Let’s face it, for some, sitting down to write a blog post on a regular basis seems like a daunting task. What do you say? How do you get your point across? How many words should you use? Where do you start? Don’t worry, I have the same questions when I sit down to write a blog post, and I blog a lot.
All of these questions swirl around in the mind of a novice (and even the more experienced) blogger. But, here’s the thing, you don’t have to be an eloquent writer or a prose master to write a blog post. You just have to have something to say that will resonate with your target audience. They aren’t looking for a masterpiece from you. Usually, just some useful information they are interested in.
A lot of times templates help people, so I am going to construct a blog post template for you to kind of kick start the process.
1. Create a compelling title.
More people will read your title then will actually read your blog post. So, you need to have a title that will make people want to read the article. If your title isn’t strong or interesting, you have lost readers to your blog post.
2. Have a lead paragraph that sums up the post.
This is very important. The lead paragraph should get right to the purpose of the post and make it relevant to the reader. After the title, this could be the most important part of your post. If you take too long to summarize what the article will convey to the reader, you may lose them. Make it short, concise and strong.
3. Find a good image to go with your post.
Images are used to draw the reader into the post itself. Find an image that relates to your article and feature it prominently. Now, this does not mean go out and search the internet for any old image to use (there are copyright issues with this, and you don’t want to run afoul of those). There are tons of places where you can get free or low-cost images for blog posts that are able to use without copyright restrictions. I have this page from ViralSweep bookmarked on my computer for these kind of images.
4. Add your personal experience or twist.
It’s good to put yourself into the post, when possible, to help readers connect better with you and your article. Try to share a personal experience with them.
Shorter is better. Shorter paragraphs, shorter sentences, and shorter posts can make your article more readable.
5. Make the main body copy eye scannable.
Make the main body of your blog post eye scannable. What does this mean? Use numbered lists, bullets, and small headers to allow your reader to quickly scan the article up and down to get an idea of what it’s about.
Nothing is more daunting to a reader than looking at a page that seems like it is going to take a long time to read. Use these “call-outs” to break the page up.
Other ways to make your blog post more readable include:
- Use shorter paragraphs. Try to stick to 3, maybe no more than 4, sentences per paragraph. If you do more than that, the page starts to look like it is going to be a chore to read.
- Write in shorter sentences. This is one I personally struggle with! I am the queen of run-on sentences. But, I do suggest you try to avoid them. Shorter sentences make reading faster.
- Use simple words. Your goals should be to communicate what you want to say to your readers, not impress them with your command of “fancy” words. If the reader has to wonder what a word means (or stop to look it up), you have lost them.
- Add internal links to your post. A lot of people put links to outside sources in their articles. But, remember to add links to other internal posts you have written as well. This can both help keep the article shorter, since you can direct your reader to a different blog post that may expand on what you are trying to say to get a point across, as well as keep the reader on-site, by directing them to another post within your website.
- Keep your posts short. This is another one I have a hard time doing myself. While I find it difficult to actually sit down and write, once I start doing it that words just keep coming out. Your ultimate goal is to have at least 300 words, but try to keep it at around 500, if possible. While I know that won’t always be the case, that is a good “sweet spot” to shoot for.
6. Ask a closing discussion question of your readers.
I am not real great at doing this myself, but adding a discussion question at the end of every post helps to engage your readers and start a conversation. Try to end your post with a question to the reader to encourage comments. This is, of course, if you have a commenting system turned on for your blog.
So, on that note, here is my question to you…what do you find is your biggest challenge to sitting down and writing a blog post?