Thus I decided that some useful advice to newbie bloggers on ‘How to Write a Blog Post’ might be a good idea. (See this post if you’re just starting a blog.)
Blogging gives individuals and companies an easy and convenient way to share their ideas and products with the world. But just the fact that it’s so easy to do makes it hard to stand out from the crowd, with at least 18 million new blog posts being published every day.
However don’t let such a big number worry you too much–the vast majority either aren’t trying very hard to create a popular and well-trafficked blog, or are going the wrong way about it if they are.
So what’s the best way to write a blog post in 2018? Here’s my own take on the subject:
How to Write a Blog Post in 2018
Find a good idea
Finding a good idea for your next post can be difficult for many bloggers. After a certain number of posts, you may find your ideas and creativity drying up.
Fortunately, there are many useful sources you can mine for ideas. Here’s a list of blog post ideas to help you get past your ‘Blogger’s Block’.
And this site of ‘ezine’ articles is another great resource. Simply enter the topic you’re after and it’ll present you with thousands of pre-written posts. I’d recommend just using the titles for ideas – most of the posts are poorly written and anyway you don’t want duplicate content on your blog.
Decide also whether you want to write topical or ‘Evergreen‘ content. Topical content will probably get you more short-term traffic while evergreen will be much better for the long-term. (Most bloggers, including myself, strive to write evergreen posts.)
Layout your structure
Work out what your subheadings should be, then write them out in the same manner as the contents page of a book. That way you can then tackle each section individually rather than having to think about the post as a whole, which can be rather daunting.
It’s usually best to leave the introduction and any conclusion to last, as you can then more easily summarize what you’ve already written in the text. The body of the text could also easily differ substantially from your original intentions once you start writing.
Make sure you avoid the dreaded ‘Wall of Text’ when writing–break up your text with white space, subheadings, bullet lists, images etc. Font size (16-18px) and line length (75-80 characters) are also important considerations for readability purposes.
Write your post
Firstly, and quite possibly most importantly for blog writing, you’ll want to come up with a great title.
Since studies reveal that 80% of readers read the title of a post while a mere 20% read the actual text, you’ll understand the importance of crafting an eye-catching title.
This is a very important skill to master if you’re hoping to generate consistent traffic and shares on your blog, so I’ve written a lengthy article on the subject which you can download as a PDF at the bottom of this post.
Don’t toss away 1000 great words by only spending ten seconds on your title!
Once you have your structure and title taken care of, you can attack each section under a subheading as a mini blog post, taking care that all sections flow together to create your main theme.
Don’t make the following mistakes when writing your post:
- Long sentences and paragraphs – people tend to scan on the internet, so the usual advice is to limit paragraphs to one to three sentences. Smart Blogger and Copyblogger regularly make use of single sentence paragraphs.
- Buzzwords – if you’re writing for a general audience you’ll confuse too many people, so be careful when using these.
- Exclamation points – too many bloggers overuse them, to the point where they damage their credibility!!!
- Being boring – don’t ramble on and on; if you sound too dry and academic you’ll lose a lot of your potential readership (unless your audience is technical or academic of course.) Remember that most people come to blogs looking for solutions to a problem, so get to the point!
- Plagiarism – it’s bad for your reputation and it’s bad for SEO. Sooner or later you’ll be found out–just don’t do it!
- Editing before completing your first draft – you’ll lose flow and momentum if you’re editing every sentence after writing it. Most experienced writers recommend leaving the editing until you’ve completed your first draft.
Edit your post
It’s usually best to wait a while after writing before starting the editing process–leave it to marinate overnight if you can, else at least have a lunch or coffee break. That way you’ll be able to come back refreshed, more able to spot errors such as typos and spelling and grammar mistakes.
Spelling and grammar errors damage your credibility as a blogger, and this in turn will have a detrimental impact on your traffic and monetization efforts.
A very useful app for finding and correcting these errors is Grammarly. Even though English is my native tongue, I read a lot, and scored top marks for English at school, it still regularly discovers errors in my writing, so unless you have your own personal editor I’d strongly recommend using it.
Even so make sure you re-read your text carefully – if you’re writing about real estate for instance, Grammarly won’t question you if you’re offering a ‘semi-detached horse’ for sale.
Reading your post out loud can also be very useful to test if any of your sentences seem too long, or any words seem unnecessary.
It can also help your SEO–according to a Tweet by Google’s Gary Illyes, “DYK if you read out loud the text on your page and it doesn’t sound natural, that piece of text may weigh much less during ranking.”
Make sure that you use relatively simple words (aim for a reading standard of 14-15 years.) This will help both your bounce rate and SEO, as Google rewards easy readability. (Of course, if you’re writing for a scientific, technical or academic audience this wouldn’t apply.)
Speaking of SEO, make sure you link to other posts, as internal linking is an important part of onsite SEO. It also improves your Bounce Rate.
This article from CopyBlogger explains linking much more in-depth: Why Interlinking Your Blog Posts is a Must (and Not Just For SEO.)
External links, if to trustworthy and informative sources, also help to improve the overall credibility of your site.
And don’t neglect SEO! Since the biggest long-term driver of traffic to your site is likely to be from search engines, it’s important to have a good understanding of SEO from an early stage. Yoast SEO plugin is easily the most popular option among bloggers looking to rank highly with Google.
Yoast is both powerful and beginner-friendly, so a great choice for beginners and intermediates alike. (More on plugins and Yoast in this post.)
Promote your post
If you’ve been blogging for any length of time you’ve probably heard of the ’80/20 Rule’, also known as the Pareto Principle, “Spend 20% of your time on content creation, the other 80% on promoting it.”
If you don’t tell people about your post, chances are they’ll never visit–it’ll be just you and the crickets.
Fortunately, there are all kinds of tools and social media platforms you can use to market your posts and drive traffic – the biggest difficulty is deciding which ones to focus on.
When it comes to social media, two of the best and most popular platforms are Pinterest and Twitter (my own preferred options) while Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are also great platforms to get your message out.
Pinterest is a particularly good choice for ‘Mommy Bloggers’, crafts, homemaking etc, which is why its users are predominately female. Its still a great choice for men as well since ‘Pins’ on Pinterest have a much longer shelf-life than promoting your posts on other social media.
One of my favorite tools for spreading the word about my posts is a site called Viral Content Bee. Here you can actually get influencers with tens of thousands of followers to market your writing to their social network for free!
All you need to do is spend a few minutes a day sharing other people’s posts to your own following on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Tumblr, then use the points you gain to get your own posts promoted. From a promotional viewpoint, it’ll probably be the best way you’ll find to spend those few minutes.
For a bunch of other great tools to use for promoting your posts, see this great post by one of my guest bloggers.
Do you have any suggestions of your own on how to write a blog post? Let me know in the comments.
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