You might be looking at the title of this post and thinking, “is she serious?” No offence taken, I’d probably be thinking the same. But after I tweeted this last month after painstakingly trying to read a blog post without a SINGLE PARAGRAPH it got me thinking. And after tweeting this poll, it was evident that actually a post on how to write a blog post might be quite useful.
Photo by StockSnap
You knew this was coming but before I start, I just want to say I’m not claiming to be an expert. I’ve made mistakes in the past. And I’m also not telling you that you HAVE TO DO THIS or else. Like, you can make your own decisions. Take it or leave it.
But after 6 years of experience, it’s quite obvious what elements make a blog post more reader friendly and therefore get more views. Which I assume is the reason you’re here? You’ll probably end up rolling your eyes at some of the points I’m going to make in this post like, duh, Captain Obvious. But it’s always worth giving people a gentle reminder.
So if creating and structuring a blog post is something you feel like you need to work on and you’re wondering how to write a blog post that is reader friendly and attracts more views, then here is my best advice on how to create a BANGING blog post that people will read:
Find your voice & inject your personality into your post
Is there anything more boring than feeling like you’re reading a toaster manual instead of a blog post? You’ve got a personality – use it. Finding your voice definitely takes some practice though. I honestly feel like I only really found my voice THIS YEAR. But it’s something I’ve been working on for much longer.
So figure out your strengths and what makeS people want to sit up and listen to you and utilizing that knowledge and inject it into your writing. Do people find you hilarious in your real life? Then funny is the way to go. Are you able to produce swoon-worthy descriptive writing? Or are you an incredible story-teller?
Get clear on your aim and your goal
This won’t strictly apply to every post you write. And before we go any further, not all of these points will apply to every single blog post and that’s fine. But if you have an idea and are writing about something specific (like this post) then you need to get clear on your aim and goal of the post.
All I’m saying is try not ramble too much before getting to the point of the post. It’s worth making the aim and goal clear from the very first paragraph, rather than waffling on about what your cat had for dinner before getting stuck in. Funny anecdotes are great to slip in but stick to your aim.
For the love of God, break up your paragraphs…
In case you ignored me the first time, it was this tweet that sparked the inspiration for this post. I’d tried to read a blog post which had literally no paragraphs and I just couldn’t. It could have been the best blog post in the world but it was so indigestible that I gave up.
And as it turns out, most people feel the same. Not only are huge chunks of text off-putting but for people with conditions such as dyslexia, they’re almost impossible to read. So accessibility is another thing to keep in mind here and by not breaking up your paragraphs, you could be losing a lot of readers.
…and use headings where possible
And another way to write a blog post that is super digestible and more likely to keep people reading is by using appropriate headers where possible. Not only is this great for SEO (more on that later) but also breaks up the post nicely and makes it FAR more readable.
The Yoast plugin suggests that you shouldn’t have text longer than 300 words without a heading to break it up for optimum readability. If you’re not writing a heading rich post (like this one, where each separate point is a heading) then within your chunk of text, perhaps take your most valid point and turn that into it’s own sentence in heading form.
Be your own grammar Nazi
This one is probably my weakest point. But also not the one I find the most important. Of course a blog post needs to be coherent. And thankfully we have automated spell checks to make sure we’re spelling things correctly. But it’s always worth proof reading your own work to make sure everything is a-okay.
However I’m a realist. We’re human and human’s aren’t perfect and we all make mistakes so I’m not one to go on about someone getting a couple of commas in the wrong place.
Images, images, images
An instant turn off for me (and a lot of other people) is a blog post without any images. I know this is about how to write a blog post and whilst the writing is the most important aspect, you have to look at the bigger picture. A blog post isn’t JUST the writing, it’s the structure, the layout and the images too.
A blog post with nothing to break up text (especially a long blog post) is quite overwhelming to take in. So depending on the length of the post may determine the amount of images you include. Can’t take your own? No problem! There’s amazing stock images out there ready for you to use too!
Internal linking to relevant content
Again, another thing that’s AMAZING for SEO and your DA but also an incredibly easy way to show readers other relevant content of yours and keep them on your blog for longer. I love reading a blog post where the blogger has linked to their other content and I’m 100% more likely to click through that way than searching myself.
Basically, humans are lazy and make things as easy as possible.
SEO the crap out of your post
And finally, one of my favorite topics at the moment *nerd alert*, SEO. You’ve wrote a banging blog post, shared it on social media and got a decent amount of views from it. But then what? Once your social media fans and blog followers have read it, who is there left?
Optimizing the SEO of your posts will help your traffic massively and all this work you’ve done on how to write a blog post that people will read will absolutely pay off when your blog post is ranking higher and more people are reading it through SEO alone! I mentioned briefly earlier but the Yoast SEO plugin in a godsend for SEO.
Related: A Beginners Guide to SEO for Bloggers
Related: 14 Absolute Must Have Blogging Tools and Resources (includes a FREE SEO course)
One final point is that it’s always worth writing one final sentence to encourage discussion of what your readers have just read in the comment section of your blog post. Sometimes blog posts end so abruptly that I wonder if they’ve forgot to finish it.
So just including a solid “ending” of your blog post will be the bow around your neatly packaged present. This will also encourage readers to comment more because they can see that you want to hear their opinions on what they’ve just read and you care about their input.