According to a recent post on Copyblogger, the best way to increase traffic to your blog is to create well-written posts that contain interesting and/or useful information – and use compelling headlines. Their formula looks like this:

Killer headline + Incredibly useful information that benefits readers + Lively, interesting writing = Genuinely great content

We couldn’t agree more. Let’s take a closer look at each of the elements in this formula.

1. Killer headline

People aren’t going to read your blog post (or visit your blog) if its title doesn’t do its job – which is to compel people to read your blog post! How can you make sure your title is the best it can be? By clearly showing the value the reader will get from your post. You can do this by specifying:

  • A specific benefit (Reduce development time by 20%!)
  • A special offer (This week only: 50% off already discounted items!)
  • An invitation (You’re invited to our grand opening celebration!)
  • A new product introduction (Introducing ____!)
  • A list or guide (Top 5 ways to ___, Quick start guide to _____, How to _____)

Bonus: These approaches to headlines will also work for email subject lines!

2. Useful information that benefits readers

Even if you’ve written the best headline the planet has ever seen, if your content doesn’t deliver on the promise of that headline, your post is going to disappoint and/or annoy your readers. You’ve committed the cardinal sin of wasting their valuable time. How do you avoid this situation, and instead inspire legions of readers to follow your blog and social networks?

  • Get to know your audience. Do this before you write a single word. Who are they? What do they want? What are they interested in? What do they need to know? If you can answer these questions, you will know what to write about, and you’ll be delivering information your readers can use to improve their lives.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Longer posts are easier to write, but nobody has time to read a long blog post. Deliver the best information you can in as few words as possible.

3. Lively,  interesting writing

  • Write in an engaging, straightforward style
  • Find your authentic voice. Contrary to what many beginners thing, you don’t need to be witty or clever or  “pizzazz-y”. Unless, of course, that’s  your authentic voice. If it’s not, it can come off as if you’re trying too hard, and that can ultimately be off-putting for your readers.
  • Try to relax. If you’re new to this whole content creation thing, it can take a little while for you to “find” your voice. So be gentle with yourself, especially in the beginning.

If you employ the formula above for each and every blog post you write, you’ll likely see an increase in traffic to your site. Why? Because people will know they can count on you for great, valuable content, so they’ll be more likely to click through to your full posts. Once there, they’ll want to read more of your content, so they’ll be more likely to stick around and explore previous posts and other parts your site.

So what works for you? Share your tips on creating great content in the comments below!