8 Essential Tips For Writing Great Blog Posts

writing great blog postsWriting great blog posts doesn’t just happen.

I use to think it did.

I thought simply find great topics, write what you think, add personality, use good navigation, add interesting information, create content people want to read and voila you’ve got a great blog post.

I was also naive ;-)

Don’t get me wrong, those are all things that make for great blog posts, but just writing without giving consideration to increasing traffic, encouraging return visits, getting readers to take action and boosting your SEO rankings is not making the most of your blog posts.

Today I’ve got some tips that will help you do all those things helping you write great blog posts every time.

1. Use Your Keywords Wisely

Using keywords and using them wisely is an important part of our content writing. But the way we use keywords is changing.

As Google algorithms continue to change the search engines rely less on keyword placement and more on context and using things like keyword themes has become a new way to boost your search engine rankings and deliver more focused content.

If you use the WordPress blogging platform one thing that will help you to use your keywords wisely is to get the SEO plugin by Yoast. It makes sure you cover all the bases for using your keywords efficiently taking much of the guess work out of the SEO process.

If you don’t use an SEO plugin for keywords here are the areas where your keywords should be included.

    • Title and Description Tags
    • In at least one sub-heading.
    • Your content. Don’t compromise the flow of your content by using your keyword phrase too often.  Use words that have similar meaning to keep the flow sounding natural.
    • In your page URL.  Example:  www.yoursite.com/keywordphrase
    • In the Alt tag of your graphic.

2. Write a Attention Getting Headline

There isn’t much point in writing a blog post if it can’t get anyone’s attention.  That’s why writing catchy, attention getting headlines is essential.


This isn’t rocket science but sometimes it feels like it is. I’ve been known to spend just as much time finding a great headline as I have on the post itself.

Realizing there has to be a better way I’ve been using these headline tips that make it easier to create eye-catching headlines in half the time.

- Create curiosity.  Try a little shock or disbelief with your headline.

For example,

“Drive Farther with Less Gas.”

Now that would get anyone’s attention.  The reader will be curious how that’s possible.  

- Ask A question. Ask your reader a question that you know they’re interested in knowing the answer to.

-Include a benefit.  Include a benefit in your headline.  “Lose 10 pounds in 7 days with absolutely no dieting”  What’s the benefit?  No dieting!

- Use a ‘How To’.  How to’s are extremely popular with readers, especially if you have the answer or a remedy to a pressing problem in your niche market.

Use Irresistible Psychology – For example, using music titles and lyrics when writing headlines is a sure fire way to get attention with a headline.

3. Make Your Content Scannable

Web surfers rarely read a web page from top to bottom. Instead, they scan pages for the information that stands out.

For this reason it makes sense to design your blog posts so that your most valuable information stands out or is easily scannable with they eye.  When designing your page content, composing tips, or offering quick links, follow these easily tricks that make your content easily scannable.

    • Highlight specific words that will draw your reader in. 
    • Italicize and/or words to make a point.
    • Use bullet points.
    • Use Sub-Headings. Make your sub-headings clear and remember to use your key phrase where appropriate.

4. Make Your Content Useful

Useful content is information your reader can act on.

For example, it’s not helpful to tell someone blogging is important for business but not give them information on how to create a business blog or point them to where they can get more information.

It’s helpful to advise your reader what they need or should do, but expand on that by showing them how they can do it.

5. Use an inverted funnel Format

The funnel format puts the topic of your content first, then your content focus gradually narrows with supporting points as the reader moves down the content.

It makes perfect sense.

If a reader can’t see from the very first paragraph that your content is relevant to what they are looking for or if they have to wade through lots of ‘wordy‘ text, they’ll stop reading.

Which brings us to our next point.

6. Drop ‘Wasted Words’

There’s the silly notion floating around that the more words you write, the better the content.

Not true.

More words doesn’t mean better content. Brevity means better content and brevity is about writing what you want to say using the fewest words possible.

I love this blog post written by Chris Garret on Brevity, where he says…

“If you want your words to have impact, get to the point — then get out of the way!”

I couldn’t agree more.

Examples of writing sentences that use brevity / and those that don’t:

- There are people who love to read books / People love to read books

- In the field of technology there are many new advances made / The technology industry is making new advances.

 – One of the things I love to do in the summer is sit on the park bench/ In the summer I love to sit on the park bench.

When editing your blog post look for sentences that are long and confusing. Where necessary rewrite them so they make clear points in as few words as possible and without lost meaning.

7. Writing Great Blog Posts Includes Being Genuine & Personal

A blogger interested in getting traffic to their blog, making web sales, or having any online business will find success by building online relationships first.

Good relationships with others  means being personal, friendly, thoughtful, flexible and caring. I can get information from anywhere on the web, but it’s the individual that connects with me on a personal basis or that inspires me with ideas and support that keeps me coming back for more.

A few simple tips for finding and building relationships online.

  1. Know your target market and look for those people where they hang out. For example, niche forums, Twitter, Facebook, or other niche blogs.
  2. Find individuals that appear to need help. Offer answers and insight to their questions. In general provide information and support each time you connect with them.
  3. Publish a free guide and invite individuals to download it with your complements.
  4. Always reply to your blog’s commenters. You’ll get to know other bloggers and build lasting, loyal friendships.
  5. Ask simple niche related questions on Twitter or Facebook and acknowledge those that respond with a personal response of your own.

8. Create a call to action

When you wrote your last blog post what was your objective?

In other words, what did want your reader to do after reading your blog post?

  • Buy your product?
  • Sign up for your newsletter?
  • Download your free gift?
  • Make a comment?
  • Click a link?

Whatever it was, did you specifically request that of your reader?  If not, you should have. This is called your call to action. It’s what you want your content to inspire your reader to do.

Know what your objective is when writing each and every blog post and give your readers a nudge to meet that objective.

  • If you want your reader to click on a link, ask for that click.
  • If you want a reader to sign up for your newsletter say so and include a sign-up box at the end of your content.
  • If you want a reader to buy your product, point out a benefit and ask them to take a look.
  • If you want your reader to make a comment on your blog post, ask for it.

On that note, here’s my call to action for you.

Share with us your tips for writing great blog posts in the comments below :-)

Blessings,
Liz

Photo courtesy of Ambro and FreeDigitalphotos.net

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Comments

  1. Hey Liz,

    At first I kind of chuckled and thought to myself oh crap, that’s exactly what I do. But then as I read I definitely saw your point.

    So I don’t exactly do the keyword research anymore but I do know the topic of my post and will be sure to include a keyword in the heading. I’ve been working more on those too and the headings are big. I also just pay attention to the meta description and the tags but that’s about it these days. I know, horrible of me right!

    But I do write short paragraphs, I do break them up, I don’t have a lot of fluff in my sentences and I am very personable. I don’t do everything though that you mentioned here and most of my beginning paragraphs I just ramble. I did the total opposite back when I was writing articles and some of my earlier posts but they didn’t do so well.

    I think the content itself along with the connections you can make with your readers has a lot to do with it too. I wish I had the perfect formula but I think everyone has to find what works best for them. I sure did.

    Thanks Liz, really great tips and I definitely agree with them all.

    Hope you have a great week.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hi Adrienne,

      That’s really the truth of it all, you have to do what works for you. If a rambling first paragraphs in your posts do better then by all means do it. Not all the advice given is necessarily written in stone, most of these things are guidelines. As we all become more familiar and experienced in what we do, we know what works :-)

      Have a great rest of the week Adrienne :-)

      Blessings,
      Liz
      Elizabeth McGee recently posted..8 Essential Tips For Writing Great Blog PostsMy Profile

  2. Hi Liz,

    Informative post indeed :)

    I think you said it all, leaving little for us to add in this post. I completely agree with all that you wrote. You need to do your keyword research well enough so that your posts reach the search engine pages, and with your catchy titles – they are bound to be clicked. However, sometimes no SEO works well too and some of my posts have reached page 1 of Google – wonder how that happened though!

    Writing posts that are useful for your readers ensures they keep coming for more, and for that you need to know what your audience seek. Google analytics helps there I’d add. Ah…I always get caught up where brevity is concerned – I need to work on that for sure to make my post length a little shorter ;)

    Perhaps if you plan your posts and have a writing strategy, you are more organized as you know what to do. Of course, what comes after a post is published is another story and perhaps it’s promotion, which takes the maximum time, isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead :)

  3. Jeevan Jacob John says:

    Hey Liz,

    This is certainly something I have to work on (I feel kind of embarrassed to say this..because I have said it many times. I realize the importance of investing more time into things like headlines and titles, but I still don’t do much with it).

    Tell you what…I am going to go to my blog, and add these things to my blog post checklist (I am also going to add a time slot for taking care of these things).

    Alright, I am back. I do implement basic SEO, like adding meta description etc, but I don’t spend enough time with keyword research (As much as I don’t like search engine traffic, it is something I don’t want to miss, especially if I am trying to build my blog).

    Hopefully, this time I will implement these techniques (I do have a strong motive…haven’t been able to get the expected results with my blog; search engines might be able to help me with that).

    Anyways, thank you for the tips, Liz! Appreciate it :D

    • Hey Jeevan,

      Great to have you here!

      Did you say you don’t like search engine traffic? It’s one of the things I love to get. However getting it nowadays is harder than it use to be, maybe that’s what you mean :-)

      Today it’s a lot more practical to get traffic and visitors through social connections, but in a way it can be even better than high SEO ranking because you’re actually getting more targeted visitors. Not only that, your visitors have a chance to really get to know you and that’s a much better way to build online trust and consequently sales.

      Keywords and descriptions are still important but one thing I didn’t mention that I’ll go into later in another post is getting quality, valued links. I still think getting valued links is huge. Not just links in comments or sidebars but actual links within the content of high profile websites and blogs. They’re still the most difficult links to acquire but they are worth so much to the value of your blog or site.

      Thanks for your insight Jeevan, always a pleasure to have you here :-)
      Elizabeth McGee recently posted..40 Things You Should Give Up… Today!My Profile

      • Jeevan Jacob John says:

        Well, I did hate getting them since it messed up my data (with higher bounce rates…I could never clearly tell if the bounce rate was due to a change I made, or if it’s due to getting traffic from search engines!).

        That being said, I do love the traffic :D Yeah, these days, it’s even harder to get traffic from search engines, so I don’t put much effort into it. I focus on other means :D

        Yup..targeted visitors. Now, my data is ‘better’…I can experiment around a lot without worrying too much about the data!

        I remember reading somewhere that keywords don’t matter much (at least to Google…I think it was on Yoast…he was talking about meta keywords).

        He is using a ‘focus keyword’ instead of different keywords (Don’t ask me what the difference is..I still don’t get it!).

        Yeah, links are important (it’s getting harder, since a lot more blogs are using no follow tags,in their commenting area).

        No mention!

        • Hey Jeevan,

          One thing about the links is that the links that really count are those text links that are contained in content.

          Links from comments, side bars and footers don’t carry nearly the weight the text links referenced to in the content of a popular post or article have.

          That said links in content are harder yet to achieve. That’s why good guest posts work pretty well for achieving links, especially if you can have a text. link within the post that links to your site.

          Thanks for your comment Jeevan. Love having you here :-)
          Elizabeth McGee recently posted..40 Things You Should Give Up… Today!My Profile

  4. Hey Liz,
    Uh oh! I Use all these tips for the most part other than #5! :) I am a huge believer in being natural and sometimes I just feel I have to start with a little story etc depending on the topic. I do agree it does make sense though.

    I’m so glad you added #7 to the list! A robotic life less post is a quick way to keep me from coming back to a post. Adding our personality is a quick and easy way to set our post apart from the many others out there on the same topic.

    Take care Liz
    Steven Wilson recently posted..How You’re Annoying Your Social Media Connects and Not Know ItMy Profile

  5. Hi Liz,
    How are you today? good to be on your blog this morning. Lot’s of meat in this post. However, in point #1, you said “Find Your Best Keywords or Keyword Phrase” which is the very first tough point many people miss. But while developing this point, you focus more on using the keyword. I was expecting more help on how to find the keywords and which to focus on in terms of popularity and competition factors ;)

    Once a good keyword (good by having the favorable pointers together) is found, it will be fairly easy to rank for it. The real problem has always been how to figure out these keywords.

    thanks for laying down the points beautifully Liz. Hope to be back so soon
    Enstine Muki recently posted..Blog commenting contest – Make money commenting on EnstineMuki.comMy Profile

    • Hi Enstine,

      Good point Enstine. Let me expand on that.

      Finding the right keywords isn’t as easy as it use to be and not many tools are free any more. The Google keywords tool is about the best we have and I believe they will modifying the tool sometime soon, at least that’s what I’m hearing.

      I don’t think the keyword research is going in the direction of finding just the right keyword phrase anymore. I think we should take the idea of our posts, sum it up in one basic keyword phrase and expand it from there.

      For example a post on ‘how to write an ebook’ is a good start but it needs to be more specific. By specific I mean what about how to write an ebook and who is your audience? For instance ‘how to write a non-fictional ebook for the beginner’ is a nice topic and audience specific phrase. Next how many ways can you phrase that within your content?

      – Writing a non-fictional ebook for beginners.
      – A beginners guide to writing a non-fictional ebook.
      – Information for beginners on writing a non-fictional ebook
      etc.

      What might your reader type into the search bar to find that information? Then use those phrases within your content.

      Hope that helps and thanks for your feedback Enstine :-)

      Have a wonderful day!
      Liz
      Elizabeth McGee recently posted..Know Your Target Market – It Means More Sales For You!My Profile

  6. This was such a great article. I have to be sure to refer back to it. I am also going to take a couple of days and really learn all about SEO, so I will get much better in this area. I have a book review blog and I find that I can be a little too wordy. Do you think the length of my review should be watched closely since it’s a book review?

    • Thanks for stopping by Micky and I’m glad you found the piece helpful :-)

      Book reviews need to be thorough but brevity is also important. You don’t want to be too wordy in anything you write. If you’re too wordy you lose your reader. Put your most interesting comments first and work down from there. The idea is to keep your reader interested but also be thorough.

      blessings,
      Liz
      Elizabeth McGee recently posted..Know Your Target Market – It Means More Sales For You!My Profile

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