Whether you’re a blogger, a marketer, or even a small business owner, if you’re going to take the time to put up and maintain a blog, it’s important to make sure your articles are high quality. If you’re trying to generate more buzz about your business, you’re going to be hard pressed to achieve that goal with a bunch of lackluster posts – and floundering away on page three of a search engine’s results certainly won’t do you much good. Blog writing is an art with styles and rules all its own. Read on to learn how to improve the quality of your posts today.

1. A Thought Provoking Title
Think about where your title appears. It’s the first thing subscribers see when they open your email and it’s obviously at the very top of your articles. This is your first and only chance you’ve got to capture the reader’s attention, so it’s important to make it count. Going with something like “How to Start a Garden” is fine, but what about “Rising Food Prices Got You Down? Grow a Garden.” Unless your readers haven’t been affected by rising grocery prices, they’re likely to read on.

2. Open With a Hook
Once you convince your readers to continue on, use the opening to completely reel them in. For the backyard garden example, a great way to follow that up is to include a statistic backing up the rise in food prices. However you do it, make sure you hook your readers with a compelling opening that pushes them down to the body.

3. Brief and Succinct Body
Once you get readers here, don’t waste their time. As soon as the article starts to drag or if it’s just not “popping” they’re going to leave your article and your site in seconds, according to research group Nielsen Norman. Keep it brutally brief and if there’s a way to get a point across in nine words instead of ten, do it.

4. Pertinent Closing
There’s usually a tendency to ignore the closing or to avoid spending a lot of time on it, but you can improve your readership vastly by tying your article up with a nice bow in your concluding paragraph. Lend a little more insight to the most important sub-point of your piece or give your overall opinion on the matter you just wrote about. Don’t mimic the opening and don’t add in another piece of advice – that should go in the body.

5. Call to Action
No matter the point of your article, make sure you urge your readers to take the next step, which is usually either to leave a comment or make a purchase. It’s important to take them by the hand throughout the process, and you do so with an effective call to action.

6. Relevant Images
Including images is a great way to spice up your posts, just make sure they’re relevant, high quality, and that you secure any necessary permissions. A few places to check for blog post images include Flickr Creative Commons and iStockphoto.

7. Accuracy
If you’re writing an article strictly from personal experiences and anecdotes, that’s one thing. However, if you’re quoting a source or making some other claim, make sure your information comes from reputable online resources and that you source it all accordingly. People can post anything they want on the Internet and contrary to popular belief, it’s rife with misinformation. Do your research and go with reputable sources.

Once you get closer to mastering the art of blog writing, make sure you market your articles properly as part of your social media marketing strategy. Post them in full on Facebook and LinkedIn and include a link back to them through Twitter. If your post contains a particularly compelling or creative image put that up on Pinterest. Write your posts well, market them effectively and comprehensively, and you’re sure to draw readers.

Can you think of other things a quality blog post must have?

Greg Boyd is an experienced blogger, writer, and Internet business owner. He enjoys sharing tips for building an audience and following online.