Stop Publishing Boring Articles! Use Thrive Architect to Spice Them Up
1 hour 23 minutes.
It's embarrassing to admit now, but that's how long I once spent figuring out how to get a box with a dotted line around the key takeaways of my blog post.
This shouldn't be happening anymore...but then I glance at my neighbor's screen in the co-working space and see them struggling with the WordPress editor.
For some, the struggle is still real.
It doesn't have to be! Let me show you how to use Thrive Architect to create stunning blog articles that will keep your readers' attention from the very beginning till the very end.
But I'm Scared to Use a Visual Editor for Blog Posts...
Believe me, I understand.
The last thing you want is for all your hard work to disappear the moment you deactivate a plugin.
And while we hope you'll stay around for the long haul, we made sure deactivating Thrive Architect will NOT delete your content!
Shane wrote an indepth post about the content lock-in problem and how we and other plugins handle this issue.
In short, all of your text will still be there, and so will your images. The only things not preserved are styled elements like content boxes. However, everything will be editable in the normal WordPress editor. So while it might look less "designed," it would still be readable for visitors and you'd still be able to edit it.
There is no risk that your content will cease to exist!
Back-end Vs. Front-end
Thrive Architect is a front-end editor and the WordPress editor is a back-end editor.
This means when you open Thrive Architect on a blog post, you'll see your menu bar, breadcrumbs, sidebar, author box, comment section,... In short, it will look like your website.
You write your article in the editor and will immediately see (without refreshing or previewing) how it will look for your visitor.
Thrive Architect is used for everything related to the actual creation of the article. Other settings like adding a category and tags, adding a featured image, and the title of the article are still done in the back-end of your site.
The Basics of a Structured Blog Post
There is no use putting lipstick on a pig. No amount of visuals will improve an article with bad structure or weak content.
That's why, when you're writing any article, you want to make sure to get the basics right.
If you need a little help with this, read our article about content patterns where you'll discover how to use content patterns to create blog posts in a structured way, beat writer's block and cut hours from your usual content creation process.
Once you've decided on a structure to follow, it's time to write your outline in Thrive Architect.
For a well structured article, you need the following elements:
Headings have 2 important roles:
- Structuring the article for your readers
- Structuring the article for search engines
The first one is pretty obvious, having bigger text will capture your readers' attention and allow them to quickly scan the article to read the bits they are interested in.
The second one deals with what happens behind the scenes (in the HTML code to be precise) when you add a heading element to your post.
Readers won't notice the different between a heading element vs a paragraph element with the same font size, for search engines there is a difference.
Using the heading element will add a bit of code indicating to search engines which part of the article is most important.
The title of your article (the one you've added in the WordPress editor) is automatically a heading 1 (the most important element on the page).
And because it's good practice to only have one heading 1 per article, when you add a new heading in Thrive Architect it will automatically be a heading 2 (the second level of importance in your article).
Don't change the font size of a paragraph to create visual hierarchy in your articles. Use the heading element so search engines can also understand what's most important.
This is what the majority of the text in your article will be made up of—multiple paragraph elements.
You'll be able to use the text editor to bold text, italicize text or add hyperlinks.
3. Read More Element
In order to show only a summary, in your WordPress dashboard go to Settings >> Reading >> Summary.
Now, when you add the 'more tag' element, everything above the element will get shown in your blog list. This give you full control over what's shown and allows you to craft a compelling introduction to make readers want to click and read the full article.
Spice Up Your Article
Now you have the basics in place, so let's make the article more visually appealing.
There is no such thing as a blog post that's too long... Only too boring!
The first thing to make an article more visually interesting are images.
These can be screenshots, photos, illustrations in JPEG, PNG or even GIF format.
Simply drag the image element where you want to show an image and pick (or upload) your image from your media library.
Don't forget to add a caption text. Images attract the eye, which makes the caption text a great opportunity to engage with your reader.
Also, when using (a lot of) images, make sure to optimize them to avoid increasing the loading time of your site. Don't worry, it's easy and we explain how to do it here.
Finding the right image might be time consuming, which is where icons come in.
In Thrive Architect you have access to over 3600 icons.
You can even personalize the background and color of the icon to make it look more interesting and to fit your brand.
3. Highlight Boxes
We loooove hightlight boxes.
They are an excellent way to make an article captivating AND more reader friendly.
Please start using highlight boxes, your readers will thank you for it!
If you need inspiration on what highlight boxes to add, check out this article to discover 5 types of highlightboxes we believe every blog post should start using.
4. Styled List
Have you seen me geek out with styled lists?
If you did, you know I think styled lists are amazing (and so much fun to create).
Again, it's an element you can add no matter the topic of your blog post to help structure your article.
If that's not convincing enough, blog posts with a list get twice as many backlinks as text only blog posts.
Icons, highlightboxes and styled lists are an easy way to make ANY article visually appealing and more enjoyable to read.
Save time by creating templates for each one of these elements.
This allows you to customize the element once and use it over and over again.
5. Click to Tweet
By compressing the information in your article into one or more tweetable quotes, you've taken away the hard work for your visitors. This makes it easier for them to share your blog post!
People like to tweet things that make them look smart.
Tim Soulo - Ahrefs
According to Tim, a tweetable quote has to:
- Convey a great idea in one catchy phrase.
- Clearly stand out from the rest of your article.
- Have a clear call-to-action
- Require only one click to tweet
The click to tweet element in Thrive Architect takes care of the last 3, all you have to do is come up with a catchy phrase.
70% of YouTube viewers watch videos to "help with a problem" they're having in their hobby, studies, or job. And 41% feel smarter when watching videos. Source
Why not take advantage of this in your blog posts?
You can embed your own video or leverage someone else's knowledge about a topic.
A Word About Customizations
While Thrive Architect is ideal for adding visual elements and making your blog posts look amazing, it's not the place to customize your heading and paragraph fonts.
Don't get me wrong, it is possible! But I don't recommend it for blog posts.
Blog posts should always look the same. Same font, same font sizes, same font color, etc.
If you're unhappy with the way your headings or paragraphs look as a whole, you should change these settings on theme level rather than individually for each heading or paragraph element. It will save you a ton of time and frustration.
This is an example of the outside in principle. Which is the most efficient way to create your content.
This principle states that when applying the same styling to multiple elements, you should apply the styling to the parent container of those elements, starting from the biggest container and working your way to the smallest container.
For headings and paragraphs, the parent container is your theme and you can use the theme customizer to change this.
Changing the settings there will allow you to do once rather than each time you're writing a blog post.
I hope you see the advantage of writing blog posts with Thrive Architect!
I for one would never go back to the normal editor and I'm pretty confident if you give it a try you'll feel the same.
Still have questions? Let me know in the comments below!