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Why Your Blog Posts Need Structure – and How to Get it Right

Have you ever given up on a blog post part-way through?

Sure, the post contained a few good ideas, but it wasn’t worth the effort of finding them. You were starting to skim before you’d finished the (over-long) introduction, and you got lost in the middle.

Chances are, that blogger who wrote that post didn’t pay sufficient attention to the structure of their post. And they paid the price: you stopped reading, and so did many others.

Why Structure Matters

Think of the structure as the skeleton of your post: it might not be immediately visible to the reader, but without it, your post would collapse into a big blob.

When your posts are well structured:

  • Readers will easily grasp the points you’re making, and see how things are connected.
  • Readers won’t instantly forget what you wrote – they’ll be encouraged to take action.
  • You will spend less time staring at the screen and more time actually writing.
  • You won’t have to waste time writing long sections that you later cut out.

How to Structure Your Posts

The great news is that you definitely don’t have to be a highly experienced blogger, or an award-winning writer, in order to structure your posts well.

Here’s what to do:

Step #1: Plan Before You Begin

It’s often tempting to jump straight into writing your post – but a few minutes spent planning can save you a lot of time later on.

Aim to:

  • Come up with a nearly-there title: it will inform your structure. “How to write faster” isn’t going to have the same structure as “One great way to write faster.”
  • Decide on the key points you’re going to cover – you might want to create a mindmap to help you get your ideas down onto paper.

Step #2: Figure Out a Good Structure

Once you know the topic of your post, and your key points, you can decide on the structure. There are dozens of great post structures – here are a couple of my favorites:

X Ways to …

Introduction

#1:…

#2:… (etc.)

Conclusion

Why X Matters … and How to Do It

Introduction

Why It Matters

How to Do It

    Step #1: …

    Step #2: … (etc.)

Conclusion

Your structure should always allow for an introduction and conclusion. The introduction needs to hook the reader and set up the post; the conclusion should round things off and include a call to action.

Step #3: Be Consistent Within Your Structure

Some bloggers make a good attempt at structure, but don’t get things quite right. The more consistent you can be, the better your post will come across to readers.

In particular, you should write the subheading for each section in the same way. If each item has a # symbol then a number, keep that going throughout. If you’re using “Tip #1” for the first, use “Tip” for all the others.

Where appropriate, structure each section the same too. A great example is 45+ More Websites that Pay You to Contribute an Article, Instantly, where each section in structured in the same way:

#[Number]: [Name of Blog]

Niche:

Amount per post:

Payment Method:

Payment info confirmed on website: [Yes/No]

Paragraph about the site with a link to their information on contribution.

Step #4: Vary Your Post Structures

List posts are often easy to write and easy to read – but if every single post you write is a list, your readers may start feeling a bit bored with the format.

Switch things around with different structures. That might mean having an in-depth post about one point, instead of writing a list with multiple ideas. It could mean changing a list into a how-to (with steps to be followed sequentially, rather than items to pick and choose from).

When you read other blogs, pay particular attention to structure. Pull out the main points and subheadings from a post to see how it’s put together – then use that structure in your own work.

Step #5: Show Your Structure

By Ali

Even if you’ve structured your post well, that won’t necessarily come across to the reader: you need to include features like subheadings to indicate new sections.

(If you’ve written a very short post, putting a line or two in bold, or simply having paragraph breaks, might be all the formatting you need to support the structure.)

However … you don’t have to flag up every single separate element of your post. Your introduction doesn’t need the word “Introduction” at the start. Your conclusion doesn’t need to have the subheading “Conclusion” – though you might choose “Action Points” or “Over to You” or similar, when leading into a call to action.

Your posts will stand or fall based on their structure: make sure you get it right.

Good luck … and feel free to share your favorite post structures, or your top tips, in the comments below.

Ali Luke blogs for SEO Training, focusing on content creation and content marketing.

Category: blogging

8 Comments on "Why Your Blog Posts Need Structure – and How to Get it Right"

  1. Good article and I agree structure is super important. I like including an introduction, main body with a couple of highlighted stand out quotes and either a conclusion or key takeaways.

    • I do agree with you Ali and Shell Robshaw-Bryan too. Just jump straight to writing without formulating any structure misleads the writing to end up like hitting the car somewhere than safe parking. Often writers find it very difficult to wrap up the content and make it unnecessary lengthy due to lack of pre decided structure.

      Of course, couple of highlighted stand out Quotes makes the post very interesting and engaging.

      Moreover while reading, the readers never find it a swift drifting rather they lose interest in the topic and quickly shift to some other related blog.

      • Ali Luke says:

        Shell, that sounds like a great, straightforward structure to use. :-0

        Amit, you’re absolutely right that a lack of structure means readers will lose interest. If they can’t see where your post is going, they won’t stick around!

    • ebimablog says:

      Exactly my way of structuring posts

  2. Liz McGee says:

    Hi Ali,

    I find that using my trusty high school outline works great.

    For ease of reading and search engine benefit, I do use good headers and use them as header tags.

    I also like to work from the bottom up, that is summarize my post in the first paragraph then expand on that summary as I work down the post.

    However the best advice here is to plan. It’s easy to just start writing but if you plan it out first the actual writing part is a lot easier and goes much faster.

    Good Post,
    Liz

    • Ali Luke says:

      Thanks Liz! Your “bottom-up” approach sounds similar to the traditional pyramid structure that journalists use — an excellent way to make sure that readers get the main points quickly.

  3. Alex says:

    I’m not sure about these blogging guides you often come across, telling you about why you should blog every day/shouldn’t blog every day etc. It all depends on your audience. If you’re slamming out a post every day you might be irritating your followers for all you know. Just use your judegement and go for what you think is best.

    • Ali Luke says:

      Good point, Alex. It depends on your blog! Though for most people — bloggers and readers — I think daily blogging is too much, and one or two posts a week works better.

Onibalusi

Welcome! I'm Bamidele Onibalusi, a young writer and blogger. I believe writers are unique and highly talented individuals that should be given the respect they deserve. This blog offers practical advice to help you become truly in charge of your writing career.

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