If you’re new at blogging or just wanting to improve your blogging skills, here are some tips that will help you write a blog post of epic proportions.
1) Write a catchy and grabbing headline
I have just spent about 20 minutes thinking about the headline for this blog post. And I will go back to it after I have finished writing it and probably change it again. Why? Because those few words are the most important part of my (and your) blog.
If you are an average reader, I have about 15 seconds before you decide whether you are interested in what I have to say. And your readers will do the same. They will more than likely find your post in a feed reader (such as Feedly) or come across it in another blog, and the one and only thing that will make them decide whether to read on or not is what you said in your headline. If your headline is interesting and catchy they will stay and read your post. If it’s not, they will be gone in the blink of an eye.
How do you write a killer headline then? It takes practice and everybody has their own style but you can check out Copyblogger’s Writing Headlines That Get Results, and ProBlogger’s The Sexy Art of Writing Headlines that Kill.
2) Create knock-out content
You will find many blogs and websites that harp about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), design, and social media as ways of increasing your online presence. And they are all correct, in a way… but let’s look at these three factors in a bit more detail.
SEO has the biggest impact if you are getting a bunch of links coming into your post. And if you don’t write great content, the links won’t come and all the SEO in the world won’t matter a smidge.
What about design then? Readers won’t be attracted by design alone. Your readers will be interested in you first and foremost if you provide them great content and if your design is good enough to not make them run away.
Social media is the buzz word of the 21st century and we are all listening. It’s nice to have lots of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn…. right? However, if your content is not interesting enough to share, all the social media in the world won’t be able to help you.
Which brings us back to content… So, how do you write the content that will get you the links, clicks and shares you want, and eventually those customers that you are seeking? Think about your readers first, who are they, what are they looking for? What are their questions, their problems, their aspirations, goals and dreams? Then write content that responds one of those itchy questions, or helps them achieve something they really want, or provides a concrete set of tips to solve a problem that they’ve had for a long while.
Try and make your blog posts as original and unique as possible. This does not mean that you can’t quote others or rephrase what others have said but make sure that you provide something that people can only find in your blog, whether it’s a different way of putting together all the information they need or a different perspective on a topic. If your reader has already read your stuff in the same form before, get ready to wave them goodbye!
Writing content can be scary and intimidating at first, and you will need practice and honest feedback before you get it right. Do not give up though, there is great content out there to guide you, and if you do not fancy yourself as a writer at all, there are great writers who do this for a living and can help you put your ideas in writing.
3) Make your blog scannable
Rather than read every word on a website or blog, people scan it looking for information they need, key words and visual cues. If your content is designed in a way that is web-reader friendly and easily scannable it will encourage your readers to stay.
Tips to make you content easily scannable
- Chunk content into short and related pieces
- Make headings easy to scan using key words
- Use subheadings
- Keep paragraphs short and on one topic
- One-sentence paragraphs are fine too, in spite of what your English teacher told you
- Format important points as a list. You are reading this one for a reason!
- Use pictures and info-graphics
- Use bold, italics, underline and CAPS to make your content POP
- Put key words, quotes and your main message in a box
4) Make sure that you keep your reader curious and interested until the last line
Blog readers are like any other reader: keep them interested and they will read the next line. Use headings and subheadings so your reader knows what they are going to get from your post and make sure that everything is connected and makes sense.
5) Never lose your sense of humour
Your readers deal with lots of serious stuff every day so they want to enjoy their time on the net. Writing useful content does not have to be boring. Do not take yourself too seriously, make your readers smile from time to time and they will stay with you for longer.
6) Write in a clear, straight forward and concise style
Pompous and stiff writing is for legal documents. Your readers do not want to work too hard when they are reading your blog. Avoid acronyms and jargon that confuses them and use common sense and simple language. Also, avoid using too many unnecessary words, just keep it simple and short.
And that is why I am not adding anything else to this post!