No real standard for the perfectly successful blog post really exists. Some bloggers enjoy tremendous reach and success by sharing personal stories, working their blogs as if they were personal diaries filled with entries exploring their personal journeys through life. Other bloggers work to establish themselves as experts in their field of interest, generating pillar content and definitive guides on everything someone might want to know about this, that or the other.
More recently, thanks to the rise of sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy, we’re seeing the growing popularity of listicles. Here are the top ten reasons for this or here are the 15 ways to do that. These “sticky” posts can get incredibly viral and can prove hugely successful too.
Another format that you may have missed and should be paying more attention to is the FAQ post or frequently asked questions. Many people might expect to see a FAQ on a company page describing products and services, but what does this have to do with blogging?
Believe it or not, my NEXUS FAQ from way back in 2008 (most of the information is still accurate and relevant) continues to generate consistent search engine traffic to this day. It appears consistently in my list of top ten most read blog posts each month.
First, it supplies pertinent information that people interested in the NEXUS frequent traveler program might want to know. This is information that may not be available on the associated official government websites. Even if the information is on the official government website, it might be hard to find and people simply don’t have that kind of patience. They want the answers fast and they want them easily.
Traffic and performance will always start with great content, because great content will always be king. Provide the information (or entertainment) that your audience craves, first and foremost. Of course, kings can’t rule on their own.
The second and arguably more important reason why that blog post continues to be popular is that it is formatted in the FAQ format. I could have provided the exact same information in a more standard blog format and the post may not have attracted the same kind of readership or search engine traffic.
The FAQ answers specific questions that people may have about the NEXUS program. Think about the terms that people would be entering into Google to find this information. It may have once been the case that search queries looked like broken English, but more people are starting to search using full and natural language?
Perhaps the reason for this is the parallel rise of smartphones and, more specifically, the rise of voice-based assistants like Siri on iOS and Google Now (OK Google) on Android. People tap that microphone button and they ask a question in regular English, not in some search-specific syntax that people wouldn’t use in regular conversation.
Instead of entering “Nexus advantages” into Google, someone might ask Siri, “What are the advantages of being a NEXUS trusted traveler?” And guess what? I have an exact match for that question in the FAQ. The results are direct and relevant. And through the increased use of Google Now and Siri, people are using that same kind of language in their regular Google searches too.
As with all blogging strategies, it would be imprudent to go to the FAQ well too often. If every other post is a FAQ, readers will grow tired of your content. However, alongside your personal stories, resource pieces, and how-to guides, remember to think about including FAQs as part of your blogging mix too. The traffic will speak for itself.