5 Ingredients for a Standout Blog Header
All of you bloggers already know that the number one rule of blogging is to write great content that your target audience will find useful. Writing great content is what will help you build your blog following and establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
But how do you attract those readers to begin with?
I hate to break it to you, but writing good content is not enough to capture potential readers. With so much new information and media your blog post could be getting lost in the mix. The way you market and share your blog can determine whether people will click through to read your posts. So I’m going to share 5 ingredients for a blog post image that can help get new eyes on that blog post and ensure that it stands out.
1. Up Your Game on Your Blog Post Visuals
Your blog post visuals are so important in captivating the interest of your current readers and new readers. Using strong visuals will also help your audience process the information more quickly. People’s attention spans are so short and the truth is that you are competing for your audience’s time, so the faster you can communicate what your blog post is about the more likely they are to click through to read it. If you are using Pinterest and Instagram to promote your blog, you already know how important visuals are. Your blog post will not get pinned if it isn't clear on what the blog post is about. Likewise, you'll get more engagement on Instagram if your blog post images are well designed. On both of these platforms, great images are key.
What makes a good blog post visual/header? Blog posts that have a clear title will always be easier to read and will be more likely to be clicked on than blog post images that are difficult to decipher. Many people think that having a pretty photo is imperative to a catchy blog post image. Having a photo can help but what is more important is typography that is easy to read and has a clear hierarchy. Typography will always be more important than the pretty image. If you are using imagery, however, the picture should serve a supporting role. One trick is to have the image slightly faded in the background or have the title on a white background.
The last thing to note in terms of visuals is to keep branding in mind. Blog post images should be consistent with your brand identity but they shouldn't be exactly identical. Having some variety in your blog post images will help your images stay fresh.
2. Keep the Title Short & Catchy + Include a Subtitle
The title should be informative but also catchy, so feel free to infuse some personality in your blog post titles. This will help establish your brand voice and will help set you apart from other blogs. I try to always include a subtitle because this helps reiterate what the blog post is about. Consider this example below.
Title: Rock Your Content Marketing Subtitle: How to create a content marketing strategy that your ideal audience will love
This title and subtitle is telling the reader several things. First, it's telling them that the post is about content marketing. Next, it is telling them that the blog post is going to talk about how to attract an ideal customer using strategy. I have the words “how to” so that tells the reader that the blog post is going to show them how to implement that strategy. The words that you use are very important and are coded. Depending on what type of reader you are trying to attract your words might be different. I could have easily written a blog post with the title and subtitle:
Title: Rock Your Content Marketing Subtitle: How to create a content marketing strategy that will result in more leads and sales.
The fact that I chose to say “that your ideal audience will love” implies that I’m going to show a strategy that is not sleazy, and that I know how important it is to build an audience that loves everything your brand puts out. So the first example is focused on branding and building a strong following. Whereas the second example focuses on increasing leads and sales. What they both have in common is that the subtitle is results-driven. They let the potential reader know why they should read the blog post and how it will benefit them.
3. Use Keywords like “How To,” “5 Ways”
As you noticed in the subtitle options I used above, the words how to play a crucial role. Many people turn to blog posts for information on how to do something. If your blog is a series of opinion pieces or interviews then this might not apply to you. But if your blog is geared to showing people how to do something, then these type of titles will definitely attract your readers. Another type of title that will attract your readers are titles that use lists such as “3 Ways to Improve Your Newsletter Strategy.” Consider the two titles below.
Option 1: How to Start a Blog Option 2: How to Start a Blog in 5 Easy Steps
The first option is too ambiguous. I might not want to click on it if I am pressed for time. It is also not clear who the blog post is geared to. The second option is much more click-worthy because it gives more information and sounds more inviting. Titles should give as much information as possible so that when your ideal reader comes across it, he/she knows it was written for them. If you have a very specific niche that you are writing for, take advantage of that and put it in the title or subtitle. Take a look at the titles below and you’ll see how they are more enticing because they are more descriptive.
Better: How to Start a Lifestyle Wordpress Blog in 5 Easy Steps Better: How to Start a Wordpress Blog for the Ultimate Beginner
Each title is very specific to its target. There is nothing wrong with getting super focused and niche. It may help further differentiate you from the crowd.
4. “Go check out my blog post” Sounds Lazy and Uninteresting
Once you’ve written that stellar blog post, have crafted a killer title and subtitle, and have paired it with an eye-catching visual you are ready to share it with the world and post on social media. Don’t let all that hard work go wasted by sharing your blog post with a lackluster “go check out my blog post.” Not only does this sound lazy and uninteresting, but you are not giving potential readers a reason to read your blog post. Get creative a share a quick sentence about what the blog post is about. Even reiterating the title/subtitle is better than saying “go check out my blog post.” One strategy I like to use is to share a quick snippet of the blog post. If I’m sharing a list of my favorite go-to resources I’ll share what one of those on the list is.
5. Resize Images for Different Social Media Platforms
The blog post images that I use on my blog and the images that are used here on Creatives on Transit are optimized to be shared on Pinterest. We all know that vertical pins do much better than horizontal pins (more Pinterest tips on this post). But when I share blog posts on Facebook I take the extra time to resize that image into a horizontal format. I don’t want to leave it up to Facebook to crop my image because some of the words will get cut off and it’ll leave your reader trying to decipher what it’s trying to say. The longer it takes the reader to decipher what your blog image says, the more likely it is that they’ll move on or keep scrolling and give up your post altogether.
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