Writing a Blog Post

Successful bloggers demonstrate ability to clarify their own values, perspectives, and opinions and to share what they learn from their life experiences by writing about them in various niches. Their posts are aimed at provoking discussion.

Whether you write to inform, to entertain, to persuade or to provoke controversy,  knowing who your audience is and what your purpose is, are key to your success. Clearly defining your message and structuring your post in a logical manner will insure you convey your topic to readers in way that will hold their interest from the beginning of the post to the end.

When crafting blog posts consider:

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What is the main message or theme?
  3. What information is essential?
  4. How can it be best organized and most clearly expressed?
  • from general to specific;
  • from specific to general;
  • step by step;
  • from most important to least important.

Structuring Your Post

A structure of five paragraphs each aimed at a separate aspect of the topic or theme linked together in logical chain can be ideal.  You can use each paragraph to develop three or four supporting or explanatory points on a sub-topic. Be sure to create a clear hierarchy and position keywords in headings and sub-headings and in the natural flow of the text. Be aware of the “F” shaped of the eye-tracking pattern.

Research reveals simple and direct language trumps complex language. Say what you have to say in as few words and sentences as you can. Tie your research in to back up content in your post with relevant links within the natural flow of the text. Use appropriate anchor text to link to directly related sources on authoritative sites. This provides your readers with additional valuable information and is useful in terms of search engine optimization.

effective post title tipsCreating an Effective Title

It’s keyword rich titles that peak interest and draw traffic to your post.

Next to content writing effective keyword rich titles that peak interest and draw traffic to your posts are the single most important on-page SEO element.

Your blog post titles will appear in these key spots: browsers, search result pages, external websites.  Best practice for crafting targeted titles is use of the active voice and strong present-tense verbs.  So invest some thought into your title and  the keywords you select to use in it. Above all your keep titles short and informative.

Note: You can create a working title for your draft and not choose a final title until you are ready to publish your post.

introduction tipsWriting a Strong Introduction

Your first sentence  introduction is your chance to “hook” readers into reading the full post. Don’t wait to deliver your main point.

Lead with a compelling opening statement. Use your introductory paragraph to provide context and set the stage for the content. Craft your penultimate sentence to create a smooth transition between your lead and content. Make your thesis statement or take your stand on your topic in the final sentence of your introduction.

smooth transition tipsBridging the Gaps

Research reveals readers form hierarchical frameworks in their minds to comprehend content and determine how different points fit together.

When a shift in ideas comes out of the blue — readers get lost. In contrast engaging writing flows by introducing new ideas and carrying readers along with it.

Use transitional words and phrases to serve as bridges from one idea to the next, one sentence to the next, or one paragraph to the next, and help your readers see the bigger picture.

writer's voiceGetting Personal

A strong, well-defined writer’s voice is the bridge between you and your audience. Let your individuality and personality shine through your writing style.

Posts that set a friendly tone and/or recount personal experiences often get the highest levels of engagement  via  comments and  shares on social media.

Write with confidence and conviction about what you know best. Provide personal examples wherever you can and use the active voice wherever possible. Let your audience know what you think, in your own style. But, remember brevity must prevail as studies clearly find that blog readers skim read.

Jazzing it Up

Nothing is more off-putting to readers than to be faced with an uninterrupted block of text. Large blocks of text that contain no formatting and consequently no white space means no rest for the eyes and no time to consider your content.

Short paragraphs with space between them, ordered lists, bullet pointed lists and quotations can be useful as well. Create emphasis with bold lettering and italics but don’t overdo it. Avoid using colored fonts and differing font styles as they amount to a workout for your readers’ eyes.

Images and tables provide a break in text by adding visual interest to posts and search engine optimization value. Here are seven free sources of free images for your blog I recommend and there are 70 on my Resources page. Image preparation is important size images to fit the space you intend to use them in before you  upload them. Get the most out of image search by optimizing your images.

Wrapping it Up

  • The worst blog posts leave readers wondering what the point was.
  • The best blog posts inspire readers to engage with the content and act on it.

Your conclusion ought to stress the importance of your thesis statement and leave a lasting impression on your readers. Your final paragraph should close the topic while opening up discussion. In the same way your introduction lays out the thesis for the reader, your conclusion can reiterate the main points. The most common approach is to conclude with a concise re-statement of your thesis, followed by a call to action and/or an invitation to ask questions.

 Proofreading

Proofreading your draft carefully is a must because all your hard work can lose credibility if you don’t any correct spelling, grammar, punctuation and typographical errors. By using writer’s resources, reading aloud, listening to someone else read your writing, reading sentences in reverse order and using other proofreading techniques, a blogger can correct small mistakes that would otherwise distract readers.

Publish!

45 thoughts on “Writing a Blog Post

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  4. Oh I didn’t realise this was a ‘featured’ post so was very puzzled (didn’t look at dates till tried to figure this out as I went off to visit the fourrooms blog referred to in the comments but it is empty of posts , so that was a puzzle but now I figure maybe the blogger has closed down his blog?

  5. Hi Timetheif,

    I liked what you wrote in the “while crafting” part. Yes, its very important to keep the target audience in mind. From my personal experience, I would like to add that we should also keep any thoughts of making money from blogs away, when writing a blog post. I have faced that when I tried to make money through blogging and thought too much about that my writing got too poor and writer’s block became a more common thing! If money comes… then okay; but don’t rush it.

    Great post!
    irtiza104

    (P.S. btw, these thoughts were not directed towards you. I just wanted to share :) )

    • Asif,
      It has been such a long time since we connected ie. years. Thank you so much for commenting here. Your advice is valuable. I do hope you and your family are well and happy too.

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  9. I thought the summary blocks to the left of your main paragraphs was an interesting bit of formating (tho the text within the blocks was hard to read). It’s almost as if you were trying to accommodate both readers and scanners at the same time!

    You’re all done with your house? Excellent. Of course now you’ll have to get used to living in a mansion… : )

  10. I follow a lot of the main points –but in a slightly haphazard way for my personal blog. For certain, the proofreading need is something I always have to be vigilant. It’s too easy to fall in love with your own ideas and forget the real detail in front of you!

    • Hi Jean,
      I need to focus more on proofreading too. I know that because even after I think a post is ready and I publish it I find errors. Some say that for conscientious writers the editing never ends and I think they may be right.

  11. After reading your post, I feel that a blog post is no different from a magazine feature, except that the readers interact with you directly and also bring in new insights into the topic discussed. Trying to get there :D

    • Hello there,
      re: a magazine feature plus interactive communication
      Well said. :) Though there are many different writing styles, and while what I published won’t suit those with specialized blogs, I tried to present a basic tutorial on writing a “standard” blog post that could be adapted to suit by most bloggers.

    • Hello,
      You’re welcome. Slowing down and carefully thinking through the process of writing a blog post step by step and then blogging the steps, rather than just writing a post was actually harder than I thought it would be.

  12. Images are a great way to break up text, but they aren’t the only way. Block quotes provide visual breaks. Also subheads, either standalone or run-in. If the post is long enough, a hierarchy of subheads could be established. If the material doesn’t lend itself to subheads, simply bolding the first few words or phrase in a paragraph can help. Anything to break up a solid mass of unbroken gray. And although it’s more work, one might even consider inserting occasional drop caps. Section breaks help too if the post runs quite long.

    • @piedtype
      Well, I made it through another week and I’m behind schedule as usual.

      You points for creating emphasis are all excellent. Thanks for making them.

      Inserting the occasional drop-caps – oh my! I laughed when I read that because it’s so “you”. How long do you figure it will take before someone asks for the code required? lol :D

  13. Hey, time thief, glad your break was a short one and hope youre good now. Well, judging by the latest massive piece of excellent advice, on form. Take care of yourself. Pendryw

    • Hi there,
      On the downside, my break is ongoing as I’m not fully recovered yet. On the upside, I still do what I can do, whenever I can do it.

      I know what I have published isn’t applicable to your Haiku blog but I do have some advice for you. I adore your http://pendryw.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/why-do-i-write-a-prosaic-verse/

      I suggest you may want publish an article now and then on for example the history of Haiku or some other Haiku related topic. That will help your blog gain some search engine attention. Search engines are looking for at least 150 words of content for indexing purposes and I think the occasional article would be a means of getting it. Also note that images are an SEO booster too and there are many free images available. :)

  14. Hi TT,

    When writing my posts, I keep many of these suggestions in mind, but I do not apply them rigidly. For example, I may offer the reader a hint as to where the post is headed, but I won’t necessarily blurt it out in the in first two paragraphs. I prefer to take a storyteller’s approach. I agree that this structure may cause some to click away, but I also think that it makes for a better experience for those who continue reading.

    When sitting down to write, my list includes: keeping the post to 400 – 500 words, writing a strong opening, using short paragraphs, spell checking, fact checking, obtaining 1-3 relevant images, crafting a title, and multiple reads before submitting.

    • Hi Ray,
      It’s good to connect with you.

      I appreciate your storytelling approach and want to thank you for sharing it with me and my readers. Your summation in your final paragraph is a handy checklist I think other bloggers ought to use.

      In this blog I endeavor to include a balance of both longer pillar posts like this one and shorter posts as well.

      • Thanks TT, I enjoy having the opportunity to contribute via comments to your great site. I’ve learned a lot during my visits. It so happens that I broke my own word count rule in today’s post, coming in at 925 words. On this occasion, I just couldn’t make it work with less.

        • Well, as they say rules are meant to be broken. We have to use as many words as we need to to get our points across and that varies from subject to subject ie. from post to post. Happy blogging!

  15. Morning tt,

    Personally, I’d move checking spelling, punctuation and grammar up by several levels of importance. If I encounter a blog post where none of those things seem to concern the writer then, no matter what they have to say, I’m gone and I won’t be back.

    I think, too, that when reading on-screen, short paragraphs are essential, even if it means engineering a break if one doesn’t occur naturally. Short sentences, likewise – unless you really have punctuation nailed, and even then they’re best avoided. Always remember the rule – one subject to one sentence, and don’t ramble.

    I remember, on one occasion, when someone asked the Eternal Question in the support forums (How do I get people to read my blog? – writing one’s always a good start, as people posing that question have often written nothing beyond Hi, I’m here!). On this occasion I clicked through to the blog in question, only to find every post was a solid slab of undifferentiated, almost unpunctuated, text, utterly unreadable. It was as if, in that guy’s world, paragraphs had never existed. Doubtless he was getting one-time visitors, but probably nobody ever went back.

    We all have blind spots, too. Mine is inserting an apostrophe in the possessive “its”. I know it doesn’t have one, but when pounding the keyboard on autopilot, it often gets one. There are others, as well, caused, I believe, by long-term damage from a lightning strike addling parts of my brain. For example, I’ll transpose definite and indefinite articles, or type A instead of I (and vice versa), and confuse homophones. None of these things will be found by spellcheckers, so if you have similar foibles, or even different ones, it’s important to read everything assiduously before publishing.

    I have another rule too – never write comments longer than the original post so, as this is a subject upon which I’m liable to hold forth indefinitely, I’ll wind this up here.

    Oh – a couple of thoughts. Exclamation marks have no real function outside of dialogue, even though many of us use them for emphasis. Never use more than one, and not too often. And the ellipsis is simply three spaced periods. Not six, or 27. Three . . .

    • Dear Ron,
      I adore reading your grammatically correct posts and comments too. You brought forward many several important points that I’m feeling ought to be placed in an image box and included in the post itself.

      short paragraphs
      short sentences
      one subject to one sentence
      apostrophe use
      exclamation points in dialogue only
      ellipsis is three spaced periods only

      Your comments are treasured here. As you well know, I’m a taciturn person who struggles with commenting, so your penultimate paragraph made laugh out loud.

      Have a great weekend.

  16. That’s a pretty decent list. Except I don’t follow it :D

    It’s not just about blog posts though is it? It’s actually about the blog itself which is why so many of us have more than one. It’s no good (to me) having a mish-mash of posts on a blog so that it has no identity.

    So this blog and this post are a good example of a focused blog on one topic (ie blogging) and each post looks at different aspects of that.

    But for personal blogs, not all those rules apply, or at least they need to be interpreted more flexibly, because they tend to be narrative in style eg
    “I got up I had coffee, did nothing because I sat in front of the computer reading blogs – and wondered why I had wasted my day” type of post. And here is a picture of my coffee cup.

    That’s why I think the identity of the blog is crucial, same points about target audience and message/themes, and by sticking to that you don’t create dissonance by varying off theme. I was going to write more, better do a post and link back instead :D

    PS Are you pleased with 2012?

  17. Timethief, you’re right on – as usual. It’s been a pleasure these last 3 years using my blog to distill teachable points of view on leadership and business excellence.

    My newest challenge is the corporate blog I’ve taken on. Any thoughts on effectively blending the personal voice of a blog with a corporate message? I struggle keeping the two personas separate yet still engaging the reader.

    Susan

    • Hi Susan,
      Corporate message and personal voice — oh my! I’m approving this quickly before I head of for some medical tests and will respond later to it. I hope that’s okay with you.

    • Hi Susan,
      Thank goodness it’s the weekend and I can now answer these comments. Our renovation has ended for this year and what remains will be done next summer.

      I’ve never been a corporate blogger so all I can do is speculate. Blogging provides a direct means for clients and customers to communicate with representations of companies providing goods and services. Knowing the company’s values and direction is important, however, it’s equally important to emphasize personal connection with clients and customers without the “hype”. That means corporate bloggers need to have the freedom to express themselves through their own personalities and writing styles while still being on point. But rather than trying to sell products and services to readers I believe corporate bloggers ought to be focused on producing content that provides added value and encourages client and customer feedback. I will be important to have a published commenting policy and feedback received can translate into product and/or service improvement and development. Satisfied clients and customers can and do promote corporate products and services through comments, testimonials and through social networking. An effective social networking strategy will be key to getting the corporate message out and expanding readership. Tracking metrics such as views, comments, backlinks, RSS subscriptions, etc. will also be important.

      Thanks so much for commenting. All my best to you re: this new corporate blogging project.

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