I'm going to share with you some great tips for writing blog posts in the current era of the internet.
Writing blog posts can be incredibly easy and also supremely painstaking – it really depends on you nature.
But today I'm going to give you a few tips that will really help you increase the speed and efficiency when you write online content.
Let's talk about reasons why we would be writing blog posts first and foremost and then build out a strategy from there.
You are writing posts because you want to drive traffic to your blog. This is pretty much the #1 reason. You want your article to rank in Google search and bring in some targeted traffic.
Why is it targeted? Because you likely wrote a post that is relevant to your niche, business or brand. It is an excellent idea to be doing so.
You can't always be talking about what you are selling, that would be a turn-off. So writing content that is in relation to your service or product is the way to go. Adding context to what you do is another way to say it.
But also, you are writing to connect with your audience. You want to bring them value. You can't just write for search engines. Google expects and can tell if you write quality content.
So what are the main things we should be aware of as we write for an audience in 2017.
Reading is much harder than watching a video or listen to a podcast – so you need to make it easy to read.
This means simple language and short paragraphs. People hate long paragraphs. Look how I am writing this post.
You need to get away from the idea that a blog post should look like a book. Looking and scrolling through a screen is much different.
You should also break up the text with images, this is very powerful and truly enhances a post. Even if it isn't super relevant it is still wise to do so.
The rule of 3 is still great to follow.
No more than 3 sentences in a paragraph. No more than 3 major points in a section. And when you list things do it in threes.
That means you should stick to sentences that look like this:
Blogs are really great because they create audience engagement, connection and trust. 3 items here, not 4 or 2.
People just really like 3. I don't know why, it is just our nature. Make this a habit.
You need to use headings like this one when writing blog posts.
When you use headings, you should set them to H2. If you are on wordpress you will find the headings options in the tool bar – look for “paragraph” in a drop-down menu and select H2.
Why H2? Becuase H1 is the title of your post. H1 tells Google what the whole article is about, but H2 can really hammer home the details.
Headings break up the text, allow people to scan and really improve your SEO. Notice the rule of 3 here again and how smooth it sounds.
How long should blog posts be?
The real answer is longer is better – when you are considering search. But to take that answer a step further, longer is only better when it has real value. You want your blog posts to be resources – not just diary entries.
Think evergreen. The blog post should be just as valuable next year as it is today.
Google typically won't rank any posts shorter than 500 words unless it is on a very long-tail search query.
What about keywords? How do I use them?
Before you write a post you want to decide on a focus keyword. You don't have to do this, but if you care about search traffic I would.
The focus keyword for this post is “how to write a blog post”. You'll notice it is in the title first and foremost. That is key.
It should then be found throughout your article in a natural flow. Try to put it inside of at least one H2 heading.
I would recommend getting the Yoast SEO plugin if you are on wordpress – this makes things super easy!
But how do I write a blog post when I have nothing to say?
A lot of people get writer's block. There are a few main reasons why. The main one is fear of what people will think of what you write/say.
All I can say about that is that yes, your first posts won't be perfect, but perfect has nothing to do with it. You need to focus on consistency and becoming a writing practitioner.
As your post more you will get better.
The other reason people don't know what to write is they haven't narrowed their audience and set an intention to solve a real problem.
If you are an expert on something and you have a clear understanding of what your audience's pain points are then you should have no problem coming up with endless ideas to help them
A blog should help people. At least if you care about search traffic. If you are writing for personal expression then it doesn't' matter as much but then you should just let your words flow.
Bring value is how you will drive traffic to your website. One of my first successful blogs was twitchmeta.com – a blog for Twitch.TV live streamers. I wrote on all the topics I could think of that would help a person setting out on that journey.
That is the best thing you can do. Think about a person and where they want to go. They are at “A” and they want to be at “B” but they don't know how. Fill in the gap for them. Smooth out the learning curve.
Bringing value to people by answering their biggest questions. The internet is a problem solver. A convenience machine. Once you see that then you can understand that most people use the internet to solve their problems faster than they could by driving somewhere or making a phone call.
Solve problems and you are well on your way to writing great blog posts.
How about writing this blog post? The one you are reading.
Well I have a consulting client coming to see me this weekend and she wants to learn how to write better. So I sat down 15 minutes ago and just started writing as if I was having a conversation.
I'm writing fast. I'm not worried about grammar or mistakes. I'm just trying to help. I'm trying to answer all of the main questions I normally hear on this topic.
I'm not really thinking beyond that one person and that one problem. I'm not thinking about what people will think of me if I write this post. I'm not concerned even about traffic.
I know the audience, I know the problem, which gives me a keyword, which sets out the foundation for a post.
I've just crossed the 1100 word mark and I think this is more than enough to answer the questions she has.
Now I'm going to go add some images. I use pixabay.com to get all of my free imagery. Ideally I would add images that bring value to the post, but If I can't think of any then using relevant imagery that just adds spacing is sufficient.
What else can I do to make my blog posts great?
Just keep writing more. The more you write the more authority you'll generate on your website and that will lead to more overall traffic to your blog.
You could look at your competitors and try to out-do them with the skyscraper approach. That means going above and beyond the article they wrote.
If they wrote “14 Ways to lose weight”, you should write “22 Ways to Lose Weight Fast”. Improve on what currently exists has always been tried and true.
I find that it's 20% of your blog posts that make up 80% of your traffic. Not every post will be a winner. And not every post should be compared.
Sometimes you write for search, sometimes for the reader (no focus keyword) and sometimes both.
Just keep practicing. This is a craft. I am by no means the best, I just keep going. Have fun with it too! It's a chance to help others and that is a great reason to be doing anything.
Good luck with your blog!