Written by Rebecca Hansen
Is blogging your least favorite thing EVER? Whether you just aren’t a writer, you can never find the time to write or (gasp) you have writer’s block, you probably have this nagging sense that you ought to be blogging…sometime…about something…
If “blog more” is one of your business or personal goals this year, we have good news and bad. The good news: we can walk you through writing a rockin’ blog post with slightly less pain than a high school English lesson! The bad? You still have to sit down in front of that blank screen and type.
Let’s get started!
The First Rule of Blogging: Stay On Topic
The first thing to keep in mind when you are writing a blog post is to stay on point. You should choose one clear topic to write on, something that can be condensed into a single, brief phrase. “How to tame a rabbit,” “Why you can’t see your nose,” and, “The day I learned to ride a bike” are all good examples. Pick something like this and then stay. on. topic.
Before you start writing, it’s helpful to create an outline. Yes, your high school English teacher was right on this one; it is easier to write when you have a road map. And since blog posts are more or less grown-up essays, here’s a handy sample outline.
- This is your topic statement in an intro paragraph.
- Now you are going to give one reason behind your topic statement.
- If you need to break it down into points,
- You can do it here.
- Here is another reason you are right, another step in your process, another event in your story
- Try for more, smaller paragraphs instead of fewer, long ones.
- Nobody likes to read big chunks of text!
- You should probably have at least three supporting ideas behind your topic.
- So that’s happening here.
- And here you will summarize what you’ve said, and why all of this adds up to that topic statement.
Yay outline! Once you have this in place, you can take a break, because your blog post is basically going to write itself. In the meantime, you’ve got other things to do.
What is a Picture Worth?
Every blog post should include at least one visual element, and more if possible. These can include photos, videos, gifs, infographics, or graphic quotes designed for social sharing. When choosing the images keep in mind the #1 rule of blog writing: stay on topic! Choose visuals that enhance or expand your content, encourage sharing, and help to hold readers’ interest.
Now you are ready to pick up your pen – er, keyboard.
Writing Your Blog Post
Start writing by filling in the details on your outline. Turn the outline points into headers – these help break up the long deserts of text that people don’t read, and they provide a way to scan your post quickly.
Plan to write at least 300 words – less than that and your SEO will suffer. As you write, remember to include links when you refer to previous articles, other content on your website, and external sites.
Once you’ve written the whole shebang, go back through and proofread. Check for typos, words that sound the same but mean something different, doubled words, and double entendres. This is professional content, so make it look like you paid attention!
All good? Well, you’re not quite done yet. Time to make sure that your blog post works for you by improving your website’s search engine optimization!
Basic SEO for Bloggers
There are 4 basic things to pay attention to when checking SEO in a blog post. You will need to identify a “keyword,” (which should be your topic statement), add appropriate tags to your subheadings, make sure you’ve added all relevant links, and fill in the metadata.
Your keyword is settled, right? Now, you want to make sure that puppy shows up in several places in your post. Can you sneak it in naturally in the first paragraph? (Hint: yes, you can.) Use it in your blog title. Use it in the alt text for your post images. Include it in one subheading.
And on those subheadings: make sure you use <h2> or <h3> tags to create them. Don’t just change the font size or make it bold; search engines crawling your site will be looking for these tags to determine what your post is about.
(Not sure how to add html elements to the back end of your posts? Comment below with your questions and we may answer them in a future post!)
Double check all your links, and add any that you might have missed. All links should be set to open in a new window; this will encourage readers to come back to your page after their detour.
Finally, fill in your metadata. You will need to create a SEO title for the post, a Meta Description (this should be a brief snippet; it will show up in search engine results under the title and also when the post is shared on social media platforms) and a slug (the specific “address” where your post will live on your site). All of these should contain your keyword.
Not sure how to do it? We recommend Yoast and their products for handling
We know this is a lot to process, so do ask questions in the comments! Also, see below for a brief glossary of scary SEO terms and a list of our favorite blogging tools.
You’re an Author!
Take a deep breath, look things over one more time – and hit publish.
Congratulations – you did it! You have published a professional blog post, complete with snazzy visual elements and SEO.
Blogging and SEO terms, defined:
Search engines and people both scan web content, and H tags are a good way to make sure they get a clear picture of your topic. H1 is usually reserved for the page or post title, but use h2 or h3 for the headings for individual sections or paragraphs
A keyword is not necessarily (or even usually) a single word. Think phrase or sentence – something one might type into a search engine. Different tools exist to help you find or craft good keywords.
Metadata is the information that is grabbed when your site shows up on a web search or someone shares a link. Make sure the Meta title (SEO title) is clear and not too long; use the Meta description/snippet area to give a concise preview or teaser and entice people to click on the link.
Tools for Creating Awesome Blog Posts:
Canva – use to make graphics and photo collages
Yoast – for SEO management and tracking