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Are you wondering how to actually go about writing a blog post? Well, w
This means that you will have to start writing your posts with forethought and planning to make sure that you have a chance of being seen by your audience and not lost in a sea of words.
All is not lost – You’re in luck! This article will help you to understand how to write an engaging first blog post that will have readers coming back for more
There are essentially three parts to writing a great post.
- Great Content
- Great Graphics
Format Your Blog Posts for Better Content
Know Your Audience
Do you know your audience? If you don’t, you will be wasting your time. You need to know who you are writing for and what it is that you are helping them with. Without knowing who, you can’t possibly write well.
If you are still unsure on what your niche audience is, go back and check out this post on Choosing the Right Niche for Your Blog.
Create a Catchy Headline
Before you even get readers to your site, you want to use a title that will encourage viewers to click through and read. Creating great titles can be difficult, especially if you are getting wrapped up in trying to keyword (more on this in the SEO section).
Some tips for writing good titles:
- Blog titles with 6-13 words get the most consistent amount of traffic and hits (Source: HubSpot)
- List based articles tend to do better than others, especially ones with odd numbers included in them: “3 Steps to Writing a Great Blog Post”
- Use power and emotion words to captivate and catch
- Use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer tool to help
Plan Out Your Blog Post With an Outline
Once you have a good outline down, writing the content for it seems so much simpler. An outline is helpful in so many ways:
- Keeps you on track with your content topic
- Shortens the amount of time spent writing and editing
- Helps to provide readers with the best possible information
- Creates natural flow throughout the article
One way to make sure that you’ve got your outline set out correctly is to use the content structure tool in your WordPress editor. It is in the top left toolbar in your post editor and looks like a small “i” with a circle around it.
When you click on it, it will give you an overview of how your post is outlined by heading. This is a great time to move things around so that things flow well. This is how mine looks for this post.
A while back, I wrote a post on how to use the Gutenberg block editor for WordPress to create a reusable block template which can help you get your thoughts in order.
Create a Captivating Opening to Your Post
This is a really important point. For a reader to stay on the site after they’ve clicked to get there, you literally have nano seconds to keep their attention.
Having an anecdotal story about yourself as it relates to the post is always a good way to break the ice. Also, talk about how the article can help them in some way. This is sometimes referred to as WIIFM, or “What’s in it for me?”.
Humans are instinctively selfish and want to know how taking their time to read your article is going to help them in the long run. So make sure to tell them right in the first few sentences.
Write Readable Content
Creating catchy clickable headlines is one thing, but when a potential reader comes to your site, they want to be able to read and understand the information you are providing.
The information needs to be easy to read and understand. Did you know that writing at a grade 6 level is the best for blogs? You’d almost think that a higher level would be better, but no.
Readers want content that is easy to digest with a conversational tone. No one wants to read an encyclopedia.
So, how can you make sure that you are writing in this style?
Write short paragraphs. Paragraphs should be no more than three sentences. As soon as I see a post that has a paragraph as long as the page I’m on, I’M OUT.
That is far too much information to consume at once. Readers like to read things in short spurts. Think of the difference between eating one meal or eating all of your meals at one sitting. Yeah, no thanks – I would rather graze then be uncomfortably full. (I must be getting snacky lol)
Read it out loud. Does it sound like something you would say? If not, go back and edit until it does.
Try using talk to text to write the major portions of your posts. In the beginning, I really struggled with trying to get my posts to flow. I was so caught up in trying to sound all “professional” that I was losing that conversational tone that is so key to blogging.
One day I tried just speaking my content. I found that if I created the post freely through talk to text, my natural speech patterns sounded way better.
Use writing tools like the Hemingway Editor which will score your post on readability, offer recommendations for language use and give you a word count (the average word count of
Use Bullets, Lists and Bold to Highlight Elements
The truth is, we live in a busy society. And although we want to be subjected to lengthy,
Did you know that 43% of readers skim blog posts (Source: HubSpot)
Make sure to take advantage of headings and bold appropriate words within the content so that if your reader is skimming, they can still get most of the information.
There are lots of occasions I don’t have time to read a full post but if I skim the article and can catch the gist of it, I will likely return to it later for a full read.
Use Engaging Images
Graphics are sooooo important in your content. In fact, blog articles with images get 94% more views, according to jeffbullas.com.
94%!!! That’s right. I would say that images are mandatory for a good blog post.
I’m going to just get this out of the way…DO NOT USE IMAGES FROM GOOGLE. Even if you offer attribution (giving credit to the owner), it does not necessarily give you a get-out-of-jail-free-card for copyright infringement.
There are a ton of places to find great images. Pixabay and Unsplash are two of my go-to favorites for free graphics but some of them can get quite heavily used, so try to limit using the most popular ones so that you stand out a little.
If you are looking for amazing stock photo images that match your branding, try to find a stock photography site to work with. Many times they will offer free weekly or monthly photos or you can opt-in for their paid subscriptions. Two of my favorites are PixiStock and Ivory Mix.
Make Sure Your Blog Post is SEO Optimized
Having easy to understand, great content is one thing, but you’ll never get search engines to recognize your work if you haven’t properly optimized it for SEO or search engine optimization. This is essentially the “juice” that helps Google and other search engines find your blog posts within the millions of other ones.
Now, SEO is a big topic all on its own and I’m certainly not going to be able to cover it all here but I will give a few tips to help you get through it a little easier.
There are a ton of sophisticated SEO tools and techniques; some bloggers spend thousands each month on improving it. In this post, I’m going to keep it simple and use a tool most of us are familiar with and use daily.
Using the Google Search Bar to Find Keywords
You can use the Google search bar to quickly narrow down your topic keywords. First, type in your topic. You will see a list of other related or similar searches. For this example, we will use Valentine’s Day.
Now that gives you a few ideas for what people are looking for when they are searching. Write down a few of these and circle the bold words. These are going to help you with your long-tail keywords (phrases made up of your keywords).
Next, scroll about half-way down the page. You’ll find a box of other questions that people are asking that is related to Valentine’s Day.
Now what I would do is immediately try to incorporate these questions into my outline in some way. If I get to the end and I’ve answered all the questions, I’ve done a good job with that topic.
The last part is to find some other keywords that you can sprinkle throughout your post. You don’t want to be using the same words over and over again or it’ll get boring fast. To do this, scroll to the bottom of the search and you’ll find some more related searches to use for inspiration.
Add Your Keywords to Your Post
That’s all there is to simple keyword search! Make sure to use these keywords in your titles, headings, paragraphs, and alt text (alternative text for images that reads out loud for the visually impaired).
Once you get these three steps down (and it really won’t take long!!) You’ll be creating amazing content for your blog in a snap!
Ready to take things to the next level? Take my free Blog Batch Content Mini-Course to learn how to write a month of content in one week!