Only a decade ago, the phenomenon we now call blogging was little more than a place to unload our jumbled thoughts, an online diary for daily musings. Now, there’s a blog for just about anything, from Digital Photography and Retro Gaming, to Lonely Cheetos and Hungover Owls.
Of course, a large number of blogs are also professional and well-sourced, with many people considering blogs to be one of the most important factors in the success of a business. Whatever your opinion, there is no denying that blogs are becoming increasingly popular in the online landscape, and if you are wondering whether to start one, you should!
Learning how to start a blog was particularly important for Yocale, and has helped our business tremendously as a platform in terms of getting our voice across and encouraging our clients to learn more about us. It has also helped us to gain influence in the online booking industry, (more about that here), as well as building up our network of followers, whether that be readers of our blog, our customers, or our followers on Facebook and Twitter.
Learning how to make a blog become successful isn’t something that just happens overnight, but instead takes time and requires a little bit of experimenting to find out what works for you. In this blog post, we take you through 10 of our top tips on how to write a blog, which we hope will assist you in kickstarting your own blog, or improving an existing one.
1. Find Your Focus And Your Passion
The first step when starting a blog post is to choose a topic that is well-researched, and most importantly, that you are passionate about. After all, it is extremely difficult to disguise a lack of enthusiasm for a topic from your readers.
Start by brainstorming a few ideas for topics you have read about recently, or that you feel have not been fully explored, ensuring you carry out plenty of research. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and ask what you would want to read and what subjects you would find interesting.
If you can’t think of anything totally original, try to find a new angle on an existing or common topic that is likely to interest your reader. Find an angle to bring your subject to life with this helpful blog post by Writer’s Digest.
Rambling on about the same thing for too long will bore your reader, so it’s a good idea to write an outline for your post, specifying your structure, tone and target audience. This will also help you to keep focused when writing the post.
2. Know Your Audience Inside Out
Once you have decided on a general topic and how to write your blog post, you need to make sure you have a clear understanding of your target audience. Defining who your real audience is will help you to focus on creating both great content and the right content for your blog.
Ask yourself who will want to read your blog and why, and are they seeking professional information and discussions, or are they hoping for a fun post that will make them laugh? When setting the tone of your blog, you can choose whether it will be professional and formal, or conversational and informal, as long as it’s kept fairly consistent throughout.
Readers who enjoy your style and content will most likely return and continue to stay loyal to your blog.
If you run a lifestyle blog with a loyal following in which you make frequent reference to a fellow blogger, you probably don’t need to explain who they are every their name crops up. If, however, your blog attracts a wider audience, in which your following is constantly changing, you may want to consider building a glossary on your blog to help new readers to follow along.
3. Grip Your Audience With A Well-Thought Out Intro
When deciding how to start a blog post, the first sentence is everything. If you lose the reader in the first line or two, chances are they will get bored and choose something else to read.
A common question among bloggers is why a high quality post have such a high bounce rate, and the answer is usually down to a poorly written intro. You should also keep in mind that Google takes the first paragraph of the blog post as the meta description when no description is specified, so it’s vital that the intro is well written.
Grab the reader’s attention immediately with an interesting fact or statistic, such as, ‘did you know that 1 in every 5 bloggers updates his or her blog daily?’ Another common technique used to begin a blog post is to ask the reader a thought-provoking question to draw them in, like ‘When was the last time you tried something new?’.
The first paragraph of your blog post should always describe the purpose of the post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be having so they can immediately identify with you.
4. Structure Your Content And Get Yourself Organized
As content readers ourselves, we know that nothing is more off-putting than an overwhelming amount of information with no form or structure. Organizing your blog post into sections with subheadings, or numbered tips, for example, will ensure readers are not intimidated by the amount of content, as well as making the post easier to read.
The easiest way to structure your content is to first make a plan, using the research you have carried out for reference. That way you know which points you need to cover and the best way in which to order them.
Using an example of one of our own posts, ‘11 Laser-Focused Techniques to Get More Instagram Followers’, you can see that we broke down the large amount of content into numbered subheadings, as well as including a variety of images. By reading the information in chunks, readers are able to digest the information more easily, and stay more engaged when reading.
Once you have written the first blog post, you will find that the structure comes naturally, and you may choose to use a similar template for future blog posts.
5. Write Like Nobody’s Watching
Now that you have decided on a topic and finished your research, we’re going to outline how to write the blog post itself. Use your outline as a guide and draw on your research throughout, sticking to the style and tone you established in your blog post intro.
Some people choose to write an entire draft in one sitting, while others write parts of the post in short bursts, adding information over time as it comes to them. Writing in one session has the advantage of keeping you focused and in the zone, but it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, so do what works for you.
Like learning a new language or how to ride a bike, learning how to write a blog post is something that comes naturally the more you do it, but unfortunately there are no shortcuts when getting to grips with it. If you do find yourself getting stuck, using online tools such as Power Thesaurus, a fast and easy-to-follow online thesaurus, or ZenPen, a ‘minimal text editor’, can be extremely helpful.
Just as you started with a gripping intro, ensure you end with a punchy conclusion which summarizes all of your points, whilst keeping the reader interested to the very end.
6. Edit, Proofread And Preview
Step six in how to create a blog post is to thoroughly edit and proofread your writing. No matter how interesting or colourful your content is, a blog post that is filled with spelling and grammar errors is going to reduce the readability and shareability of your blog posts.
Proofreading your post will ensure points are not repeated, and that it reads well as a whole. Reading your post aloud, or asking someone you trust to proofread your work will ensure that everything makes sense and your writing flows with short, snappy and engaging sentences.
Remember to also preview your blog post before publishing it to make sure the formatting looks professional, and correctly using things like line breaks and alignments, as well as including tags which should represent the main topics covered in your blog post.
7. Make Sure You Pick A Click-Worthy Headline
Since your headline is the first set of words your reader sees, it needs to be intriguing and grab their attention if they’re going to mention or share it on social media. For more information on why this is important, read our post on ‘7 Ways to Convert Social Mentions into Sales’.
Writing good headlines isn’t easy, which is why a lot of writers choose to start with a working title that they can then edit and optimize for SEO, (we’ll get onto that later). Bear in mind that Google prefers 65 characters or less – so make sure it’s short and snappy.
Some people have a headline in mind and work the rest of their post around it, or vice versa.
8. Choose Eye-Catching And Relevant Imagery
When choosing how to create a blog, of course the content should be your focus, but using images consistently will help to break up long blocks of content, as well as adding visual appeal your blog post. Images should be formatted properly, with consistent positioning and sizing to make posts appear streamlined and professional.
The right image will stimulate the reader visually, but more importantly, needs to be relevant to your post. It has been shown that content with relevant images receives 94% more views than content without relevant images.
Using screenshots are also a great way to support your ideas or make complex topics more easily understandable, but before using them, ensure they have a defined border so as not to appear as if they’re floating blocks of text.
9. Optimize Your Content For SEO
Once you know how to write a blog post, the next step is getting your head around optimizing your post for search engines. Some things to focus on are the meta description, which should be between 150-160 characters and can help improve your clickthrough rate, page titles and headers, which should be under 65 characters and include keywords relevant to your chosen topic, and anchor text, i.e. words that link to a page either on your website, or an external website.
To touch more on linking text, this will not only help you to increase your clickthrough rate, but it will also help with your blog’s search engine rankings. A good blog post will finish with a call to action at the end, and using anchor text as your call to action can be very effective for generating leads, inevitably driving more traffic to your website and leading to a higher readership for your blog.
With mobile devices now the most popular devices for online browsing, and Google now penalizing sites that aren’t mobile optimized, you should ensure that your site stands out from competition by developing a separate mobile friendly version of your blog, for example.
10. Update, Update, Update!
Google will also favour your site, rewarding you with things like more search engine traffic, if your blog is regularly updated. Plus, the blogs with the most visitors are those with frequent updates.
For this reason, when deciding to start a blog, be prepared to put aside some writing time, either every few days, or preferably everyday. Since coming up with a unique idea is half the battle, some people find it helpful to carry a notebook to jot down ideas, just in case a genius idea comes to them that they might forget about later.
It’s good to try to be consistent about when to update your blog, every Monday at 10am, or every second Friday, for example, so that readers know when to check back for new posts. Using a platform such as Hootsuite to schedule posts ahead of time, or Trello to draw up an editorial calendar, can save you the additional task of having to remember to publish a new post.
Of course, another factor when creating a successful blog is to make posts shareable. You can share this post by clicking on our sharing buttons to the left of this post.
So now it’s your turn. What are some of your best strategies for wring the perfect blog post? Leave us a comment below to chime in now with your best advice.