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How to Write a Blog Post

By Katherine Furness
21st October 2021

How to Write a Blog Post

A blog is “​a website where an individual person, or people representing an organization, write regularly about recent events or topics that interest them, usually with photos and links to other websites that they find interesting.” – According to the Oxford Dictionary anyway. But how do you write a decent blog post?

We’ve got you covered. From planning to proof-reading, here’s our ultimate guide to ‘How to Write a Blog Post’. Where social media is a fight for attention, blog posts offer the chance for you to delve into subjects that can’t be summarised in 140 characters.

An idea

First things first, figure out what you are going to write about.

A blog post is your opportunity to pre-empt your customers’ (& potential customers’) questions and answer them thoroughly and accurately.

If you can educate your customers, you’ll fly up in their estimations. They’ll associate your business with gaining value, in the form of education. Even better than this, you’ll be seen as the business who understands their problems and can provide solutions.

We know coming up with blog post ideas can be tricky, so we’ve written a blog post on it! (It’s here)

A plan

Everyone hates a blank Word document. Trying to launch into a blog post from a blank page can leave you feeling like you’re up the creek without a paddle. Once you’ve got your idea, next up set out some key headings.

  • An introduction, which will succinctly answer the question/provide a short summary. Starting with the end allows users to quickly understand if the post is for them.
  • The main body of the blog post, delving into the topic, yet sticking to addressing the question/title. Key questions you’re answering make good headings here.
  • A conclusion, rounding up the content into a short synopsis.

As you write these headings, you’ll find ideas come to you. For now, write these ideas down as rough notes, bullet points etc. It’s tempting to get writing in full, but there’s a danger here of running away on tangents that distract from your blog post’s focus.

Keeping the plan fluid is important, you might find that you come up with a better idea during this process. Or discover that your initial idea is too basic and would work better as a social post.

Research

Blog posts don’t need to be about unleashing your ground-breaking ideas and theories completely unique to you.

Yes, you’ve got poetic license and should put your stamp on it, but take the pressure off. It’s worth remembering that your blog post is unlikely to be made up of completely original thoughts.

The truth is, your blog posts will be high quality and more valuable with the backing of research. You can educate and entertain your readers by including existing ideas, which they may or may not have come across before.

What matters is that you are putting your spin on them. Whether that’s relating topics to your audience or providing a commentary from your point of view. Your audience will resonate with you, building trust and respect.

If you are giving a commentary on a subject, it’s always important to consider your bias. We’re all victims of our own bias, so research is vital to avoid a completely one-sided piece.

Depending on the style of content, your research may include searching for statistics, exploring existing writing, or simply deepening your understanding of the subject. Of course, having a clear stance will improve your piece, but that’s not to say other angles shouldn’t be considered and mentioned.

During your research, you can fill out your plan a little more. At this stage, you may also find your plan changing, as you decipher whether there is enough material for your first idea. It may become apparent that an alternative direction would result in a better overall piece. Or you may even educate yourself and realise your opinion on the subject has changed as a result! Everyday is a school day after all!

Write the main body

Once you’ve got your research and plan in place, it’s the time to write the bulk of your content. Almost like a ‘join-the-dot’, use the sub-headings as a basis and begin to expand your points.

Keeping the language simple to begin with makes it easier to get into a flow with your writing. Getting too het up with making it perfect can often lead to you getting stuck on individual words and sentences, searching for better vocabulary or punctuation you could use.

It’s useful here to remember that this is not the finished article, more like the first draft. Everything is editable and will be reviewed later.

During this stage, get your ideas down, and as you go, the blog post will begin to take shape. It’ll become clear where the majority of your ideas are.

You may need to circle back and change the plan or do some more research, which is fine! You might find that you’ve got too much material, and this could work better as multiple blog posts. Or that you’ve gone off on a huge tangent – don’t worry, we’ve all done it! Although a blog post allows for relative freedom in terms of word count, it’s not the place to ramble on endlessly. Readability is key.

Try to park your perfectionism and focus on the structure and content.

Make it sound good!

Now is the opportunity to edit and perfect your blog post. But hold your horses! Step away from the laptop and take a break from the blog post. When you come back, you’ll be surprised at what you can see with fresh eyes.

Firstly, skim over your piece and familiarise yourself with the content and structure.

With your edit, take it one step at a time.

This is the time to alter vocabulary, change punctuation and make it engaging.

Particularly focus on the opening paragraph, and the opening sentence of each section. These need to grab the reader and intrigue them. The job of your first sentence should be to get them to read the second sentence. Sticking to this method, your reader will be at the bottom of your post in no time!

As you review your blog post and improve your writing, keep in mind holding back with your vocabulary. Whilst you might feel the need to prove your expertise with technical language and elaborate words, they can be major turn offs for the reader.

Number 1, it makes the whole piece more difficult to read and each sentence takes longer to process.

Number 2, when the reader keeps coming across words they don’t understand or recognize, they’re likely to lose patience.

Yes, it feels great to add a big word here and there in your blog post, but check yourself: is this helping me to convey the message?

Sticking to simple language helps you to communicate your point clearly and concisely. Complicated jargon can often only dilute your message and turn your reader off. Thersaurus.com is our friend!

Throughout this process, check that you’re answering the question or solving the problem in your title. After all, this is the reason the reader is engaging with your blog post. If your topic is less specific, just ensure that all your content is relevant and would be useful to the reader. You might have a great anecdote, but if it’s adding 500 words of long-winded waffle to the blog post, it’s probably not necessary.

Back(link) it up

Backlinks: links from a page on one website to another

So for instance, this links to ahrefs, which gives them a backlink from Hillsgreen.

When you include a link to another website in your blog post it’s referred to as an external or outbound link. In terms of blog posts, external links can help to boost the credibility of your piece. This has a number of benefits:

Firstly, if you’ve used your research from earlier within your piece, it’s important to reference the source. This allows the reader to seek out more information on the idea and increases the validity of your piece. Examples of this include statistics, definitions, and official statements.

Secondly, you can use external links tactically. As backlinks are so well-traced, outbound links can be a good way to create a relationship between your site and others. Creating relevant links can demonstrate that you support the website’s content and want to share it with your audience. A relationship-builder not to be sniffed at!

There is also speculation that external links contribute to ‘domain authority’ – which is one of Google’s ranking factors. Whilst this hasn’t been confirmed by the search-engine, it certainly isn’t doing your blog post any harm.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Optimising your blog post, put simply, means getting it in front of more people, and therefore getting more users onto your site. So how can you do this?

There’s a lot of talk online about SEO, which can become overwhelming. First things first, you need a keyword or keyphrase to target. (We’ve got some tips here).

Once you’ve decided on this, it’s important to make sure it’s included within your title, first paragraph and several times within the blog post. Depending on the length, include the keyword multiple times throughout the main body of text, but make sure it’s not littered with keywords. This can come across spammy to the reader.

The meta-description can also hugely impact the ranking of the blog post. This is an up to 155-character snippet which summarises the post content and is shown in search results. The keyword should be included in this, as part of an accurate but enticing description. A preview of your post, it should match your tone of voice, whilst conveying what can be expected if a user clicks through.

Internal links (links to other pages on your site) will also improve your SEO. These links help Google to understand your website, meaning they can rank you higher to more relevant users – wahey! They’ll help by showing Google the structure of your site and highlighting other similar pages.

Formatting your blog post correctly will also help it to rise through the ranks. Fundamentally, headings and sub-headings help the reader to navigate their way around your post easily. Although more than this, they also help Google to understand the basis of your blog post. Using the H1, H2, H3, H4 structure indicates the levels of information within the piece. These can be formatted in the text editor on most websites.

SEO? Completed it!

Find an interesting image

An image is the window to your blog post. Whilst it can be difficult to find a relevant and engaging image, it’s important. It sets the tone for your piece and can give the impression of authenticity, or the opposite.

When choosing an image, there are several considerations to make:

  • ensure the image is relevant to the blog post content and is enticing – does it make you want to click?
  • make it sharable – will people want to share the image on their social profiles?
  • honour copyrights if necessary – do you have permission to use the image?

Proof-reading

Concentration time! Proof-reading is vital. Even the best typists make errors. Whilst you may have a proofing tool, there’s no substitute for taking the time and care yourself.

Read the whole piece slowly, if needs be even out-aloud. This is a highly effective method, as you’ll catch any spelling or grammatical errors, but you’ll also be able to ensure the piece flows.

Readability is the key factor to determine whether your readers will stick with the piece or get bored halfway (we don’t want that!). Huge paragraphs can be a red flag to readers. Many users want to come to your page and scan to find their solution or answer quickly.

Dividing your paragraphs up into short, scannable chunks will help to keep your readers engaged and satisfied! Go through with a fine-tooth comb and make the last few final adjustments.

Good to Go!

Once you’ve completed everything, it’s always worth sending your blog post to a friend to review. A new perspective is invaluable! They can spot anything you may have missed and confirm that your piece is of a high quality. Then finally, you’re ready to upload!

After all that writing, fancy a read? Check out our blog posts here.

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