Blogger Dan Bostrom

How to Craft an Amazing ALSC Blog Post

The ALSC Blog is a special place on the internet – a place where children’s and youth services librarians share news, ideas, and of course, stories.

To help make it better, ALSC Marketing Intern Elizabeth Taft gathered statistics from about 60 posts between March and April 2016. We measured:

  • the number of views
  • the number of characters in the title
  • the length of the post
  • whether or not the post included an image

We gathered all of this in order to answer the question: what makes a great blog post? What makes people click and read?

Titles: Less is More

Title Length vs Unique Pageviews
The above image demonstrates the drop in pageviews on posts with longer titles (image from ALSC).

Most post titles are 20-50 characters long, and the most successful tend to be between 25 and 40 characters long. A post with a shortish, engaging title is more likely to be read than a post with a long, rambling title.

Word Count: Finding the Middle

Words vs Unique Pageviews
The image above shows that although higher word counts mean more pageviews, there’s a sweet spot (image by ALSC).

When it comes to word count, performance does increase, but there is clearly a nice cluster around 200-500 words.

There are a few posts with over 800 words that performed well, but those are rare examples. You don’t need to be verbose to be interesting.

Images: Worth Thousands of Words

Images vs Pageviews
Of over 11,000 unique pageviews in the months of March and April, more than 10,000 were of posts that included at least one image (image by ALSC).

Why do posts with images receive 91% of views? One reason might be linking from other sites. When posts are promoted on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, an image can grab readers – but only if an image is included.

On Pinterest, it’s impossible to post at all without an image. Including at least one image in your post makes it much easier for new or casual readers of the blog to find your post.

Bonus Materials

Want to really take your blog post to the next level? Here are a few more organizational suggestions:

Add a Featured Image for Social Sharing

More and more, blog posts are being shared via social media. What can you do about it?

  • Step 1: provide an image (see above)
  • Step 2: make that image a Featured Image

A Featured Image will automatically format for social media posting. It makes you blog posts appear professional and eye-catching. It also appears “above the fold” in the ALSC homepage.

You can designate a Featured Image here
You can designate a Featured Image here (image credit: ALSC)

Utilize SEO

What is your post about? Can you sum up the theme in a phrase or two? It might not matter to the audience, but it matters to search engines. Use the Yoast SEO to designate a keyword or two and you improve the findability of your post.

Adding keywords to your post will improve results in search engines
Adding keywords to your post will improve results in search engines (image credit: ALSC)

Make It Readable

Studies show that people read differently online than in print. There’s a term called “textual topography.” In essence, how the text is laid out matters. Even the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends the use of features such as:

  • shorter sentences and paragraphs
  • bulleted and numbered lists
  • clear headlines and subheads
  • more white space

By doing so, you make the text easier to read for screens. You also make the blog a more user-friendly place!

2 comments

  1. Roxie Munro

    What a useful and informative post! Thanks for a succinct analysis, clearly explained.

  2. Kathia Ibacache

    Thanks for the tips. They are very helpful.

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