How to write a blog post
How to write a blog post – a simple guide for beginner bloggers to create a successful blog.
So, you’re a new blogger! Congratulations! It’s such an exciting journey. And can be extremely rewarding both personally and also financially if you know how. The first thing you’re probably wondering is how to write a blog post? Well, I’m here to help!
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I’ve been a writer for many, many years and also have been in tech as a marketer for many more. I’m pretty comfortable with prose and know what makes up a good piece of writing.
There’s a few things that we can cover here as a starting point to writing a pretty good, or perhaps even excellent blog post. There will be plenty more that we won’t cover, as it’s a massive topic! But, I’m hoping that I’ll cover some of the main, or most important bits and pieces.
Structure of a blog post
So, you’ve probably heard about SEO and know that when you’re writing a blog post it’s important to make sure your structure is laid out in line with best practice so that you keep on Google’s good side. You can read more about SEO for beginners here in my post SEO for bloggers – a beginners guide.
In a nutshell, when writing a blog post think about these three things
- White space
- Snippets or digestible sections
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to make sure your post has plenty of breathing space… or whitespace… remember who your audience is.
And remember what sort of device they might be on… a lot of your readers will be reading your content on a phone! Or an ipad… and even if they are on a laptop or desktop computer, make sure that the page layout has plenty of room to breathe.
Readers won’t be put off as soon as they hit your page. A wall of words is really off putting for any reader. And a well laid out page will entice the reader to move from section to section. Which brings me to my next point.
Snippets, or digestible sections
People tend to skim read blog posts. Jumping from bit to bit… Seeking out the info that they have searched for. Think about when you read the title for this blog post. What did you want to get out of reading this? You probably skimmed down through the sections picking out the best bits that were the most applicable to you, right?
Readers want to be able to easily get value from a piece of writing. They want to be able to jump and skip along and grab snippets of information. Sound bites if you will.
Make sure you lay out your words into snippets.
Easily digestible pieces of gold that your reader can grab and store away!
Now, Google loves a good header or two! Great SEO means that your blog structure is broken down into a handful of easily readable and easily crawled sections. Headers help both the reader and Google make sense of your content.
The minimum I recommend is this:
- Title – The main topic of your post and how you will get your reader to click… has your keyword or keyphrase in it
- Subtitle – Optional – creates interest or intros the subject
- H2 Header – Main header topics – I sue bold for these as well
- H3 Header– Sub headers within H2 sections where you want to tease out more info on a tip.
For instance in this article the structure is:
- Structure of a blog post = H2
- White space = H3
- Snippets or digestible sections = H3
- Headers = H3
- Formatting = H3
And so on…
Here’s where you can make magic! Again… both your readers and Google will thank you for creating interest and structure in your blog post.
Use lists, bullet points and quotes to section out important info and snippets.
There’s a tonne of great formatting blocks in WordPress that can help you lay out your content.
I tend to use Google docs when drafting out a post as a first cut. Google Docs allows you to free write without having to worry about formatting or blocks. It autosaves and you never have to worry about losing your work.
I use UberSuggest and Moz to research my keywords and make sure I have a firm handle on what my reader will be searching for.
Google search also gives you a huge amount of info on what your ideal audience is searching in terms of keyphrases and alternative keywords that I’ll use.
Pop over here to read more in depth about Moz and Ubersuggest the best blogging tools to grow your business.
Ok, so here’s the crunchy stuff! It’s so, so important and I can’t emphasise this enough, that you find your unique voice as a writer. I tend to write quite colloquially. Meaning, I throw caution to the wind and don’t follow a lot of structure. Instead, I prefer to write in a natural tone and in my own voice rather than having a formal, more structured approach.
Your readers will come to know your voice and know what to expect.
They’ll know if you’re all business, or put a little bit of flavour into your blog posts.
Plus, finding your voice is fun! It’s good to know what sort of writer you are, or want to be!
First up you want to do a bit of research about what your ideal audience is looking for.
If you’re a beauty blogger for instance, you might want to write about the hottest lip color for the season… maybe start by searching Moz, or UberSuggest or even Google or Pinterest with a few phrases that you think people might search for.
Best lip colours for summer 2020
Hottest lip glosses for Summer
Lip colours for Fall
Then look to see the words or phrases that surround these searches… you might find a particular niche or sub topic that better suits your brand and style.
When you type in search you’ll also get a list of recent searches that come up as you type.
This is SUPER HANDY!
Also, at the bottom of the search page you’ll find related searches… pay attention to these!
All great info for your keyword research.
Pick your keywords and keep a list of alternative keyphrases – this will come in handy for promoting your blog post, especially if you use more than one keyphrase in your article.
Next, you want to map out your post.
- Title – This is what your reader will get enticed by. Must include keyphrase.
- Intro – A few short paragraphs leading into what you’ll be talking about. Must include the keyphrase.
- Table of contents – If your post has plenty of sections or sub headers it’s always a good idea for both the ready and Google to add in a table of contents. I use Lucky WP table of contents – a great plugin on WordPress.
- 3-5 Sections – With H2 headers – Sections include your main points and this is where you’ll break apart the topic. Within each section you might have lists, or H3 sub topics.
- Graphs and images – Make sure to add interest to your post by adding in a couple of interesting images or graphs. Make sure you add metadata to these in the form of alt text and title attribute. Make sure you include your keyphrase in one or two of your images metadata. I use Unsplash to find great cover images, and I’ll add 4 Pinnable images to each blog post.
- Wrap up – Wrap up your post with a few sentences… make sure you include some sort of call to action or next step.
Write your draft in Google Docs or a similar program. Then cut and paste it into your CMS.
Carry out any final SEO tasks – I use Yoast SEO.
A final note on post length: I tend to write posts that are 1200- 2500 words in length. But sometimes I’ll do a really big one… an anchor post…. and every now and then a shorter one, of no less than 800 words.
Distribution and amplification is one of the most vital aspects of your process. I go into detail about D&A in this article about promoting your blog post . But the main points are:
- Automated strategies
- Social networks
You want to make sure your blog post gets enough promotion to start bringing readers to your site.
Set yourself up a process whereby you know which channels you will focus on. This way you wont get overwhelmed and can focus on a few things and do them well!
I tend to make a set of assets to use on socials like Pinterest Pins, and Facebook and Instagram images. I upload my posts to a few communities like Mix and ScoopIt. And I use my favorite communities like Facebook Groups to garner interest in a new post.
I use Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest as social channels. Twitter isn’t really my audience.
Find your audience and promote where they are!
There’s a tonne more that goes into writing a great blog post but hopefully I’ve touched on a few important ideas to get you started or at least get you in the right mindset to take the leap!
Most of all, be yourself and write from the heart. Write what you know, there is bound to be someone out there looking for exactly what you’re offering! And don’t overthink it! It’s so easy to psych yourself out and become paralysed with self doubt!