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How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide [+ Free Blog Post Templates]
Review a step-by-step guide plus useful templates to learn how to write an effective blog post for your target audience and customers.
6 FREE BLOG POST TEMPLATES
Save time creating blog posts with these free templates.
Anyone can connect with their audience through blogging and enjoy the myriad benefits that blogging provides: organic traffic from search engines, promotional content for social media, and recognition from a new audience you haven’t tapped into yet.
If you’ve heard about blogging but are a beginner and don’t know where to start, the time for excuses is over. Not only can you create an SEO-friendly blog , but we’ll cover how to write and manage your business's blog as well as provide helpful templates to simplify your blogging efforts.
What is a blog post?
How to start a blog, writing your first blog post, what makes a good blog post, blog post examples, how to write a blog post.
Let's get started with an important question.
Blogging may mean different things depending on your niche — so let’s begin with this definition.
A blog post is any article, news piece, or guide that's published in the blog section of a website. A blog post typically covers a specific topic or query, is educational in nature, ranges from 600 to 2,000+ words, and contains other media types such as images, videos, infographics, and interactive charts.
Blog posts allow you and your business to publish insights, thoughts, and stories on your website about any topic. They can help you boost brand awareness, credibility, conversions, and revenue. Most importantly, they can help you drive traffic to your website.
But in order to begin making posts for a blog — you have to learn how to start one, first. Let’s dive in.
- Understand your audience.
- Check out your competition.
- Determine what topics you'll cover.
- Identify your unique angle.
- Name your blog.
- Create your blog domain.
- Choose a CMS and set up your blog.
- Customize the look of your blog.
- Write your first blog post.
1. Understand your audience.
Before you start writing your blog post, make sure you have a clear understanding of your target audience. To do so, take the following steps.
Ask yourself exploratory questions.
To discover your audience, ask questions like: Who are they? Are they like me, or do I know someone like them? What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them?
Jot down your notes in a notepad or a document. This is the time to brainstorm audience attributes from scratch, no matter how out of left field they may feel. You should also think about your audience's age, background, goals, and challenges at this stage.
Carry out market research.
Doing market research sounds like a big task, but in truth, it can be as simple as accessing a social media platform and browsing user and blog profiles that match with your potential audience.
Use market research tools to begin uncovering more specific information about your audience — or to confirm a hunch or a piece of information you already knew. For instance, if you wanted to create a blog about work-from-home hacks, you can make the reasonable assumption that your audience will be mostly Gen Zers and Millennials. But it’s important to confirm this information through research.
Create formal buyer personas.
Once you’ve brainstormed and carried out market research, it’s time to create formal buyer personas . It’s important because what you know about your buyer personas and their interests will inform the brainstorming process for blog posts.
For instance, if your readers are Millennials looking to start a business, you probably don't need to provide them with information about getting started on social media — most of them already have that down.
You might, however, want to give them information about how to adjust their social media approach (for example — from what may be a casual, personal approach to a more business-savvy, networking-focused approach). That kind of tweak is what helps you publish content about the topics your audience really wants and needs.
Don't have buyer personas in place for your business? Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- Create Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Template]
- Guide: How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business
- [Free Tool] Make My Persona: Buyer Persona Generator
6 Free Blog Post Templates
Fill out the form to get started blogging., 2. check out your competition..
What better way to draw inspiration than to look at your well-established competition?
It’s worth taking a look at popular, highly reviewed blogs because their strategy and execution is what got them to grow in credibility. The purpose of doing this isn’t to copy these elements, but to gain better insight into what readers appreciate in a quality blog.
When you find a competitor’s blog, take the following steps:
Determine whether they’re actually a direct competitor.
A blog’s audience, niche, and specific slant determine whether they're actually your competitor. But the most important of these is their audience. If they serve a completely different public than you, then they’re likely not a competitor. That is why it’s important to define your buyer personas before taking other steps in the blog creation process.
Look at the blog’s branding, color palette, and theme.
Once you determine that they’re your competitor, it’s time to take note of their techniques so that you can capture a similar readership. Colors and themes play a huge role in whether you seem like part of a niche — for instance, a blog about eco-friendly products should likely use earthy tones instead of bright, unnatural colors such as neon yellow or pink.
Analyze the tone and writing style of the competition.
Take note of your competition’s copywriting. Is it something you feel like you can successfully emulate? Does it ring true to the type of blog you’d like to create? What do readers most respond to? For most, creating a tech blog might be an excellent idea, but if journalistic, review-based writing doesn’t work for you, then that might not be a good fit. Be aware of what you can feasibly execute or hire freelance writers.
3. Determine what topics you’ll cover.
Before you write anything, pick a topic you’d like to write about. The topic can be pretty general to start as you find your desired niche in blogging .
Here are some ways to choose topics to cover.
Find out which topics your competitors often cover.
One easy way to choose topics for your blog is to simply learn what other blogs are writing about. After you determine your competitors, go through their archive and category pages, and try to find out which topics they most often publish content about. From there, you can create a tentative list to explore further. You might find, for instance, that a competitor only covers surface-level information about a subject. In your blog, you can dive more deeply and offer more value to readers.
Choose topics you understand well.
No matter what type of blog you start, you want to ensure you know the topic well enough to write authoritatively about it. Rather than choosing a topic you’ll need to research as you write, think about those that come most naturally to you. What has your professional experience been like so far? What are your hobbies? What did you study in college? These can all give rise to potential topics you can cover in depth.
Ensure the topics are relevant to your readership.
You may find that you hold deep expertise in various topics, but how relevant are they to the audience you understood back in step one? If you’re not serving their needs, then you’d be shouting into a void — or, worse, attracting the wrong readership. For that reason, after identifying the topics you can feasibly write about, ask yourself whether those are subjects your audience would like to explore.
Do preliminary keyword research.
Keyword research is the process of searching for topics using a keyword research tool , then determining whether there is demand by looking at each topic’s (or keyword’s) search volume. If you found the perfect topics that are the perfect cross between your expertise and your reader’s needs, you’ve struck gold — but the gold will have no value unless people are searching for those terms. Only then can you capture the audience that is waiting out there.
4. Identify your unique angle.
What perspective do you bring that makes you stand out from the crowd? This is key to determining the trajectory of your blog’s future, and there are many avenues to choose in the process.
Here’s how you can find your unique selling proposition in crowded blogging niches:
Write a professional and personal bio.
Knowing your own history and experience is essential to determine your unique slant. To get started, write a professional bio that explains, at length, who you are and which experiences most inform your blogging efforts. While I could write a lengthy exposition about my childhood, that history isn’t essential unless I’m launching a blog about raising children.
What unique experience makes you a trusted expert or thought leader on the topic? You can use your answers to that question to find your angle. Use this information to populate your “About me” page on your blog and share more about yourself.
Determine the special problem you will solve for readers.
Your readers won’t trust you or return to you unless you actively help them solve a problem. As you try to find your angle, think about ways you can help your audience surmount challenges typically associated with the topics you’ve chosen for your blog. For instance, if you’re creating a blog about sustainability, then you might help readers learn how they can compost organic materials in their home.
Choose an editorial approach.
Will you share your opinions on trending debates? Teach your readers how to do something? Compare or share original research? The editorial approach you choose will in part be informed by the topics you cover on your blog and the problems you’re helping your readers solve. If your blog is about marketing trends and your goal is to keep marketers up-to-date on the latest changes, then your editorial approach should be journalistic in nature. This is only one example of how to choose a technique.
5. Name your blog.
This is your opportunity to get creative and make a name that gives readers an idea of what to expect from your blog. Some tips on how to choose your blog name include:
Keep your blog name easy to say and spell.
No need to get complicated at all with your name, though it might be tempting, since there are so many blogs out there. While choosing a unique name is essential, it’s also important to choose one that is easy to memorize for readers. It should also be simple to remember as an URL (which will come into play in the next step).
Link your blog name to your brand message.
The more related your blog’s name is to the topics you cover, the better. For instance, DIY MFA is all about writers doing their own Master of Fine Arts in writing at home. The brand’s message is all about delving deep into one’s writing practice without needing a formal degree. Try to do something similar for your own blog name: Alluding to your blog’s message, value proposition, and covered topics in one sweep.
Consider what your target audience is looking for.
Your blog name should tie directly into what your readers want to achieve, learn, or solve. DIY MFA is about writers who don’t have the money for graduate school, but who still want to develop their writing skills. The HubSpot Marketing blog is — you guessed it — about marketing trends and tips.
It’s okay if your blog name feels “too straightforward.” Straightforward names accurately communicate what you’re about and effectively attract the right audience.
If you still need more assistance, try using a blog name generator . One last tip: Make sure the name you come up with isn’t already taken, as it could lessen your visibility and confuse readers looking for your content.
6. Create your blog domain.
A domain is a part of the web address nomenclature someone would use to find your website or a page of your website online.
Your blog's domain will look like this: www.yourblog.com. The name between the two periods is up to you, as long as this domain name doesn't yet exist on the internet.
Want to create a subdomain for your blog? If you already own a cooking business at www.yourcompany.com, you might create a blog that looks like this: blog.yourcompany.com. In other words, your blog's subdomain will live in its own section of yourcompany.com.
Some CMS platforms offer subdomains as a free service, where your blog lives on the CMS, rather than your business's website. For example, it might look like this: yourblog.contentmanagementsystem.com. However, to create a subdomain that belongs to your company website, register the subdomain with a website host .
Most website hosting services charge very little to host an original domain — in fact, website costs can be as inexpensive as $3 per month when you commit to a 36-month term.
Pro Tip: You can connect your custom domain to free hosting with HubSpot’s free CMS or in premium editions of CMS Hub. This includes access to built-in security features and a content delivery network.
Here are five other popular web hosting services to choose from:
7. Choose a CMS and set up your blog.
A CMS (content management system) is a software application that allows users to build and maintain a website without having to code it from scratch. CMS platforms can manage domains (where you create your website) and subdomains (where you create a webpage that connects to an existing website).
HubSpot customers host web content via CMS Hub . Another popular option is a self-hosted WordPress website on a hosting site such as WP Engine . Whether you create a domain or a subdomain to start your blog , you'll need to choose a web hosting service after you pick a CMS.
Pro Tip: You can get started for free with HubSpot’s free blog maker . Our free CMS offers everything you need to get started– including hosting, a visual editor, and hundreds of free and paid themes to choose from.
8. Customize the look of your blog.
Once you have your domain name set up, customize the appearance of your blog to reflect the theme of the content you plan on creating and your brand.
For example, if you're writing about sustainability and the environment, green might be a color to keep in mind while designing your blog.
If you already manage a website and are writing the first post for that existing website, ensure the article is consistent with the website in appearance and subject matter. Two ways to do this are including your:
- Logo : This can be your business's name and logo — it will remind blog readers of who's publishing the content. (How heavily you want to brand your blog, however, is up to you.)
- "About" Page : You might already have an "About" blurb describing yourself or your business. Your blog's "About" section is an extension of this higher-level statement. Think of it as your blog's mission statement, which serves to support your company's goals.
9. Write your first blog post.
Once you have your blog set up, the only thing missing is the content. While the design and layout are fun and functionally necessary, it's the content that will draw your readers in and keep them coming back. So how do you actually go about writing one of these engaging and informational pieces?
You’ve got the technical and practical tidbits down — now it’s time to write your very first blog post. And nope, this isn’t the space to introduce yourself and your new blog (i.e. “Welcome to my blog! This is the topic I’ll be covering. Here are my social media handles. Will you please follow?”).
Start with “low-hanging fruit,” writing about a highly specific topic that serves a small segment of your target audience.
That seems unintuitive, right? If more people are searching for a term or a topic, that should mean more readers for you.
But that’s not true. If you choose a general and highly searched topic that’s been covered by major competitors or more established brands, it’s unlikely that your post will rank on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs). Give your newly born blog a chance by choosing a topic that few bloggers have written about.
Let’s walk through this process.
1. Choose a topic you’re passionate and knowledgeable about.
Before you write anything, pick a topic for your blog post. The topic can be pretty general to start. For example, if you're a company that sells a CRM for small-to-enterprise businesses , your post might be about the importance of using a single software to keep your marketing, sales, and service teams aligned.
Pro tip : You may not want to jump into a "how-to" article for your first blog post.
Your credibility hasn’t been established yet. Before teaching others how to do something, you’ll first want to show that you’re a leader in your field and an authoritative source.
For instance, if you're a plumber writing your first post, you won’t yet write a post titled “How to Replace the Piping System in your Bathroom.” First, you'd write about modern faucet setups, or tell a particular success story you had rescuing a faucet before it flooded a customer's house.
Here are four other types of blog posts you could start with:
- List ("Listicle") : 5 ways to fix a leaky faucet
- Curated Collection : 10 faucet and sink brands to consider today
- SlideShare Presentation : 5 types of faucets to replace your old one (with pictures)
- News Piece : New study shows X% of people don't replace their faucet frequently enough
If you're having trouble coming up with topic ideas, a good topic brainstorming session should help. In the post I’ve linked, my colleague walks you through a helpful process for turning one idea into many. Similar to the "leaky faucet" examples above, you would "iterate off old topics to come up with unique and compelling new topics."
This can be done by:
- Changing the topic scope
- Adjusting your time frame
- Choosing a new audience
- Taking a positive/negative approach
- Introducing a new format
And if you’re still stuck, let’s take a look at some first blog post idea examples.
First Blog Post Ideas
The difference between [niche topic] and [niche topic], explained by a [niche expert].
- The Difference Between SEM and SEO, Explained by a Marketing Expert
- The Difference Between Sedans and Coupes, Explained by a Car Mechanic
- The Difference Between Baking and Broiling, Explained by a Professional Baker
The 10 Best and Worst [Niche Tools] for [Niche Activity]
- The 10 Best and Worst Writing Software for Fiction Writing
- The 10 Best and Worst CRMs for Nurturing Prospects
- The 10 Best and Worst Family Cars for Cross-Country Roadtrips
8 [Niche Activity] Common Mistakes (+ Ways to Fix Them)
- 8 Non-Fiction Writing Common Mistakes (+ Ways to Fix Them)
- 8 Salmon Broiling Common Mistakes (+ Ways to Fix Them)
- 8 Car Maintenance Common Mistakes (+ Ways to Fix Them)
9 Proven Tips for [Niche Activity]
- 9 Proven Tips for Checking Plumbing Problems under Your Kitchen Sink
- 9 Proven Tips for Writing a Non-Fiction Bestseller
- 9 Proven Tips for Doing DIY Car Maintenance
Why We/I Switched from [Niche Tool] to [Niche Tool] (Comparison)
- Why We Switched from Pipedrive to HubSpot (Comparison)
- Why I Switched from Microsoft Word to Scrivener (Comparison)
- Why We Switched from iMacs to Surface Studio (Comparison)
[Niche Tool] vs [Niche Tool]: Which [Tool] is Best for You?
- Zendesk vs Freshcaller: Which Call Software is Best for You?
- Air Fryer vs Convection Oven: Which One is Best for You?
- Mazda Miata vs Toyota Supra: Which Sports Car is Best for You?
The Ultimate Roundup of [Niche Activity] Tips and Tricks
- The Ultimate Roundup of Novel Writing Tips and Tricks
- The Ultimate Roundup of Macaroon Baking Tips and Tricks
- The Ultimate Roundup of Solo Traveling Tips and Tricks
Want some real examples of blog posts? See what your first blog post can look like based on the topic you choose and the audience you're targeting.
2. Target a low-volume keyword to optimize around.
Finding a keyword with low searches in Google (we recommend sticking to about 10 to 150 monthly searches). These topics offer less competition and should therefore allow your new blog post to rank more easily.
To choose a topic, you can either do a traditional brainstorming session or carry out keyword research. We suggest the latter because you can actually see how many people are looking for that topic.
Now, don’t be intimidated by the term “ keyword research .” It’s not just for marketers, but for new bloggers, too. And it’s really easy to do.
To jumpstart your keyword research, first begin by identifying the general topic of your blog.
Say you’re a plumber. Your general, high-level topic might be “plumbing” (67K monthly searches).
Next, put this term into a keyword research tool such as:
When you run this term through the tool, a list of related keywords will appear. Scan the list and choose one with a lower search volume. For this example, we’ll use “under sink plumbing” (1.4K monthly searches).
Run that keyword in the keyword research tool again. Look at the related keywords. Find one with a lower search volume. Do that again.
For this example, we’ll settle on “plumbing problems under kitchen sink” (10 monthly searches). That’s the topic for our first post.
TLDR ; Choose a low-volume, low-competition keyword that will ensure your first post ranks.
For more help on keyword research, here are more resources you can use:
- How to Do Keyword Research for SEO: A Beginner's Guide
- How to Perform Keyword Research and Rank
- Top Tools For Finding Long-Tail Keywords
3. Google the term to understand your audience’s search intent.
You’ve got your topic — now, you need to check that the user’s search intent would be fulfilled by a blog post.
What does that mean?
If someone is looking for “plumbing problems under a kitchen sink,” they might be looking for a tutorial, a diagram, an article, or a product that can fix the issue. If they’re looking for the first three, you’re good — that can be covered in a blog post. A product, however, is different, and your blog post won’t rank.
How do you double-check search intent?
Google the term and look at the results. If other articles and blog posts rank for that term, you’re good to go. If you only find product pages or listicles from major publications, then find a new topic to cover in your first post.
Consider the term “under sink plumbing bathroom” (30 monthly searches). It seemed like a perfect fit because it had low monthly searches.
Upon Googling the term, we found product carousels, product pages from Home Depot and Lowes, and guides written by major publications. (You’ll also want to avoid topics that have been covered by major publications, at least for now.)
TLDR ; Before writing your first blog post about a low-volume topic, double-check the user intent by Googling the keyword. Also, don’t forget to take a look at who’s written about that topic so far. If you see a major brand, consider writing about another topic.
4. Find questions and terms related to that topic.
You’ve got a highly unique topic that’s been covered by just a few people so far. It’s time to flesh it out by covering related or adjacent topics.
Use the following tools:
- Answer the Public : When you place your keyword into this tool, it will give you a list of questions related to that term.
- Google : Google is your best friend. Search for the term and look under “People also ask” and “People also search for.” Be sure to touch upon those topics in the post.
You can also use these keyword research tools we mentioned above in step one.
5. Come up with a working title.
You might come up with a few different working titles — in other words, iterations of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing.
For example, you may decide to narrow your topic to "Tools for Fixing Leaky Faucets" or "Common Causes of Leaky Faucets." A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.
Let's take a real post as an example: " How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post ."
Appropriate, right? The topic, in this case, was probably "blogging." Then the working title may have been something like, "The Process for Selecting a Blog Post Topic." And the final title ended up being "How to Choose a Solid Topic for Your Next Blog Post."
See that evolution from topic, to working title, to final title? Even though the working title may not end up being the final title (more on that in a moment), it still provides enough information so you can focus your blog post on something more specific than a generic, overwhelming topic.
6. Create an outline.
Sometimes, blog posts can have an overwhelming amount of information — for the reader and the writer. The trick is to organize the info in a way so readers aren't intimidated by length or amount of content. This organization can take multiple forms — sections, lists, tips — whatever's most appropriate. But it must be organized!
Featured Resource: 6 Free Blog Post Templates
Download These Templates for Free
Let's take a look at the post, " How to Use Snapchat: A Detailed Look Into HubSpot’s Snapchat Strategy. " There's a lot of content in the piece, so it's broken up into a few sections using descriptive headers. The major sections are separated into subsections that go into more detail, making the content easier to read.
To complete this step, all you really need to do is outline your post. This way, before you start writing, you'll know which points you want to cover and the best order to do so. And to make things even easier, you can download and use our free blog post templates , which are pre-organized for six of the most common blogs. Just fill in the blanks!
7. Write an intro (and make it captivating).
We've written more specifically about writing captivating introductions in the post " How to Write an Introduction ," but let's review, shall we?
First, grab the reader's attention. If you lose the reader in the first few paragraphs — or even sentences — of the introduction, they'll stop reading (even before they've given your post a fair shake). You can do this in a number of ways: tell a story or a joke, be empathetic, or grip the reader with an interesting fact or statistic.
Then, describe the purpose of your post and explain how it will address a problem the reader may be experiencing. This will give the reader a reason to continue reading and show them how the post will help them improve their work or lives.
Here's an example of an intro we think does a good job of attracting a reader's attention right away:
“Blink. Blink. Blink. It's the dreaded cursor-on-a-blank-screen experience that all writers — amateur or professional, aspiring or experienced — know and dread. And of all times for it to occur, it seems to plague us the most when trying to write an introduction.”
8. Build out each section of your outline.
The next step — but not the last — is actually writing the content. We can't forget about that, of course.
Now that you have your outline or template, you're ready to fill in the blanks. Use your outline as a guide and expand on all points as needed. Write about what you already know, and if necessary, conduct additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, while providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. When you do, always try to find accurate and compelling data to use in your post.
If you're having trouble stringing sentences together, you're not alone. Finding your "flow" can be challenging for a lot of folks. Luckily, there are a ton of tools you can lean on to help you improve your writing. Here are a few to get you started:
- Power Thesaurus : Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a number of alternative word choices from a community of writers.
- ZenPen : If you're having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist "writing zone" designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.
- Cliché Finder : Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.
You can also refer to our complete list of tools for improving your writing skills . And if you're looking for more direction, the following resources are chock-full of valuable writing advice:
- Copywriting 101: 6 Traits of Excellent Copy Readers Will Remember
- How to Write Compelling Copy: 7 Tips for Writing Content That Converts
- How to Write With Clarity: 9 Tips for Simplifying Your Message
- The Kurt Vonnegut Guide to Great Copywriting: 8 Rules That Apply to Anyone
- Your Blog Posts Are Boring: 9 Tips for Making Your Writing More Interesting
9. Publish and promote your first post any way you can.
As a new blogger, you likely don’t have a social media following yet. Thankfully, you don’t need a huge following before you can create a promotion strategy.
A promotion strategy is your master plan for how you create, post, and engage with your social media content. It helps you take advantage of social and digital technologies to share your business, or in this case, your content. Having a solid promotional strategy offers your audience from different marketing channels more ways to find your blog posts.
Here are more blog post promotion resources:
- 12 Tried-and-True Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts
- 10 Sites You Can Use for Free Blog Promotion
- 9 Link Building Email Outreach Templates That Actually Work
- Inbound Link Building 101: 34 Ways to Build Backlinks for SEO
- 11 Creative (But 100% White Hat!) Ways to Earn Backlinks
Before you write a blog, make sure you know the answers to questions like, "Why would someone keep reading this entire blog post?" and "What makes our audience come back for more?"
To start, a good blog post is interesting and educational. Blogs should answer questions and help readers resolve a challenge they're experiencing — and you have to do so in an interesting way.
It's not enough just to answer someone's questions — you also have to provide actionable steps while being engaging. For instance, your introduction should hook the reader and make them want to continue reading your post. Then, use examples to keep your readers interested in what you have to say.
Remember, a good blog post is interesting to read and provides educational content to audience members.
(Want to learn how to apply blogging and other forms of content marketing to your business?
Check out HubSpot Academy's free content marketing course .)
Quick Blog Writing Tips
- Conduct research if necessary to convey your point.
- Make your content skimmable; break it into digestible chunks.
- Include interesting quotes or facts for emphasis on the subject.
- Paint a full picture with images, graphics or video.
- Use Grammarly to catch mistakes.
- If you don’t know where to start, start by telling a story.
- Reference social media posts.
- Each sentence should convey a single idea.
While you have several tools and tips already, we wanted to provide you with some formatting guidelines to use before you publish your own.
Blog Format Guidelines
- Include H2s to arrange ideas.
- Center your Images.
- Add alt text.
- Keep your sentences clear and concise.
- Use media with purpose.
1. Include H2s to arrange ideas.
When you begin typing your blog content, it’s important that you divide paragraphs into sections that make it easier for the reader to find what they need.
If you’re just starting out, then focus on the overarching H2s you want to talk about, and you’ll be able to branch off into subheaders and more naturally as you continue.
2. Center your images.
This is a simple practice that can help your content look more professional with little effort. Centering your images keeps the reader’s attention drawn to the subject — not searching for elsewhere.
Centering also looks better when translating from PC to mobile devices. As formatting transitions to small screens or windows, a centered image will remain the focal point.
3. Add alt text.
So those images you centered earlier, make sure you have descriptive alt text for them, too.
Image alt text allows search engines, like Google, to crawl and rank your blog post better than pages lacking the element. It also leads readers to your blog post if the keywords included are what they searched for in the first place.
Besides SERP features, image alt text is beneficial to readers by providing more accessibility. Image alt text allows people to better visualize images when they can’t see them, and with assistive technology, can be auditorially read aloud for people to enjoy.
4. Keep your sentences short and concise.
When you begin working on the body of your blog post, make sure readers can clearly understand what you’re trying to accomplish.
You shouldn’t feel pressure to elongate your post with unnecessary details, and chances are that if you keep it concise, readers will derive more value from your work.
5. Use media with a purpose.
Break up the monotony of your blog post with some multimedia content where seen fit.
Your reader will enjoy visiting a blog page with images, videos, polls, audio or slideshows as opposed to a page of black and white text.
It also makes it more interactive and improves your on-page search engine optimization (SEO).
Now, do you want some real examples of blog posts? See what your first blog post can look like based on the topic you choose and the audience you're targeting.
- List-Based Post
- Thought Leadership Post
- Curated Collection Post
- SlideShare Presentation
- Newsjacking Post
- Infographic Post
- How-to Post
1. List-Based Blog Post
List-based post example: 17 blogging mistakes to avoid in 2021, according to hubspot bloggers.
List-based posts are sometimes called "listicles," a mix of the words "list" and "article." These are articles that deliver information in the form of a list. A listicle uses sub-headers to break down the blog post into individual pieces, helping readers skim and digest your content more easily.
As you can see in the example from our blog, listicles can offer various tips and methods for solving a problem.
2. Thought Leadership Post
Example: how hubspot's customers are shaping the next normal.
Thought leadership posts allow you to share your expertise on a particular subject matter and share firsthand knowledge with your readers.
These pieces — which can be written in the first person, like the post shown above — help you build trust with your audience so people take your blog seriously as you continue to write for it.
3. Curated Collection Post
Example: 8 examples of evolution in action.
Curated collections are a special type of listicle blog post. Rather than sharing tips or methods for doing something, this type of blog post shares a list of real examples that all have something in common in order to prove a larger point.
In the example post above, Listverse shares eight real examples of evolution in action among eight different animals — starting with the peppered moth.
4. Slide Presentation
Example: the hubspot culture code.
HubSpot Slides is a presentation tool that helps publishers package a lot of information into easily shareable slides. Think of it like a PowerPoint, but for the web. With this in mind, SlideShare blog posts help you promote your SlideShare so that it can generate a steady stream of visitors.
Unlike blogs, slide decks don't often rank well on search engines, so they need a platform for getting their message out there to the people who are looking for it. By embedding and summarizing your SlideShare on a blog post, you can share a great deal of information and give it a chance to rank on Google at the same time.
Need some slideshow ideas? In the example above, we turned our company's "Culture Code" into a slides presentation that anyone can look through and take lessons from, and then promoted it in a blog post.
5. Newsjacking Post
Example: ivy goes mobile with new app for designers.
"Newsjacking" is a nickname for "hijacking" your blog to break important news related to your industry. Therefore, the newsjack post is a type of article whose sole purpose is to garner consumers' attention and, while offering them timeless professional advice, prove your blog is a trusted resource for learning about the big things that happen in your industry.
The newsjack example above was published by Houzz, a home decor merchant and interior design resource, about a new mobile app that was launched just for interior designers. Houzz didn't launch the app, but the news of its launching is no less important to Houzz's audience.
6. Infographic Post
Example: the key benefits of studying online [infographic].
For example, when you're looking to share a lot of statistical information (without boring or confusing your readers), building this data into a well-designed, even engaging infographic can keep your readers engaged with your content. It also helps readers remember the information long after they leave your website.
7. How-to Post
Example: how to write a blog post: a step-by-step guide.
For this example, you need not look any further than the blog post you're reading right now! How-to guides like this one help solve a problem for your readers. They're like a cookbook for your industry, walking your audience through a project step by step to improve their literacy on the subject.
The more posts like this you create, the more equipped your readers will be to work with you and invest in the services you offer.
8. Guest Post
Example: your bookmarkable guide to social media image sizes in 2021 [infographic].
Additionally, these posts give your blog variety in topic and viewpoint. If your customer has a problem you can't solve, a guest post is a great solution.
If you begin accepting guest posts, set up editorial guidelines to ensure they're up to the same standards as your posts.
So we’ve gone through the different types of blog posts you can make, but how do you consistently make quality blog posts that your viewers will enjoy?
- Draw from your buyer personas and what you know about your audience.
- Pull from your content strategy and/or brainstormed topics.
- Identify what's missing from the existing discourse.
- Choose what type of blog post you're writing.
- Generate a few different titles and choose the best one.
- Create your outline and designate keyword-rich H2s and H3s.
- Write your blog post!
- Proofread your post.
- Add images and other media elements to support your ideas.
- Upload your post into your CMS.
- Determine a conversion path (what you want your audience to do next).
- Add calls to action to guide your audience to take action.
- Link to other relevant blog posts within your content.
- Optimize for on-page SEO.
- Publish and promote the blog post.
- Track the performance of the blog post over time.
1. Draw from your buyer personas and what you know about your audience.
Before you start writing your blog post, make sure you have a clear understanding of your target audience.
Ask questions like: What do they want to know about? What will resonate with them?
This is where the process of creating buyer personas comes in handy. Consider what you know about your buyer personas and their interests while you're coming up with a topic for your blog post.
For instance, if your readers are millennials looking to start a business, you probably don't need to provide them with information about getting started in social media — most of them already have that down.
2. Pull from your content strategy and/or brainstormed topics.
If you already have a pre-existing portfolio to look back on, it would benefit you to pull from those brainstormed post ideas or previous content strategy.
3. Identify what’s missing from the existing discourse.
Fill in the gaps of the existing discourse in the topic of your choosing.
You want to meet a need that hasn’t already been met in your topic cluster. Otherwise, you run the risk of writing content for topics that are already over-saturated. It’s hard to beat saturated search queries when you’re trying to rank against high authority publications — but not impossible if your content is answering the queries the competition hasn’t.
4. Choose what type of blog post you’re writing.
There are several types of blog posts you can create, and they each have different formats to follow.
Six of the most common formats include:
- The List-Based Post
- The "What Is" Post
- The Pillar Page Post (“Ultimate Guide”)
- The Newsjacking Post
- The Infographic Post
- The “How-To” Post
Save time and download six blog post templates for free.
5. Generate a few different titles and choose the best one.
Your blog title should tell readers what to expect, yet it should leave them wanting to know more — confusing, right?
This is why when you’re coming up with a blog post title that you should brainstorm multiple ones instead of just one.
6. Create your outline and designate keyword-rich H2s and H3s.
When outlining, you need to center your main ideas with keyword-rich H2s and H3s. These are going to be your headers and subheaders that readers typically search for, and the information that Google crawls when indexing and ranking content.
7. Write your blog post!
We already told you how to build out your outline earlier in the post, so we'll quickly go over the main points once more.
You've already outlined your main headings and subheadings, so now's the time to add the body.
Write about what you already know, and if necessary, conduct additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points, while providing proper attribution when incorporating external sources. When you do, always try to find accurate and compelling data to use in your post.
This is also your opportunity to show personality in your writing. Blog posts don't have to be strictly informational, they can be filled with interesting anecdotes and even humor if it serves a purpose in expressing your ideas. It also factors into creating and maintaining your blog's brand voice .
Don't be discouraged if you're having trouble stringing sentences together, you're not alone. Finding your "flow" can be challenging, but there are many tools to ease the process.
8. Proofread your post.
The editing process is an important part of blogging — don't overlook it.
Ask a grammar-conscious co-worker to copy edit and proofread your post. You may also consider enlisting the help of The Ultimate Editing Checklist or using a free grammar checker like Grammarly .
If you're looking to brush up on your self-editing skills, turn to these helpful posts for some tips and tricks to get you started:
- How to Become a (Better) Editor: 13 Editorial Tips
- How to Become a More Efficient Editor: 12 Ways to Speed Up the Editorial Process
- 10 Simple Edits That'll Instantly Improve Any Piece of Writing
9. Add images and other media elements to support your ideas.
When you're finished checking for grammar, shift your focus to adding other elements to the blog post than text. There’s much more to making a good blog post than copy, here’s some following elements to add in support of your ideas:
Choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content.
For help selecting an image for your post, read " How to Select the Perfect Image for Your Next Blog Post " and pay close attention to the section about copyright law.
No one likes an unattractive blog post. And it's not just pictures that make a post visually appealing — it's the formatting and organization of the post, too.
In a well-formatted and visually-appealing blog post, you'll notice that header and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text — and those headers are styled consistently.
Here's an example of what that looks like:
Screenshots should always have a similar, defined border so they don't appear as if they're floating in space — that style should stay consistent from post to post.
Maintaining this consistency makes your content look more professional and easier on the eyes.
Topics and Tags
Tags are specific, public-facing keywords that describe a post. They also allow readers to browse for more content in the same category on your blog. Refrain from adding a laundry list of tags to each post. Instead, put some thought into a blog tagging strategy.
Think of tags as "topics" or "categories," and choose 10-20 tags that represent all the main topics you want to cover on your blog. Then stick to those.
10. Upload your post into your CMS.
You filled out your blog post with all the optimized content you can, now is the time to publish it in your content management system.
You can opt to post your content immediately, save it as a draft, or schedule when you want it to be posted live in case you adhere to a posting schedule.
11. Determine a conversion path (what you want your audience to do next).
A conversion path is a process by which an anonymous website visitor becomes a known lead. It sounds simple enough, but creating an effective conversion path requires a clear understanding of your target audience and their needs.
Having a conversion path is important because when you share your content on the web, you should have an idea of what your audience should do next, or in other words, provide them with a path forward.
The HubSpot Flywheel model is a great example of this as it shows how our organization gains and maintains leads.
12. Add calls to action to guide your audience to take action.
Call to action (CTA) are a part of a webpage, advertisement, or piece of content that encourages the audience to do something. You can add them to your blog post to guide your reader with “next steps” or a conversion path.
Different types of call to actions include asking readers to:
- Subscribe to your newsletter to see when you publish more content.
- Join an online community in your blog domain.
- Learn more about a topic with downloadable content.
- Try something for free or discount to convert readers to customers.
To get a better idea of how to make a CTA that readers want to click, we have a whole list of effective call to action examples for you to check out.
13. Link to other relevant blog posts within your content.
When you’re completing your blog post, you should link relevant content throughout it. An effective way to do this is to link within the same content cluster.
Keeping relevant content throughout your post can provide your readers with more helpful information, and potentially boost search engine rankings with corresponding longtail keywords .
But we’ll talk more about how to improve your ranking in the next step.
14. Optimize for on-page SEO.
After you finish writing, go back and optimize the on-page elements of your post.
Don't obsess over how many keywords to include. If there are opportunities to incorporate keywords you're targeting, and it won't impact reader experience, do it. If you can make your URL shorter and more keyword-friendly, go for it. But don't cram keywords or shoot for some arbitrary keyword density — Google's smarter than that!
Here's a little blog SEO reminder about what you should review and optimize:
Write your meta description.
Meta descriptions are the descriptions below the post's page title on Google's search results pages. They provide searchers with a short summary of the post before clicking into it. They are ideally between 150-160 characters and start with a verb, such as "Learn," "Read," or "Discover."
While meta descriptions no longer factor into Google's keyword ranking algorithm, they give searchers a snapshot of what they'll get from reading the post and help improve your clickthrough rate from search.
Optimize your page title and headers.
Most blogging software uses your post title as your page title, which is the most important on-page SEO element at your disposal. But if you've followed our formula so far, you should already have a working title that will naturally include keywords or phrases your target audience is interested in.
Don't over-complicate your title by trying to fit in keywords where they don't naturally belong. With that said, if there are clear opportunities to add keywords you're targeting to your post title and headers, feel free to take them. Also, try to keep your headlines short — ideally, under 65 characters — so they don't get truncated in the search engine results.
Consider anchor text best practices as you interlink to other pages.
Anchor text is the word or words that link to another page — either on your website or on another website. Carefully select which keywords you want to link to other pages on your site because search engines take that into consideration when ranking your page for certain keywords.
It's also important to consider which pages you link to. Consider linking pages that you want to rank for a specific keyword. You could end up getting it to rank on Google's first page of results instead of its second page — and that isn’t small potatoes!
Write alt text for all of your images.
Alt text conveys the “why” of an image as it relates to the content of your blog post to Google. By adding alt text correlating to the topic clusters and keywords of the post, Google can better direct users’ searches to you.
Check that all images are compressed for page speed.
When Google crawls different websites, a page’s load speed holds weight in page ranking. Make sure the images you include throughout the page aren’t unnecessarily large to shorten the duration it takes to load.
Use apps like Squoosh to minimize the size of your images without losing the quality.
Ensure that your blog post is mobile friendly.
More than 60% of organic visits are carried out on a mobile device. As such, having a website with a responsive design is critical. In addition to making sure your website's visitors (including your blog's visitors) have the best experience possible, optimizing for mobile will score your website some SEO points.
15. Publish and promote the blog post.
Share your post across all the marketing channels in your repertoire. The further the reach, the more of a possibility that readers will find it.
Channels to expand your blog post promotion strategy include:
- Social Media Marketing : Sharing your content on the most popular social media networks like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
- Email Marketing : Sharing the newest post with your email subscribers to find.
- Boosted Posts or Paid Ads : Allocating budget toward advertisement on search engines inorganically.
- Word of Mouth Marketing : Actively influencing people to read your content organically.
16. Track the performance of the blog post over time.
Your post is published for the world to see, make sure you’re keeping an eye on its performance over time so you can see if your blog post strategy is working well enough for your goals.
There’s a plethora of website traffic analysis tools that you can take advantage of to better understand your audience’s behavior on your blog posts.
Ready to blog?
Blogging can help you build brand awareness, become a thought-leader and expert in your industry, attract qualified leads, and boost conversions. Follow the steps and tips we covered above to begin publishing and enhancing your blog today.
Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
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How to Write an Awesome Blog Post in 5 Steps
Writing a blog post is a little like driving; you can study the highway code (or read articles telling you how to write a blog post) for months, but nothing can prepare you for the real thing like getting behind the wheel and hitting the open road. Or something.
“Wait for it… wait for it… BASS DROP.”
Now that I’m done thoroughly mangling that vague metaphor, let’s get down to business. You know you need to start blogging to grow your business, but you don’t know how. In this post, I’ll show you how to write a great blog post in five simple steps that people will actually want to read. Ready? Let’s get started.
P.S: Great news for you:
>> 9 Free Blog Post Templates
How to Write a Blog Post in Five Easy Steps [Summary]:
- Step 1: Plan your blog post by choosing a topic, creating an outline, conducting research, and checking facts.
- Step 2: Craft a headline that is both informative and will capture readers’ attentions.
- Step 3: Write your post, either writing a draft in a single session or gradually word on parts of it.
- Step 4: Use images to enhance your post, improve its flow, add humor, and explain complex topics.
- Step 5: Edit your blog post . Make sure to avoid repetition, read your post aloud to check its flow, have someone else read it and provide feedback, keep sentences and paragraphs short, don’t be a perfectionist, don’t be afraid to cut out text or adapt your writing last minute.
Now let’s review each step in more detail.
How to Write a Blog Post, Step 1: Planning
First, a disclaimer – the entire process of writing a blog post often takes more than a couple of hours, even if you can type eighty words per minute and your writing skills are sharp. From the seed of the blog post idea to finally hitting “Publish,” you might spend several days or maybe even a week “writing” a blog post, but it’s important to spend those vital hours planning your post and even thinking about your post (yes, thinking counts as working if you’re a blogger) before you actually write it.
Does your blog post have enough circles and crosses?
Long before you sit down to put digital pen to paper, you need to make sure you have everything you need to sit down and write. Many new bloggers overlook the planning process, and while you might be able to get away with skipping the planning stage, doing your homework will actually save you time further down the road and help you develop good blogging habits.
📗 Learn how to write better ad copy with our free guide: 10 Tricks to Get the Click
Choose a Topic That Interests YOU
There’s an old maxim that states, “No fun for the writer, no fun for the reader.” No matter what industry you’re working in, as a blogger, you should live and die by this statement.
Before you do any of the following steps, be sure to pick a topic that actually interests you. Nothing – and I mean NOTHING – will kill a blog post more effectively than a lack of enthusiasm from the writer. You can tell when a writer is bored by their subject, and it’s so cringe-worthy it’s a little embarrassing.
Don’t go there.
I can hear your objections already. “But Dan, I have to blog for a cardboard box manufacturing company.” I feel your pain, I really do. During the course of my career, I’ve written content for dozens of clients in some less-than-thrilling industries (such as financial regulatory compliance and corporate housing), but the hallmark of a professional blogger is the ability to write well about any topic, no matter how dry it may be. Blogging is a lot easier, however, if you can muster at least a little enthusiasm for the topic at hand.
You also need to be able to accept that not every post is going to get your motor running. Some posts will feel like a chore, but if you have editorial control over what you write about, then choose topics you’d want to read – even if they relate to niche industries. The more excited you can be about your topic, the more excited your readers will be when they’re reading it.
If you’re really desperate for inspiration, check out our list of eight blog topic generators to get you going, or these eight tricks to come up with unique blog ideas .
Write an Outline For Your Post
Great blog posts don’t just happen. Even the best bloggers need a rough idea to keep them on-track. This is where outlines come in.
An outline doesn’t need to be lengthy, or even detailed – it’s just a rough guide to make sure you don’t ramble on and on about something tangential to your topic.
For example, this is the outline for this post that I sent to my editor before getting to work:
[Quick summary explaining what the blog post will cover]
Section 1 – Planning a Blog Post
– Things bloggers should do before putting pen to paper – outlining, research etc.
Section 2 – Writing a Blog Post
– Tips on how to focus on writing, productivity tips for bloggers
Section 3 – Rewriting/Editing a Blog Post
– Self-editing techniques, things to watch out for, common blogging mistakes
Section 4 – Optimizing a Blog Post
– How to optimize a blog post for on-page SEO, social shares/engagement, etc.
Section 5 – Conclusion
The purpose of this outline is to make sure I know what I plan to cover, in what order the various sections will appear, and some bare-bones details of what each section will include.
Outlines keep you honest. They stop you from indulging in poorly thought-out metaphors about driving and keep you focused on the overall structure of your post. Sometimes I’ll write a more thorough outline (and sometimes I won’t bother with one at all), but most of the time, something like the outline above is perfectly acceptable.
Whether you write your outline in your word processor, on a piece of paper, or even scribbled on a bar napkin, do whatever works for you to keep you focused.
Do Your Research
One of the biggest secrets professional bloggers (myself included) don’t want you to know is that we don’t actually know everything. Truth be told, sometimes we don’t know anything about a topic before we sit down to write about it.
Pro tip: you don’t actually need a passport to write a travel marketing post.
This doesn’t mean that all bloggers are insincere fakers. On the contrary, many bloggers’ natural curiosity is what makes them great at what they do. If you blog for a living, you have to be comfortable jumping from one topic to the next, even if you don’t know anything about it. What allows us to do this, and to write authoritatively about subject areas that are new to us, is knowing how to properly research a blog post.
It almost goes without saying, but relying solely on Wikipedia as a primary source is almost always a bad idea. Yes, Wikipedia does have thousands of excellently researched articles, but it’s not infallible, and erroneous facts do make their way into articles without site editors noticing. Plus, every verifiable fact on the site is cited from links elsewhere on the web, so why cite the middleman?
Lou Diamond Phillips was a total beast in ‘La Bamba.’
If you’re relying on third-party information to write your blog post, choose authoritative sources. Official associations, government websites, heavily cited research papers, and preeminent industry experts are all good examples. Nobody is right all the time, though, so approach every source with a the practiced skepticism of a journalist and question everything until you’re positive your information is solid.
Check Your Facts
A few years ago, I edited a piece written by a colleague focusing on the highlights of a major technology conference. The writer, under a seriously tight deadline, had done a bang-up job of writing great copy in virtually no time, but he failed to properly check his facts. He cited an article from Forbes in which the writer claimed Steve Jobs was using PowerPoint on stage – something that never happened. It was lazy journalism on the part of the Forbes writer, and an easy mistake to make on my colleague’s part, but the result was the same; one poorly researched article directly impacted another because both writers failed to do their due diligence.
All it takes to tank your credibility is one glaring error. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s crucial to avoid gaffes like this. If you’re just starting out, your credibility and authority will take a major hit if you publish inaccurate information, and even if you have a blog with millions of loyal readers, your regulars will be all too eager to jump all over your mistake – just take a look in the comment sections of publications such as Wired or TechCrunch to see how quickly this can happen.
In the event that you fall prey to a well-executed hoax, repeat widely circulated misinformation, or simply make a mistake, own up to it right away and be transparent about your edits. If you try to slip something past your readers, you can bet that they’ll call you out on it, further compounding the damage. Be honest, be accountable, and fix it – fast.
How to Write a Blog Post, Step 2: Writing a Great Headline
Everyone and their grandmother has an opinion about headlines . Some say you should be as specific as possible (to avoid misleading your readers and manage their expectations), while others recommend taking a more abstract approach. Vague headlines might work just fine if you’re Seth Godin, but for most of us, being specific is better.
Some headlines practically write themselves.
There are two main approaches you can take to writing blog post headlines. You can either decide on your final headline before you write the rest of your post (and use your headline to structure your outline), or you can write your blog post with a working title and see what fits when you’re done.
Personally, I don’t adhere to a rigid strategy one way or the other. Sometimes I’ll come up with a strong headline from the outset and stick with it, whereas other posts will take a lot more work. Although sites such as Upworthy arguably ruined internet writing with their clickbait headlines, the process behind the site’s headlines has merit, as it forces you to really think about your post and how to grab your audience’s attention.
Your approach to headlines should also vary depending on your audience. For example, let’s look at these super-specific headlines from around the web:
- How Our Side Project Generated $51,365 in 60 Days
- How Lua’s CEO Built an Enterprise Messaging App That Boosts Open Rates From 20% to 98%
- 5 Things We Did in 2014 to Grow by 1059%
The exact figures presented in these headlines are all framed within a context of providing actionable advice to other marketers and startups. “Case study” blog posts like this often perform well, due to their transparent nature (which pulls the curtain back from successful growing businesses and the people who run them) and the “how-to” angle (which attracts people who want to accomplish the same thing by following real-world examples).
People LOVE how-to articles.
That’s all well and good if that’s what you’re looking for – which, in my case, is rare. I didn’t read any of these posts, simply because it seems that at least half of the blog posts in my RSS feed are structured in this fashion (including this one). They’re great for the sake of example, but I glossed right over them because they’re so similar to the dozens of other posts I see every day telling me three hacks to grow my startup by X percent in Y months.
Another common technique is posing a question in your headline. Done well, this can be extraordinarily effective, as it is in these examples:
- Can an Algorithm Write a Better News Story Than a Human Reporter?
- Would You Be Part of a Crowdsourced Environmental Warning System?
- What Do Uber, Zenefits, and Public Health in a Kenyan Slum Have in Common?
However, this technique is also growing tiresome, and fewer publications are utilizing it these days (thankfully alongside the always-irksome “You won’t believe…” headline). If you opt for asking questions in your headlines, be sure it’s a question your audience will be genuinely interested in.
Writing headlines for blog posts is as much an art as it is a science, and probably warrants its own post, but for now, all I’d advise is experimenting with what works for your audience. If your readers want hyper-specific case studies on how to do stuff, by all means let ‘em have it. Don’t, however, do something just because someone else is, especially if it’s not resonating with your audience.
How to Write a Blog Post, Step 3: The Writing Part
So, you’ve done your research, settled on a headline (or at least a working title), and now you’re ready to actually write a blog post. So get to it.
Be sure to actually turn your computer on before you start writing.
Similarly to headlines, there are two main approaches to writing a blog post. You can either sit down and write an entire draft in a single sitting (my preferred workflow), or you can chip away at it gradually over time. There is no right or wrong answer here – only whatever works for you.
However, I’d recommend getting as much done in one session as possible. This makes it easier to stay focused on the topic, minimizes the chance that you’ll forget crucial points, and also lets you get the damned thing out of your hair faster.
Even if you work more effectively in short bursts, try to maximize the amount of writing you get done in those sessions. The more times you have to revisit a draft, the more tempting it is to add a little here, and a little there, and before you know it, you’ve gone wildly off-topic. Get as much done as you can in a single sitting even if you prefer to draft a blog post over three or four writing sessions.
Like most skills, writing becomes easier and more natural the more you do it. When you first start, you might find that it takes a week (or longer) to write a post, but with practice, you’ll be knocking out great posts in hours. Unfortunately, there are no “hacks” or shortcuts when it comes to writing – you have to put in the time at the coalface.
NOTE: A lot of people struggle with writing introductions. A great strategy is to write the introduction last. Just get into the meat of the blog post, and worry about the introduction later. Here are five easy ways to write a great introduction .
How to Write a Blog Post, Step 4: Using Images Effectively
Writing for the web is an entirely different animal than writing for print. Oftentimes, people simply don’t have the time, will, or ability to focus on lengthy blog posts without some visual stimulation. Even a well-formatted blog post consisting solely of text is likely to send your reader screaming back to Reddit or Twitter within minutes, which is why it’s so important to include images in your posts.
Images Help Your Blog Post Flow More Effectively
One of the most important reasons to include images in your blog posts is to break up the text. Many people scan blog posts rather than pore over every word, and interspersing images throughout the copy will make your post seem less intimidating and more visually appealing.
Images Make Great Visual Punchlines
Everyone likes a good laugh, and a well-chosen image can help lighten the tone of your posts and inject some much-needed humor into a piece. This can be particularly effective if you’re writing about a dry (or flat-out boring) topic.
This image has nothing to do with blogging.
Images Make Complex Topics More Easily Understandable
Let’s face it – sometimes, digital marketing (and hundreds of other niche topics) isn’t the most accessible subject to newcomers. That’s why images are an essential part of your blogging toolkit if you’re hoping to expand your audience. Diagrams, charts, infographics , tables, and any other visual assets can help your readers understand abstract or complex topics and grasp the points you’re trying to make.
📗 Free guide >> The 120 Best Words & Phrases for Marketing With Emotion
How to Write a Blog Post, Step 5: The Editing Part
Actually writing a blog post is hard. Editing a blog post is harder . First and foremost, in addition to just traditional spell check, run your blog post through a grammar checker like Grammarly to fix any contextual mistakes.
But it by no means ends there. Many people mistakenly assume that editing is simply striking through sentences that don’t work or fixing grammatical errors. Although sentence structure and grammar are both very important, editing is about seeing the piece as a whole and, sometimes, being willing to sacrifice words (and the hours it took to write them) for the sake of cohesion.
So here are some self-editing tips and suggestions on how to tighten up your writing so that it packs a punch and keeps your readers scrolling.
Few things are more jarring to read than repetition of certain words or phrases. Once you’re done with the first draft of your blog post, read through it and check for words that can be replaced to avoid repeating yourself.
Repetition – avoid it.
BONUS: Every writer has a “crutch” word or phrase. This is a word that, no matter how carefully they might try, the writer simply cannot help themselves from including in their work. Identify what your crutch word is, be vigilant, and make sure it doesn’t appear more often than it needs to.
Read Your Post Aloud to Check Flow
This is a trick that many writers learn in workshops. If a piece reads awkwardly out loud, it will probably read awkwardly in your reader’s mind. It might seem a bit weird, but force yourself to read your post aloud to check for wordy bottlenecks or contrived sentences. Find yourself struggling with the flow of a sentence? Rework it until it rolls off your tongue.
Have Someone Else Read Your Work
This is crucial for inexperienced or casual bloggers. Asking a friend or colleague to check your work isn’t an admission of weakness or a sign of failure – it’s a commitment to making your work as strong as it possibly can be.
Consider asking someone else to read your work.
Ideally, ask someone with editing experience to proof your work. Also, be sure that they understand you’re not looking for help spotting typos or grammatical errors (but if they do, great), but that you want to hear their thoughts on the flow of the piece and whether it makes sense structurally. Do your points come across well? Is your position on a contentious topic clear? Does the piece prompt the reader to think or challenge an existing belief? Is the advice you’re offering worth following? These are all questions that having another set of eyes read your work can help answer.
Keep Sentences Short and Paragraphs Shorter
Nothing will intimidate or outright anger a reader faster than huge walls of text. It’s a common mistake for inexperienced bloggers to make, and one I see far too often in a lot of online articles.
Sentences should be as short as possible. They’re easier to read, making your audience’s job easier. Shorter sentences also reduce the likelihood of going off on tangents. For example, I recently came across a sentence in an opinion piece in Wired that had no fewer than seven subordinate clauses, an editorial sin of almost unimaginable magnitude.
Paragraphs should also be short and sweet. The shorter the paragraph, the more likely your readers are to keep going. The “rules” of paragraph structure have been bent a little since web-based publishing became the norm, but try to keep individual ideas isolated to their own neat, short little paragraph.
Accept That Your Blog Post Will Never Be Perfect
There’s no such thing as a perfect post, and the sooner you come to terms with this, the better.
I’m not advocating for publishing sloppy work, nor am I saying you shouldn’t be obsessive about the details. I am saying, however, that even the best blog posts could always be better, but time is always against us. Again, unless you’re Seth Godin, you probably need to publish more than one post a month, so agonizing over every post will sap you of the desire to write and waste precious time – not to mention likely to incur the wrath of your editor or content manager.
Make every post as good as it can be, learn from the experience, then move on.
Don’t Be Afraid to Make Cuts or Adapt on the Fly
You may have forgotten, but I originally included a section in the example outline for this post that dealt with optimizing blog posts for SEO. I fully intended to write this section, but when I looked at how my first draft was shaping up, I realized this was too substantial a topic to tackle in an already lengthy post. As a result, I made the decision to cut this section from the post altogether. I purposefully left the outline intact to demonstrate that you shouldn’t be afraid to make editorial decisions like this.
Unless there’s something you absolutely MUST include (say, a section that your sales or managerial team is expecting in a post that you agreed to deliver), your outline is not carved in stone. Remember – an outline is a guide, not an immutable series of commandments. If something doesn’t work, whether it be a sentence, a paragraph, or even a whole section, don’t hesitate to make the cut. Be ruthless with your work.
That’s All She Wrote…
Blogging is one of those jobs that seems easy until you have to do it. Fortunately, it does get easier, and with time and practice, you’ll be blogging like a pro in no time.
If there’s an aspect of writing a blog post that I didn’t cover, or you have specific questions about my process or anything generally blog-related, let me know in the comments – I’ll answer them as best I can.
Now take up thy pen, go forth, and blog like a badass.
Meet The Author
Originally from the U.K., Dan Shewan is a journalist and web content specialist who now lives and writes in New England. Dan’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including The Guardian, The Daily Beast, Pacific Standard magazine, The Independent, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and many other outlets.
See other posts by Dan Shewan
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The 4 Stages of a Supremely Successful Content Marketing Funnel
- May 24, 2021
- 11 min read
How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide
This post was last updated on May 24, 2021.
When you create a blog , you have the opportunity to dive deep into your favorite topics, highlight your expertise, and build a community of readers interested in your work. Whether you want to start a blog from scratch or make blogging part of your business strategy, publishing content online is an effective way to share your knowledge and ideas with the world.
That said, composing a winning entry takes practice. In this A to Z guide, you’ll learn how to write the perfect blog post - from choosing the right blog topics and picking the proper format for your articles, to selecting strategic images that generate interest and engagement. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have a clear idea of how to create strong blog content that effectively communicates your ideas and stands out from other articles on the web.
Ready to get blogging? Get started with Wix today.
How to write a blog post
Brainstorm blog topics
Refine your topic with keyword research
Define your audience
Create an organized outline
Write engaging content
Craft an irresistible headline
Choose a blog template
Select a blog domain name
Pick relevant images
Optimize for SEO
Edit and publish your blog post
Promote the final article
01. Brainstorm blog topics
When writing a blog post, whether you're guest posting for someone else or writing for your own blog, you’ll want to cover topics that bring value to your readers and fall in line with their interests, as well as your own. Rather than trying to find the perfect topic right away, start by jotting down different ideas that come to mind.
There are several places you can look to spark new topic ideas:
Browse other blogs within your niche. If you’re starting a travel blog , for example, simply Google “travel blog” to see what your competitors are writing about.
Use Google Trends to find out which topics are trending.
Look for current events and recent news stories related to your field.
Find out what people enjoy learning about by browsing online courses on Udemy , Skillshare and LinkedIn Learning .
Once you find some interesting ideas online, think about the unique ways you can approach those topics. Consider the various ways you can play around with topic ideas to come up with something that isn’t only trendy and relevant, but that’s also original and fresh.
Let’s say, for instance, that you want to write about chocolate chip cookies. There are a few different angles you might consider taking here:
A how-to post that instructs readers how to do something with clearly ordered steps (e.g., “How to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies from Scratch”)
A curated list that offers a set of recommendations for your readers (e.g., “The Top Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes”)
A tips and advice post that provides expert guidance and resources. (e.g., “Tips for Making Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies Extra Gooey”)
A definition-based blog post that helps explain the meaning of a term or topic (e.g., “What Are No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies”)
A top trends article that highlights what’s currently popular (e.g. “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes From This Year”)
A personal or business update that lets you unveil something fresh or recently unknown (e.g., “My New Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Revealed”)
Get brainstorming with these best blog ideas , and check out our professional guide on how to start a blog for more helpful tips.
02. Refine your topic with keyword research
Part of writing a blog post involves keyword research. This crucial SEO practice is used as a marker to see which terms you can potentially rank high for in certain online searches.
Once you’ve chosen a direction for your blog post, you’ll need to figure out the chances of its success on search engine result pages - which ultimately means getting more eyes on your content. In order to succeed, conduct keyword research to find the most relevant queries for your topic.
You can find keywords for your own articles by using various keyword research tools. If you’re new to blogging, you’ll probably want to start with free tools such as Answer the Public , Ubersuggest , and Google Keyword Planner . Afterwards, you may want to upgrade to more advanced tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs .
While conducting keyword research, keep in mind that the more specific the phrase, the more closely it will match your audience’s intent. On the other hand, broader keywords tend to have higher search volumes - meaning more people are searching for them each month.
Think about the benefits of opting for a broader phrase, like “chocolate chip cookies,” over a more precise phrase, like “how to make chocolate chip cookies.” Choosing the right keywords means striking a balance between high search volume and high intent.
Once you’ve selected your keywords, you can use them to shape the structure of your content. Google those phrases to find out which articles have successfully targeted those same keywords, and spend some time browsing their content. This will give you inspiration for your own article in terms of what to include and how to structure it.
03. Define your audience
Now that you know what you’ll be writing about , you need to find out who you’re writing for . Anticipating the kinds of people who will be reading your posts will help you create content that is interesting, engaging and shareable.
Of course, your audience largely depends on your type of blog . If you run a baking blog, you’ll probably be writing for an audience of people who love baking and are seeking recipe inspiration. Even more specifically, if you run a healthy baking blog, you’ll be writing for people who similarly love baking but who want to make their culinary creations healthier. It’s important to keep these nuances in mind when crafting your content, since your goal is to write articles that resonate strongly with readers.
So, how do you figure out your audience in the first place? Start by taking another look at the other blogs in your field. Consider who they seem to be writing for, and the kinds of assumptions they’re making about their readers’ interests and lifestyles. For example, you might find that most of the blogs address a particular gender or age group.
You can also use online forums to find the main questions asked by your audience, or visit Facebook groups to read what topics they like or talk about. This will help you create content that piques their interest, sparks their curiosity and answers their questions.
Whether you're starting a book blog , a fashion blog, travel blog or something else - defining your audience should come first.
04. Create an organized outline
The key to learning how to write a blog post is doing thorough research and planning before you create the article itself. After deciding on the topic and blog format , you’ll need to build the mold for your content. Creating an outline is critical, as it ensures your article will have a strong foundation that you can build on as you write your blog post.
Start by creating subheaders, which are the backbone of an organized outline. These small but mighty pieces of content help you break down your article into bite-sized sections - making it easier for you to write and more digestible for people to read.
If it’s a step-by-step guide or a list of tips, start building your outline by listing out all the main points clearly, as in the example below:
Outline: How to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies from Scratch
1. Gather your ingredients
2. Mix and knead the dough
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
4. Scoop mounds of dough onto baking sheet
5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Add bulleted notes within your introduction and under each of your subheaders. This will help you formulate your main points.
If you find yourself getting stuck, use one of these blog post templates to guide you through the outline process.
05. Write engaging content
Now that you’ve sketched out the blog post, you can begin typing away. Keep in mind that blog posts, like many other types of writing, typically include three main elements: an introduction, the body text, and a conclusion.
Let’s start with the introduction. In the first few sentences of your article, you should already grab your readers’ attention. Begin with a relevant quote or statistic, tell a short story, or share an interesting fact. Then, set the tone for the article by sharing a brief summary of what you’re going to talk about in the body text. This gives your readers a reason to keep going.
Next, fill in the body text. In your outline, these are the bullet points beneath each subheader. This is the meat of your blog post, so it should be clear and compelling. Avoid fluff and repetition, and instead offer deep value by sharing your knowledge, research, and insights.
A concluding section isn’t always necessary - in fact, our blog rarely uses one - but it can be useful in the case of storytelling or when wrapping up a very extensive article. You can tie your main points together using a short bulleted list, or by sharing some closing thoughts in a few sentences. No matter the case, you’ll want to end on an engaging note.
06. Craft an irresistible headline
When writing a blog post, you don’t only need strong content; you’ll also want a powerful headline . A great headline entices readers and enhances your blog design , ensuring that they actually click on your article in the first place.
Learning how to write a catchy blog title doesn’t have to be hard. All you need to do is keep the following points in mind: clarity, specificity and offering an answer or solution.
Writing a good headline also depends on how well you put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Use the title to promise readers that your blog post will provide valuable insight that will benefit them in some way, whether by satisfying their intellectual curiosity, teaching them something new, or helping them solve a problem. This will increase the chances that they’ll click on your article and read it.
Here are some examples of headlines that we are quite proud of, to give you a general idea for your own content:
Create a Powerful Free Landing Page in Under an Hour
20 Best Time Management Apps to Organize Your Life
How to Design an A+ School Website (With Examples)
Make a Change: Using Photography as a Tool to Raise Awareness
If you're looking for inspiration to get started, try out this free title generator .
07. Choose a blog template
Writing your blog post may be your first priority, but you’ll also want to package it in an appealing way. Having an article with strong visual appeal is crucial for striking the right chord with your readers. The best way to customize your blog's design is by starting with a free blog template .
Professional designers have created all these blog layouts, and they're fully customizable to reflect your blog's messaging and tone. For inspiration, check out these blog examples to see how others have transformed these templates into beautiful, content-rich powerhouses.
If you’re writing a blog about organic ingredients, for instance, using a natural color palette on your site will set the right tone for the type of topics you’ll be writing about. This same color palette should also be used for your blog logo , as well as on your social media platforms.
08. Select a blog domain name
You should host your well-crafted blog on your domain site address in order for readers to discover it. When it comes to naming your blog , you can gather ideas from a blog name generator and see if the domain name is available.
Spend time thinking about how your blog and domain name fit in with the blog post topics you will cover. Make sure that your name reflects your blog’s persona, topic and niche.
Once you have finalized your name, choose your domain name (also referred to as a URL, for example, www.wix.com). Typically, your domain name will be the same as, or at least similar to the name of your blog.
09. Pick relevant images
Likewise, you should also enhance your blog post with a few great images that illustrate your main points. It’s important that your pictures add value to the subject, rather than serving as placeholders. Pay extra attention to your featured image - this will be the main visual below your blog’s title, and it’s what readers will see when they browse your articles from your blog’s homepage.
With Wix, you can add a professional photo gallery to individual posts and embed your own pictures within your articles. You can also choose from an array of media content from Wix, Shutterstock, and Unsplash directly within your site’s editor.
10. Implement calls-to-action
In the same way a blog is meant to inform people about specific topics, it can also be used as an important tool that motivates readers to take a certain action. This includes everything from subscribing to your blog to making a purchase.
This element is referred to as CTA, or call-to-action, and is presented as an embedded link or button that states your objective in an alluring manner. Some of the most common call-to-action examples for blogs include “Subscribe,” “Download our e-book” or “Sign up.”
Using CTAs can help you transform your website traffic into engagement and, eventually, profit. While your immediate goal is to get more readers, you may eventually want to monetize your blog further down the road.
11. Optimize for SEO
When it comes to SEO for bloggers , a strong SEO plan involves optimizing your content both before and after writing the blog post. Not only does this include doing keyword research prior to the outline phase (mentioned in step 3), but it also includes using those keywords to polish your final piece.
This begins with sprinkling relevant keywords throughout your article. Let’s say you’ve chosen to target the keyword “business strategies.” Use this exact phrase in your headline, throughout the body text, and 1-2 subheaders if it’s a natural fit.
Next, include this keyword in your metadata. This is the preview text you’ll see for every article on Google, and it includes a title (known as the meta title) and short description (the meta description). You’ll also want to add the keywords to the URL of your article, as well as in the alt text of your blog post’s images. Use these SEO features to give your blog an overall performance boost. Lastly, and make sure you know exactly how long a blog post should be to best rank your post.
12. Edit and publish your blog post
With so many common blogging mistakes out there, you’ll need to thoroughly check your article for grammatical errors, repetition and any other unprofessional content. Furthermore, make sure your ideas flow coherently throughout each section, signaling a clear and purposeful message to readers. You can read about other essential aspects of blogging in this comprehensive blog post checklist .
We recommend asking a friend or colleague to give your blog article a once over before it goes live. Direct them to look for any discrepancies or ambiguity. It’s also important to emphasize quality over quantity in order to keep your readers interested. Then, once you’re happy with your written work, it’s time to hit publish.
13. Promote the final article
Once you’ve written and published the blog post, take the necessary steps to make sure it gets read. Two of the most effective ways to promote your blog post and get readers are email marketing and social media marketing.
Email remains one of the most reliable platforms for marketing, as it allows for a direct communication channel between you and your audience. This highly effective digital marketing strategy involves sending out customized emails to prospective users with the aim of converting them into loyal fans. If you’re interested in getting started, this powerful email marketing service can help you send custom newsletters for your blog.
Beyond emails, sharing your article on social media can also go a long way. For example, if you want to accrue a wide audience, promote your blog on Facebook or Instagram, which have one of the largest and most diverse user bases.
Whichever channels you choose, make sure to actively engage with followers on a day-to-day basis. This will ensure that you not only write a great blog post, but that you get people reading your article, too.
Looking to really get your blog off the ground? Take a look at our Build Your Own Blog online course to get you started.
By Rebecca Strehlow
Marketing Expert & Blogger
By Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg Small Business Expert & Writer
- Promote Your Site
This Blog was created with Wix Blog
How to Write a Blog Post in 2023: The Ultimate Guide
by Liz Careathers
on Jan 12, 2023
Freebie: Ultimate Editing Checklist
There are many tutorials that can teach you how to write a blog post.
They can educate you on the mechanics of blogging, what to do, and what not to do.
Read through them and you can learn how to craft a perfectly serviceable blog post. Heck, you might even write something that wins you an adoring fan or two.
But if you dream bigger, if you want to know how to write a successful blog post that cuts through the noise and wins you legions of fans , you need something better than a run-of-the-mill tutorial.
You need an ultimate guide.
In this post — this ultimate, step-by-step guide — we’ll share tips used by professional freelance writers to create spellbinding posts that are adored by thousands. You’ll learn the secrets to crafting irresistible headlines, seducing introductions, captivating advice, and motivational closings.
You’ll even learn how the pros refine and polish their posts once they’re finished writing them.
These are secrets many bloggers would gladly pay real money to learn, but it won’t cost you a thing — other than a few minutes of your time.
Table of Contents
- Craft a Great Headline That Readers Can’t Resist
- Write an Introduction That Grabs and Seduces
- Deliver Advice That’s Easy to Consume and Impossible to Ignore
- Close with a Motivational Bang
- Polish Your Post So It’s Smoother Than a Slip ‘n Slide
Let’s dive in.
1. Craft a Great Headline That Readers Can’t Resist
Want to know one of the biggest mistakes bloggers make?
Writing blog posts before the headlines (aka the post title).
Without a headline, they have no roadmap to follow. And so their post goes in multiple directions, leaving readers feeling dizzy, confused and disoriented.
And then they try to create a headline that embraces all that madness. Bloggers, have mercy!
If you want to write a great blog post full of clarity, conciseness, and conviction, spend some time crafting a blog title that sets a clear destination, lures readers in, and leaves them eager for your advice.
Your blog title will be your map, your writing navigation system, letting you know which literary roads to choose and which to avoid so that readers reach the intended destination as easily and efficiently as possible.
Follow these 8 rules to craft your killer headline:
Headline Rule #1. Pick a Mouth-Watering Topic
Want your blog post to get opened?
Then your headline must promise readers the very answer to whatever is tormenting them. The thing that keeps them up at night.
Your headline should not promise them a trip to the moon and back — readers are way too swift for such shenanigans. Keep the benefit specific and narrow, and readers will feel compelled to click and get the solution to what’s bugging them.
How do you find out what’s bugging your readers? How do you know which of your many blog post idea (we know, you have many) should be pursued?
- Review comments on your posts and on posts of other sites in your niche.
- Send your subscribers surveys asking them what their greatest struggles are.
- Use tools like BuzzSumo to find out what the most popular posts in your niche are (which gives insight into your target readers’ needs).
- Read the reviews of books in your niche on Amazon (you’ll find a gold mine of feedback to explore).
You have one responsibility as a blogger — yup, just one. And that is to serve your audience. The better you know them, the better you serve.
Before you know it, you’ll know them so intimately they’ll feel like you’re reading their minds, and your headlines will reflect that.
Let’s say you’re in the self-improvement space and you wrote the headline below:
How to Create an Amazing Life
This headline is so broad it’s unlikely to draw readers in. No one loses sleep over “wanting to create an amazing life.” They lose sleep over specific aspects of their lives that have left them unfulfilled.
So you are better off narrowing in on something specific that’s bugging your readers, such as:
How to Boldly Pursue Your Dreams Even if You’re Scared and Insecure
Narrowing in on something specific makes readers feel like you have the answers they’re looking for.
Headline Rule #2. Steal from the Pros
Okay, you’ve done your research and you know exactly what your readers need. Now it’s time to turn your topic into a killer headline.
The easiest way to master the art of writing headlines?
Not in the unethical way. In the smart and efficient way.
Decades of copywriting and advertising research have revealed the types of headlines that have proven to be successful. The types of headlines that zap readers out of their info-overload comas and compel them to open. Why mess with that research?
If you want your headlines to grab readers, stick with what works.
No, your headlines don’t need to sound like they came straight from BuzzFeed. They can reflect your voice and style.
But until your writing skills match Jon Morrow’s, let the proven templates be your guide (how do you think he got so good at writing headlines?).
Blogging is hard enough, so if you have templates at your fingertips, why not use them?
The easiest templates to start with? “How to” headlines and list post headlines. They are classics and they work. In fact, 75% of Smart Blogger’s most popular posts use these formats.
Here are a number of Smart Blogger headlines that follow the “how to” and list post templates.
“How to” Headlines:
- How to Start a Blog: Easy, Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners
- How to Make Money Writing: 5 Ways to Get Paid to Write in 2023
- How to Make Money Blogging (Free Guide for 2023)
List Post Headlines:
- 21 Dumb Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your First E-book
- The 5 Best Free Blogging Platforms in 2023 (100% Unbiased)
- Writer’s Block: 27 Ways to Overcome It Forever
- 8 Best Free WordPress Themes of 2023 (Chosen by Experts)
- 12 Blogging Tips for Beginners (+ Lots of Free Resources)
- 4 Best Gifts for Writers: Ideas to Fit Any Budget (Even Yours)
Headline Rule #3. Engage Your Senses
Vague headlines leave readers feeling empty. Tangible headlines leave them feeling understood.
How do you create tangible headlines?
Put yourself in the shoes of your reader.
How do they feel? What do they see, taste, or smell? What do they hear?
Engage all of your senses by using sensory words . The more your headline gives voice to their exact experience, the more they’ll feel like your quality content was written for them.
Let’s say you blog about health and wellness and you wrote a headline called:
5 Steps to Take When a Migraine Hits
This headline follows a proven list post formula, and it narrows in on something that’s bugging readers. All in all, it’s not too bad.
But it could be even more concrete.
To step it up a notch, put yourselves in the shoes of your readers. Think about exactly what they’re experiencing.
Perhaps that would lead you to the following:
5 Ways to Soothe Pounding and Blinding Migraines
If you suffer from migraines, there’s no way you could resist clicking such a headline.
Headline Rule #4. Tease, Don’t Satisfy
A common mistake you may not even realize you’re making?
Giving away too much in your headlines.
Your headlines should lure readers in like a literary temptress. They should catch readers’ attention and invoke their curiosity, not give a solution.
Give a solution in your headline and readers feel no need to go any further — they’re bored by the very thought of your post.
When this happens, not only do you lose but your readers lose as well, as they trade the richness of your perfect blog post’s advice for the quick fix offered by the headline.
Let’s say you blog about personal finance and you write the headline below:
How to Save for Retirement by Creating a Monthly Budget
Sadly, readers will see this and think they’ve got all the advice they need — if they want to save for retirement, they must create a monthly budget. No need to read more.
On the other hand, a possible revision could be:
How to Save for Retirement When You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck
For anyone living paycheck to paycheck, this headline would pique their curiosity. Nothing is given away, it speaks to an audience with a very specific problem, and it promises a solution they’d love to get their hands on.
Headline Rule #5. Honor the Headline Commandment
When it comes to headlines, there is only one commandment you can never break:
“Thou shalt not deceive.”
This may seem obvious, but writers inadvertently do it all the time.
Big no-no. The content of your post must fully deliver on exactly what the headline promises.
If the post only delivers part of the solution, readers will feel misled and lose their trust in you.
Let’s never do that to them, yes?
Let’s say you write a post called:
How to Live a Happy and Peaceful Life
But then the post only talks about following your dreams, which is really only one aspect of living a happy and peaceful life. Even though you didn’t intentionally deceive them, readers will feel shortchanged. You might as well have written an over-the-top “clickbait” headline — your readers would have been as equally disappointed.
Perhaps you write a post called:
5 Killer Ways to Attract New Clients to Your Coaching Business
But then the fifth way contains no useful advice and instead leads to a sales page to get the solution … no bueno.
Headline Rule #6. Trim the Fat
Want to overwhelm readers right from the start?
Fill your headline with weak and flabby words.
What are weak and flabby words? Empty, unnecessary words that add no real value. Instead, they create clunky phrasing and leave readers scratching their heads in confusion.
The mistake many bloggers make is writing headlines the way they speak. While that’s okay when you write the post (to a certain extent), when you write headlines that way, it waters them down.
You want your headlines to be as ruthlessly concise and powerful as possible. So chop out weak words and throw in power words (if appropriate).
Let’s say you draft the following headline:
How to Find It In Your Heart to Forgive Someone Even if They’ve Hurt You Really Badly
There are just so many words! We can cut them down as follows:
How to Forgive Someone Who Hurt You Badly
We can then add some power to it:
How to Forgive a Soul-Crushing Betrayal
Here’s a mouthful:
How to Stop Being Overly Doubtful of Yourself So You Can Finally Begin to Pursue Your Wildest Dreams
My head is spinning. This can be cut down to:
How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Pursue Your Wildest Dreams
We could even make it more tangible and powerful:
How to End Paralyzing Doubts and Conquer Your Wildest Dreams
Nice and trim, but packs a punch.
Headline Rule #7. Don’t Be a Smarty-Pants
Your headline should make sense to all readers no matter where they’re coming from or in what context they’re approaching your post.
They shouldn’t have to guess what the benefit is. After all, you’re supposed to be reading their minds, not the other way around.
So you’ll want to avoid using metaphors (unless their meaning is painfully obvious), jargon, rhymes, made-up terms, or anything that tries to be overly clever or complicated when drafting your headlines.
Where to begin with this one:
How to Be Happy Without Acting Sappy
A headline like this tries to be too clever — readers don’t give two hoots about not acting sappy, obviously. Don’t prioritize cute tactics like rhyming (or even alliteration ) over-delivering clear benefits in your headlines.
How to Raise a Child That Is the Apple of Your Eye
A headline like this is also trying to be too clever. “Apple of Your Eye” is a common metaphor readers are likely familiar with, but there’s no concrete benefit being offered here. A headline must always contain a strong benefit, not a cute phrase.
How to Follow the Path of Glory to Your Success
No clue what this means … and I just wrote it. If there isn’t a singular and clear interpretation of what the headline’s benefit is, it’s trying too hard. So save the metaphors for the actual post where they will (hopefully) make more sense.
How to Stop Treating Love Like a Captive Animal
Perhaps you effectively explain in the post how people treat love like a captive animal, and it may make for a great analogy , but readers scanning headlines will have no clue why they should stop to read this, and so they likely won’t.
Headline Rule #8. Rock Your Style
The more consistent you are with your audience, the more trust they’ll feel for you.
If you generally keep your headlines pretty simple and then suddenly write one jam-packed with power words, your readers will feel confused.
The more you write, the more of a writing style you’ll develop. Once you determine what that style is, use it consistently (or make slow and gradual changes to it if necessary) so your audience learns and trusts your brand.
If most of your headlines read like this:
- How to Live With Courage
- How to Overcome Social Anxiety
- How to Confidently Embrace Uncertainty
Then you might not want to suddenly write a headline that reads:
- How to Brazenly Squash the Agonizing Anxiety That Is Plaguing Your Life
Your readers will think your blog got hacked!
How to Write a Headline: Bonus Tip
When writing a headline, try crafting 5–10 different versions of the same headline.
The more you play with the words, the better you will get at creating clear, concise, and curiosity-invoking headlines that readers cannot resist.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss a question we hear often:
“How long/short should my headline be?”
Ever notice how some headlines in SERPs (search engine results pages) are truncated?
It’s based on your headline’s width in pixels (a free tool like SERPsim will show your headline’s width), but as a general rule:
At right around 60 characters, Google will cut off your headline.
Since a truncated headline can result in fewer people clicking your link in SERPs, it’s a common SEO practice to keep your headlines 60 characters or less.
Of course, things are never that easy.
In a recent study , Brian Dean of Backlinko found that longer (14-17 words) headlines generated more shares on social media than shorter headlines.
(76.7% more social shares, to be exact.)
As with all things, your mileage may vary.
2. Write an Introduction That Grabs and Seduces
You’ve lured readers in with your headline. Now you’ve got to keep them.
No easy task, my friend.
Readers are fickle. Known to take a quick glance and then vanish from your online sanctuary, lickety-split!
You must fight to keep them there, and the way you craft your introduction plays a huge role in their browsing commitment.
Follow these rules to craft an introduction that captivates your readers:
Introduction Rule #1. Slip into Their Shoes
A common mistake that reeks of amateur blogging?
Trying to sound too academic in your blog openings.
You know, those posts that start like this:
“Research has proven that 92% of people fail to achieve their goals because they are unable to create and stick to habits that support those goals …”
Don’t get me wrong — as a lawyer, I value solid research. But in the blogging context, this approach bores readers. If you want to captivate instead of bore, you must make readers feel like you’re reading their minds.
A powerful way to achieve this?
Step into the shoes of your target audience and write from their perspective. Show them you understand exactly what they’re going through.
After all, you likely struggled with the very topic you’re writing about and learned how to overcome it. We teach what we most wanted to learn, right?
So show readers that you “get it.” You’re not some corporate slog, you’re in it with them, fighting the good fight and sharing the tools that brought you to the other side.
This introduction is a masterclass in empathy:
Do you feel that? That little tugging sensation on your heart? You’re not sure what, but something is pulling you to change. Not in a confess-your-sins-oh-ye-sinners way, but to shift directions, to embrace your calling, to finally do what you were put here to do: Write. You feel the ideas inside you. You sense them straining to escape. You know your job is to set them free, firing them like a cannon into a world in desperate need of them. But you’re afraid. You’re afraid of quitting your job and living without a safety net. You’re afraid of the concerned, disapproving looks your friends will give you when you tell them you’re giving it all up to write for a living. You’re afraid of not having enough money for food, of the power being cut off, of watching your family shivering and hungry, all because of your “selfishness”. And most of all? You’re afraid you’re wrong about yourself.
As writers, we all share the deep longing to embrace our calling and express our ideas, but we also share the fears that so often sabotage those longings — the fear that we don’t have what it takes, that we’ll crash and burn, and that our dreams are just that — dreams.
In his introduction, Jon addresses all those longings and fears and immediately makes you feel like he gets you so intimately, it’s almost creepy.
Creepy, but effective.
Introduction Rule #2. Get into Character
If you want to captivate readers, you must trigger their emotions.
So as you sit down to write, think of the feelings you want them to experience:
Fear, anger, sadness, hope, joy, disgust, shame, comfort, love, courage, and so on.
Then get into character and feel them yourself as you write, and your words will read with undeniable authenticity.
When Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the heartbreaking lyrics in Hamilton that have left tears on the faces of millions, it was his eyes that first shed tears as he put his pen to paper.
So play with your emotions. Map out the emotional journey you’re taking readers on, and infuse those feelings into your writing. Feel what you want your audience to feel and your words will exude those emotions.
This tip applies to your whole post, but in no place is triggering your audience’s emotions more important than your introduction.
You feel me? 🙂
I once wrote an emotional post about my two little girls which addressed how delicate their emotions are, as well as my own vulnerabilities and my longing to give them the patience, presence, and love they deserve.
Here’s a portion of it:
I told my three-year old daughter as we stood outside the car in her school parking lot, the rain pouring down on us as she sobbed breathlessly in my arms. She didn’t want to go in the car. She just wanted me to stand there, holding her. And I didn’t want to rush her, or tell her to stop crying. “I’ll hold you for as long as it takes.”
I felt that longing intensely and definitely shed some tears as I wrote the introduction. The feedback I got from readers was that they felt the same intensity, and even cried as well.
When we write, our feelings seep into our words.
Introduction Rule #3. Lure Readers Down the Page
Want readers to commit to your post?
Accelerate their experience. Lure them down the page.
The faster they get pulled down, the more committed they’ll feel.
Too many bumps in the road early on, and off track they go, never to return.
Here are three writing tips to use in your intros to lure readers down the page:
#1. Open With a Short Sentence or Question
Kind of like how I opened this section. 🙂
This is how all of Smart Blogger’s posts open, and for good reason. It’s a copywriting technique proven to pull readers in.
Start a post with a long clunky paragraph and they’ll feel exhausted just looking at it.
#2. Take a Knife to Your Words
Slash as many words as possible.
If the first draft of your introduction is 200 words, try cutting it down to 100. The more you practice this, the more efficient your blog writing process becomes.
And when you write efficiently, your words have power. That power will grab your readers.
#3. Set the Rhythm
All writing has a pace and rhythm.
You want your introduction’s pace and beat to be somewhat quick. You can slow things down later.
How do you achieve this?
- Use short sentences. Even sentence fragments (totally okay).
- Make your paragraphs no more than one to three sentences long.
- Use delayed transitions to weave sentences together.
- Make each sentence and paragraph lure readers into the one that follows.
- Read the post out loud to check the flow. Are things moving forward smoothly or stalling?
The best writers, like the best music composers, take readers on a journey. Fast and slow, loud and soft, urgency and ease.
The more you pay attention to this, the more rhythm you’ll infuse into your words.
Shane Arthur sends readers’ eyes flying down the page by using crisp sentences and short paragraphs to create a fast rhythm:
You’re not stupid. You know what writing is truly about. It’s a never-ending battle for your readers’ attention. Every sentence is a link in a taut chain that connects your headline to your conclusion. And you are just one weak sentence away from losing your reader forever.
He then appropriately slows things down in the section that follows with longer sentences. A masterful composition!
Introduction Rule #4. Make Them Beg
Want readers begging for your solutions?
Add a little fear to your opening.
What are readers worried about? Do they know what will happen if they don’t solve the problem the post is addressing? What is the worst-case scenario?
Bring those fears to the surface. Expose them.
By doing so, not only will readers feel a camaraderie with you (because you understand their fears, so clearly you’ve tip-toed through the dark side yourself), but they’ll feel more eager than ever for the solution you present.
We all have fears. We think we need to hide them, but the more we give voice to them, the easier they are to set free.
Do that for your readers.
In his introduction, Glen Long brilliantly taps into the fear of failure all writers experience by addressing the dream of making a living as a writer and then quickly smothering that dream with the doubts that creep up at the mere thought of it:
So, who knows? Maybe the doubters are right. Maybe you are naive to think you could earn a living doing something you love, instead of something you just tolerate.
The fear of failure is painful, yes. But giving voice to it is validating and makes readers eager for the solutions that will set that fear free.
Introduction Rule #5. Hint at the Promised Land
Finally, as you wrap up your intro, hint at the promised land.
The place readers will get to when they master your methods. The destination your post promises to take them.
But whatever you do, do not give it all away. Just one sentence that says too much satisfies your readers enough to send them clicking away.
Why? Because readers bore easily. You must keep them on their toes. And the point of an introduction is not to give answers, it’s to set the stage for all the hearty advice your post will provide.
In the introduction to Meera Kothand’s post, she addressed a problem all new bloggers face: How do you get to know your audience when you don’t have one yet ?
She goes on to talk about the big mistake many of them make (making assumptions) and why that’s ineffective. Then, she uses the simplest phrase to hint at a solution:
That kind of guessing is like throwing darts blindfolded and hoping you hit the bull’s eye. Sometimes it works. Usually, it doesn’t. Fortunately, there’s another way…
How could anyone not want to keep reading?
How to Write an Introduction: Bonus Tip
When writing an introduction, try drafting two completely different versions approached from different angles and triggering different emotions.
Doing so will highlight the techniques and emotions that work best for both your audience and the content of your post.
A word of caution:
No matter how eloquent your words…
No matter how powerful your prose…
If your introduction doesn’t satisfy search intent, readers will click the “back” button and never return.
What’s search intent?
It’s the purpose behind the Google search.
If someone searches for “how to lose weight” in Google, they’re expecting search results that will help them lose weight.
If they click a headline that reads “7 Easy Tips For Losing Weight Fast”, and the post begins with an amusing Nicolas Cage anecdote, there’s a good chance they will leave — never getting to read the rest of the post, which is filled with weight loss wisdom.
And when they leave, what they’re essentially telling Google is this:
“At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
And Google will respond by ranking your post lower in its search results.
Search intent is a big part of SEO (search engine optimization). When we do keyword research here at Smart Blogger, figuring out the keyword phrase’s intent is one of the first things we do. It shapes our headline, meta description, introduction, word count, and more.
The ins and outs of mastering it would be an article all by itself, so we’ll simply say this:
Taking the time to analyze the results in Google so you have a solid handle on why people enter the particular query your blog post will be targeting is time well spent. Figure out the intent, and then make sure your intro matches it.
3. Deliver Advice That’s Easy to Consume and Impossible to Ignore
Okay, you’re doing great.
You got readers to click on your headline, you lured them down the page with your intro, and now it’s time to deliver on all that you’ve promised.
If you want readers to love you and look forward to every good blog post you write, you’ll over-deliver.
If you want them to take a quick look and vanish for good, you’ll under-deliver.
The choice is yours.
Use the guide below to deliver valuable and easy-to-consume advice:
Content Rule #1. Add Pitstops
Subheads — use them.
Why? Because readers are scanners.
They have no choice. There’s a behemoth amount of content at their fingertips, and not all of it is good.
And so they scan (as do you, I’m sure).
Subheadings are your chance to prove to readers that your content holds value. To keep luring them back into your post, when their instinct is to leave.
Blogging is a battle, remember?
Keep these four tips in mind when drafting your subheads:
#1. Add a Subhead Every Few Paragraphs
Sprinkle subheaders throughout your post.
Why? Because they gently guide readers along the route your post is heading, making their experience feel clear, easy and enjoyable.
And never forget, your blog posts are all about your readers’ experience.
If readers see too much text when they’re scanning without enough pit stops, they’ll feel overwhelmed. It’s like getting on a bus tour and being told there will be no bathroom breaks … oh, the anxiety!
Every single post on Smart Blogger.
That’s how important this is.
#2. Avoid the 3 Subhead Blunders That Make Readers Bounce
Subheads have the same function as headlines; they must make readers curious so they keep reading. So you should follow similar rules when drafting them and avoid the following common blunders :
- The Plain Label Subhead: In case it bears repeating, never bore your readers. Labels are boring. Treat your subheads like mini-headlines and make sure they invoke curiosity.
- The Spoiler Subhead: Don’t give away too much in your subhead. If you do, readers will feel no compulsion to read the rest of your text.
- The Cryptic Subhead: Don’t try to be too clever. Readers don’t like to play guessing games. Adding curiosity should never come at the expense of clarity.
Let’s say you’re writing a post about the impact sleep has on anxiety levels and you include the following subheads:
- The Importance of Sleep
- Creating a Steady Sleeping Routine Will Reduce Anxiety
- Refuse the Roast and Catch More Z’s
See how the first subhead is way too plain, the second gives too much away, and the third, well, it probably made no sense to you, right?
The subheads below would do a better job at grabbing readers:
- The Easiest Way to Reduce Daily Anxiety
- How to Beat Anxiety Without Resorting to Medication
- The One Thing You Must Avoid to Sleep Better
#3. Compare Each Subhead to Your Main Headline
Each subhead should clearly deliver on the overall headline of your post.
Again, if you’re viewing subheads as pit stops, they must all lead to the ultimate destination — what was promised by your headline.
If the subheads get off track and move away from that destination, readers are left feeling lost and confused.
In that case, either the subheads need to change or the headline needs rethinking.
Say you’re writing a post called “How to Silence Your Nagging Inner Critic” and you include the following subheads:
- Observe Your Thoughts
- Prove Yourself Wrong
- Ask Yourself This Powerful Question
- Bravely Quit Your Day Job
The fourth subhead’s sudden twist in topic is jarring. It does not deliver on the overall headline, which had nothing to do with your day job.
Perhaps you intended all along for the post to be about not letting doubts stop you from following your dreams and quitting your day job, but readers scanning subheads will not understand that.
They will simply feel confused.
#4. Follow a Format
If you are listing various “ways,” “steps,” “methods,” “signs,” etc., to achieve what the headline of the post promises, keep the format consistent.
If you don’t, the post comes across as unpolished. Bloggers overlook this all the time, but it’s easy to fix once you’re aware of it.
If you separate your subheads from the post and list them back to back, you can see if any stray from the course.
Say your post is called “12 Ways to Cure Insomnia” and you have a subhead for each of the 12 ways. You’ll want those subheads to follow a consistent format.
Let’s say your first few subheads read as follows:
- Exercise Every Morning
- Avoid Caffeine Like the Plague
- Wake Up at the Same Time Everyday
- There is Nothing More Sleep-Inducing Than Nighttime Meditation
Something there feel a little off?
The first three subheads start with an action verb instructing readers what to do. They are also fairly consistent in length.
But then the fourth subhead suddenly changes the format and breaks the flow. It doesn’t start with a verb and it’s much longer than the others.
This inconsistency may seem fairly innocent, but it’s distracting to readers.
Content Rule #2. Unleash the Unexpected
Let’s face it, readers today are info-holics. We all are.
So tired old advice isn’t going to cut it. Your post must be unique, bold, and eye-opening.
My advice? List your main points and see if you can add a unique perspective, experience, or twist to them. Something readers aren’t expecting.
What belief systems have you learned to challenge? What do you know that most people don’t? How can you shed new light on an old problem? What methods do you use that others won’t know about?
You don’t want to go overboard just for the sake of adding shock value. Your advice must be authentic and truly helpful. But regurgitating old advice doesn’t challenge you as a writer, nor does it enlighten your audience.
So pour your readers a little espresso for their info-hangover by delivering the unexpected.
Countless articles have been written about blogging, but how many have called you out for being dumb or told you to replace your friends?!
Jon does just that by knocking you over the head with some hard truth bombs about what it takes to make it as a blogger .
Content Rule #3. Follow a Formula
Notice how this post follows a pretty consistent formula?
Each section is relatively similar in length. Every subhead follows a pattern. Each section ends with an example.
The more consistency you weave into your posts, the better the reader’s experience.
Let’s say you write a list post covering five steps to achieve something. If the first step is 500 words, the second and third steps are 100 words, the fourth step is 200 words and the fifth step is 400 words, it looks sloppy. As though you didn’t bother to proofread it before hitting publish.
Your readers deserve the best, and minor details like this matter as they affect the fluidity of their experience.
Want to go even more pro? Look at the beginning, middle, and end of each section you write, and create a guiding formula. Perhaps you start each section with a bold statement or personal experience. Then you flesh out your advice in the middle. And then you end each section with a one-sentence call to action.
The more formulas you add to your posts, the easier they are to write and the more they look like polished works of art.
In his post on getting traffic from Twitter , Brian Honigman uses hashtags for each subhead, each section is consistent in length, and each includes a graphic.
Readers know exactly what to expect from each section, making for a fluid reading experience.
Content Rule #4. Be Ridiculously Generous
Many bloggers worry about giving away too much in their posts. After all, they want readers to sign up for their paid coaching calls or products.
So they hold back, barely skimming the surface of their advice.
Truthfully, if you’re not generous with your readers in your posts, they won’t get a good impression of your paid products.
Don’t hold back on your readers. Fully work through the problem with them. Give them complete solutions and powerful advice. Wow them with your generosity and they will stick around as loyal readers and customers.
Want to learn everything there is to know about affiliate marketing ?
Holy smokes. At 10,000 words, that insanely generous post by Leanne Regalla is basically a textbook on the subject, and reader comments praise it as such. (Let’s all bookmark this one, yes?)
A post of this magnitude is quite an undertaking, but don’t let it scare you. You can also wow your audience with your generosity and thoughtfulness in a 1,000-word post.
Content Rule #5. Start and End Strong
Just as your introduction and conclusion should grab readers, you want the main body of your post to start and end strong as well.
Of course, every section should have great content , but if you’re offering five ways to achieve something, save your absolute best tips for the first and fifth ways. The first way will grab your readers’ attention, and the fifth way will leave them feeling fully satisfied.
On the other hand, if each tip successively decreases in value, readers will feel like your post is deflating. And their excitement will deflate with it.
Let’s leave readers feeling pumped when they finish your post.
Linda Formichelli gives ten crafty ways to write 1,000 words per hour .
While all ten ways are excellent, I’d argue that the first (about writing under the pressure of a full bladder) and last (about gambling with your reputation) are the most bold and attention-grabbing (bathroom break, anyone?).
Writing a Blog Post: Bonus Tip
Before writing the main sections of your post, flesh out an outline to nail your points down.
The clearer and more simplified your outline is, the more clarity and conviction your post will have.
4. Close with a Motivational Bang
We’re almost at the finish line! It’s time to close your post with a bang.
This is where you rally behind your readers. Show them that you believe in them.
Make them believe they can achieve the goal promised by your headline (because after reading your generous advice, they certainly can).
Follow these rules when crafting your motivational conclusion:
Conclusion Rule #1. Give Your Readers a Pep Talk
Motivate your readers.
Show them how far they’ve come, what they’re capable of, and what life will look like once they’ve implemented your advice.
Give them the pep talk you longed for when you were struggling with the topic your post presents.
Empower them by raising your expectations of them. They can’t just read your post and pretend it never happened — they must take action. Immediately.
Make them see that no matter what they’ve experienced or how hard they’ve struggled, their time is now.
In this post’s conclusion , Jon uses all he’s had to overcome in life to show readers that they have no excuses: no matter hard things get, they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.
He encourages readers by letting them know that he believes in them and then he raises his expectations of them by telling them they need to get started … “right freaking now.”
By the time you’re done reading the conclusion, you feel like you can conquer just about anything!
Conclusion Rule #2. Avoid New Information
A common mistake many bloggers make?
Suddenly inserting new information or tips in their conclusions.
It’s like reaching the last ten minutes of a spellbinding movie. You’re on pins and needles waiting to see how it ends, and suddenly a new character is introduced. What the … ?!
It’s jarring. Don’t do that to your readers.
In his conclusion, Robert van Tongeren motivates you to repurpose old blog posts by comparing them to epic musical classics; if they disappeared into obscurity simply because they’re old, we’d all be at a great loss.
Imagine if in the midst of such a conclusion, Robert quickly threw in one more way to repurpose content, or one small caveat to his post’s advice, or one more general tip to keep in mind?
It would throw the whole closing off and leave readers feeling ruffled instead of jamming to Bohemian Rhapsody.
How to Write a Conclusion: Bonus Tip
When writing your conclusion, put yourself back in the shoes of your readers.
What will their lives be like if they accomplish the advice in your post? How will they feel?
The more you can hone in on your readers’ point of view, the more you can motivate them to take action.
Too many bloggers put too little thought into their closings.
That’s a shame.
Let’s face it…
Most people don’t read 100% of our posts. Heck, most people don’t even read half .
So how do we reward the precious few who read and absorbed the words we poured our heart and soul into?
With a closing we whipped together in 20 seconds.
Someone who makes it to the end of your post is primed.
They trust you. They like you. They want you to tell them what to do next.
So tell them.
Don’t waste this opportunity.
5. Polish Your Post So It’s Smoother Than a Slip ‘n Slide
Phew! You’ve written your post . Next up?
Take a well-deserved break. Step away for a day or more so you can come back to it with fresh eyes.
Once you’re ready, it’s time to do some editing. I know, the mind reels that there’s more work to do!
But editing your post is essential. If your post doesn’t provide a smooth reading experience, your reader will lose attention and bail.
Use this checklist when you’re ready to edit your post:
- Take a Knife to It. Slash all unnecessary words, sentences, paragraphs, stories, etc. Include only what is absolutely essential to convey your message. Nothing more.
- Motivate, Don’t Lecture. Tweak any statements that hint of being the condescending professor. Make readers feel like you’re on their side and dedicated to their success (because you are).
- Add Emotion. Infuse your writing with passion , energy, and enthusiasm. If you’re bored by your blog topic, readers will be too.
- Make it Easy on the Eye. Break up any large paragraphs (2–5 sentences maximum is your goal) and run-on sentences.
- Break it Down. Clarify overly complicated wording. If you can’t say it simply, don’t write it. You don’t want to confuse your readers.
- Speak Their Language. Add examples or metaphors to make complex ideas feel more tangible and easier to digest.
- Check Yourself. Remove any contradictory statements or repetitive ideas (trust me, they’re there).
- Don’t Yo-Yo. Ensure each sentence, paragraph and section drives the post forward toward the destination promised by the headline (no side routes or backtracking).
- Be Smooth. Make each sentence and paragraph flow seamlessly into the next. Each sentence should be completely dependent on the ones before and after it or the transitions will feel choppy.
- Avoid Sharp Turns. Adjust any abrupt changes in topic. They’re jarring to readers.
- Keep It Real. Don’t mimic styles that don’t come naturally to you. The more you write, the more you’ll find your authentic writing voice.
- Add Highlights. Use bold and italics to add stress where appropriate (but do so sparingly).
- Shoot Bullets. Use bullet points to group related topic ideas and make them more digestible.
- Spark the Senses. Be specific and concrete (describe things readers can see, feel, hear, smell or taste). Avoid abstract statements.
- Be Firm. Avoid words like “might,” “may,” “possibly” and “perhaps” when delivering your advice.
- Give Some Eye Candy. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Add relevant images, screenshots, and infographics to your blog content.
- Respect Nature. Put things in their natural order (e.g., past to present, young to old, small to large, breakfast to dinner, etc.).
- Be Consistent. Make sure all points in a list belong to the same category; a list of steps should only list steps, a list of things should only list things, etc. This might sound like common sense, but this rule gets broken often.
- Don’t Be Lazy. Ensure all the necessary information is contained within the post itself. (External links should only provide supplemental information. A reader shouldn’t have to click a link to comprehend your post.)
- Kill the Weak. Eliminate weak and flabby words. Replace weak verbs (e.g., “she went”) with more concrete, visceral verbs (“she walked”), replace passive voice (e.g., “he was pushing”) with active voice (e.g., “he pushed”) and replace weak adjectives (e.g., “good”) with strong adjectives (e.g., “wonderful”).
- Feel the Beat. Be mindful of the pace and rhythm of each section. Speed things up or add some punch with crisp, short sentences. Slow things down with longer explanations. Good writing uses both .
- Do the Obvious. Fix any typos, spelling mistakes, or grammar mistakes (you can use grammar checkers like Grammarly and Hemingway App).
- Be Honest. Give credit where due.
How to Edit a Blog Post: Bonus Tip
A great way to self-edit your posts is to read them out loud.
Doing so will help you catch many of the issues listed above, particularly things like overly complicated wording, run-on sentences and choppy rhythm.
Win the Battle for Your Reader’s Attention
Blogging is a battle.
A war to get your ideas the attention they deserve.
Your enemy? The dizzying array of online distractions that devour your readers.
This battle is not for the faint of heart.
There are so many learning curves. Blogging platforms and plugins you’ll need to install. Social networks you’ll need to employ. Content marketing techniques you’ll need to try.
But none of that stuff matters if you’re drowning your ideas in amateur writing. You might as well lay your sword down in defeat. Readers don’t have time for amateurs.
So before you venture any further down the blogging rabbit hole, you better make sure you know how to write a blog post like a pro.
Skip that step, and nothing can save you. Your battle is lost.
The good news is, writing good blog posts is a skill you can learn. And it’s one you must learn.
You have powerful words and ideas that can transform readers’ lives. Those ideas are worth fighting for.
So when you’re ready to enter the arena, arm yourself with this ultimate guide and fight the good fight.
Your readers are counting on you.
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Written by Liz Careathers
180 thoughts on “how to write a blog post in 2023: the ultimate guide”.
I must say, I am totally convinced to read the complete article. I have completed the step 1 but will complete the other soon. The main things most of the beginner bloggers think that topic is already covered by leaders, how i compete with them?
So this guide will help them to find the answer.
Good Read 🙂
Thanks Kuldeep, I’m glad you found this helpful!
Liz, I have benefitted from your blogging wisdom as your student. This is a wonderful summary of things you have taught me — things we need to be reminded of. Thanks to you and to Jon for this post.
Also, if you chose the photo of Ste. Chapelle as the background to your “over deliver” statement — it’s the perfect illustration — did you know that? The French King who built that chapel had those walls of light created to meet the greatest challenge of Gothic architecture — to construct the highest possible walls of stained glass that could be created without crumbling. It has no rivals on that score.
This is one of the best architectural illustrations of your point you could have chosen. Well written and well done!
Thank you so much, Kim! I learn so much from you as well!
The credit for that photo choice goes all to Heather on Jon’s team, she knows what she’s doing! 🙂
So glad to see your post on here. It turned out amazing. My favorite points are tied to the idea of stealing and being simple. The number one mistake I see writers make is trying to be original, witty, and intelligent. People who think they’re above having to learn first principles always fail.
Kudos on using lickety-split in your post too. haha.
Off to share!
Thank you so much, Ayo! You have me cracking up. Thank you for noticing I used lickety-split, I was quite proud of that word choice 🙂
Wow!! Amazing guide… Thank you for putting it together! I’ll be sure to follow all these steps every time start writing my articles!!
Off to share right away!
Thank you Nadeem, so glad you found it useful!
We have a website/blog and our way of motivating is by providing samples of Truth and Beauty. We do this through images, words, music, movies and wine! We blog every day so we try to keep it fairly succinct.
Although our structure is a little different, I find this post to be extremely helpful and look forward to future posts. Thank You!
Thanks, Shawn! So glad you found this useful
That was a great article. I will go back to it again. In fact, I’m going back to edit a post I thought was perfect…until I read yours. Glad I hadn’t published it quite yet. 🙂 Jan
Thanks, Jan! Glad you can refer to this when you write!
Some great stuff in here! I resonated a lot with Avoid New Information – I’m always doing that with my blog posts. Too many great statistics to pack in!
What made you decide to format this as a long-form document rather than separate posts? I would be concerned about people seeing the length of this bad boy and being put off!
Ha, yes, you might be right Jack! This bad boy was quite a writing project all on its own. But since it’s an “ultimate guide” I just couldn’t leave anything out 🙂
Thank you for this incredible guide! As a new blogger, I have learned so much in this generous post. And now I’m itching to write using the steps that you’ve outlined above! I have bookmarked this post and will be returning to this guide often.
Thanks so much, Kat! So glad this guide will be helpful to you as you write 🙂
You’re very welcome 🙂
Thank you Liz for this overwhelmingly important information. This is really called “ultimate” for a reason. 🙂
Thanks so much, Mikel 🙂
Hey Liz, wonderful to read your post again. This article is an awesome checklist and will save us the trouble of Checking out the Blog Launch Formula video where Glen gave a kick ass presentation on the same topic. This is also a great resource for training new writers. Bookmarking this.
Thanks Peter! I know you know most of these tricks already! I haven’t seen that video but everything I know I’ve learned from Glen 🙂
Hi, Liz. I´ve been reading Jon´s posts for a while now. Yep, he´s the master of empathy. Undoubtedly. And I found my courage from his articles to start blogging again.
But as a loyal follower I read all the Smartblogger´s blog posts and you know what I´ve noticed? Jon has an incredibly sharp eye to choose his co-writers. Cause´ they are as talented and skillful as he is.
In fact, your guide, Liz, has triggered me to write this comment. Which, by the way, is my first one not only here, but ever :).
I know well how much time and effort it took to put this guide together. It seems so smooth, playful and professional, but in reality there`s loads of work hidden under the playfulness.
So I simply say: thank you, Liz!
I now bo back to my blog posts and work harder to be worthy of this guide, some day 🙂
Thank you so much for these kind words, Sigrid! I can see just from your comment that you are a talented writer 🙂 And you are right about the amount of work that underlies the playfulness! Your words are very much appreciated!
Ups, I left my photo behind, that´s fixed now 🙂
Hey Liz, what can I say except… Boom! You nailed it. Your post is an amazing and generous resource for bloggers. Every blogger should bookmark this goldmine of advice. I’ll stop there before Jon deletes it 😉
Thanks so much, Miranda! 🙂
Wow amazing post with tons of actionable advice that will help us become better writers. I definitely took away a lot of gold nuggets just from reading it.
I definitely need help crafting better headlines. This is something that I’ve been working on to get people to my blog. I’m going to check out the 52 Headline hacks to see what else I can learn.
Also, love the tip of closing with a motivational bang. Definitely, makes a lot of sense and will make your reader feel better.
Thanks again Liz for these useful tips. I’ve bookmarked this page so I can refer to it when I write my next blog post.
Have a great day!
Thank you Susan! You will love Jon’s Headline Hacks!
Even as someone who has written 100’s of blog posts over the years I found the suggestion and tips here great. I know for sure my headlines leave room for improvement!
Keep up the good work.
Thanks Bradley! So glad this was helpful to you!
This is a very informative article. Great hints. Bookmarking it. Thanks for sharing this information.
You’re very welcome, John!
This much too long piece (especially in 2017) seems to be aimed at persons who have no writing experience. I have been a freelance and full-time journalist for more than 20 years. I have written/edited a wide variety of things, such as news stories, articles, newsletter copy, blog/web site copy, captions, subheads, and headlines. I have learned that conciseness, especially now, is very important since many persons now have very short attention spans. This piece needs a lot of editing. I probably could reduce the piece by at least 25%.
The people who are passionate about your topic (i.e. your ideal audience) will happily sit down and read an in-depth guide like this, as the other comments here demonstrate. This is not meant as a read-it-and-leave-it fluff piece. This is a resource for people to bookmark and use when they sit down to write their posts. The audience we’re targeting will appreciate it. But to each their own.
Hey Robert I agree with you. This is not just a short ordinary blog but an in-depth guide. Maybe Paris Wyome didn’t have her reading glasses on!
I think Liz has done an excellent job. All new and seasoned writers need constant reminders on best practices when it comes to blogging.
I’m a newbie to blogging so I’m lapping all the information up. You can never be complacent in life about anything. Learning news skills and picking up great information helps you move forward.
So many thanks to Liz for her time and expertise.
I have been a subscriber to Jon Morrow’s blog and there is no denying that he is treasure trove when it comes to blogging and I admire his writing style. He hs this flair to combine words into a sort of music. And he uses simple, easy to understand words.
But what confuses me is that, while you guys are always talking about the short attention spans of people, your articles practically guarantee that when a reader gets to the last sentence, I’ll be damned if he can remember the first.
They’re just way too long. Maybe you should not describe the flower too superfluously.
Great tips, whenever i need to find a topic i research it on buzzsumo to see which one has potential to go viral.
Thanks Tony. Yes, BuzzSumo is a great tool!
Just a few thoughts about post length.
Yep, it´s likely possible to cut down all the Smartblogger`s posts (including this one), let´s say, into bullet-pointed lists. Or shorten them in some other way. So that people can just quickly jump in, get an answer and jump out. Within seconds.
But I`ve got a question.
Have you noticed one single ordinary-length post here in Smartblogger? I certainly haven´t. Why? Cause´ these articles here are not meant for ordinary people. They are not meant for get-my-results-quick-and-easy kind of people.
They are meant for people who actually want to study, who are willing to put as much time and effort into reading these posts as the author put into creating. Moreover, they are meant for people who enjoy this particular writing style.
This article´s headline says Ultimate Guide. Headlines are supposed to deliver, right? And this one really does it by having a length of a mini course. Yet it´s not just the competition of who-can-write-longer-posts going on here, this is about actionable information. Yep, the competition is called who-can-write-most-actionable-and-thorough-posts.
That´s the reason I´m Smartblogger`s reader. Whatever question I might have about blogging, they provide me an answer. Thorough and actionable. With style 🙂
So I`ll take my time, make myself a nice cup of tea and start to read AND enjoy the posts.
Just like a good book.
So beautifully put, Sigrid! I cannot imagine a better description of Smart Blogger’s posts and audience. Thank you for sharing such an insightful and positive perspective!
Seriously..!! Unbelievable.. I never ever read this type of articles in my 3-year career. I m glad that I found this blog from online Junk. I started my profession as a writer but later I started online blogging. Now, I started my own blog as I recently quit my job. I purchased a Domain and WordPress hosting scottadlhochwriter.com and started making changes. I am really inspired by your blog @Liz and this blog is really helpful for me.
Thanks so much, Scott! And that’s very exciting, I wish you the absolute best with your new blog 🙂
I was wondering how to find and omit grammatical mistakes from articles. As a non-native English speaker, it’s hard to grab those bugs.
Grammarly and other proofreaders are ok but don’t give deep insights. So, the bugs remain.
Is there any alternative tool that does the job you know of? Or some guide you’ll like to suggest so I can brush up on my grammars?
I meant, the free version of those tools don’t give a deep insight. And I’m unable to get the paid version for some reason.
I personally only know of Grammarly and Hemingway App. But I did find this article which lists a couple of other options you could check out – thewritelife.com/automatic-editing-tools/. If you read the comments section, readers also mention additional options and insights.
I hope that helps!
Gotta say that this post delivers on what it says. “The Ultimate Guide to writing a blogpost”. Wow. I’ve only been blogging for ~4 months and the difference between the post I wrote after reading this and before is almost staggering. This is what I produced based off of this post. http://many-wounds.com/how-to-change-my-life/ and before this http://many-wounds.com/genetics-luck-propaganda-youve-systematically-brainwashed-helpless/ . Like I said, difference is staggering.
Wow, what a way to put things into action, Abhinav! And yes what a difference in the two posts! Excellent job.
Such a beauty! In a world where information is turning on us and has become toxic, it’s refreshing to read advice that offers clear, actionable steps.
Find out what your audience actually wants! Sounds obvious and yet so many of us just write about what we think is interesting.
Thanks Drew! So glad you found the advice here to be clear and actionable.
So much so that I wrote an article yesterday and applied the points with a microscope. When it’s published I’ll share.
I think this is the best article i have come across for writing a blog post…you have really gave some useful tips to write some amazing blog post title…next time i am surely follow all these tips…thank you very very much Liz…this article has made my day..!!
So glad to hear that, Arvind!
The title is the most important phase of a post and should be powerful and clear enough to attract visitors and bring traffic.
Hi Liz, Thanks for the article. You are always informative to read. Always found something useful from your side since years.
I Appreciate you for this post. All These Five Steps in a Guide for writing a blog post helped me a lot to write an effective and unique content for posting. Keep Posting this type of informative blogs for learning.
Nice article, you have almost covered all the points that have to be considered while blogging. Thanks for sharing.
Thank for this post Liz, what an amazing resource!
It’s funny you mention giving too much away with this post that gives so much away – but it is so valuable, it only sparks my curiosity to read more from the site 🙂
Loved the part about making your subheads uniform with the theme of the post. Especially the part about not introducing new ideas in the conclusion. I’ve definitely been guilty of that.
So happy you feel that way, Blake! This site is a treasure trove of blogging wisdom 🙂
Great blog my friend 🙂
Awesome tips Liz! I have been a blogger for several years but I always have new things to learn! Lots of learning here in your article! I was wondering, how often should we publish new content?
Thanks Emmerey! Everyone has different opinions on how often to publish, I would suggest picking a schedule (whether weekly, monthly, etc.) and just trying to be consistent with that schedule so your audience knows what to expect.
Hi Liz! Thank you for responding and for the tips! 🙂
Oh, how I wish I found this blog post when I first started writing, haha! I spent so many hours trying (and failing) to create good blog posts – I’m sure this will help so many new bloggers. I found that the subhead of my posts made the biggest difference so I can definitely vouch for you on that one.
Great post 🙂
Thank you Elise!
I loved your comprehensive post, which would have come in handy when I started blogging in 2008.
Headlines and subheads are important, but I can get stuck in my head and over analyze them (use the headline analyzer from Advanced Marketing Institute) for emotional value. Oh well. I guess that’s the accountant in me. 🙂
Thanks again for the post! I always refer people to the website because of the value the writers provide. The courses are great, too.
Thanks Amandah! Yes Jon’s site and courses are amazing 🙂
Fantastic article, I’ve been writing my own articles for about two months now. Before that, I had zero experience in blogging and writing. I read blogs how to guides online and tried my best.
I’ve improved quite a lot, I still need more experience and reading your article has given me more confidence in my writing. Thank you.
So glad to hear that, Giovanni!
Great article! I’m working on an putting together an ultimate guide post, and this sparked some ideas.
We know very well, every post start with a powerful headline, it is the mainthing which have potential to engage audience for maximum time on post. Here you have shown amazing way to craft a powerful headline for a superb post.
These are really great points and need to implement before crafting a headline for post. A perfect headline needs lot of research to make it outstanding to crawl on internet. Eventually, thanks for sharing your valuable tips with us.
With best wishes,
Thank you for this article, this is what i needed and was searching for. I would like to start writing next summer and need tips like this. 🙂 Hope I will build a content that I will be later proud of.
This article is very amazing since i am a new blog writer it helped me a lot. Your article was a real learning exercise to me and also its giving me lot of boosts to write more.
Excellent read, your dedication shows in your content indeed. Great job! Quite a lot to take in, but most certainly worth applying. Learning to write high quality blog posts have a flip side to the coin, as online writing jobs become quite a favorite.
That’s a great point, Deon!
Nice read, it was a worth to read full article. It really represents the completeness of information that you have presented for every newbie blogger. Thanks for sharing such a nice topic.
Thanks for reading, Anveksha!
Writing a blog post that gets a real audience attention is a challenge, finding a mouth-watering topic is a real plus in writing a blog post. So I ‘ll give a +1 to the point choosing a good topic.
Hi Liz, great stuff, my favorite part of this post is selecting a mouth-watering topic, proper topic selection helps you to engage more traffic.We should alway provide unique information to the reader of which they haven’t heard about it ever before.
Agreed Bhavesh! Thanks for reading.
Hey Liz, you wrote an incredibly detailed post on a familiar topic in a splendid manner. I like the fact that you have offered plenty of advice that’s either new to me or breaks the norm. I agree with you that headlines that have numbers in them perform better than non-numeric headlines. I read a recent post by Neil Patel in a similar vein and he has tons of research that proves the same.
Additionally, the approach of making the benefit clear right at the outset is beneficial for the CTR. However further reading and engagement would depend on whether the author actually delivers the promised goods.
I hope to read more of you in the coming months. Keep up the great work!
Thanks so much, Amanda!
Thanks for the article Liz, it will really help me to write down an article, although my english is not good and i am learning it through online portals and hopefully soon i will be able to write some good articles.
Hi Liz, This is the longest posting i ever read. Full of useful points i need to apply on my blog and certainly need a lot of practice to master it. I usually run out of ideas after 700 words, always stops around that number. Great post.
Glad you enjoyed it, Yunar!
I have been trying but no traffic so which is the main issue , what do you suggest to get traffic for free and organic not long term
This article is an awesome checklist and will save us the trouble of Checking out the Blog Launch Formula video where Glen gave a kick ass presentation on the same topic. This is also a great resource for training new writers. Bookmarking this.
I will keep in mind next time while i will write a blog.
Wonderful post, you are going to be the next Neil Patel. Have you written on ” Site traffic”. I mean I have awful traffic on my blog. How can that be improved. Anyways, I am going to implement your tips on writing from next time.
Thank you for this beautiful post. Your post will be helpful for us in writing an effective blog post on our site.
Great post Liz! Thank you for sharing these tips on how to write a good blog post.
I have a lot to learn creating blog posts. Hopefully the tips on this page will help me to create something I’m proud to post online. I have many posts I’ve started but never feel they are ready. I best dust them off (update them) and get them posted. 🙂
I really appreciate your way of expressing all the points. It will really help me to write an awesome blog post. So thank you so much for providing this gem to us. Keep posting these type of articles. Thanks.
This was a great article. I will definitely apply these methods in my blog posts. Still, have a long way to go. Thanks a lot!
You mentioned each and everything a writer should follow. I have read hundreds of post related to content writing, and this is one of the best instruction posts for writers. I appreciate your hard work. 🙂
Thank you very much for this informative post. Really comprehensive. I am going to use these step which you have mentioned.
Liz Longacre, one of the best articles I have read on blogging. This has covered all the basic tips and tells you not to write mediocre blogs. Catchy headlines and emotional connection are two major factors in a post that you have to practice. I like how you have meticulously discussed about blogging here. Amazing article and thanks a ton.
I love adding inspirational bits in the end. I agree that blogposts should be written to change people’s lives.
Always go back to edit. No one writes perfectly in one go. Don’t be afraid to edit.
Really appreciated how you walked us through the process of writing a great blog post. Loved point #3 about “engaging the senses” I am using this point to make a previously dry review about small business startups more engaging to my readers
Really great blog post. I’ve been an SEO for nearly 6 years now and I’m very good at keyword focus, coming up with topics, and writing and executing. That being said, design is one area that I find escapes me the most.
I really enjoy the boxes you use to break up the text in the post, with the “examples” sections. How do you achieve this effect? It reminds me a lot of other nice blogs I see like Brian Dean’s and how he uses on-page elements to keep people on.
I have really enjoyed this piece and others and look forward to using your tips to improve my own site and grow! Thanks
Fantastic article! So much great data!
Thanks so much, Chris!
What a great and very in-depth article to improve our blogs! The examples of decent headlines and sub-headings versus exceptional headlines and subs are very helpful. We can clearly see the huge difference side by side and using your tips can now create better headlines ourselves. Obviously, it will take a little practice and some revisits to these tips, but I am looking forward to writing better blog posts and website pages. Thanks for all the help and advice.
So glad you found it helpful DJ Emir!
Hi, Thanks for your fresh post. Here I have a question for you. If I am starting with blogger is there any problem with this? I am here that after sometime google will disable account? So which platform is better for me? Thanks
I personally wouldn’t recommend starting with Blogger. Jon actually has a great article on this topic: https://smartblogger.com/how-to-start-a-blog/
Best of luck!
Nice post on how to write blog 2019, You really nailed it. Am impressed. Keep it up!
Thanks so much, Charles!
Hey Liz, Thanks for the wonderful post. Few questions: 1) How important is the questionable headline (nowadays every other articles headlines with how/what..?) 2) How important is the length of the content, 1500 or more as most of the top bloggers suggest? 3) If anyone decides to write an article of 1500 or more words. Is it good to break it down into sub-headers or paragraphs will do the same as sub-headers? Would be curious to know your thoughts! Thanks,
Hi Kuldeep, I might experiment with different types of headlines to see what works best for your audience but as mentioned in this post, ‘how to’ headlines are a great one to start with. In depth articles are good for SEO and perceived value but you can experiment with shorter articles as well if you like. For posts over 1,500 words, yes I would recommend breaking things up with subheads. My best advice is the more you write, the more you learn what works best for your audience so just keep writing 🙂
Hi Liz, Thanks for your feedback. So its more about diving deep into your own data to see what works & action accordingly.
Hi Liz, Thank you for sharing this informative article. I learned new things from you. It helped me a lot and I hope that it will also help others. I appreciate your efforts. Have a good day ahead.
Thanks Vicky, so glad this was helpful to you.
Hi Liz, Thank you for sharing this informative article. I learned new things from you
You’ve very welcome, Mirza!
Great, great article! I’m a total beginner, in fact i still have to write my first full post. And I have been very nervous lately because I had no idea how to develop it. This guide helped me so much to point me in the right direction and cleared my thoughts. Thanks!!
So glad to hear it, Alberto! Congrats on your first post!
Very useful tips on how to make money from blogging. What a great post, the information is well organized and very comprehensive. I can imagine the effort you put into this and especially appreciate you sharing it.
Thanks so much Adam.
Hi Liz, I am so grateful to have found your article. I’m an artist, and have finally gotten to a place where I am able to concentrate more on my art and to have an actual web page, (thanks to the help of my daughter) and to begin blogging.( I know that it is essential in today’s world for artists.) I’ve done a lot of research, as well as have a background in writing. You’re article is clear and informative, and I can’t wait to get started. Thank you!
So glad to hear it, Susan! Best of luck with your blogging & artistic endeavors!
Hi Liz, I have read it four times. Every time I got something new from the same source. The is an example of evergreen content.
Following your guideline, I have published a post today. I myself understand it become better than Else more posts in my blog.
“Without a headline, they have no roadmap to follow. And so their post goes in multiple directions, leaving readers feeling dizzy, confused and disoriented.”
This quote helps me a lot. Thanks for your efforts and generosity to us.
So glad this was helpful to you, Hasan!
Got briefly explained within you post “How to Write a Blog Post in 2019: The Ultimate Guide” love it. I’ll try in my blog techrecur. Appreciate your work, Thank you.
You’re most welcome!
I’ve noticed a lot of the examples of blogs used in the advice of Smartblogger articles always assumes the writer intends to write a “How To” blog, especially so in this article, particularly the section about motivation and advice the person can’t ignore.
What if someone actually wants write a blog to entertain and enlighten people, or change minds, or share thoughts, or do something other than cater to the endless deluge of problems people have and their need for self-help? For example, I might like to write articles analyzing the philosophical themes or real world accuracy in fiction, or give my thoughts on controversial social issues, or some other kind of article focused purely on engaging discussion and analysis.
This article’s focus seems too narrow and ill-equipped to give advice on such article topics.
Hi Jonathan, this post is meant to be a guide for beginner writers but by no means is it meant to cage you in. Please feel free to be as creative in your writing as you like!
I agree with your thoughts as you said that catchy title is a necessity of a perfect article. It should be like this if someone read this then he/she should click on the title to read the article. I have work experience on Uc news with 30+ million impressions on my article. In the start, I used to write the simple title with all details in title due to this CTR was so much low but when I start using curiosity in my title then my CTR increase like 5times to 7 times.
That’s great, Aaron! Thanks for reading!
Great Post. It’s by far the best guide for blogs I have read. I really liked how you said all the things in a not so boring way. In total Agreement with the thought of the catchy title. Keep writing such amazing blogs.
Thanks so much for your kind words, Oshin! So glad this was helpful.
Thanks for sharing this helpful & wonderful post. i really appreciate your hard work. this is very useful & informative for me.
thanks for sharing with us. thanks a lot.
You’re most welcome & thanks for reading!
Liz this is truly fantastic. As someone who with a team of 14 blog writers I loved this. You took a huge topic and made it manageable. What I really loved was this was all about SEO, keywords, meta tags, blah, blah. It was about creating damn good writing. Take good care of your girls.
Hugh, I so appreciate this. Thank you so much for these kind words.
Really great blog post. I’ve been an SEO for nearly 6 years now and I’m very good at keyword focus, coming up with topics, and writing and executing. That being said, design is one area that I find escapes me the most.
I really enjoy the boxes you use to break up the text in the post, with the “examples” sections. How do you achieve this effect? It reminds me a lot of other nice blogs I see like Brian Dean’s and how he uses on-page elements to keep people on.
Hi there, thanks so much! As far as the design here goes, I’m not quite sure, Jon’s team actually took care of that.
I agree with Step #5. Gone are the days that we write with a very formal and serious tone. The goal of a blog post is to entertain and that’s what I’m doing with my blog right now. I’d like to entertain as well as educate my readers. Thanks for this comprehensive blog post.
Thanks for reading, Valerie!
very useful tips on how to make money from blogging. What a great post, the information is well organized and very comprehensive
This is probably the most comprehensive guide to writing a blog post I’ve seen yet and I’ve read a lot of them. I’m a freelance writer in my real life so I thought writing amazing blog posts in my blogging life would be super easy — but not so much. I’m really struggling to create killer headlines that grab attention. That’s a great tip on comparing subheads to your headline to make sure they match, and that they don’t give too little or too much away.
Thanks so much, Rebecca! I can imagine how different it must feel to jump from freelance writing to blogging!
A Very Very Comprehensive article for copywriters like me for building content especially for small business blogs.Thanks for the Share Liz..
This is a really comprehensive and well-explained article. Great work !!!
Thanks for sharing this inspiring article which can help many to decide on the choices they make for a better blog writing experience.
Thank you Liz for this wonderful writeup. I’m not a very good writer but your article has helped improve my skills. Thanks for your help
Hey Liz Thanks a lot for your helpful article. I always try to write about somethin. But i can not write. Because i had not any writing skill and i do not khow how to write a proper article. After reading this helpful article, i think that i have learnt something and which help me to increase my writing skill. Thanks Liz
I learned so much! It was a lot of information but your format helped so much. It made note-taking so much easier! Thanks for a great article!
Hi, Liz, nice article. These tips will definitely improve anyones blogging skills. Thanks for sharing.
Hello Liz, What a masterpiece and an insightful guide! I wish I discovered this guide before I started my blog. Noted that I have been doing things wrongly, but I am glad that someone has opened my eyes. Thanks, Liz for this
hey Liz, I am to this, thats why i was confused how to start blogging. But after ready you guide, i found my lost confidence. Thanks a lot for sharing.
I was actually looking for the format of a blog but this is very helpful and I will keep this in mind.
Liz, I used to think I was good at writing until I started blogging. Now I realize how bad at this I am. Your guide is a great roadmap. Thanks
I totally agree with you that creating clear, concise and curiosity-invoking headlines makes a blog post more interesting!
Agreed with you Liz. Amazing information you have shared with us. Everyone should read this.
Well, like you said, give credit where its due. I believe this is one of the few articles that read from top to bottom. I was researching tips on how to write articles and blog posts that will engage your audience and I found your blog post. I already sent this article to my content team and advise them on reading through your article from top to bottom, because there is value to this. Thank you LIZ.
Liz – I just bookmarked this article (and I NEVER bookmark blog articles). My favourite is “quality over quantity”
Hi Liz, thanks for the article I must say I learnt something new today
Attention grabbing headlines and data driven posts are a way to go. You also want to include influencers in your post so as to help later when you start promoting. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Hello Liz Most of post that i read in past one thing is common that is user intent. It is the base of any article and post the intent is most useful thing. When you write something the basic information as writer is intent.Thanks for great work & good to know some more information Cheers !
Your step by step guide will help me to write well optimized the blog posts for my site. Thanks for sharing this with us.
A very good guide. Content is King and every blogger knows that. Writing a Quality blog post is very important in blogging. You have crafted some amazing tips to write a good blog post. Keep Going.
very informative guide on Writing a Blog Post, i will use your tips for my blog, i want to increase my user engagement by writing google quality article, now i know how to do this, thanks for sharing this guide
Dear Liz, I don’t know which words used to tell you that this guide is the richest complete article I have ever found on the web. I read this article for at least 4 hours line by line to make sure I didn’t miss even one line.
I congratulate you deeply. I love all the sincere advice you share in the article, especially when you say you have to be generous and leave advice that is hard to forget. Share everything with the reader, it’s like attracting him to register or buy services. Without lying to you, the character you talk about in the conclusion is me. ahahah.
I am the one who always concludes the articles and I throw a new tips or advice in the conclusions. I learned a lot. Sincerely, thank you and I would not hesitate to recommend this guide to other friends even if they are more French-speaking.
Most alluring articles I have read in recent days. The hardest part is to articulate the strategies that would understand people with ease. You are a girl boss in articulating strategies. I am going to work out this strategy in my upcoming articles. Keep posting interesting ones.
I have recently started writing blogs for a company that I work for called Job Vacancy Result. I am also planning to start with my own blog page. This content was surely insightful. Helped me understand the nitty-gritty of Blog writing. Thank you!
This is something perfect. I was looking for this guide for so long. finally! I would like to implement it on my blog as well. Thank you.
Hello Liz, thank you for the extensive instructions! That saved me some beginner mistakes. I only recently started my own blog (on finance and saving money) and have been on your side ever since when I want to know something about WordPress and the like.
Best regards, Fadila
Hey Liz, Thanks a lot for bringing this entire information in one post. This is really helpful. I would definitely get back with the results after implementing them.
Fantastic! Your step by step guide will help me to write well optimized the blog posts for my site. Thanks for sharing this with us.
This a fantastic post. Your subheading is so accurate and intriguing, which made me read the complete content. The checklist is definitely handy.
Your blog is a great resource for me as I am building my own. I think I’m going to learn a lot from you.
Excellent post. Wanna thank you so much for bringing this such an informative article to us. It really gonna helps many of us.
Thankyou again Best Regards 🙂
Very good article. Thanks for sharing such an informative blog. 🙂
I always wonder, why my blog post doesn’t outrank my competitors. Then I Google it to find how to write a great blog post, thankfully I reached here. I got the answer and am ready to craft a blog post that fulfills users’ intent along with search engines. Thank you, Liz.
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How to Write a Good Blog Post: 12 Expert Tips (2023)
H ave you ever read a great piece of content that really stuck with you? Are you wondering how to write a good blog post that makes an impact? Writing great blog posts isn't easy. But it's not rocket science either!
In today’s article, I’ll tell you what makes a good blog and share some tips on how to write a good blog post that’ll bring in a lot of traffic. So let’s begin!
What Makes a Good Blog Post?
If you think that writing a good blog post just means using the right words, you’re mistaken.
There are a lot of other factors that contribute to making your blog post a success.
In fact, it’s possible (and even pretty common!) to be a great writer but not so great at blogging .
How’s that possible? Well, suppose you drafted an article that’s very well-researched and detailed and includes all the information your readers are looking for.
But it’s SO well-researched and informative that your paragraphs are really long and it’s hard to read. Maybe you forgot to add images or other media content in the fear of interrupting the flow of your article. Because it looks like a big wall of text, people are more likely to hit the “back” button than to stay and read the whole thing.
Do you think people would call that a good post?
So apart from the words themselves, you also need to consider…
- How easy is it to read?
- How visually engaging is the post?
- How well does it answer your readers’ questions?
- How will it keep attracting more traffic?
To help you publish an amazing piece, I’ll show you how to answer all these questions and more.
Ready? Let’s get started with our expert blog writing tips.
Expert Tips for Writing a Blog Post
Being a good writer is tough. But with a little practice and some research, it won’t take you long to join the ranks of other great bloggers.
So let’s check out how you too can come up with a blog post that you have always wanted to create when you started a blog .
1. Choose a Good Topic
The first step towards writing a blog post is to pick a good topic.
You’ll need to find out what your followers want to know and read about, so your post will continue to get traffic after it’s published.
Try to base the post on reader feedback, a known problem in the industry, or competition analysis .
Platforms like BuzzSumo can help you figure out what topics are trending. Check out our list of SEO tools for more suggestions on how to come up with blog post ideas that are search engine optimized.
If you need help, here are some blog post ideas to get you started.
2. Do Your Research
Once you have your idea, make sure to research the front page of Google and your main competitors at this stage to see how you can improve on what’s out there. If you can’t write a high quality post that’s better than theirs, don’t bother!
You don’t need to be an expert on the topic, but you do need to do your research to make sure you’re adding value.
3. Take Notes and Start an Outline
While you do your research keep a notebook handy where you can take down the important points and outline your topic.
Okay, if not a notebook at least keeps a Google doc tab open. I like using Google docs because, unlike using a notebook, I don’t have to bother about losing it.
4. Start Drafting Your Blog Post
Now that you have the outline, you can sit down to write your post. I generally like drafting it directly on my WordPress dashboard. It saves a lot of time and extra effort if I don’t have to copy and paste it from somewhere else later.
Are you struggling to start writing, or keep getting stuck or distracted? See our tips on how to write faster and you’ll be churning out more posts in no time!
5. Hook Your Readers With a Great Opening
If you can hook your readers with a good opening consider half your work to be done. Because if your introduction is boring, people wouldn’t bother to read the rest.
Many writers find it easier to write the body of the blog post first, and save writing the intro for last.
A good way to write a great introduction is to pose a question addressing the reader’s problem. Then you can tell them how reading your post can help them tackle it.
This is a great way to grab your readers’ attention, and they’ll definitely want to read it till the end in the hope of finding the solution.
6. Write Like You Talk
Don’t overlook the style and tone of your writing. Both these elements can make a big difference.
Writing like you’re talking to your reader can make them feel like they’re having a conversation with someone, rather than actually reading a post.
Your readers will feel like you’re talking to them one-one-one to help them figure out a problem that you can relate to. This is great for building a loyal readership.
7. Make It Scannable
People usually don’t read blog posts word-for-word. Instead, they scan them for the information they’re looking for.
That’s why it’s important to format your posts in a way that’s easy to scan. It’ll help your readers to get the info they’re looking for quickly, so they’re more likely to stick around your blog.
Here are a few ways you can make your blog posts scannable:
- Use Subheadings : Subheadings help your readers to see the main topics of your post, and will help you to stay organized and on track when writing.
- Write Short Sentences : Short sentences are much easier to read. Long sentences can make it complicated to understand.
- Keep Paragraphs Short : When your paragraphs are too long, it’s harder to read. I recommend using 2-4 sentences in most of your paragraphs, with some 1-sentence paragraphs to grab the eye.
- Use Bullet Points : Whenever you have a list, you can use bullet points to make your message precise and clear and easy to scan, instead of listing items in a sentence.
If you use these tips to make your text visually engaging, your readers will be more likely to read the whole post.
8. Use Images for Visual Engagement
A simple image has the power to make a boring post much more fun and engaging.
What you fail to explain in words, can be done with just a single image or a screenshot. Besides, it breaks the monotony of words and offers a refreshing visual break to the reader keeping them engaged for longer.
9. Include a Compelling Call to Action
Your post can’t be called a successful one unless you can convince your users to take action on the site.
What should your call to action ( CTA ) be? You could ask your readers to:
- Sign up to your email newsletter (must read, “ how to create an email newsletter “)
- Leave a comment
- Share your post on social media
- Buy your product
It’s best to stick to one CTA so your readers aren’t distracted.
For your CTA to be compelling, put yourself in the readers’ shoes and talk about the benefits of taking action. What’s in it for them?
10. Add a Featured Image
Believe it or not, your readers won’t waste more than 2 seconds to decide whether or not to click on your post. If you want a positive response you need to have a plan.
Adding an eye-catching featured image to your post is a great way to get more clicks, shares, and engagement.
Shutterstock, Unsplash , and Pixabay are great platforms to help you find an appealing image to use. You can also use Canva if you like them edited. If you need more help, here’s how you can create great featured images for your blog posts .
11. Level Up Your SEO
If you think you know how to write a good blog post but it doesn’t get any traffic, you’re missing a step!
For your post to have a lot of readers, you need to level up your SEO, we have published a separate post dedicated to SEO tips for bloggers . If you’re using an SEO plugin like All in One SEO (assuming you have already installed it on your site), a lot of your work is done.
You need to add a focus keyword, add a title with the keywords in it, and also add an SEO title and meta description.
Your text also needs to have more than 300 words. However, I would recommend you to keep your word count to at least 1000 words.
Further, the images in your post need to be properly optimized too. Make sure they’re the right size and have descriptive names before you upload them. Each image should also have proper alt tags and categories.
For more details, see our ultimate SEO guide for bloggers .
12. Publish at the Right Time
Now you’re ready to publish!
The final step is to read out your post to yourself. This helps you identify errors and lets you rectify them before you hit the publish button. Do a quick read over for spelling and formatting but don’t waste too much time.
Hit publish at a peak time. For me that’s between 8 am and 10 am on Monday, Wednesday or Friday on East Coast USA time.
And that’s how to write a good blog post! Wasn’t too difficult, was it? Just follow these quick steps and see how you can master the art of writing a good blog post in no time.
Meanwhile, if you want to get more traffic quickly, here’s a guide that can help you.
Examples of Some Perfect Blog Posts
It wouldn’t be right to finish this post without showing you some of the most perfect blog posts that I’ve seen out there in the wild.
- 164 Best Email Subject Lines to Boost Your Email Open Rates This post on OptinMonster is ultra-useful and comprehensive, and has great multimedia content as well. There’s a video and original graphics to keep readers interested and also attract links and shares.
- Paleo Diet Beginner Guide: 7 Things to Know Before Eating Like a Caveman Steve Kamb’s post over at Nerd Fitness has had over 2,000 comments and 45,000 likes on Facebook. It’s a massively detailed article with photos, videos and even it’s own app! Incredible value for anyone searching the topic.
- 40 Most Common WordPress Errors and How to Fix Them WPBeginner’s ultimate guide to WordPress errors is great because it’s comprehensive, but also easy for beginners to follow. This is a great example of a perfect tutorial post for beginners.
Do You Have a Perfect Blog Post?
Have you ever written a blog post that went viral or brought you a heaps of awesome results? I’d be really keen to hear about how you did it!
Before you publish your next post, use our ultimate blog post checklist to make sure you create the perfect post.
If you liked this post then be sure to check out guides on how to start a blog and how to install WordPress .
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thanks for sharing wonderful article
When I was learning about blogging in 2016, I found your blog, ShoutMeLoud, Backlinko, Neil Patel, SPI and WPBeginner very helpful.
You guys always offer helpful and highly informative articles.
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you, Inu!
great article thanks for the information
Great post, I really find it very useful as I’m thinking to start my blog so it really helps me.
Thanks, Daisy, let us know when you start your blog.
David, I am a great fan of your writing. I totally agree research make sure you’re adding value.
I notes these points and found them helpful, I will try to apply these on my work and will tell you about the results soon.
It was a great post! I liked how you have made this blog visually appealing that allows users to read it without toggling between tabs. Good work!
You certainly understand what you’re referring to, thanks for the info.
Thank you, for this amazing blog, everything is well explained step by step.
Fantastic article, I’m a big writing fan. I fully cooperate with work to ensure that you contribute positively. Inshort, I really find it really interesting, because I guess it encourages me to start my article.
I am going to start my blog writing career. The guidelines that you have described were so much precise & easy to understand. I am really thankful to you.
Glad you found the article helpful, Ovi. Good luck on your writing career! If you’re interested, you might want to check out our guide on freelance blogging as well. 🙂
Thanks for detailed information.
I always visit WPBginner and Blog Tyrant whenever I get stuck.
Curious to know the plug-in that you guys are using to create the numbered list.
Thanks Santosh! If you’re referring to the numbered headings in this post, I think they are custom.
This is really helpful, thanks.
Great article, with lots of useful tips.
I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts. Thanks for sharing us.
Thank you for the information , it’s very useful to me, I just started blogging this month and get frustrated in designing my theme, so I decided to leave it until I have money to buy a customizable theme, so I just want to focus on writing my blog post. Thank you very much, it will really help me a lot.
Hey Bilikis, have you checked out Blog Tyrant’s post on the best WordPress themes for bloggers ? It includes some free, customizable options!
Hello. I am extremely happy to come across this post that gave me accurate information on writing a high-quality blog post. Thank you!
It’s very helpful your words for a beginner like me. You have explained very well with easy words. Thank you very much.
Love from Kerala, India.
You put the you in thank you!
doesn’t tell me how to get the words to wrap nicely around the images or how to fix the big gaps between paragraphs with photos.
Hi Susan, here’s a guide on how to add and align images in the WordPress block editor .
Great post! Thanks so much for the ideas and info!
Your post is very helpful, thank you for sharing the ideas, I look forward to writing a better blog post.
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How to Write a Blog Post (That People Actually Want to Read) in 9 Steps
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If a blog post is published and no one reads it, is it still a blog post?
Anyone can write a blog post. But not everyone can create one that people want to read.
In this post, you’ll learn how to write blog posts that actually get readers.
Let’s get started.
Step 1. Find a proven topic
A proven topic is a topic that people want to read about.
If you’re familiar with the niche, then this shouldn’t be a biggie. You probably already have a lot of ideas you want to cover. Open Google Docs and write all of them down (use a notepad if you prefer analog).
Otherwise, there’s no better way to find proven topics than to write about topics people are searching for. After all, if there are many people searching for the same topic month after month, then it’s very likely it’s something they want to read about.
Here’s how to find these topics:
- Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
- Enter a term relevant to your site or niche
- Go to the Matching terms report
- Switch the tab to Questions
Shop around a little and look for the topics that interest you. Make a list—5 to 10 should be enough to start with.
Ideally, they should have some traffic potential too. Our metric, Traffic Potential, is the estimated amount of search traffic you can potentially gain if you rank #1 for that topic. You can see if a topic has Traffic Potential by looking at the TP column.
Step 2. Decide on the angle of your post
With more than 4.4 million new blog posts published each day, your blog post has to stand out. Otherwise, it won’t get discovered and no one will read it.
The key ingredient here is novelty.
According to Julian Shapiro , there are five novelty categories:
- Counter-intuitive – “Oh, I never realized the world worked that way.”
- Counter-narrative – “Wow, that’s not how I was told the world worked!”
- Shock and awe – “That’s crazy. I would have never believed it.”
- Elegant articulations – “Beautiful. I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
- Make someone feel seen – “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel!”
For example, check out this blog post by finance writer Morgan Housel :
He states something that is counter-intuitive to what most people know and think. The best idea or “truth” doesn’t win—instead, the best story does. This is incredibly compelling to people in his field of finance. Indeed, it stands out from the other news-based, fact-driven kind of articles they read.
Morgan does this all the time. He rarely writes about finance directly—instead, he’s always looking at the topic from the lenses of history, biology, anthropology, psychology, and more. It makes his posts unique, and the angle of his articles always stands out.
It’s what you must do. So take your time and think of an angle that is unique and novel to your target audience. Use these questions to get started:
- Do you have personal experience with this topic? For example, if you’ve successfully implemented the keto diet, you can write about your experience and how you did it.
- Can you interview experts? For example, you can interview an expert about the latest research and findings in the keto world.
- Can you crowdsource opinions and ideas? For example, if you’re writing about making keto-friendly ice cream, you can crowdsource recipes.
- Can you provide data or back your post with science? Consider running a study (if possible) or looking through scientific research papers.
- Can you be contrarian? Don’t be the devil’s advocate just for the sake of it. But if you truly have an opinion that’s opposite to everyone else’s, it can be a great angle.
If you’re blogging with SEO in mind, then you’ll likely have to match search intent. Search intent is the why behind a search query. We can look at the current top-ranking pages to figure it out.
Specifically, we want to understand the three Cs of search intent:
- Content type – Is there a dominant type of content on the SERP, such as blog posts, product pages, videos, or landing pages? If you followed step #1, this is most likely a blog post.
- Content format – Is there a dominant content format on the SERP, such as guides, listicles, news articles, opinion pieces, or reviews?
- Content angle – Is there a dominant angle on the SERP, such as freshly updated content or content aimed at beginners?
For example, let’s look at the topic of “date ideas”:
- Content type – They’re all blog posts.
- Content format – They’re all listicles.
- Content angle – A potential angle is “fun date ideas.”
If you’re writing about this topic, you may have to create something similar.
But note that this is not a rule but a guideline. Even if your post is ranking high on Google, it still has to stand out from the rest of the ranking articles. So it goes back to finding a novel and unique angle for your article. If you can create one that’s better than the other top-ranking articles, go for it.
Step 3. Create an outline
The hardest part of writing is facing the blank page. It is possible to sit in front of your computer for six hours and churn nothing out. It happens to the best of us.
Creating an outline “solves” this problem. When you have an outline, you’re not writing from scratch. Instead, you’re filling the “gaps” in it.
What’s even better is that you don’t have to create the outline from scratch either. Spend enough time online, and you’ll realize that most blog posts’ structures are pretty much the same.
So don’t be afraid to use templates. For example, we use this template for almost all our list-style posts:
Here are three more templates for other blog post styles you can use.
When you have the skeletal structure in place, the next step is to figure out what you need to fill in, especially the H2s, H3s, H4s, and more. Here are some ideas to help you out:
A. Use your personal experience and expertise
Nothing beats your own experience and expertise. If you know there’s a right way to do something, use that knowledge to create your outline.
For example, I’ve been breakdancing for more than 10 years now. If I had to create a blog post on how to do the six-step, I wouldn’t even need to do any research—I can simply pour the information directly from my brain.
B. Run a content gap analysis
If there are subtopics that almost all the top-ranking pages cover, then it’s likely that they’re important to readers too.
Here’s how to find these subtopics:
- Paste a few top-ranking URLs for your main topic into Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool
- Leave the bottom section blank
- Hit Show keywords
- Set the Intersection filter to 3 and 4 targets
Here, you’ll see that these pages are ranking for subtopics like:
- What is inbound marketing.
- Inbound marketing strategies.
- Inbound marketing examples.
If you’re writing a blog post on “inbound marketing,” they’ll likely make good H2s.
Note that your goal is not to copy and rephrase the top-ranking pages. The internet’s full of that—cookie-cutter content no one’s interested in.
Your goal is simply to use top-ranking pages as inspiration. If they make good points, you can consider including them in your post. If they’re stating something that’s completely wrong, then even better—take the chance to correct the misconceptions.
Step 4. Write your first draft
With your outline in place, it’s time to flesh that skeleton out into a rough draft.
I write mostly in Google Docs. An immediate perk is that I can turn the headings I’ve created into actual headings. I just have to click the “Styles” dropdown on the menu and change them:
You’ll be able to see your outline on the side too:
From here, use your headers as a guide and write your first draft. This stage is all about “getting it out.” That means:
- Avoiding any interruptions to your writing.
- Not self-censoring as you go along.
- Not repeatedly rearranging your outline to make things flow better.
- Not rewriting the same sentence 10 times just because it “doesn’t read quite right.” 😅
I know, I know. It’s easier said than done. Still, try to minimize interruptions. There’s time to edit for perfection later—this stage is all about getting everything down on paper (or screen) so you have something tangible to work with. As author Shannon Hale writes:
I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.
One “trick” you can consider is to use the Pomodoro Technique . It’s my go-to if I’m stuck, distracted, or procrastinating.
The basic idea: Set a timer for 25 minutes, write as much as you can, then take a break for five minutes. Rinse and repeat. You can use a Chrome extension like Marinara to automate your Pomodoros.
- State the P roblem
- A gitate the problem by digging more into the pain (felt by the reader)
- Offer a potential S olution
Here’s what it looks like in the wild:
Step 5. Polish and edit your post
“ I have rewritten—often several times—every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.” Vladimir Nabokov, Novelist
Here’s the surprise: Even though the activity is known as “writing,” the magic is not in that. Rather, it’s in the editing phase where the true blog post appears.
This stage—after you’re done with your first draft—is all about editing, polishing, trimming, and rewriting.
My recommendation is to only edit after one or two days have passed. Why? Because you’re too emotionally invested when you’re first done drafting. The time gap will be helpful to remove this attachment so you can actually edit with fresh eyes.
Here’s what you can do during the editing process:
- Use Grammarly – Great for checking grammar mistakes.
- Read your draft out loud – Catch where it doesn’t flow well.
- Break up long sentences – Turn sentences with endless “ands” and “thats” into short, punchier ones.
- Add formatting where relevant – Images, GIFs, bullets, numbered lists, bold, italics, and more make your writing easier to read.
- Pepper in “flow” – Wherever the opportunity arises, consider adding transition words and cliffhangers so that the rhythm of your post is not static.
You should also pay extra attention to your intro, as that is how your reader will decide if they will continue reading.
When you’re done with the self-editing, get feedback from someone else. If you have an editor to show your draft to, great. Otherwise, a friend or colleague works absolutely fine as well.
What’s important here is to get an impartial pair of eyes on your work.
Chances are that a third party will be able to point out things like logical loopholes and poor flow that you won’t be able to spot on your own.
We do this for every blog post at Ahrefs. We even “call out” the contributors:
When they’re done, incorporate their feedback where relevant. Build off their ideas and opinions to produce the best piece of work possible.
Take the time to think about each point that was made. Set aside your ego and really try to see things from a third party’s perspective: Which points do you agree with, which are you unsure about, and which do you definitely not agree with?
Make edits based on the suggestions you believe in and leave out the things you feel strongly against (but be sure to have a logical explanation for doing this). If you’re on the fence, it all comes down to how much you trust the person giving you feedback.
Also, be careful not to accidentally adopt the writing style of a third party, especially if they give feedback in long form or if you’re incorporating many of their suggestions. Again, if possible, take a break from drafting and work on something else. Then, when you come back to it, try and rewrite the section in your own voice and style.
Now is the time to rewrite sentences until they “sound right” or rearrange your points over and over again until they flow the best they can.
Keep getting feedback and revising your draft until you’re happy with the final product.
Step 6. Create an amazing headline
“ On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy.” David Ogilvy, Advertising Tycoon
Your headline is one of the most important aspects of your blog post. It determines whether someone decides to click through and read. So you should take the time and polish it until it is compelling.
Don’t stop on the first headline you create. Come up with a few and see which one looks best. Viral site Upworthy notoriously created 25 headlines for each article it published.
I’m not asking you to create clickbait headlines like it. But the exercise can be a fruitful one. As singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran puts it, and I paraphrase, “It helps to clear the wastewater from the faucet.”
That said, here are some tips for writing better headlines:
- Use “power words” – Words like “remarkable” and “noteworthy” help trigger an emotional response. Sprinkling one or two can make your headlines more compelling.
- Add parentheses – Parentheses strengthen your title tag by adding the “icing on the cake.”
- How to Write an Irresistible Headline in 3 Easy Steps
- 7 Blog Title Formulas That Get Clicks (With Examples)
Step 7. Sprinkle on your on-page SEO
Even if you’re not blogging with SEO in mind, you’ll want search engines like Google to find your post and rank it. After all, Googling is still one of the major ways people discover new content to read online.
It’s a good idea to follow simple SEO best practices for every blog post you’re publishing. At the basic level, you should:
- Include the topic in the title – You’ve probably naturally included this while you were brainstorming your headlines. After all, if you’re writing about intermittent fasting, it’s difficult to not mention it. Don’t worry if you haven’t, though; a close variation works too.
- Write a compelling meta description – This is not a Google ranking factor, but it helps to “sell” your article in the search results.
- Use short, descriptive URLs – This type of URLs makes it easy for searchers to understand what your post is about. The simplest way is to make the slug your topic.
- Add alt text to your images – Google uses alt text to understand images. Create a concise but accurate one for every image you use.
- Link to internal and external resources – Cite other people where relevant. It’s also helpful for readers who want to learn more.
If you’re using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, installing plugins like Yoast or RankMath can make doing all of this a cinch.
Recommended reading: On-Page SEO: The Beginner’s Guide
Step 8. Publish your post
You’re finally ready to publish your post!
Upload your post into your CMS. Or if you’re using WordPress and have some budget, consider using Wordable . This allows you to do a one-click upload from Google Docs into WordPress. Really easy.
Then give it another quick look to make sure all’s looking good. Finally, hit “publish”!
Step 9. Promote your post
It’s the truth—blogging is extremely competitive today. Your content, no matter how good, will not be discovered by itself. You need to go out and let people know it exists.
Consider using some of these tactics to promote your content:
- Share it with your audience – You may think you don’t have an “audience,” especially if you’re just starting out. But you have friends, family, colleagues, and followers on existing social media accounts. Share it with them! They’ll be your biggest supporters. Then, over time, as you build up your audience (e.g., an email list ), you can share your articles with them too.
- Email people you mentioned in your content – Find the emails of those people you’ve cited or linked to and reach out to them. They’ll be happy to know they’ve been featured.
- Share your content in relevant communities – Facebook groups, Slack communities, Discord, Reddit, and forums—if you are a member of any communities, you can consider sharing your content there. But remember, don’t spam!
Recommended reading: 13 Content Promotion Tactics to Get More Eyeballs on Your Content
Hopefully, this post has shown you writing a blog post that people want to read is not a difficult process. You can do it too.
Now, go on and get started—that blog post isn’t going to write itself.
Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter .
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Si Quan Ong
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Our 8-Step Guide for How to Write a Pro Blog Post
If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you’re undoubtedly familiar with blog posts. After all, you’re reading one right now. Blog posts are the individual entries that comprise a blog, like episodes of a TV show or entries in a journal.
Blogging can serve multiple purposes. For one, it’s a great way to establish yourself as an authority on your area of expertise. It can also be an effective way to drive traffic to your website and educate people about the topics you’re passionate about. Additionally, a blog is the perfect place to showcase your writing .
Write with confidence Grammarly helps your blog posts shine Write with Grammarly
What is a blog post?
A blog post is a single piece of content published on a blog, a shortened form of the now-archaic term weblog , which is an online platform for publishing written content . A blog can be a section of a website or a standalone website of its own. The blog you’re currently reading is an example of the former, while The Pioneer Woman is an example of the latter. Both are composed of blog posts, pieces of content that each cover a single topic and may (but don’t have to!) include images and videos alongside the written content.
Written content is a key component of a blog post. A YouTube channel isn’t a blog because it’s purely video—it can be considered a vlog , short for video log . Similarly, a feed of purely still images, like an Instagram account, isn’t a blog.
In the earlier days of social media, when platforms like MySpace and Live Journal dominated the scene, blogging and social media were much more entwined than they are today. Now, they’re largely separate, though many bloggers promote and cross-post their work on their social media accounts to drive traffic to their blogs and promote their personal brand.
Types of blog posts
Blog posts can be standalone pieces or parts of a longer series. They also come in a variety of formats:
In a how-to blog post, the blogger explains the steps the reader needs to take to complete a task. Recipe blog posts are a popular example of a how-to blog post.
Also known as a “listicle,” a portmanteau of list and article, a list-based blog post is one that’s organized as a list of related entries. This could be a list of products, historical events, quotes, images, or unusual and intriguing facts, the kind of listicle Cracked.com made famous. You’ll find list-based posts on lots of blogs, like BuzzFeed , Bored Panda , and right here on the Grammarly blog.
A news article blog post links to a trending news article and provides the blogger’s thoughts on that news article. It isn’t just a repost of the news article; it includes insights that build upon, speculate about, agree, or disagree with the information covered in the news article.
In this kind of post, the blogger introduces a person they’ve interviewed and provides some background information about the interviewee and their work. Following this is a transcript of the interview, sometimes interspersed with additional information written by the blogger. You can find interviews on many different blogs, such as Rotten Tomatoes’ blog .
In a review post, the blogger reviews a movie, video game, TV show, book, product . . . anything, really. What’s Good at Trader Joes? is a well-known example of a blog that focuses on product review posts. A review post can focus on one product or piece of media or it can be structured like a list-based post. You can find examples of the latter on 99designs , where they often review design software and website platforms.
A personal blog post, like a personal essay , is where the author discusses their personal experiences, thoughts, and/or opinions. Usually, you’ll find these kinds of posts on personal blogs rather than corporate or professional blogs. However, a blogger who usually publishes other kinds of blog posts might publish personal blog posts from time to time to build a more personal connection with readers.
An explainer blog post is similar to a how-to blog post in that it provides a thorough, objective explanation of its topic. The difference is that this kind of blog post isn’t necessarily presented in a linear, step-by-step format and doesn’t necessarily explain how to complete a task.
This type of blog post might explain the social and economic trends that led to a specific historical event or the basics of a given topic. Coinbase’s blog contains lots of explainer posts, such as a piece on how to keep your cryptocurrency secure.
Sometimes, blogs publish lengthy explainer posts that aim to provide comprehensive overviews of their topics. These blog posts are often labeled “ultimate guide” or something similar.
As the name implies, an image-based blog post is a post that focuses on images. The post could be an infographic or it could be a post consisting of multiple images. No matter which it is, it contains at least some copy to give the reader some context for the images—that’s what makes it a blog post and not an image gallery.
How to write a blog post
Ready to start blogging ? Follow these steps to write a great post and effectively reach your target audience.
Set up your blog
Before you can write a blog post, you need to actually have a blog. If you already have a website, find out if you can create a blog on the platform you’re using. Many of the templates available on widely used website platforms like Squarespace and Joomla make it easy for you to start blogging right on your website.
If you aren’t able to create a blog through your web hosting/design platform—or if you don’t have a website—you’ll need to build your blog from scratch. There are lots of ways to do this, some involving more technical skills than others. You can opt for an out-of-the-box platform like Wix or Squarespace, or you can go with a more DIY option like WordPress.
Setting up your blog means determining a budget for your blog. You’ll need to pay for the following:
- The domain name
- Design services (unless you opt to design the blog yourself)
- Blog writing and/or editing (unless you plan to do all of this work yourself)
Running a blog can be free, but keep in mind this generally means you can’t use a custom domain name and you’ll probably have ads on your site. For a low-budget personalized blog, expect to spend about a hundred dollars to set everything up and cover a year’s worth of hosting. In some cases, blogs cost thousands of dollars to build and operate—these are usually high-traffic blogs with custom-designed templates requiring a large amount of bandwidth.
As your blog grows, you can offset costs by selling ad space on your blog. Another strategy some bloggers use to reduce costs is affiliate marketing, which is where you link to an affiliate partner’s online product listings in your content; you receive a cut of the revenue they make through your placement of their link(s).
Blogging without your own website
Instead of setting up their own blogs, some bloggers opt to publish on large, public platforms instead. One of these platforms is Medium. Another is Tumblr, which hearkens to the early days of social media by combining social and blogging features in one platform.
If you stick with blogging and make a name for yourself, you can also explore guest blogging on larger, established blogs. Many of these blogs publish mostly, or even only, posts by guest bloggers. And you can get paid for doing it!
Choose your topic
Once you’ve got your blog up and running, it’s time to choose the topic for your first post.
What can you easily and passionately write about? If your blog is affiliated with your business, brainstorm ideas for blog posts that provide value to your target audience while promoting your brand. For example, let’s say you run a dog-walking business. Think about the kinds of things your clients would want to read about—the titles they’d click on, read, and ideally share with others. You might come up with a few different topics:
- Choosing a pet-safe ice melt for your sidewalk this winter
- How many calories does my dog burn on an average walk?
- Are pack walks safe? How many dogs are too many for one handler?
- How to get your dog acclimated to a new harness in no time
Ask your clients about the kinds of topics they’d like to read about on your blog. You might be surprised by what they suggest! Another great way to come up with topics to cover on your blog is to take a look at the kind of content others in your industry are publishing. That doesn’t mean you should steal ideas or plagiarize their work; find ways to take inspiration from competitors’ blog posts and cover similar topics from a different angle and in your own unique voice.
Write an outline
With any writing project, following the writing process enables you to craft a thoughtful, well-developed piece. Blog posts are no exception. After you’ve determined a topic for your first blog post, create an outline . List your working title and the key points you want to hit in your post. These key points will likely become separate sections, each with its own header and subheaders.
An easy way to write an outline for your blog post is to follow a similar structure to an essay . Your blog post starts with an introduction , which is then followed by body sections and then finally, the conclusion . But unlike an essay, a blog post’s conclusion includes a call to action. (We’ll talk more about that in a bit.)
Once your outline is complete, it’s time to start writing! There are lots of great, free apps you can use to write a blog post , like Google Docs and WriteRoom.
Hook your reader and keep them scrolling to the end
In any kind of writing, the hook is one of the most important parts. This sentence or paragraph is the part that grabs the reader’s attention and promises that their curiosity will be satisfied if they keep reading.
There are lots of ways to hook your readers’ attention , and the ideal way for each blog post depends on the audience and the subject the post is covering. One popular type of hook is to present a startling fact. To go back to our example titles for the dog walker, an effective hook for the post on pet-safe ice melts might be about how toxic many standard ice melts are to pets’ paws. Another effective way to hook readers is to directly address one or more of their pain points . For the example title about acclimating a dog to a new harness, this kind of hook might acknowledge a few things: how frustrating it is to get a dog to let you put a new harness on them; how this wastes precious walking time; and how you could waste money on harnesses your dog refuses to wear.
Give your readers a solid call to action
A call to action is a short phrase that asks the reader to do something. In a blog post, this might be to leave a comment, make a purchase, subscribe to your newsletter, or simply to read a related post next. Calls to action generally make use of direct-response copywriting principles, like making very specific requests and creating a sense of urgency. Here are a few examples of calls to action:
- Like what you see? Head over to my shop and order your custom print now.
- Want to learn more about reading tarot cards like a pro? Check out my post on the major arcana’s astrological associations.
- I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below and tell me whether you agree or disagree and why.
Don’t forget to edit and proofread!
Read through the draft carefully and take note of any spots where your writing feels awkward, choppy, or even excessively wordy. Editing resources like Grammarly, various writing books, and even your own network of fellow writers can help you become a stronger editor by making you more attuned to issues in your work.
Enhance your blog post with engaging, relevant images
Why do kids like picture books? Because the illustrations bring the story to life.
The same thing happens when you include images in your blog posts. Images break up the text and give your readers short breaks as they work through your content. In explainer and how-to blog posts, they can also help readers visualize the points you’re making in your text—and even help them avoid making mistakes by demonstrating what their project should look like as they complete it step by step.
Use SEO strategies to reach a wider audience
SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is a category of strategies bloggers and other website operators use to increase their websites’ visibility. The better your SEO strategy, the higher your website ranks, or shows up, in search engine results. The goal is to have your blog be the first listing that comes up when people search for specific keywords.
Keywords are just one component of SEO. Here are other ways to improve your blog’s SEO:
- Organizing your content neatly. This means no walls of text (we’ll get to those in a moment) and clear headers to separate sections within the blog post.
- Relevant embedded images with the appropriate keywords in their metadata. Metadata is the data that gives more context to images, like their alt descriptions and file names.
- Keeping your blog post to an SEO-friendly length. As of 2021, the ideal blog length for SEO purposes is 1,760-2,400 words . Don’t take this as a requirement, though—generally, posts that clock in at 1,000 words or longer rank well, and even blog posts as short as 300 words can rank well if they utilize other SEO strategies. Your blog post should be as long as it needs to be; don’t artificially lengthen it just for the sake of SEO. That’s because another key component of SEO is . . .
- Value. Above all, make sure your blog post actually provides relevant, valuable information for your readers.
Your website platform might include analytics tools you can use to see how well your blog and individual posts are performing. By “performing,” we mean how many people visit your website and how long they spend on the website, both indicators of your content being effective.
Tips for writing a great blog post
Keep it conversational.
A blog post is a relatively informal, often fun piece of writing. Although there are plenty of technical blogs on the web, you’ll notice that even these tend to maintain a fairly conversational tone when explaining niche and complex topics.
Notice how most blog posts use the second person and speak directly to the reader. You would never do that in a piece of academic or professional writing. Also notice how plenty of blog posts, on topics ranging from how to finish highly technical projects to completely subjective movie character hairstyle rankings, give you a sense of the author’s personality by including short asides, personal opinions, and sometimes even broken grammar rules to mimic speech patterns.
Keep in mind that breaking grammar rules to achieve specific effects and working your personal voice into your blog post is not the same thing as writing and publishing an unedited post that simply ignores grammar rules. If you’re going to break the rules, you need to do it carefully and with a clear stylistic reason for doing so. For example, you might opt for sentence fragments, rather than whole paragraphs, in certain sections of your blog post because this magnifies your words’ impact. Take a look at this to see what we mean:
I’d applied to 10 colleges in total. Five of them, I knew I was a shoo-in. Four of them, I thought I had somewhere between an OK and a pretty good shot at getting in. And the last one, my holy grail of higher ed, I was all-but-certain they’d never accept me.
Then the envelopes started coming in. Thick ones, thin ones, glossy colorful ones, and nondescript white ones that could easily be mistaken for junk mail.
And then it arrived.
The letter I’d been waiting for since seventh grade.
My acceptance letter from my dream university.
See how this blog post emphasizes key sentences by making them stand-alone paragraphs? That’s one way bloggers make their posts sound and feel like in-person conversations. Also notice how this excerpt includes informal language like “shoo-in” and literary devices like a synecdoche (referring to acceptance and rejection letters as “envelopes.”)
Research trending keywords
As we mentioned above, using SEO strategies in your blog post will help it reach a wider audience. If you don’t care about reaching a wide audience and just want to write your blog for yourself or to share with close friends and loved ones, don’t worry about this tip.
But if you do want to reach a wider audience by having your blog post rank higher on search engines, take the time to research relevant keywords for your post. Soovle , keywordtool.io , Google Search Console , and Google Keyword Planner are all useful tools you can use not only to test out how well a specific keyword ranks, but also to find related keywords you can include in your blog post. With these tools, you can also find inspiration for future blog posts through other keywords related to your initial search.
Cut down walls of text
Nobody wants to read a wall of text, but sometimes they’re necessary in academic pieces like research papers.
They’re never necessary in blog posts.
A wall of text is generally defined as a paragraph that takes up several lines. They’re intimidating to readers and when they see them, a lot of people scroll past or even stop reading the blog post completely.
When you find a wall of text in your writing, break it down into two or more paragraphs . By doing this, you’re improving your blog post’s readability score, which doesn’t just make it more appealing to readers; it increases your SEO ranking.
Basically, a good blog post is scannable. As you read your first draft, take note of any spots where you feel slowed down or otherwise like you can’t easily scan the information. Those are the spots to break into smaller sections.
Whatever you write, do it with confidence
Correct grammar and a consistent tone are the keys to not only maintaining reader attention, but also to effectively communicating the points you make in your blog post. After you’ve edited and proofread your post, have Grammarly give it one last look to catch any mistakes or inconsistency in tone so that your blog post reads exactly how you want it to sound.
This article was originally written by Karen Hertzberg in 2017. It’s been updated to include new information.
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