You can market your heart out on social media but if your content is boring or badly written then your chances of people coming back for more are dramatically reduced.
Many bloggers have remarked that after reducing their output from say one post per day to two or three per week (or even less) that their overall success rate from blogging has greatly increased.
So don’t stress yourself out trying to post daily–quality is proven to be greatly preferred over quantity.
1. Give Your Post a Great Title
Studies show that 80% of people will only read the post’s title. Many will even share the article or post based only on the title!
So the title’s importance is definitely not to be underestimated. Much more on that in my article here.
2. Have a Good Introduction
You should try to stimulate the reader’s interest with a good, punchy introduction. This will encourage them to continue on to the next section, and so on.
This is also good for SEO as the longer they stay on your site, the better the search engine ranking. SEO experts also recommend that you target ‘long-tail’ keywords in this section.
In your introduction you should:
– Get the reader’s attention
– Give the reason for the post
–Explain how the post will present a solution to the problem.
3. Choose a Topic That Interests You
If you aren’t interested in your topic of choice, your lack of interest is likely to be apparent to the reader as well.
The more enthusiastic you can be about your topic, the more enthusiastic your readers are likely to be reading it.
As a blogger you have the advantage of full control over your choice of subject, unlike say a copywriter working for an advertising agency, who might have to wax eloquent about washing powder or toilet paper, so take full advantage of your freedom of choice.
4. Read Blogs In Your Niche For Ideas
An excellent source of inspiration for new post ideas is to simply read what other bloggers in your niche are blogging about.
Search for and make a list of them in your ‘Favorites’ folder or subscribe to their RSS feeds.
There’s also a few good books by bloggers describing various ways they’ve come up with great ideas – a good example with lots of great case studies is ‘The Million Dollar Blog‘ by Natasha Courtenay-Smith.
5. Use Online Tools
One of my favorite sites for getting blog post ideas is ezinearticles. Just click on a category or enter a search term and you’ll be presented with literally thousands of articles.
Though mostly of poor quality content, it’s the titles that I find are most useful for sparking ideas.
If you use the articles themselves you have to link back to the author, though you should be aware that since they’re published in multiple places on the net they’ll be very poor from an SEO point of view, so I wouldn’t recommend using them myself.
Buzzsumo is a useful site for finding the ‘Most Shared’ articles for a particular topic.
For instance if your niche is ‘Personal Finance’ just enter that into the search box and Buzzsumo will give you a list of the most shared articles for that niche.
One thing you’ll probably notice is the preponderance of ‘Listicles’ or posts with numerals in the titles among the most popular posts.
Another useful tool for generating blog topic ideas is Hubspot Blog Topic Generator.
Finding what works for others is great for coming up with topics, since you now know that many others are interested in reading about them.
6. Make Use of Social Media
You’ll soon learn where others in your niche hang out online – visit the forums and communities they frequent and look at the types of questions they’re asking.
These places can be positive gold mines for blog topic ideas and other tips for writing blog posts.
I sometimes get some great blog ideas scanning through my Twitter feed, though obviously you’ll want to be following a fair number of bloggers for this to be useful.
If you want to get a large Twitter following quickly for only a few minutes a day see this article.
7. Keep Up With The Latest Trends
- Google Trends Tells you what people have been searching for online
- Twitter.com/Search Find out what people are tweeting worldwide
- Reddit.com Gives you the people’s news stream
8. Use Images
People these days expect images (and increasingly, video) in articles and posts. Just make sure that you don’t use copyrighted images (some people have been sued for many thousands for doing so.)
9. Have Unique Content
“There’s nothing new under the sun.” Unless you’re talking about cutting edge research, this statement is pretty much the truth on the internet today.
However you should certainly try your best to give your own unique take or angle on the topic of your choice.
Failing that, a popular choice is to curate a list of useful or interesting articles on the topic, otherwise known as a ‘link roundup’ or ‘best of the web’.
Most readers don’t have the time or inclination to search through dozens of sites themselves, so such articles can be a useful service and can even ‘go viral’ if done well.
Speaking of going viral, see my article on ‘Viral Content Bee‘ to discover one of the best ways to get your posts in front of hundreds of thousands of eyeballs (and for free too!)
10. Check Spelling & Grammar
Nothing can turn a reader off more quickly than a post riddled with typo’s and poor grammar.
Since this is rife on the internet today this is your chance to rise above the blogging herd.
Some readers won’t mind, but if you’re intending to monetize your blog I’d definitely work on sharpening up your skills, or if not then consider hiring a copyeditor to polish your work up for you.
11. Use Short Paragraphs and White Space
Unlike book readers, people using the internet these days have short attention spans and tend to quickly scan, rather than read, posts.
Mobile users in particular (who make up over 70% of net users) are most prone to this type of behavior.
It’s generally agreed that a maximum of 2-3 sentences (and frequently only one) is the best number to use before starting a new paragraph.
The length of a line is also generally kept to a maximum of 60-75 characters (including spaces) so that people can more easily scan through the text.
Thus they can read it more quickly and easily than they could with lines that sprawl across the full width of the screen (as used to be the case on most sites in the early days of the internet.)
12. Copyedit and Proofread
Your first time through, resist the urge to edit as you go, as this interrupts the flow of your writing. Don’t check the spelling, parse, or use a thesaurus.
Then wait at least a few hours before returning to copyedit.
This is where you make various changes and tweaks, maybe adding or removing sentences and paragraphs.
Finally you proofread the post, going through it word by word making sure that all the spelling and grammar is correct.
Do you have any more tips for writing blog posts to add to the above collection? Let me know in the comments.
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