From content to form, a guide with tips and practical indications to write an effective article and make both your readers and Google fall in love.
From content to form: here is a guide with tips and practical indications to write an effective article that will make both your readers and the search engines fall in love.
Would you like to write magnetic articles, capable of gluing the reader to the screen, generating many shares and increasing the number of subscribers on your list?
If the answer is yes, you are in the right place!
In fact, in this article I will guide you to discover some of the secrets behind the creation of an article.
At the end of the reading you will have a general but very clear idea on how to write an effective article .
You will also know all the details on what concerns the content and the form that your article must have in order to be loved by your audience and also … by Google!
Nothing complicated because, as we will see, learning to write means first of all exercising simplicity!
The principles and advice that you find in this guide pertain to writing different types of articles.
Whether you want to know how to write newspaper articles, opinion articles or for a blog of other topics, these principles are always valid! Regardless of the peculiarities of each type of writing.
Are you ready?
I would say then not to waste any more time: let’s start immediately!
How to write an effective article? Before starting…
The main thing you will have to do even before writing the very first article of your blog is to know who you are writing for . In fact, it is unthinkable to be able to have a successful blog if your only purpose is to write only for yourself.
To understand what it is to get to know your audience.
I’ll give you a concrete example .
Let’s say I want to explain a rule of best grammar: because before -be of -p it takes the me not the n (as in the word child or field )?
I could tell you that Mrs n worked for two gentlemen, B and P, who were very demanding. Since Ms. n had only two legs, she was unable to fulfill all B and P’s requests and was fired. Ms m was hired in her place. Having three legs, she was much faster and could satisfy the gentlemen. Since then, m has always remained with B and P.
Or I could explain to you that the origin of this rule is of phonoglottological derivation: by pronouncing a nasal sound followed immediately by a lip sound without interruption of air between the two phones, the approaching movement of the lips following the nasal sound results in the formation natural sound [m].
The first explanation is what my teacher in third grade taught me, a story that would bore anyone over 7 years of age.
The second explanation, on the other hand, is a note of mine from a course in glottology at the university and would probably not help many people who have not done linguistic studies to understand the rule.
Why did I tell you this story?
We are certainly not here to study linguistics.
But I told you for a specific reason:
show you that knowing who you are talking to is vital to knowing exactly how to tell something and how to choose the words to use.
If you don’t know who will read your blog, how can you expect to be able to present the right topics that can really interest you, choose the most appropriate language or even effectively present your products and services?
Each of us likes to read something personalized, something written exactly for us, something that solves our specific problem.
And if you can’t get exactly to your reader, you’ll never get his attention .
For this reason, to write an effective article it is of fundamental importance to create an identikit of your ideal reader .
- How old is he?
- Is it a boy or a girl?
- Where do you live?
- What are your wishes? What are your fears?
- What are its problems?
- What are you looking for online to try to solve your problems?
Answer these questions in writing, create a more or less detailed identikit of your typical reader and give it a name.
Whenever you write an article, remember that you will have to address exactly this avatar you created, this typical person.
Second, but not least, you must always keep in mind what the purpose of your article is:
Whatever your purpose is, your article should be the vehicle to your goal .
And if you know your audience deeply, it won’t be too difficult to reach them.
How? Now I’ll explain it better.
Content is King … but is it really enough?
Content is King. I guess you’ve heard this phrase thousands of times. But what does it really mean?
Nowadays we find ourselves bombarded with information: articles, news, advertising banners everywhere.
So how can we be sure that our article will actually be read in this jungle of knowing?
The secret – they say – is to write content of great value .
But is it really enough?
I assure you not. Just content in itself is not enough .
Offering value is certainly essential to gain the trust and attention of your audience, but there are several other factors that you will need to keep in mind if you want to get a truly winning article.
Remember: it is useless to create valuable articles if nobody lands on your site. It is useless to try persuasive writing if the graphics of your blog make everything illegible.
So let’s see now the basic points you need to know to write an article that really becomes the King of this jungle.
Make reading less difficult
Reading on the screen is much slower and more tiring than writing on paper. This is because the monitor image is not stable but is continuously updated and the light emission of the screen on which it is read inevitably tends to tire the eyes.
For this reason it is very important that when you write your articles you help the reader to find his way around the text .
You can do this through some tricks.
Here are the main ones:
- Divide the text into not too long paragraphs and give each one an explanatory title. Being in front of a wall of text, in fact, can make you abandon the desire to read even before starting. Leave a fairly wide line spacing (e.g. 1.5) and do not justify the text but prefer a flag orientation, as in the second image.
- Use bulleted and numbered lists, just like I’m doing right now.
- It helps reading by using images, diagrams and explanatory and summary infographics of the text you have written.
- You prefer a readable font without graces (graces are those dashes at the ends of the letters present in the fonts such as the Times New Roman). The characters with the graces, in fact, are more suitable for reading on paper; those without graces are instead indicated for reading on monitors.
- Make the text contrast well with the background . My advice is to use a dark font (black or dark gray) on a white background, although sometimes the opposite is also acceptable.
- Use only one color for text and one for links. Eventually you can use two colors for the links: one for those not visited (by default it is blue # 0000FF) and one for those visited (usually violet # 800080 ).
- Use bold for basic steps. In fact, the reader will often not read the entire text but will tend to move his eyes along the text in search of keywords. For this reason it is important that the words in bold are those that summarize the main concepts.
- Avoid the underlined. The underlined in fact often indicates a link. Emphasizing a phrase that is not a link will cause the reader to waste time trying to click on it. Therefore, choose bold for keywords.
A final question may arise regarding the length of the text:
how long should an article be?
Some say at least 300 words, some say at least 500, still others say at least 1000 words.
Who is right?
The truth is that there is no rule: depends on the type of blog, the type of article, the topic covered and your communication purposes.
Write what you want to communicate with the number of words you need.
In general we can say that long texts are perceived of greater value, are well seen by Google and tend to have a greater number of comments and shares.
However, avoid being repetitive or redundant just to reach a certain number of pre-established words.
Sometimes it’s better to be short and concise rather than repetitive and boring.
The most effective way to breach your readers is to explain things in very simple language .
My advice is to write your articles always choosing the terms to be used within the basic vocabulary .
Without going too far into the maze of linguistics, the basic vocabulary is a list of about 7000 words that represent the words used and understood by most of those who speak good.
To give some concrete examples, I prefer the word to add to combine or write thread instead of disquisition .
If you will have to resort to technical or sectoral terms, especially if in a foreign language, then I suggest you briefly explain what it means.
And remember: if you can explain a new concept to your ninety-eight year old grandmother, then you will be able to explain it to anyone 🙂
I also recommend that you always write sentences in active rather than passive form because they give more strength to the sentence. And don’t write too long sentences as it will dilute the meaning of the speech (and Google will also find it harder to understand them).
Opt for simple and short sentences: subject, verb and complement, and prefer the main and coordinated sentences to the subordinates. Nothing complicated, therefore!
Insert images but also tables and infographics
Images, tables and infographics are very important to help understand concepts and memorize them thanks to visual memory.
Creating tables above all helps to have an overview of values and data and easily compare them. The infographics instead are particularly useful to have a visual representation of data or information.
There are many online tools for creating infographics. I personally use Canva which allows you to create very nice and effective infographics if you too, like me, are not a graphic designer.
Write your articles in impeccable language
It seems obvious but I assure you that if you go around the blogs on the net you will find that mastering an excellent work is not a trivial thing.
Being faced with an article chock full of spelling mistakes is very disappointing, even if the content offered is really valuable.
This is because carelessness, ignorance and little attention to detail appear from ungrammatical text .
Always re-read the text before publishing it and if you have doubts about a word, look for confirmations on an online vocabulary (the best in my opinion is Treccani ) or on the forum of the Accademia della Crusca .
Follow a logical thread
It is very important to follow a logical thread when we are preparing to write an article. Presenting the topics of your article in bulk, in fact, will only confuse the ideas to your reader who will go looking for the information he needs elsewhere.
Before starting to write down your article, therefore, it would be better if you prepared a lineup with the topics to be addressed . The more detailed the schedule, the easier it will be to be able to write a good article.
For example, when I started writing this article, I wrote the headings of the paragraphs first, then the subtitles. Lastly, I started writing the text for each of the resulting micro-sections. This way you will have to write each topic individually and it will be easier to build a complete text.
We will talk more about this in the next paragraph when we go into the structure of the article.
A very important thing that should not be underestimated is to maintain a certain consistency within your blog , both as regards the graphics, both as regards the topics covered, both as regards your personal thinking and your vision of the world.
I’ll explain better.
If you run a blog that talks about technology, writing an article on how to plant tomatoes is not ideal. Unless you want to talk about a new super technological method for planting tomatoes, of course 🙂
Even if you decide to use impersonal and objective language, remember that your opinion will always transpire . You can check this with any newspaper, which in theory must be impersonal and impartial: just read the same news on different newspapers to be able to understand what the true point of view of the author of the article is.
So keep an eye on being consistent both with regard to your blog as a whole and with regard to the positions you have taken previously.
On the web there is really (almost) everything.
It is not easy to find a topic that has never been covered yet. However, it is possible to do it from an innovative point of view .
Rule number 1 always remains in the foreground: don’t copy .
First because you risk legal action, second because it is not ethical, third because Google discovers you (and penalizes you!).
If you want to deal with a topic that has already been covered by other blogs, what you can do to stand out is, for example, to offer more or better quality information.
Do a web search of the topic that interests you and that has already been covered by your competitors, both direct and indirect. Open all the articles and ask yourself how you could improve them: in this way you will have the basis for writing an article that is clearly superior to those already on the net.
The structure of the article
Think of yourself now in a luxury restaurant. A restaurant that was recommended to you because it is a fabulous place to eat!
You sit down, order and wait, looking forward to your delicious dinner.
After a few minutes you will get … dessert, then coffee, finally spaghetti! Wouldn’t you feel frustrated and confused?
Writing (or rather, reading) an article is almost the same thing.
As we mentioned earlier, in fact, the order in which the topics are presented is very important so that the reader does not feel lost and decides to leave your blog to go in search of a more orderly reading.
The most effective structure for writing an article remains that of the inverted pyramid , a technique widely used in the journalistic sector.
What does this technique consist of?
It consists in exposing the topics in order of importance, highlighting the most important at the beginning of the article and gradually adding more details, as in the following image:
In detail, your article to function effectively must have the following elements:
- The title (H1)
- The introduction
- The subtitle (H2)
- Additional subtitles (H3, H4, H5, H6)
- Le call to action (CTA)
- The links
Let’s take a closer look.
The title (H1)
The title ( headline ) plays a fundamental role that can determine the success or failure of your post. And no, I assure you I am not exaggerating.
In the bombardment of news that surrounds us every day, the reader does not really read everything that passes before him . The reader takes a look, evaluates and decides where his time is worth spending.
This means that your title will have to decide – within a few tenths of a second – whether it is really worth reading the content of your article or heading towards a more captivating title.
For this reason it is always good to think very carefully about the title of your articles.
For example, you can present a solution, ask a question, amaze, shock … The important thing is to be able to intrigue the potential reader , to breach his desires, his fears, his feeling of community.
Some of the most captivating (and effective) titles are:
- How … → How to write a really effective article
- [N °] of things for … → 5 simple steps to write a really effective article
- Problem? Solution! → Do you want to write a really effective article? Here are 5 simple steps to follow to get there
- [Shocking news] → Writing a really effective article is impossible. Here because.
Be careful though! Avoid writing a clickbait title . If you want to build a relationship of trust with your audience, your article will also have to keep the promise made in the title.
Once your persuasive title takes effect, the reader will find himself catapulted into your article.
What will be there to welcome him?
The best way to receive your guest is to present him in a few words what he will find if he decides to continue reading.
A good start is, for example, a rhetorical question, just as I asked at the beginning of this post: “Would you like to write magnetic articles, capable of gluing the reader to the screen, generating many shares and increasing the number of subscribers on your list?” .
It is obvious that the answer is yes and this will lead your reader to read again, as you are doing right now.
Even if I have already said it, I would like to further reiterate a fundamental point: be honest. What you promise, then, you must also keep it. If the reader is disappointed with the content of your article after a really interesting title and introduction, you can be sure that he will never set foot on your blog again.
The subtitle (H2)
The subtitle is simply the title of each paragraph of your article.
The subtitle is very important to guide the reader within the post, dividing the block of text into small thematic sections.
Always remember that your reader, especially if he does not know you yet, will hardly read your entire article at first glance. As soon as he opens the page he will simply scroll the page looking for the titles, subtitles and keywords to get an idea of what the article speaks and understand if it can be the answer to his questions.
This makes you understand how precious titles and keywords are so that your audience remains glued to your page and the desire to read every single word grows in them.
Additional subtitles (H3, H4, H5, H6)
The minor subtitles are used to further section the text into increasingly specific sub-paragraphs. The title of this microseection, for example, is “Additional subtitles” and is an H3.
Le call to action (CTA)
“There is no favorable wind for the sailor
who does not know where to go”
As we said at the beginning of this article, it’s not only important to get to know your audience and create valuable content. It is also very important to know why you are writing, what your purpose is .
First, what are call to action (literally: call to action)?
CTAs are invitations to take a certain action .
This action can be subscribe to the newsletter, share the article, visit a specific or in-depth page or any other action you want the reader to perform at that precise moment.
It is always good that there is more than one CTA in the article. Usually one is placed immediately after the introduction, one in the middle of the article and one at the end.
If you don’t enter CTAs, the reader will come to your blog, read the content they need and leave forever. And the worst part is that in most cases, it will never return.
Thanks to the CTA instead, you can keep the new reader tied to you and you can guide him through the (in) training path that you previously created for him.
Images play an extremely important role in a blog.
They are not just space-filling objects to be inserted here and there without criteria but a real visual aid for understanding the text.
Images must enrich words, cover your article with a new meaning, embrace the written word.
For this reason it is very important to use professional and high quality images, in order to increase your blog of added value.
There are many sites from which you can download photos, both free and paid, for your blog. One of my favorite images sites is Shutterstock : the photos are not particularly cheap but you can really find all the best images you need in the highest quality.
Internal and external links
Internal links, i.e. those that link to other pages of your blog, and external links, i.e. those that link to external sites, are very important for the success of your article.
This mainly for two reasons:
- They offer greater value to the article , being linked to useful resources for further study
- They help your blog rank on search engines
Obviously you will not have to insert random links for your whole article. In fact, the links must contribute to offer value and you will have to insert them only if they are really useful.
The internal links will help the reader to discover new topics on your blog, also increasing the time spent on your site.
As for external links, I advise you to always link authoritative sites or in any case avoid sending your users to non-authoritative sites, both because you do not offer value, and because you would be penalized by Google.
Once you have written your article it will be important that you optimize it from an SEO point of view .
SEO is a very broad topic and in some ways very delicate, so I won’t go into the discussion here too much. I will just give you some useful tips that you can use immediately to optimize your articles.
- The first thing I recommend you do is install the SEO by Yoast plugin . It is a very useful plugin that will guide you in optimizing your article.
- Search for one or more keywords for your article. Especially if the keyword has high competition on the web, opt for a Long Tail Keyword .
- Make sure to enter the keyword:
– in the title (H1)
– in at least one of the subtitles (H2)
– in the permalink
– in the first paragraph of text
– in the highlighted image
– in the meta description
Enter the main keyword and other secondary keywords and related to the main within the article and in the other photos. However, try not to force the insertion of these keywords but let them enter naturally into the discussion
- Optimize images. Make sure not to insert too heavy images that can slow down the site and always rename them before uploading them (above all avoid leaving the default name given by the camera, such as DSCN0001.jpeg)
If you need a guide to better optimize your blog from an SEO point of view, I suggest you take a look at Traffic Academy .
By applying all the suggestions of the course step by step I managed to almost triple the traffic of my blog in a few months and I talked about it in this case study .
Not bad as a result, is it? 🙂
Here we are: your article is ready, optimized and you can’t wait to publish it on your blog.
But one fundamental step is still missing: rereading !
Here are 3 valuable tips for this last phase:
- never publish an article that has not been reread or you will risk leaving out very important grammatical or conceptual errors
- do not read the text immediately but let some time run between the end of the writing and the rereading, preferably all night. This is because with a cold mind you will be able to read the text in a more detached way and you will be able to find many more errors or phrases that do not sound good. It would be even better to read the text aloud
- Let a third person read the article : 4 eyes see better than 2!
Now you have a lot of new ideas in hand to create a truly great article, optimized for both your audience and Google.
You just have to get to work!
But first I would like to know your opinion: what other strategies do you apply to make your article really effective? Let me know in the comments 🙂