Monday, March 19, 2018

The Definitive Guide to Writing a Blog Post


Creating Your Blog Post

Trying to write a blog post that's both unique, and contains useful information can sometimes seem like an impossibility. Creating regular content that's fresh, and unique is a job in itself.

I'm going to show how to create addictive content, that will make your readers wanting more.

Where to Start

Ascertain When You're Most Productive

Groundwork for any writer is working out when they're at their most productive. That means when you're going to be the most productive. Day or night? Does your routine include music in the background or TV playing as you write. If you're not sure when you're best time is try experimenting with various times throughout the day.

After you've discovered you're best writing time, try and set yourself a weekly routine. If it doesn't work tweak it until you become more comfortable. You'll soon discover when you're most creative, this will make the writing process more, and when you're writing will really start to flow, making your writing more enjoyable.
Refine Your Creativity

When you go through periods of writer's block you begin to understand how simple tasks can seem laborious. This often lead writer's to burning out and nothing being done for days or weeks at a time.

If you have a set schedule of blog posting it's important to keep to that schedule, otherwise your readers can become confused. You need to be able to keep their attention, and keep them interested in order for them to read your blog. By carrying a notebook and pen with you throughout the day you can capture thoughts and ideas that come into your head. From these simple thought's you can craft, and build your blog post the way you want it and check back at your notes.

Writing a 20 minute blog post means that your able to sit down and generate a well written article in a set time, and not have to worry about getting it done at the last minute.

Applying the Right Format

We're living in the age of the lazy reader i.e. people who no longer want to get their information from books, but instead want to switch on their mobile phones, or tablets and Google their information. People like reading information that's easy to digest. So find out what your readers want and give it to them!

Many writer's (myself included) will usually use bullet points or numbered points to break down relevant information. This is a great way to make a blog post scanner friendly, and hold your readers attention at the same time. Also by writing around 500 words per post this gives your readers intensely focused content wrapped up in valuable information, without taxing their minds too much.

By focusing your efforts and improving your content process you can have a writing routine that works for you and your readers.

Important Elements of Creating a Blog Post

How do you create really great blog content? Content so good it goes viral? What are the elements most needed to create a successful blog post?

Two words that come to mind are unique and useful. Without these your blog is dead in the water and really stale.

When you start writing and looking at your blog analytics you discover which blog posts have been read the most. Then you can start producing more of what your readers really like.

What Makes a Blog Post Useful and Unique?

Find Out What Your Readers Want

Ask your readers for advice and feedback, get their opinions and discover their needs. You can do this through your blog posts or a weekly/monthly newsletter.

What Makes Blog Content Useful?

Useful content could be:

Education - Some blog readers prefer educational topics.

Information - People prefer to have information at hand and be informed of current affairs.

News - Readers like to be kept up-to-date with the latest news in their favourite arena.

Every blog is useful in its own way.

What Makes Blog Content Unique?

Blogs are being created every second on nearly every topic imaginable, new bloggers have to think of blog topics that are going to stand out from the crowd, and provide useful information that other bloggers aren't providing.

Best advice would be to see what your competition is doing.  As a new blogger you need to be producing interesting information  on a regular basis.

It may take you a while find your blogging voice, but the more you write the louder your voice will become.

What's the Difference Between Original and Unique Content?

Original definition - new, fresh, inventive, novel.
Unique definition - having no like or equal, unparallelled, incomparable.

When you're original you're the first when you're unique you're exclusive or different.  So be both.

How to Utilise Blog Post Titles Productively

There's no denying, first impressions really do count.

Aside from the layout of your blog, the title should really strike a chord with your readers.

Here are 3 ways to utilise your blog titles more productively:

1. SEO - There are many contributors to how search engines rank a page, but one of the most powerful is the title of a blog post.

2. Faithful Readers - As previously mentioned, a good title forces the way your readers interact with your blog.  Making it easier for web users to scan pages, and make them pause as their eyes go down the page.  A good title should capture their interest straight away, helping them to slow down and take note of what they're reading.

3. Alerting Search Engines - Type in a couple of words, and millions of results will pop up in Google search.  All readers have to go on is a title, short description and a URL.  The title is a focal point for all readers.

Applying Titles Successfully

Bloggers use a variety of strategies to draw attention to their posts.

See below the 6 factors to consider when writing good titles for your blog posts:

1.  Simplify - Research suggests that the simpler the title the better.  Search engines like titles of 40 characters and under, so the whole title appears in the search results.

2. Attention Grabber - A post can be set apart from the other clutter around it.  Some bloggers may choose tactics such as 'big claims', 'shock' or even 'controversy'.  There's no doubt that this draws the reader in, but also can cause more damage if your post doesn't live up to its claims.

3. Satisfy a Need - An adequate title will draw a reader in because they feel you've got something to say that they need to hear.  Popular articles such as 'how to ...' or 'guides' show readers that they'll learn something or solve a problem they might have.

4. Illustrate in Writing - A cryptic title draws a reader in but doesn't communicate much about what they're reading.  Most readers like to know something about what they'll find if they read further.  A good title should describe what readers will find in the main post.

5. Keyword Usage - You can maximise the power of your title by using keywords.  This can be a challenge when you want to 'keep it simple'.  Never the less it can be done.  Words at the beginning of a title are more powerful than at the end when it comes to SEO.

6. Don't be Frivolous with Your Title - Take time over your blog post title and content.

Think of each title as a mini advertisement of your work.  Think over what you've written before you hit the publish button.

How Long Should a Blog Post Be?

Continuing with the exploration of writing great content, a point deliberated by many bloggers over the years, the length of an ideal blog post.  Below are some points to ponder:

Attention Span of Reader - A point that has been well chronicled that the typical internet surfer has a short attention span when it comes to reading information online.  My own search into the investigation of length of stay on a blog has found that the average internet surfer will stay 96 seconds on a blog.  Which isn't long at all.  This is why so many bloggers write bite sized blog posts. Which is contrary to what SEO experts will tell you.  Long posts ranking better than short ones.

SEO - Experts considered in the know about SEO will tell you that extremely short and extremely long posts are not ranked highly as pages of a more reasonable length.  No one really knows how many words are optimal, but it seems the general consensus to be that of  250 words to be the most reasonable length.  Likewise, 1,000 words and under are also advised.

Amount of Posts - One belief is that by writing shorter posts, you'll generate more blog posts in the long run.  Generating a greater readership with RSS and in Search Engines.

Genre/Topic - The length of your post will be determined by its length.  As an example, if your writing about a popular subject such as "blogging" you'll probably write quite a lengthy post, because its a popular subject on the internet.

Complete Coverage of the Topic - This should be the main benchmark for all bloggers.  You should write enough to exhaustively cover your topic, then stop.  Long for the sake of being long is not advisable.

Ultimately you have to find your own path on this.  I like to vary my blog length and do a long post every once in a while, to give readers something to think about. 

How to Write a Successful Series on Your Blog

Doing a series of blog posts is a great way to keep your readers engaged.

I'm going to show you how to create your own blogging series.

1. Pick a topic - As I've discussed in previous posts, a title is everything.  I've looked over past series that I've done and they all started with a single blog post - one of my first series was the Beginners Guide.  This began as one post but I slowly began to realise why not do more posts and turn it into a series.

Always make sure you choose a subject that will allow you to spread out your chosen subject.

2. Create a list - Lists are a staple part of blog post publishing.  You can write about any subject with the help of some bullet points or numbers.  The list can be cut down or expanded upon depending on the chosen subject matter.

3. Establish a target - Set yourself a goal of how many posts you want to write and how long you want each post to take.  This way you can do a series in a week.

4. Series Reveal - Make an announcement with a blog introduction post.  This lets your readers know what to expect, and how long it will be.  Also helps to keep you motivated.

5. Compose an introduction to the series - This is the post you use to introduce your series in.  The audience will be told about the upcoming topic and what it will be addressing.

6. Keep it fresh write a post everyday - This will help you keep the topic fresh in your mind.  Writing multiple posts in one day can be a bit tedious, so make things easier and write them down over time.

7.  Join your posts with links - Not many bloggers remember to do this and it's really important for your readers to know it's a series.

You can do this by:

Creating a central page - You create one page and link each post in your series.

Add lists to the beginning and end of each post - You can do this whichever way you feel is best, at the beginning or end of your blog posts with a couple of sentences explaining what's in your blog series.

Integrate all posts into one central page - Take all of your blog posts and place them on one page. You then have a longer blog post.

Here's Some Quick Blog Post Inspiration

Starting a blog can be thrilling, you feel like you have real control when you start blogging, having an endless supply of ideas.  Which you think will never end.

Until suddenly your fountain of ideas dries up. What do you do?  You need to keep up the momentum.  Not posting regular blog posts and leaving your audience without regular updates is a big no no.

What is the Secret to a Regular Publishing Schedule?

This is why you need a plan to keep the content flowing, even when you're not feeling that inspired.

Use the five ideas below to get you started, and bookmark them for future reference for when that dry spell occurs.

1. Check Out Amazon

A fortuitous source for blog post topics are Amazon reviews.  You have books on nearly every subject.  Check out the reviews left on books in your own genre.  You can get a lot of insight into what people are looking for and what matters to your audience.

2. Listen to Community Forums

Any community forum or social group you're interested in, see what people are talking about.  Open up each thread and get a feel for the questions being asked within the forum.

3. Cover a Subject from a Different Angle

Most of your readers have probably not read all of your blog posts, so go back over the content you've already written.  You may have missed some important points on that particular subject.

There's always room for new thought and inspiration on any given subject.  You're also building your credibility as an authority on the internet.

4. Reorganise Old Content

Very similar to the above idea, reorganising your old content could mean creating an infographic or video.

5. Review News Updates Regularly in Your Own Industry

A good strategy to take is responding to news topics in your chosen subject.  Be mindful of being too controversial and using this particular strategy too often.

What You Need to Know About Blog Posting Frequency

What is the best time to publish during holiday time?

Like most subjects there are two schools of thought.  To publish or not to publish?

Why You Should Publish Blog Posts During Holiday Time

Most businesses are closed during a bank holiday, but this is only in the UK. While the rest of the world is still working.  You need to work out where most of your traffic comes from and go from there. You also need to take into consideration how many times a week you publish a blog post.

These days most people carry around a device, be it a mobile phone, or tablet with them so that they can check their emails or have internet direct access to the internet.  This makes a big difference to traffic.  Unlike the early days of blogging when people only had PC's or bulky laptops to view the internet from.

Why You Shouldn't Publish Blog Posts During Holiday Time

As I mentioned earlier posting during a holiday can be a bit tricky.  You need to understand your visitor's behaviour, and whether it's really worth publishing anything during that time.

There's no doubt about it traffic can really suck, and starts to drop off during a holiday because most people are chilling out with friends and family or even out or away from home for a holiday.

This is where you need to start looking at your analytics and the patterns people make visiting your blog.  If you can understand your visitor behaviour you're halfway there in making the decision as to whether you should post on a holiday.

How often should I publish a blog post?

The question every blogger asks when there just starting out.  It's a question that needs to be looking into and considered very carefully.  It's time to get savvy with your blog post frequency.

Here are some important points to consider:

1. Writing fatigue - If you're publishing a blog post every day you'll soon discover how tiring it can become.  Not only that, but also how much the quality of your blog content  starts to suffer because you're churning out information at such a high rate.  You need a team of bloggers to sustain such a high volume of good content each week.  Proving that striving for high quality relevant content can be too demanding for any blogger.  Posting too frequently can lead to poor quality blog posts.

2. Reader exhaustion - Posting within such a short period of time can leave your readers feeling tired and bored.  Particularly subscriber's and those loyal to your blog who have your website bookmarked.  Being bombarded by emails constantly can be very off putting.

3. Reader engagement - Sometimes too much information can put people off commenting on your blog because they can't keep up with the different threads of conversation that are going on.  Too many blog posts on too many topics leads to reader disengagement.

4. Search engine referrals - You could try posting an extra blog post each week to give you more in-roads to your blog.  Managing how many posts you produce is half the battle.

5. Picking a blog post topic - Every subject can be broken down into sub-categories.  Giving people variety will keep them interested because people love to learn new things.

6. Variety of visitor - By understanding your blog analytics you can see the behaviour of your readers giving you a better insight into your audience.

7. Length of post - It makes sense that writing posts over 750 words are going to take longer  to research and write, which isn't a bad thing.  So try to give your readers something meatier to read every once in a  while. 

8. Regularity - My advice is to find your blogging rhythm and stick to it, unless life get's in the way. Readers like to know what to expect and when to expect it.

Final Thoughts on Blog Posting Frequency

As long as you can write at least one really well written blog post a week you'll find your own steady readership.

Blog Post Recycling

After a blog post has been created, it can easily be forgotten about, and get pushed to the bottom of the pile.

All that hard word is forgotten about. You need to remind your audience about your earlier posts.

You're probably thinking no one wants read a blog that was published months ago. This gives you the opportunity to breathe new life into work you've already done and improve on what you've written.

The process of recycling old blog posts will bring new life into those once tired blog posts again.

How to Start Recycling Your Old Blog Posts

Start by looking into your analytics, see which blog posts were traffic magnets.  These are the posts that will never go out of fashion. Usually people gravitate towards the most relevant content and the posts that offer the most value.

You can begin by re-posting them on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc.).  You're blogging journey has come a long way since you joined social media so why not show your new followers some of your original work.

Discover What Your Audience Likes Reading

The more you look into your analytics the more you begin to realise which blog posts your reader's really like.  You can use this to grow your audience and build on your success!

Add even more value to your blog by reaching out to other markets within your genre.  You can engage new people by simply repositioning your content.

Update Your Blog Posts

Try do this regularly, there's no harm in rejuvenating your content and giving it new lease of life.  You can use the same blog post by updating the information, and adding a new image to it.

Create a New Format 

You could go really crazy and turn your blog post into a YouTube video or Slideshare.  This will bring a new traffic to your blog.
10 Ready-to-Use Blog Post Templates

Every writer gets writer's block, you think that endless fountain of information is going to burst out and you'll be able to write endlessly, all it takes is a distraction and your well is dry.

Here are 15 blog post templates that you can use to help solve your writing drought:

1. Prophecy Post

These work particularly well at the start of the year, or towards the end. Take a look at what your competitor's are writing about and create a blog post with your predictions for the new year.

2. Stuff You Might Not Know About Me

Every blogger should do a post like this. Get your community's attention by revealing what goes on behind the scenes.  Give them a sneak peak into your life.

3. Why I Don't Do ....

News channels flourish when there's controversy in the air, here are some helpful hints:
  • Why I Don't Do Fitness
  • Why I Don't Do Affiliate Marketing
  • Why I Don't Do Tinder
4. The Famous Person Guide

See what's hot right now and link it into your market.

Some examples:
  • The Bill Gates Guide to IT
  • The Beyonce Guide to Beauty
  • The Oprah Winfrey Guide to Social Media
5. Case Studies

Case studies are like really good stories, everyone loves a great story.

Revealing how someone got to their goal is something everyone wants to know.

  • How I Get 5,000 Visitors a Day
  • My Journey To The #1 Spot in Google
  • How I Lost 70 Pounds in 90 Days
If you really want to be a top market leader in your field start writing some case studies, and people will start following your journey.

6. The Product Showdown

Try doing a comparison showdown with some of your favourite products, by sharing the pros and cons of each.

For example:
  • Hostgator Vs. Bluehost
  • Odesk Vs. Fiverr
You're giving your reader's valuable information about both to help them decide which is best.

7. Things You Must Do After ....

An entertaining blog post that nearly always a winner. It plays on your readers natural interest.
  • 10 Things You Must Do After Writing a Blog Post
  • 5 Things You Must Do After Every Date
  • 8 Things You Must Do After Every Workout
8. How to ... in (X Number of Days/Hours)

Pretty similar to a case study and another really popular template.
  • How to Generate 10,000 Visitors in 7 Days
  • How to Get 100 Retweets a Day
  • How to Get the Perfect Figure in a Month
9. The Experimental Blog Post

Set yourself a little experiment of doing something within 30  a day time span, then post your progress throughout that period.

Some examples:

  • My 30 Day Social Media Detox
  • My 30 Day Weight Loss Journey
10.  The Complete Pillar Post

If you're a new blogger, you can't go wrong with this blog post.

The 'pillar blog post' usually has more than 1,000 words, it gives your readers a lot of value.

Your 'pillar post' should inspire people, create a new perspective and get people to think outside the box.

Here are some examples:
  • 30 Steps to 1,500 Visitors Per Day
  • The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Marketing
  • How to Create a Google+ Landing Page
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