7 Tips to Create Better Blog Posts

Great blog posts don’t magically engage readers. But by applying a few good tactics, your blog can attract and retain your ideal readers.

Here are seven powerful blog posting habits:

Tip #1: Clear Targeting

The first rule for creating effective content for your business blog is to completely understand why you’re blogging. Have a thorough understanding of your ideal reader’s (your customer’s) profile and of your core message as it relates to your business. If you have a really clear idea about who you’re writing for, it’s going to be easier to write. Your blog posts will be on target and on purpose. You won’t be meandering off into subjects that are irrelevant to your audience.

Tip# 2: Know What Your Readers Want

Always write with your reader in mind. Write as if you are answering the question “what’s in it for them?” Your readers are asking themselves all the time whether this blog is worth their time to read. You’re more likely to keep them interested if you’re “walking in their shoes.” Address your readers’ major issues and concerns. If you don’t know what they are, ask.

Tip #3: Edit Often

So many blog posts start off with, “The other day, I was thinking about…” or “You know, summer’s almost over and….” A blog post is not an essay and it’s not poetry. Get to the point right away. Follow the rule of KISS = Keep It Simple, Sugar! (or Keep It Short and Sweet). That means you can actually write less.

Write short, declarative sentences and omit all unnecessary words. This means read and reread your posts before you publish. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t been trained as a journalist or taken a lot of writing classes. If you can write an email, you can write a blog post. However, your blog writing will improve when you reread before publishing to be sure you have taken out all unnecessary words.

After you click the ‘publish’ button, read your post again. Often this is when you will catch typos or grammatical errors you didn’t see before. Show respect for your readers by having clean copy. It doesn’t take much for readers to abandon your blog; some might unsubscribe simply because your spelling is sloppy. In the online world, your words are all you’ve got.

Tip #4: Create Keyword-Rich Headlines

Write compelling headlines by using strategic keywords that are relevant to your topic. Keywords are often touted as gold by search engine optimization experts who want to charge you an arm and a leg for their services. But let’s make a complicated issue simple.

Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal reader. If this reader was searching Google for information or solutions to a problem, would she find you? Make a list of all the words or phrases she might use to search for you, your business, and your solutions. Those are the keywords and key phrases that you want to use frequently on your blog. When you write a headline for your blog post, use these keywords. This alerts the search engines as well as your reader about what’s important in your post.

For an in-depth discussion on writing effective blog post headlines, read Chris Garrett’s post on How to Create Headlines that Go Viral with Social Media.

Doing keyword research from time to time will help you stay on top of what your prospects want. You’ll find out exactly how readers are looking for the information you’ve got. Use the free keyword suggestion tool at WordTracker to make this simple. Your post headlines can also make it easy—or difficult—for people to find the information they want. Headlines should be as descriptive as possible. Don’t be vague. You can be cute (but not too cute), as long as what you’re putting in the headline clarifies what you’re really writing about or what the reader is going to learn.

Remember, it’s all about your readers. It’s about helping them find and use the content you are giving them. Blogging is going to be a fruitless exercise if your readers can’t get what they want out of reading your blog.

Tip #5: Write Great First Sentences

Write an optimized first paragraph using the same keywords you used in your post headline. Make your point right away rather than leading into it. Use clear keywords in the first sentence of the first paragraph, and then summarize them again before you close your blog post. Always close by asking readers for their comments.

Tip #6: Keep it Short and Spacey

When writing, keep paragraphs short. They should be one or two sentences at most, and then break for a new paragraph. White space is your friend. Sometimes just one sentence can be as effective as a paragraph. You want lots of white space between paragraphs on your blog.

Remember, most readers are in a hurry. Text on a computer screen is also harder to read than text on paper. You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to grasp your message quickly.

Tip #7: Use Bulleted Lists

Use bullet points and lists as often as possible. This makes your post easy:

  • To read
  • To scan
  • To understand
  • To remember

Research shows that people prefer things to be easily digestible and chunked down for them. It’s easier for them to remember your message if you’ve given it to them in a list of three to five items. Some online writing experts also recommend keeping lists to an odd number of bullet points, but the important part is to use lists whenever you can.

There are many ways to ensure you have great blog posts. These seven tips provide a good starting point and checklist to help you stay on track and create content your readers will devour and that will move them to action.

What other tips would you add to this list to write better blog posts? Share your best blogging tips in the comments below.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/ / CC BY 2.0

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About the Author, Denise Wakeman

Denise Wakeman is an Online Marketing Advisor and Founder of The Blog Squad. You can learn more about business blogging on Build a Better Blog. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.webuildyourblog.com/ Andrew Rondeau

    Tip number 5 is great advice and make sure sentences still read natural. I also like “Always close by asking readers for their comments.” I see you have on this post!

    I would also recommend you get someone to ‘quality check’ your blog post. I find it difficult to check my own writing and I write pretty fast, so I always get someone to check before publishing.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Andrew

  • http://www.denisewakeman.com DeniseWakeman

    Andrew, good tip about having someone review your posts. I generally publish, then look at the post on the blog (vs. in the editor) since typos generally jump out at me better on the published post.Blog on!

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, but by then hasn’t your RSS feed already picked up and distributed the content?

  • http://www.webguide4u.com Vivek Parmar

    Great compiling of list, really a good blog needs this.

  • http://www.sdiglobalsolutions.com/ Larry Kunz

    Good stuff, especially tips 1 and 2. Without those, the rest are a waste of time.

    Quote from your last paragraph: “These eight tips provide a good starting point….” C’mon, what’s the eighth tip that you’re not sharing with us? By any chance could it have something to do with tip 3? ;-)

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Good catch Larry! I take the blame for that mistake :) Fixed it.

  • Anonymous

    Wordtracker also has a really cool keyword question tool in it’s lab section. You enter a keyword and it returns search results adding the word who, what, where, when, why, and how. It’s a great way to find questions to answer in your posts.

  • http://www.denisewakeman.com DeniseWakeman

    My bad. I think there was originally a bonus tip and then took it out. But here’s an 8th tip for you to make up for my goof:

    When it comes to creating content, there’s a subset of four elements you want to pay attention to, and those are the four E’s. They are: Educate, Entertain, Engage, and Enrich. People go online for two reasons. One: to find solutions to their problems, and two: to be entertained. So you want to keep your content focused on educating your reader about the subject of your expertise. If you can educate with humor, you’re way ahead of the game.

    Blog on!

  • Maureen

    “After you click the ‘publish’ button, read your post again. Often this is when you will catch typos or grammatical errors you didn’t see before.”

    You might want to delete that apostrophe in the third word of the post…and maybe follow your own advice. ;-)

  • http://www.msharonbaker.com/ M. Sharon Baker

    Great List. I’d like to add: Write active sentences, not passive ones.

    One easy way to do this is to use active verbs, and make sure they follow the subject of a sentence, not the object. “The ball was thrown by Michael” turns into “Michael threw the ball.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tripped trying to read blog posts due to awkward construction or passive sentences.

    Another easy way to write actively? Write like you talk.

    Jack Hart’s A Writer’s Coach is a great book for anyone looking to sharpen any kind of writing.

  • http://www.reportcontentwriter.com/ Rachel Agheyisi

    Timeless tips, Denise.

    I like Tips #1 and #3. They are often the hardest for me to observe consistently, but when I do, the result is always very gratifying. Blogging becomes fun with focus and clarity.

    I don’t know if this qualifies as a tip, but I try not to rush when I’m writing. My brain is not wired for rush jobs.

  • http://www.sleepingwithmyboss.com/ LaurieBixler

    Excellent Advice I am trying to learn how to share my info and you summed it up quite well. Thanks

  • http://free-onlinetips.blogspot.com/ Sanjay

    Almost all the TIPS are valuable. Updating blog often will help to target the right audience. Blog quality does matter. Thanks for sharing information !!!!

  • http://www.iTriageHealth.com/ Marcia Noyes

    Thanks for suggesting this book, Sharon. Searched our library system and found it there. On it’s way.

  • http://www.heroicdestiny.com David Crandall

    I thought your advice was great…except point number 6 which you might want to edit a bit as you don’t seem to fully believe it yourself. You said that paragraphs should be 1 to 2 sentences as most…but you said that in a paragraph with 5 sentences. In fact, most of your paragraphs exceeded this limit. Honestly not trying to nitpick since I do think keeping it short is valid. Would be curious instead to know what you think the ideal read time should be since that would be the ultimate test of how concise a writer was.Nonetheless, great post! I actually used old school pen and paper to take notes from it!

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Good point Sharon! And thank for the book recommendation.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    David, it’s interesting how we are different in how we read. A few years ago a meaty paragraph would not deter me. Today, I’ve become a skimmer, and I’ll only take the time to read something if I get enough interest after skimming through first.

    I think this point #6 is specifically for readers like myself. I need white space. I’ll read 2 sentence paragraphs as I skim through otherwise it’s just the subheads. That’s not a lot to grab my interest.

    I guess it’s easier to know how to write blog posts if you know what type of reader you attract the most… or how the ones you want to attract prefer to read your blog posts. This brings up the very interesting topic of consumption preferences – when, where and how for each social media platform.

  • http://www.heroicdestiny.com David Crandall

    Oh, I definitely prefer to skim and only “deep read” if it is really interesting. My point was saying that we should not exceed 2 sentences in a paragraph with 5 seemed inconsistent.

    You do raise a very interesting point in considering consumption preferences! I’d love to see stats regarding how people prefer to take in data and what their expectations are per platform. Very interesting thought!!!

    Going to research that a bit now. :)

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    David, you must let us know what you come up with on the subject of consumptions preferences for content!

  • http://twitter.com/b6s Anne B6s

    Some good tips there. I especially like the KISS one. What I do is I write and write, then get back to it (preferably later) and start pruning the post rather vigorously. Entire paragraphs get trashed many times and then sentences, and finally words.

  • http://www.ExpandTheBrand.net Tia Dobi

    In addition, you may also remember that great copywriters:

    • Avoid big words when shorter words are available
    • Indent and use white space to their advantage
    • Select hot words such as new, now, easy, introducing and save
    • Vary paragraph lengths
    • Make sentences and paragraphs flow
    • Occasionally insert a paragraph that consists of just a word or two
    • Use color for subheads, bullets and indentions (although this takes a wee bit more posting time!)

  • http://www.ExpandTheBrand.net Tia Dobi

    In addition, you may also remember that great copywriters:

    • Avoid big words when shorter words are available
    • Indent and use white space to their advantage
    • Select hot words such as new, now, easy, introducing and save
    • Vary paragraph lengths
    • Make sentences and paragraphs flow
    • Occasionally insert a paragraph that consists of just a word or two
    • Use color for subheads, bullets and indentions (although this takes a wee bit more posting time!)

  • Liaoshengxiangjiay

    “Love is not a thing to understand.
    Love is not a thing to feel.
    Love is not a thing to give and receive.
    Love is a thing only to become
    And eternally be. .”

  • lauraleewalker

    Thank you for this post. Excellent points! Writing great fist sentences is a common sense way of structuring a post.

    I’ve posted an article called Top 15 Blogging Best Practices that compliment and add to your list at http://bit.ly/bDTx4D. I hope your readers will find this link helpful. Happy blogging!

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  • http://www.bestoffiverr.com Charleen Larson

    I’m actually guilty of not asking people for comments.  Good catch and great reminder!

  • http://rt-now.com/ RT

    Haha i like that gravestone format.

  • http://DrEsteche.com Fernando

    As said, all the ppl love content that helps them, and this blog have a lot of this :D

  • http://www.theuniuni.com/ Payton_vege

    Amazing write-up! This could aid plenty of people find out more about this particular issue. Are you keen to integrate video clips coupled with these? It would absolutely help out. Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals. I can simply direct them here!

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