Picture yourself creating blog posts that captivate your readers, leaving them hanging on your every word. The journey to achieving this level of engagement starts with one essential tool: a well-crafted outline.
A good outline helps your stay on track when writing your blog article. Without it, it’s all too easy to get lost in the details. Your audience will undoubtedly appreciate your ability to stay focused and dive deep into the subject matter – and that’s precisely what a blog post outline enables you to do.
Furthermore, it aids in structuring your thoughts, helping you determine which aspects of your topic to tackle and which ones to save for future articles.
Personally, I prefer to brainstorm all the key areas I intend to cover within a topic and incorporate them into my outline before I start on the first draft. Throughout the writing process, this outline proves invaluable for removing sections that no longer fit or that I decide to address in subsequent blog posts.
Let’s dive into how the outline of contents for your blog post helps you and your readers!
Table of Contents on How to Create an Outline for Your Blog Post
- What is a Content Outline?
- The Benefits of Creating an Outline for your Blog Posts
- Crafting an Effective Outline of Contents
- Final Thoughts on How to Create an Outline for Your Blog Post
What is a Content Outline?
So, what exactly is a content outline? A content outline is like your trusty roadmap for crafting an outstanding blog post.
In simple terms, it means sketching out your blog title (a H1 element) and all the subheadings (H2s and H3s) for your article before you dive into the actual content creation.
Headers, in case you are not familiar with them, come in six different sizes from largest to smallest. They are named H1, H2, H3, H4, H5 and H6. For SEO purposes only the first three (H1, H2 and H3) are important.
Imagine a blog post outline as creating a comprehensive map that charts the territories you’ll explore within your content. You have the freedom to break down these territories into smaller, more manageable subsections. For instance, a subheading (H2 header) can include H3 headers as its own subsections.
Now, here’s the good news: your website theme will automatically use an H1 header for your blog title – no need to fret about that. However, for your other sections, remember to set the correct header using your blog editor. In platforms like WordPress, you can easily do this using the block editor, as shown in the screenshot below.
But when should you consider breaking down your content into subsections? Well, I typically do this when I anticipate that a particular block of content deserves its own space, separate and distinct from other sections.
In a typical blog article, these subsections might include:
- What is [topic]?
- The Benefits of [topic]
- Steering Clear of Common Mistakes in [topic]
- Essential Tools to Aid You in [topic]
For more on Header Elements
The Benefits of Creating an Outline for your Blog Posts
As a blogger or website owner, let’s examine the various benefits that come your way when you take the time to outline your blog posts in advance.
An outline serves as your roadmap, allowing you to quickly see all the areas you plan to explore in your blog post. This also simplifies the process of spotting any glaring omissions or identifying areas that might not quite align with the topic, indicating the need for them to become standalone blog articles of their own.
Imagine this: your article is now crystal clear to your visitors. Thanks to the power of scanning – a common practice for most readers – they can swiftly grasp the scope of your article’s coverage before diving into the details.
And if you decide to incorporate a table of contents, which I highly recommend, the process becomes even smoother for your readers. It provides them with a quick, at-a-glance overview of what they can expect from your article.
Time and Effort Savings
From my personal perspective, the most important benefit when it comes to outlining an article is the time and effort it saves. In fact, I treat outlining as a separate task entirely from writing.
My typical content creation process involves starting with keyword research, followed by the crucial step of blog outlining, and only then do I dive into writing and polishing the content as the final phase.
Content that lacks a clear structure, meanders aimlessly, or veers off-topic can be confusing for readers. If you can’t keep them focused on the subject at hand, you might notice that they don’t finish your content or quickly navigate away from your articles.
To gauge the effectiveness of your user engagement, take a close look at your user engagement metrics and, in particular, keep an eye on your page bounce rates. These indicators will help you determine if your content is effectively engaging your audience.
Crafting an Effective Outline of Contents
So, now let’s talk about how to create an impactful outline of contents.
First and foremost, start your journey by conducting keyword research. This step is crucial for unearthing your primary and related keywords. Not only does it provide you with a clear grasp of your topic, but it also highlights the specific areas within that topic you’d like to explore.
With your trusty keywords in hand, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on your outline. Start by focusing on your primary keyword, as it will be your guiding star throughout the content creation process.
Write your Blog Title
Now comes the fun part – creating your blog title! Aim for a snappy and attention-grabbing title that’s around 60 characters long. And here’s the secret sauce: make sure it includes your primary keyword. This keyword is the star of the show, the one you want to shine in the search rankings, and the focal point of your article.
Take a little extra time to finesse your blog title. If you’re using an SEO plugin while crafting your content, you’re in luck! These handy tools often offer valuable insights and scores to help you optimize your title. They’re like your trusty sidekick, ensuring you pick the perfect title for your masterpiece.
Write the Blog Introduction
Now, carve out a dedicated space just below your blog title for the introduction. Here’s your chance to shine! In this section, briefly unveil the topic and the amazing benefits that await your readers when they dive into your article. It’s your invitation to draw them into your content.
Write your Subheadings
Now, let’s break down your content into easily digestible sections. Start by dividing your topic into several smaller sections, and for each of these sections, introduce a snappy subheading (typically an H2 element).
If necessary, you can take it a step further by incorporating H3 elements to further dissect and organize each section.
Here’s a pro tip: don’t hesitate to include your related keywords into your subheadings. Sometimes, your related keywords make for excellent subheadings themselves, adding extra SEO value.
And here’s the beauty of it: it’s better to start with more subheadings than you think you need. You can always trim them down later in the writing process. Personally, I tend to remove subheadings that don’t align with the article’s flow or save them for standalone articles when they have the potential to shine on their own.
Write a Blog Conclusion
I recommend always adding a blog conclusion section to your articles. In this section you should do a number of things:
- Thank the visitor for reading your article
- Provide a quick summary of your main points
- Call-to-action (join a newsletter, purchase a product or service, contact you)
- Recommend other posts for the visitor to read
Visually Create an Outline
Here’s a smart tip – consider providing your readers with a visual roadmap for your blog article. The simplest way to do this is by adding a table of contents right at the beginning of your blog post, usually after the introduction.
Why is this table of contents important? Well, it’s like a treasure map for your readers. Once they’ve read your introduction, they can take a quick peek at the table of contents to get a sneak peek of what lies ahead and then navigate directly to the section that piques their interest.
Oh, and here’s a neat tidbit: Google is quite fond of indexing all the links on your page, including those in your table of contents. So, don’t forget to sprinkle in some related keywords within those links for an extra SEO boost.
For convenience, there are plugins available that can work their magic and automatically whip up a table of contents for you. Personally, I’m a fan of the All in One SEO plugin, which automates the entire table of contents creation process. Trust me; it’s a game-changer. Manually crafting these tables of contents can be a real headache otherwise!
Final Thoughts on How to Create an Outline for Your Blog Post
Thanks for reading! Here is a quick summary of the main points in this article:
- Write the blog title and ensure you include the primary keywords you want to rank for
- Break your article down into sections giving each section a subheading (using a H2 element)
- Further break down sections as needed (use H3 elements)
- Add a blog introduction section
- (optional but recommended) Add a table of contents section after the blog introduction
- Add a blog conclusion section at the end of the article which briefly summarizes your main points
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