writing against it regularly.

  6. The Freelance Switch story is one of my favorites. If you read how they created the amount of subscribers in such short time, you might think to yourself, “Why didn’t I do that??”

    I think a lot of it has to do with the blog design, also.

  7. Scot,

    They have a great success story. I think their design helped quite a bit, but the biggest factor — they have a truckload of talent over there.

  8. [...] a problem I had, and wrote about the steps and actions I took in order to resolve it. If you write in an authoritative way and still tell a story, chances are your post will receive a decent number of [...]

  9. Shane,

    Wow! Maybe I need to take a MONTH off. I’m really impressed by this post……………it’s full of great info, and put together really well. I’m gonna copy and past that checklist for future reference.

    I also really like to keep up with the whole Freelance Switch story. I started reading Collis’ blog, NorthxEast when he first started. I was blown away by how quickly his name became well known.

  10. Hey Anthony,

    Technically, I didn’t really take a week off. I was in “school” researching and working to understand what works and why

    … okay I did skip out a couple of days :)

    List your work and work the list! And let me know how well it works out for you. Love to get some feedback on that.

  11. Great post and great resources. Glad to see you back after your week break!! :D

    -Gregg

  12. Thanks Gregg,

    It’s good to be back!

  13. I like the post–I’ve always found that the images some bloggers add to their posts make all the difference between just glancing at an article and actually catching your attention and bring you in to read the article.

    But I haven’t found a very good source of high quality free imagery to use in my own posts yet. Any suggestions?

  14. Hi Zen,

    Pictures really help make a post. Different people take in different forms of info more easily and a lot of people are very visual. SO a pictures really help.

    The illustrations on Zoomstart, I do myself, and I use Sketchup and photoshop. Lately I’ve been using free images from available from either morguefile or sxc.hu (thanks to Nate Whitehall for recommending sxc).

    I usually do a little photoshop work to the images just to size them and add some effects or some elements to make them fit in with the post better.

  15. I know that the key to increasing traffic is content, content, and more content. It does take time to build up your traffic, you can always find different ways to increase your traffic.

  16. Good advice

  17. Great!


 

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