Every great website needs a great blog. That’s just the way it is. But blogs can be tough work, especially if you don’t often write yourself.
Don’t stress. You’re not in school anymore. You won’t get graded by haughty teachers but by everyday people like you and me.
To write a winning blog, you don’t need much. You don’t need to put on a show or try to come up with fancy words and complex syntax structure. You don’t need to sound clever. You just need to be you. That’s what people relate to the most.
Today we want to show you the art of writing awesome blogs that cover all those readability and SEO check boxes. Once you know how, you will change the way you blog forever.
A Great Start for Your Blog
You’ve heard this before, but let us repeat it one more time: Headlines are crucial! A headline can make or break a good post. A good headline intrigues and captivates readers. If a headline is interesting enough, then the Internet God will reward it with many, many clicks.
Some writers prefer coming up with a headline and sticking to it throughout, shaping the whole article around it. Others try to capture the essence of the post by writing the headline last. There’s not really one technique that works best.
The same is true for introductions. If you find yourself struggling with introductions, consider jumping straight to the point and returning to finish the introductory parts later. Jump straight into the action and write all the important bits first. You won’t forget anything and once you’re done, you’ll have a clear idea of what your introduction should look like.
Headlines are to readers what cereal and sweet boxes are to children. Of course, content is important too, but you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. The packaging should be interesting and enticing.
Keep it short and simple. You can experiment by forming the headline into a question. Find something that will make your headline stand out. Your introduction shouldn’t just be a list. Let your imagination run wild. Offer your readers a taste of what’s to come. They’ll have to see what it’s all about. They’ll want to know.
Stay Focused… It’s Important
Storytelling time! English studies, first year. Kate had just finished reading Jane Eyre and had to write a 3,000-word review of the most overrated novel ever. She’d half-read it… and found it extremely boring. It was so slow and lengthy and seemed to go nowhere.
With unrelenting will and a desire to make it to second year, she managed to hand in her incomprehensibly boring review in the nick of time, only to find out that it was 2,700 words over the word limit.
Yep, she’d read the instructions wrong; several times. She swore it was 3,000 words, but there it was now: 300; clear as day. It made for a good laugh, but needless to say, she wasn’t very happy… especially as she loathed Jane Eyre with a passion. And what could have been an awesome review was instead slow, lengthy and seemed to go nowhere…
Moral of the story: stay focused. Never forget why you’re writing and don’t write excessively long posts just to meet an imaginary word count. Write because you know something and want to share it with the world. To promote your brand or product. Create an outline and stick to it.
Start by figuring out how long your post should be: 500 words, 1000 words, 3000 words? Unfortunately, when it comes to blog writing, there’s no magic number. Search engines seem to favour articles around the 1000 word mark, but a longer in-depth post or guide that’s informative and authoritative could really catapult you to the top… so long as it’s relevant and well received.
Honest and Informative
The actual body of your post should include information that your reader finds valuable and interesting. No matter how good your headline is, if your content is boring or misleading, readers will press that back button and never look back.
Stick to what you do know and avoid writing about things you’re not too familiar with. Get your facts straight and don’t forget to give credit to your sources. Every post should feel like a new adventure.
It’s not always easy knowing what your audience wants to read, especially if you’re just starting out. But a good grasp of your target audience will make writing just so much easier: knowing what kind of information they’re after, knowing what they’d like to read.
What can you do? If you have a blog, then we assume you’re on social media too. You could simply ask. You can, for example, insert polls directly into your Facebook posts. Think of several topics that you’re working on and have people vote on the one they like best—Democracy at its finest!
Identify your demographic by taking advantage of Google analytics. Analytics can help you better understand who your readers are by giving you more information about their age, gender and location. You can also find out what devices your readers mostly view your content on, which could help with formatting. Read more about Google Analytics here!
A killer headline will grab the reader’s attention. An equally good picture will ensure countless clicks. It’s all about making a good first impression.
Vision is our most valued sense. We’re great at memorising images; text, not so much. If you hear a piece of information, you’ll only remember about 10% of it three days later. If you add a picture to go along with it, you’ll remember about 65% of it.
Same goes for text. The truth is that text is highly inefficient. Even after years of reading and writing processes, text fails to stimulate the brain the same way vision does. By combining image and text, our brains create strong links between a given text and image. We’re more likely to recall text that had a picture attached to it. We actually recall the picture first, and the text follows.
If you can, you should also add images in the main body of the post. Use a free online image source, such as Pixabay. Images separate chunks of text, making your content more readable, meaning that there’s a higher chance that your readers will actually get to the end.
Keywords Don’t Come Easy
If your goal is to rank high, you’ll need to make sure you nail them keywords. Your title should include the main keyword and so should your introduction and conclusion.
This is not to say that you should stuff your blog post with irrelevant keywords. Now, that’s a recipe for disaster. Aim for a keyword density of about 2% and weave some long-tail keywords into your content too. Long-tail keywords are just larger keywords that can help you rank with less competitive, more specific searches.
Don’t forget meta descriptions. If you don’t specify one, Google will automatically generate one for you by picking something out of the main text (usually a few sentences from your introduction).
Meta descriptions are important because they are the first piece of information a reader sees after reading a headline. They aren’t there just for show. A good meta description brings traffic. A bad one doesn’t.
Mistakes happen. Okay, we get it. We’re all human after all. This is why we’ve focused mainly on advice that will improve the quality of your content
However, too many typos or grammar/syntax mistakes can ruin an otherwise flawless post. The best thing about typos is that they are so easily fixable. It literally takes five minutes to go through a post before hitting that submit button—so do it.
It’s always good if you can get someone else to proofread your work for you. It may be hard to catch some typos, even after going through your text several times. Try reading everything aloud. If something doesn’t sound right, it should probably go.
Don’t spend too much time looking for mistakes or trying to come up with the perfect sentence. Most readers will ignore an honest typo (or two or three), provided that they’re satisfied with your content. Focus on what’s important. Be honest. Be you.
For more writing tips, make sure you check out this post too!