Whether you’re new to blogging, not an experienced writer, or just overwhelmed by the hundreds of articles out there explaining how to write a blog post, crafting a quality post can be a huge challenge. Even seasoned writers can come down with a case of creative block when faced with writing a blog post. Why? Well, we’re putting something on the internet for the whole world to see. We want it to be perfect!
But aiming for perfection is exhausting and eats up both time and passion.
All my art and writing professors in college used to say the same thing: “No piece is ever really finished. It’s just abandoned.”
It’s all the same, whether you’re working with words, polymer clay, paint, or pastry dough. At some point, you have to walk away from your project to avoid overworking it to death. When it comes to blog posts, you can make sure you’re producing quality content as long as you focus on what really matters:
- Do your research
- Make an outline
- Provide value
- Dig deep
- Format for the web
- Focus your SEO
- Keep it up
1. Do Your Research
You don’t have to be an expert on something in order to write about it. You just need to be interested and willing to spend some time researching it. But the more experience you have with a subject, the less time you’ll need to spend on research. Even if you consider yourself an expert, don’t skimp on research. Putting out correct and factual information is how you build your authority.
Researching a topic also clues you in to what others have said about the same topic — and what they haven’t. Are you going to repeat what everyone else has already said, or are you going to provide something new your readers can’t find somewhere else?
2. Make an Outline
This is more of a suggestion to help improve efficiency. You’re probably not just writing one blog post, after all. You have a blog and need to keep creating content so you can post consistently. Your outline doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed. It can just be a list of the main points you want to make. Then when you start writing, you can elaborate on those points and sandwich them in between an introduction and a conclusion.
Non-writers might find it easier to think about the good ol’ five-paragraph essays from English class. Topic sentence, body text with at least three main points, and conclusion that reinforces your topic sentence? Congratulations! You have written a blog post.
3. Provide Value
That’s an intimidating directive, isn’t it? Maybe, while doing your research, a little voice whispered in your head: “It’s already been done. I can’t add anything.” That little voice wants you to think it’s protecting you, but it’s actually holding you back.
Providing value comes down to just two things: addressing pain points and answering questions.
When a reader visits your blog post, they’re already there. You don’t need to worry about them finding their answers somewhere else unless you don’t take the time to write a thorough article on your topic. And speaking of being thorough…
4. Dig Deep
One of the most popular types of blog posts that bloggers like to lean on is the listicle. You’re reading one right now! They let you turn one topic into several posts as long as you take a broad approach, and you can churn them out quickly if you don’t go into a lot of detail. Also, there’s data to encourage bloggers to use odd numbers in their post titles.
One of your blog’s goals is to establish your authority/experience/knowledge in your niche. And if you only stick to the surface-level stuff, that’s all your readers are going to think you know.
That’s why it’s important to see where others have fallen short in covering the same topics you want to write about. Provide substance where your competitors haven’t and your blog will stand out.
5. Format for the Web
Once you have your quality content ready, it’s time to make it pretty. Some of this is handled by making sure your overall site design provides a good user experience. Most of it is making sure you’re not making it hard for people to read your blog post:
- Avoid giant paragraphs
- Keep your fonts simple and optimized for reading on screens
- Don’t set your text alignment to justify
To make your content really attractive, add images throughout your post. These can be stock photos, illustrations, infographics, or charts. All they need to do is relate to or support your text. Just make sure the first image in your post — the featured image, if your blog uses one, or the first one to appear in the text body — is your strongest one.
If your blog post was a book, that picture would be the cover. Putting aside the clichéd adage, humans are visual creatures and absolutely judge books by their covers. Sub-par images can and will turn away potential readers.
6. Focus Your SEO
While there are hundreds of people with a deep understanding of search engine optimization who you can hire — some more legit than others — a lot of us don’t have the budget for them. But that doesn’t mean you have to become an expert overnight, either. As long as you have a basic understanding of keyword research and have target keywords for your posts, you can make your post search engine-friendly. You just need to know where to put your keywords:
- In the post title
- In the meta title and description
- In the post URL
- In one subheading
- Image alt tags
- Wherever it makes sense in the body of your blog post
One of the cool things about the continued evolution of search engine algorithms is that you no longer need to prioritize fitting your exact keyword into your content so many times. So long as you write relevant content around your focus keyword, the algorithms recognize the context of that keyword. Synonyms and related phrases will get your content in front of readers searching for your topic just as well.
7. Keep it Up
Once you’ve got your system for writing blog posts figured out, keep doing it. Posting frequently and consistently is key to getting eyeballs on your site. How frequently you publish new posts is up to you. There’s nothing wrong with posting twice a month, especially if you need to put most of your time toward working on your crafts or projects. Some bloggers are able to publish new content daily.
Whatever schedule works for you, just keep it consistent. And if you’re just starting out with your blog, I’d encourage you to not worry about promoting your content right away. Give yourself a couple of months to build up the content on your site and smooth out your process. Once you’ve got a good handle on that part of blogging, then you can move on to promotion strategies without feeling overwhelmed.
Final Thoughts on Writing Blog Posts
Worrying about being perfect at blogging is just going to get in your way. As long as you can write a coherent article based on solid research, your blog post will be great. And the more you practice writing, the better you’ll be. Maybe in a year or so, you can go back through your old posts and polish the writing while making sure they’re still optimized for search engines.
So are you ready to start writing your blog posts?