It’s easy for me to tell you that you need to have a blog on your website. And it’s all well and good telling you why a blog is important for your website and your business. But if you’ve never written a blog post before, the prospect can be daunting, can’t it? I promise you, though, blogging isn’t as hard as you think. There are lots of brilliant how-to guides out there about writing the perfect blog post. But I’m going to tell you exactly what it takes to write an awesome one, even if you’ve never written copy before. Are you ready? Then let’s begin!
Know who you’re writing it for
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that you’re not writing a blog post for your own benefit. The people reading your blog will be visitors to your website. They’re interested in the message you’re sharing, the service you’re providing or the product you’re selling. So, it goes without saying, you are writing your blog posts for those people. The thing to remember is not to try and write for everybody. That’s actually a difficult thing to do. All you end up doing is writing non-specific, broad and unhelpful information. Instead, have your ideal client in your mind as you write and write your blog post to them. Tell them the information you want to share. Use the language they will understand and appreciate. And be specific. Talk to them as if they were sitting across the table from you right at this very moment. Sure, by writing to one specific person, you’re not going to grab the attention of everyone. Instead, you’ll be more personal, more genuine and more unique. You’ll remove that formal, corporate face from your words, allowing your unique voice to shine through.
Keep things simple
You’ve heard that phrase: ‘Keep it simple, stupid’, right? It’s always been a favourite of mine because keeping it simple makes my life a whole lot easier. Think of it this way… I’m sure, like me, you’ve told a few fibs in your time, right? Well, have you ever noticed how hard it is to keep track of the fib if you’ve made it complicated with way too many details? From one fibber to another, it’s a lot simpler to keep track of what you’ve said if you keep it very simple. Now, I’m hardly suggesting that you should be fibbing in your blog posts. But the KISS approach is the main goal to remember, here. Don’t get too bogged down in detail. Keep your sentences short and concise. Don’t try to over-explain things. By relaying information in a simple way, you’ll provide far more value than if you overload your blog posts with lots of extra… stuff.
Presentation is everything
Ok, so yes, this one is always going to be important to me as a writer. Because how you present your work does make a difference in how it’s perceived. If you publish one long paragraph of untidy sentences, poor grammar and jumbled ideas, then you’re not going to keep people reading for very long, are you? We’re in the world of digital media now, folks. Attention spans are short! If they have to work too hard to read and understand what it is you’re saying, then you’ll lose them. Guaranteed. So, by all means, write the scruffy paragraph to start with. But then you need to tidy it up and make it presentable. Use a new paragraph for each new idea. Make use of subheadings (with h2 tags) to break up the page and make it more visually pleasing. Make sure things are spelt correctly, grammar and punctuation are up to scratch and links all work. These are some of the ways to make your blog post look presentable. There are lots more ideas you can utilise – like images and graphics, quotes, bullet-point lists and so on. But you’ll figure out what looks good as you go along.
Don’t be afraid to use tools to help you
Ok, yes, I am a grammar whore and I am well-versed in the difference between there, their and they’re. That’s my job! If grammar isn’t your strong suit, that’s more than ok. Run your text through software first, which will tell you how to correct it. Grammarly is an awesome resource. You can install a browser plugin and have it scanning your text in no time. And it’s free! My current favourite tool is the Hemingway App, which helps you to edit your writing and make it instantly more readable. I use this one frequently, as I have a tendency to write long and garbled sentences. It does a fantastic job of reminding me to shorten them and make them easier to read. Like that one! I’ve even run this post through the app before I published it.
If you’re on WordPress, I recommend installing the Yoast plugin. This helps you to optimise your blog post for SEO. If those three letters leave you feeling lost and confused, don’t worry, I’ll be writing a post about them very soon! Yoast will show you what you need to do to make your post more searchable and it’s not a bad little tool. The only thing I would say is, don’t get too hung up on it. In my experience, trying to make the little traffic light system all green is tough. Doing so makes your blog post sound like a robot wrote it. It’s okay not to have all the green lights lit, as long as your post sounds like you! There are countless tools out there that can help you write a little better if that’s what you need help with. There is no shame in using them. So use them and make your posts look fantastic, okay?
Don’t be afraid to go your own way
Before I started writing this post, I sat here researching the technical information I could give you on how to write an awesome blog post. Things like how many words it should be, how to write the perfect headline and how to tag your posts appropriately. But, you know what? You can find that information anywhere by searching on Google. The technical know-how to write the perfect blog post has been done to death. So I binned that post and I started again. This time using my own advice (isn’t that sensible?). I decided my reader doesn’t need to know about all the technicalities. She needs to know that writing a blog post is not as scary as it might seem at first. You need to know that. And you also need to know you are more than capable of doing it. You just need a few pointers to give you the confidence to share, right? Because I wholly believe that you need a blog to keep your website current (we’ve talked about that before!) and I hand-on-heart feel that you have information and a message to share with your readers. So stop bloody dithering, open up a Google doc, or a Word doc, or however it is you roll, AND START TYPING. Get that first post written and share it with the world. It’s about time we heard you speak up.