How to Create the “Perfect” Post

(Reposted from my WordPress class site.)

The Grand Intro

So you’ve thought of the perfect post, have you? You’ve been gifted with the golden idea, the one that will go viral and lift your blog up into the Internet heavens! It’s fully formed in your mind and it’s just a matter of getting it into your trusty WordPress text editor and then published onto your page.

Hold on just a second, sparky. Your new composition may be the best thing since the last  time you wrote something, but it won’t make the same impact if you don’t craft your post with care. Content is not everything, my friend. It is only the beginning.

Presentation is the icing on your cake, the holiday sweater on your puppy, the gilding of your lily. If you really want to make the biggest impact with this sensational content you’ve imagined, it behooves you to properly present it. Just splattering words on a page, no matter how supercalifragilisticexpialidocious those words are, is not always enough.

Pull-Through

I didn’t coin this term, but it’s my favorite. Allow me to define it for you:

Pull-through–The means by which your dear reader is encouraged to finish and like your post.

Believe me, it’s not as simple as it sounds. There are literally a goddamn google of things vying to capture our attention on the Internet. And if you don’t construct your posts with this fact in mind, you are liable to lose readers before they reach the end of your article.

bored robotAs a blogger, you must learn the art of pulling the reader through your post. And I’m sorry: nowadays, your luminous words are simply not enough on their own.

Assuming you’ve already got the words, you mad genius you, let’s move on to some presentation tips.

The Obligatory List

For those of you who love order, here is the list of pull-through tips you will be given in this post:

  1. Break up your material into smaller digestible chunks.
  2. Consider breaking your post into sections with good headers.
  3. Use images in your posts.
  4. Try not to go “Gone with the Wind” with your posts.
  5. Link dumps dirty up your sparkling blog.
  6. Engage the reader as if in a conversation.
  7. Stay relevant to your topic.
  8. Don’t make lists. They’re boring.

Caught you there! Seriously, though, don’t make list posts if you can help it. At least think about disguising them as I am going to do from now on. They are boring to read and write. If you absolutely must list, keep it kind of short.

Let’s move on and elaborate a little on each point.

It’s the Format, Stupid

Indeed it is. How many posts have you read that streamed in a block of words endlessly with no breaks, just that block of words like a papyrus scroll straight out of hell?

Probably not many. Blocks of words are intimidating. Chances are if you started reading a blog that was a seemingly unending litany of words, sentences, phrases, that you didn’t finish it. And you’re a genius! imagine the poor readers who are not your caliber.

My first tip then is simply:

Break up your material into smaller digestible chunks.

They’re called paragraphs. Learn them, love them. You think I’m joking, but I’m super-serial. Paragraph breaks are an essential element of pull-through.

No paragraph breaks, or paragraphs that are too long, can deter many readers from finishing your post, no matter how brilliant it is. One idea per paragraph is ideal. Two, three sentences. It really will make your reader flow through your article a lot easier.

Some bloggers go to an extreme, though.

A paragraph break per sentence is common on Internet posts.

For poetry and such it may be okay.

I don’t recommend that approach for text posts.

It becomes irritating very quickly.

What do you think?

Hmmm?

Another Section Break?

Yes, another section break. That is actually a very good pull-through technique, particularly in a long post such as this very one.

Consider breaking your post into sections with good headers.

The technique behind making a good header isn’t much. First of all, though, Do Not Bold and Underline. That by itself doesn’t make the text bigger, now does it? Well, I think it may depend on your theme, but even if your theme makes normal bold and underlined text larger, Don’t fucking do it. I mean it. 

Why? The underlining business is just bad Internet manners. Web Standards say that only links should get underlined because general readers tend to think all underlined text is a link. Don’t make those idiots  dear readers click in vain. They may get irritated and bail on you.

The bolding alone? Eh, it just is kind of irritating. Use bolding if you want to within your text.  But not to make section headers. That’s the pussy way.

grumpy cat

“The pussy way?” That motherfucker—

Excuse me. To make a proper heading, go into your text editor where you can make style corrections in the code. Not a coder? Thasscool. It’s really simple, I assure you.

{Um, real coders might want to skip to the next section. It’s about to get dumbed down up in herrre.}

Okay, rookies. Listen up:

The appropriate tag is  <h2>, which just indicates a heading type two. Heading one is usually for your title. (Again, depends on what theme you’re using.) Place an <h2> before the text you want to change, and </h2>after the text. Every theme is a little different so play around with it.  If you don’t think the heading is big enough, try <h1>. That might not be any different than <h2>, but it may work with your theme I’m not sure. Probably won’t. WordPress themes are funny creatures, though, and you never really know except by messing around with it.

Quick HTML Lesson: <h2> is your start tag here. To close a tag, add the slash. </h2> is your end tag. If no brackets and slash, it won’t work.

The Twenty-Eleven Theme, which I’m still using, doesn’t make the headers all that big. But I’m fine with it. Size isn’t everything. *sniff*

Do the header thing and your post will have amazing and uber-readable sections. Think of them like chapters in a novel. It makes your post a lot more digestible and fun to read through. For your reader,  getting to a new section feels almost like a reward for their labor of reading. Also, it organizes your post into something more resembling an actual article than just a spewing of words.

Pics = 1000 Words

Look: I know you’re a real writer. Your words are like magic spells, no visuals required. There is a place for your words, and WordPress has many readers and writers who still appreciate the written word. If you really want to just rely on your words for a post, try it. Go ahead. Tough guy.

But wait and consider the medium a moment: the Internet is driven by the visual.  And images are an easy device to use to both supplement and illustrate your text. I guarantee a post with great text and timely use of images will get more views than text alone. I’ve done both, my friends.

Plus, they are another great pull-through for the reader.  They help give the reader the urge and desire and the urgent desire to keep going.

Use images in your posts.

Come on. It’s easy. There are plenty of free stock photo sites. (And not so free, but who will know? Shhh. Interpol, go back to sleep.) You can put funny or enlightening captions on the images, whatever suits you. And it even makes posting more fun! I never consider a post completely finished until I’ve sifted the ‘net for complementary images.

peanut guy making toast

Greetings! I am an image.

spock greeting

Greetings. I am also an image.

All right, guys. They get it.

If you are an artist, even better.  Whip up some drawings or cartoons. Post photos that you have taken. That adds the final touch of personality that truly makes your blog unique and worthy to read.

….to be continued

P.S.M.F’s

(Why did I stop there? ‘Cos this post was getting long. Part two will explain that pull-through decision. Am I breaking the rules of EvDaDaDec by reposting an article? There are no rules, remember? Anyway, I changed this article a bit from the class site. It counts as a damn day. It counts. Part two will come your way in a few days. Tomorrow’s post will be…..I’m not sure yet. Shit’s getting real now. Check in tomorrow to see what I come up with!)

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8 thoughts on “How to Create the “Perfect” Post

  1. You crack me up dude, seriously. Thanks for the how to’s. Most I knew, but I still learned something. Somewhere. I think. That would be the pain killers kicking in… My brain does not want to work correctly. Crap. I’m going to go before I offend you or say something I didn’t mean lol. Great post…err…repost… ❤️

    • These are literally just the most general things we talked about in class. Our instructor Lorelle assigned me this article ‘cos we didn’t have one like it. She thought I could run with it, and run I did! I had to edit the whole thing from about 6000 words….And don’t worry about offending me. A sarcastic thanks is an appropriate response to a post like this!

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