According to Demand Metric, businesses that utilize a blogging strategy get 97 percent more links to their website and are 13x more likely to see positive returns. What’s more, blogging results in a 434 percent increase in indexed pages and a 93 percent increase in indexed links.
This means more inbound traffic and more repeat customers for your brand.
That said, there are over 31 million active bloggers in the U.S. posting once per month, and that talent pool is only growing. To keep up and stay competitive, you need to be on top of the latest blogging trends and go after the best blog talent.
Here are some of the biggest blogging trends to look out for this year, along with quick and easy ways to implement them into your blogging strategy.
Blogging Trend #1: Highly Visual Content
No blogging trends list would be complete without reminding you of the importance of visual content.
That’s a big boost for your brand’s visibility and retention. As blogs become longer and more detailed, design and interactivity grow in importance. Visual content can offer readers a way to scan content without reading it all the way through.
HubSpot found that only 16 percent of online readers take in content word-by-word. The rest are scanning, looking for quick and efficient information.
If you want readers to stay on your page, be engaged, and promote your content on other platforms, make your information easy to scan by using visuals.
How to Incorporate Visual Content in Your Blog
Adding images and videos to your content breaks up heavy chunks of text and offers a new, responsive way for your audience to engage with your content.
It’s always preferable to use original content in your blogs, but stock imagery can still be useful when designing an engaging blog. For example, an infographic offers readers a way to easily consume your information without wading through the entirety of your post.
It’s no wonder affiliate marketing is one of the hottest blogging trends of the year. Now, how can you take advantage of this technique?
How to Incorporate Affiliate Marketing in Your Blog
When creating a blog, think about affiliate marketing techniques you could employ.
If you’re mentioning a product or service, reach out to that company and see if they have any affiliate programs you could join. You can do this with a simple Google search for: product + “affiliate program.”
It’s always best to choose a product you know and love, as your results depend on how well you sell it.
That said, no one wants to read a sales pitch. A successful affiliate blog should be educational and informative and should employ other blogging techniques such as SEO and visual content.
One of the more relevant blogging trends today is the inclusion of critical readers in your audience pool.
Public perception of online content is changing.
With terms like “fake news” and increased competition for content, readers are less willing to trust content that isn’t reputable.
Today’s reader needs reassurance that your content is accurate and fair. They expect citations, sources, and statistics to back up your claims. Likewise, you need to keep in mind the scope of content that’s readily available online.
Every year, more people and more brands enter the blogging scene.
To stay competitive and harness your SEO, you need to write content that is verified and well-sourced.
How to Write for Critical Readers
It’s important to write logical, truthful, and high-quality content that uses authoritative sources and consistent citations.
Making baseless, unverified claims is a good way to lose your readers. Not only that, but bad sources can actually negatively affect your SEO and overall page authority.
Here are a few easy tips to follow when writing for critical readers:
Write honest content that is backed by reputable sources.
Use backlinks to cite sources or include them as footnotes.
Do not make any claims you cannot prove.
Do not promise anything you can’t deliver.
The biggest takeaway here is to avoid writing anything that isn’t true or that can’t be verified with accurate sources.
Losing credibility can be a big hit to your business. Stay informed and improve your brand integrity.
Blogging Trend #4: Mobile-First Format
Blogging trends often come and go, but mobile-first formatting is here to stay. These days, everyone uses their phone to read online.
From news articles in your Facebook feed to swipe-up blogs on Instagram, your consumers are constantly surfing the web from their phones.
It’s crucial that your website, blog, and any other digital content you create is optimized for mobile. No one wants to click on an article only to have it pixelated or cut off on their screen.
If you don’t have mobile optimization set up, you risk readers logging off before they have a chance to read your content. Studies from Google show that 40 percent of mobile consumers turned to a competitor’s website after a negative mobile web experience.
One sentence on a desktop screen can look like a paragraph on mobile.
Therefore, breaking up your paragraphs, using short sentences, and ensuring your website is optimized for mobile are very important.
Here are a few other points to consider:
Make navigation as easy as possible.
Make your content easy to scan.
Ensure the on-page loading time is fast.
Use a mobile responsive web theme.
Don’t use text wrapping for images.
As always, writing content that is simple, accurate, and concise can improve your overall mobile accessibility.
Blogging Trend #5: Estimated Reading Time
Another recurring theme in modern blogging trends is estimated reading times.
Estimated reading time can improve reader engagement by setting up their expectations from the start.
If you know a blog takes 15 minutes to read, but you only have 10 minutes before your next meeting, you might save that blog for another day. Likewise, if a blog takes two minutes to read, you may get excited about the convenient length of the article and open it right away.
Tempesta found that readers were 40 percent more engaged with blogs that included an estimated reading time. What’s more, search engines factor in estimated reading times when determining your rank. The longer your users dwell on your page, the better your chances are of looking authoritative to search engines.
How to Incorporate Estimated Reading Times in Your Blog
To estimate your blog’s reading time, divide the number of words in your article by 200 or 250.
Always round up your number when estimating reading times. For example, if your blog takes 1.7 minutes to read, estimate 2 minutes. This ensures your reader’s expectations are met and increases the likelihood that they read your entire blog.
You can also use online calculators, such as Read-O-Meter or Decimal to Time Calculator, to help you. Some web hosting services, such as WordPress, have plugins available to estimate the reading time for you.
Blogging Trend #6: TL;DR Summary
One of the latest blogging trends you shouldn’t miss is the “too long; didn’t read” summary.
Commonly referred to as TL;DR, these summaries act as an abstract of your blog, giving readers the most important information without making them skim, scan, or read through the entire piece.
This point is important in blogging trends as we continue to see global attention spans drop.
A study by Microsoft found that global attention spans have been declining since 2000, with the average person’s attention span now resting at a mere eight seconds.
By including a TL;DR summary at the start of your blog, you can appeal to the new generation of online readers.
TL;DR summaries can also have a positive impact on your SEO, as they answer questions for readers clearly and distinctly. For example, if a customer is looking for consulting services, they don’t want to read an entire post just to get to the recommendations at the bottom.
If you include your TL;DR at the top of your post, search engines can use that as the summary in search results as well (but there’s no guarantee that they will).
Answering user questions right off the bat can improve your ranking and get you more clicks.
How to Incorporate TL;DR in Your Blog
Your TL;DR should be the first thing your users see.
You can include this as a bulleted list or a paragraphed summary at the top of your blog post. Always have a catchy headline in your TL;DR to engage your reader and draw attention to your piece.
Similarly, your points should be succinct, clear, and short. Don’t write an entire essay in this space.
If you find a TL;DR formula that works for you, keep using it. Having a standardized format throughout your blogs will make your content consistent and reliable.
There are also online tools now offering TL;DR services. For example, TLDR This claims to help you summarize an article in one click. You can also use TL;DR-ify for similar services.
Now that you know some of the latest and greatest blogging trends, how will you implement them?
If your goal is to create a better content marketing strategy, you should be including most, if not all, of these blogging trends.
If your goal is to improve your SEO, you may want to focus on mobile-first formats or visual content.
Ultimately, tapping into each of these blogging trends can open up opportunities for new success.
What blogging trend are you most excited to use for your business?