9 Step Guide To Writing Quality Blog Posts

9-Step-Guide-To-Writing-Quality-Blog-Posts

There are many things that go into running a blog online, but at the heart of it you need to be writing quality blog posts.  That is what will ultimately bring in traffic to your site and allow you to monetize via; advertising, affiliate marketing, product sales, etc.

There are many bloggers, especially new bloggers, that find it difficult writing quality blog posts on a regular basis.  I plan on changing that opinion by putting together this 9 step guide for you to follow.  This is kind of like a blogging blueprint that you can follow to help you create quality content for your own site.  I use this exact method myself for all my posts and know that many other top bloggers use a very similar approach.

Let’s get started!

1. Thinking Up A Post Idea

Establish An Idea

This is without doubt the hardest part of the whole process.  It’s all well and good learning about how to structure out your posts, but you need a decent idea to write about in the first place.

One of the best things you can do is to carry around something to jot down ideas on when inspiration hits you.  I always have a pad of paper and a pen next to me when I’m working so that I can scribble down things when I think of them.  This can be when I am surfing the web reading other posts, when I’m working on something else that I think could make a good topic, when chatting to clients, reading emails, answering comments, etc.

If you want to be a bit more modern, a note taking app such as Evernote, Google Keep or OneNote is a good thing to have on your phone.  That way, whenever inspiration hits you, you can make a note of it for future use.  I make use of Evernote quite a bit when I am out as I always seem to think of something when I least expect it, be it when shopping at the supermarket or out and about with friends.

Making a note of ideas when you get them is a good habit to get into, but what do you do if you just haven’t got any ideas?

Two words – ‘Mind Maps’.

Mind maps are a great way to organize your thoughts and help you think about different areas to write about.  Try to imagine your whole website as one giant jigsaw with each of your posts a piece of that puzzle.  Doing this can help you to take a step back and see which areas you can add more too.    By looking at the content that you already have, you can begin to see areas that you can expand upon.

Another thing you can do is read – a lot!  Now, I don’t just mean read content from other sites in your niche (though you should be doing that already), but read content from a whole host of different subjects, such as;

  • News stories,
  • Fiction,
  • Non-fiction,
  • Reviews,
  • Tutorials,
  • …and so on.

By broadening your horizons, not only will you gain new ideas, but you will also help to improve your writing style.  I personally like watching a lot of movies, so I try to read different film reviews after seeing something.   There are a couple of film reviewers that I really enjoy reading as they do it very well.  Whilst I myself don’t write film reviews, I try to use some of the same writing techniques that they use in my own posts.

These are all good tips to help you when you are in need of inspiration, though if you are still struggling, check out our previous ‘15 Blog Post Ideas To Use When You Are Stuck For Ideas’ article.

2. Write Out The Main Bulk Of Your Post

OK, so you have your post idea, now you need to turn that into an actual article.  One of the worst things you can do is stare at a blank Word document hoping that it will just appear.  That blank white page can cause you to seize up no matter how good your idea is, so it’s important to get something down – anything really.

A good way to start is by splitting it up into sections.  So, for example, let’s say you wanted to write a tutorial post on ‘How To Do X’.  List all the different stages (1, 2, 3…) that people would need to work through to achieve that.  Doing this helps you to structure out your post as you now have clear sections that you can write about.

I did this for this exact post.  I had the idea of writing about ‘Writing Quality Blog Posts’ and began by listing all the different sections that would go into it (Idea, Post, Intro, Title, etc.), which made up my subheadings.  Instantly I knew how the overall bulk of the post would pan out, so the task of writing was made much easier.

Breaking a post down into smaller sections can, not only help you to write it out, but it also encourages people to continue reading.  A great big block of text can be off-putting, so breaking it up can help people find what they are looking for.

3. Introduction

Once you have the main bulk of your post, you need to add an introduction.  This is VITALLY IMPORTANT as your introduction determines whether people will end up reading your post or not.

Not only will your introduction appear at the start of your post, but it will appear as an excerpt on your blog page.  This alone helps people decide whether to click onto your article in the first place, so it needs to be up to scratch.

Your actual introduction doesn’t need to be that long (one or two paragraphs at the most), but it does need to do one thing – not give the game away.  I always try to imagine it like a movie trailer – you need to give a brief outline of what the post is about without actually spoiling it by revealing everything straight away.

4. Call To Action

Whilst not quite as important as your introduction, the end of your post is still key.  You ideally want them to stay on your site and not just click away to another, and in order to do that you need to give them a gentle nudge in the right direction.

This “nudge” is called a ‘Call To Action’, which is where you are essentially telling your readers to do something.  Now this could be many different things, for example;

  • …and if you liked this post, check out our other post [LINK] that you might find useful.
  • …and remember to sign up to our newsletter [LINK] for more information.
  • …we want to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.
  • …if you liked this post then please feel free to share it on [Facebook/Twitter/G+].

You can word it however you like, but the aim is to get people to actively do one of these things.  I personally tend to go with the ‘related link’ and ‘please comment’ option as this helps keep people on the site for longer, but encouraging them to share your post or signup to your email list is equally useful.

5. Add Multimedia Content

How-To-Write-A-Blog-Post

So, at this point you should have a lengthy blog post written out with both an introduction and call to action added.  The vast majority of people would now just add a title and hit publish, but we are only half way through our list.  You see there is a lot more that goes into writing quality blog posts.

Your post is hopefully great at this point, but it is still essentially text.  Whilst we have helped split that up by adding subtitles and breaking it up into easy to read paragraphs, we can still do more.  You need to realize that the vast majority of people online have short attention spans, so you need to make your post a little bit more interesting.  One of the best ways to do this is by adding multimedia content.

I won’t go into too much detail here as I’ve already written about this in our ‘Quality Content – The Lifeblood Of Your Website’  post, but essentially adding things like; images, video, slideshows, infographics, etc. helps to break up your text and make it more visually appealing.

Images, especially, are a great way to brighten up a post, which leads me to the next step in our blueprint…

6. Add A Featured Image

Each and every one of your blog posts MUST have a featured image!

For the exact same reasons that we add an introduction to our post, the featured image helps to draw reader’s attention and encourage them to click onto the post from your blog page.

What many people forget is that your featured image also appears when you share your link on social media.  Again this helps to draw people’s attention and can be the difference between them clicking or not on your post.

There isn’t really any secret to picking a good featured image.  Try to look for an image online that somehow reflects what your post is about.  This could be a great looking image, a metaphorical image or simply your post title displayed in an interesting way.  A lot depends on what your article is about, but really it just needs to be something that stands out.

7. Add Links

The next thing that you need to do is go back over your post and add links where appropriate.  This includes both internal (links to your other posts) and external links (links to other people’s posts on other sites).

Internal links are useful to allow people to navigate around to other areas of your blog and find your other content.  This is particularly helpful when you can link to other related posts that you have written that explain something in more detail.

External links may seem counterintuitive (why would you include links to other people’s posts?), but there is a good reason for that.  It all has to do with SEO.  You see search engines look at your blog posts to try and work out what it is about so that they can rank it properly when people search for that subject.  One thing they look at is what other sites that posts links too.

Search engines value posts that link to other relevant high quality content as it shows that you value your readers.  They actively rank sites that do this regularly higher than sites that never link out, so it is always worth adding some external links.

8. Remember SEO

SEO - Search Engine Optimisation

We just talked about the SEO benefits of including some external links within your post, but that is not the only thing you can do.

Keyword optimization is something that you should try and do with all your posts before publishing them.  This involves researching keywords and keyphrases that are related to your post that people are actively using to search for things in the search engines.

For example, if I wrote a post explaining how to build your own PC, keyphrases such as; build your own PC tutorial, how to build a PC, how to build a computer, etc. would all be relevant.

These are the types of keywords and long tail keyphrases that you should be using throughout your post.  If need be, go back over your article and look at how you can include these phrases naturally within your writing so that search engines can determine what your content is about.  This process is commonly referred to as on-page SEO and you can use a plugin called WordPress SEO to help you.

9. Title

Last but not least we need to add a title.  I left this until last as it’s arguably THE most important part of the whole process.

Your title needs to;

  • Convey what your post is about,
  • Be eye catching,
  • Be interesting,
  • Include your main keyword/keyphrase,
  • Not too long,

Including all of these is certainly no easy task, but with practice it is possible.  It’s important to try and tick all of these boxes as your title will be the one that people; read, click onto, see on social media sites, share with their friends, link to within their own posts, etc.

Writing Quality Blog Posts Made Easy

If you have followed this guide, you will now have a post that is worthy of publishing on your site.  You have made sure to break up your post into manageable chunks, made it visually appealing by adding images and video, optimised it for search engines and included links to your other relevant pages.  Simply double check your post for any errors and then hit publish!

Like I said at the beginning of this post, this is the method that I use and I know many other bloggers use (though maybe not necessarily in this order).  Get into the habit of constructing your posts in this way and I can guarantee that they will reach more people.

How do you go about writing quality blog posts?  Do you have any other steps that you take before publishing?  If so, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

headlines that work

Killer Headlines You Can Use For Your Blog Posts

killer headlines

Having a great headline is essential for any post throughout your content marketing strategy. It’s the title that makes the reader decide to click through to read more, to open that email or post instead of opting for the many others. Magazine publishers spend millions of dollars trying to perfect their content strategy and the headline will be a big part in that.

Next time you are at a magazine stand try and see which magazines your eyes are drawn too (careful, try not to drift up to the top….) and then check out some of the headlines on the front cover. They will have on the front cover titles of articles that are included in that edition.

It is these headlines that will essentially make you decide if you are going to buy it or not. Was it intriguing enough? Did it leave you wanting to know the answer?

People say you should not judge a book by its cover – but essentially people do, whether we like it or not. It’s the same with magazines for the first time buyer. You see the magazine company hopes you will become a new regular reader obviously. But its winning you over from all the other competing magazines that matters the most. Once they have converted you the hard part is done…..

So How Do They Do It?

Well, like with any successful blog post or actually any successful content marketing strategy online or offline they use great, captivating titles; or headlines.

Lets take some examples. If you were a Gardener and just discovered a great way to double the size of your tomatoes, which headline would captivate you the most?

  • How To Grow Bigger Tomatoes
  • How I Doubled The Size of My Tomatoes With One Simple Trick!

Sure in some ways both are fairly captivating, but in my view and hopefully most of yours the 2nd headline seems more appealing.

It gives the reader an understanding of what they are going to get from the article. The first one is a little vague and does not really say too much. The next headline draws people in and also gives a promise that by reading the article you will learn something simple that you can apply with your own tomato growth!

Here is a presentation from We Are Visual showing you 12 killer headlines you are free to use and adapt in your own content marketing strategies:

The best thing about these titles is they are already proven – these are taken from some of the top magazines around the world. The publishing houses spend millions of dollars on advertising and making sure they get the best hook from their audience.

They are all everygreen and you can apply them to virtually any niche.

For some more ideas on specifically blog posts – check out Matt’s post: 15 Blog Post Ideas When You Are Stuck For Blog Post Ideas

Sell Results Not Specifications

I want to discuss something that came about from an experience I had two weeks ago with a hosting company here in the UK. Something that I believe could have been losing them money because they were not pandering to ego and focused more on the technical aspect of their business.

I wasn’t going to name the company as I intended not to dis them just use them as an example of what I believe a business should and shouldn’t do but after re visiting today I see that there have been some changes and I know understand more of what they do and what a customer will get.

streamflowhosting

The company is screenflowhosting.com and whether it was my email that helped or not I really don’t know but what I do know is that they have made some excellent positive changes. So the article is to also big them up and give them so extra exposure.

Today’s post came about from listening to the legendary Slipmatt radio show the World Of Rave. I am a lover of all things Electronica music. I am especially a big fan of the music that was around in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That was when I was in my teens & early twenties  and clubbing and there is a big ‘old skool’ movement happening now with radio shows and rave nights dedicated to the music from that era.

slipmatt world of rave

As part of the DJ Slipmatt’s show he does the usual call out to his sponsors and help including the guy who deals with the technical side of the radio and the hosting company responsible for the running of the radio show.

I have a website that is loosely dedicated to the music and have thought about having my own online radio show for it. I have in fact been in talks with one online radio station DanceRadioUK that also hosts Slipmatt’s show to do a late night show for them about all forms of Electronica called ‘Everything Starts With An E’  (Will keep you posted if it comes off!)

Online radio is great because many different radio stations can connect and broadcast the same show so for example ‘The World Of Rave’ which is Slipmatt’s show is broadcast on a Friday night between 5 and 7 on several online radio stations as well as direct from his own website. Below is a recording of one of his recent shows.

Slipmatt – World Of Rave #25 by Slipmatt on Mixcloud

When I heard Slipmatt call out the name of the hosting company I went over and took a look. After looking around the site for several minutes I rightly or wrongly decided to send them an email sharing my thoughts. Not to criticise or bash but to say from a customer’s point of view how I was left dazed and confused at their site and services.

Offering the best service and equipment is one thing good businesses should do but the best businesses generally think from a customer’s point of view and if a customer is not tech savvy it doesn’t matter if you supply the new ‘Mega 4000 Max Power Kyrptonite Processor, NRA Based Server’ or ‘40 Tonne Kilowatt Bandwidth’

server software

What I as a customer needs to know is will it do what I want, I need to know the results I will get from system and as it was music related many DJs will be ego driven and want to know ‘How many listeners can I have and will it cost a lot’

As part of the system requirements and package specifications was a button, ‘Learn More’ which when clicked took me to the ‘order form’. I didn’t learn anything new and was not sure what I was paying for and whether I wanted to pay for it.

As a DJ (potential DJ lol) I saw that I could have 100 listeners as part of a £10 a month package, this didn’t sound a lot to me, I wasn’t sure how this worked whether it was a bandwidth thing or something at my end or what. All I know is that I would want to be set up and have the potential to broadcast to thousands if possible and at what price. Now having a Radio 1 size audience is probably well out of my price range but I really do not know.

Getting only 100 visitors doesn’t sound a lot and worth bothering for £10 a month: that is me simply thinking like a customer. I could be completely wrong here with other radios all being able to tap into radio streams it could be possible to be like Ibiza Global Radio and broadcast around the world connecting to different services and set ups.

As I said StreamfloHosting.com have changed their site and added some new information that has helped increased my knowledge and understanding within a few minutes of reading. My email might have helped or it might have been nothing more than a simple coding error and the information was there all the time just I was unable to connect with it. Whatever it was, I know understand far more than I did before which is great.

streamflowhosting tutorial

Whatever your business is, you must stop and think from your customer’s perspective and think ‘What is it I would want to know, look for and buy if I was the customer?’ Think about the ‘X Factor’ for a minute (I know it is an awful show but please just try J)

Imagine Simon Cowell said to a group of teenage wannabes…

‘I will get you into a large studio with Reason, Cubase software, Akai and Roland equipment, big microphones and record a song’

the teenagers would be stood with a semi excited fixed grin thinking…

‘I have no idea what you just said really’

but if instead Simon had said…

‘I will make you stars, with millions of adoring fans, millions in the bank and a life of mixing with celebrities’

I can guarantee the teenagers would be jumping around in joy screaming and whooping.

x factor pap

The desired results they want are stardom, adoration, money and a celebrity lifestyle. They are not interested in or understand the technical aspects of a recording studio or equipment. I am not saying they won’t develop an interest along their journey to stardom but that isn’t why they go on the ‘X Factor’

Unless you are a real geek, when getting website hosting you are more likely to be interested in what it can do for your business, brand or popularity and not what the actual software or hardware is and it is the same for any business.

Drug dealers know this well, that is why they never sell the drug, they sell the experience, the high, the happiness and the effects the drug can have. Obviously there is a place for system information and technology specifications and I am not saying you should become a ‘Willy Wonka’ style character only selling dreams all the time. That can fall into the dubious realms of copywriting which can be as unethical in the way it sells dreams as selling drugs.

willy wonka

What I am trying to say here is that when you are offering a service or selling products, do not get too wrapped up in the specifications of the technology or service. People buy things for a reason and often that reason is driven by an expectation of a result so you should be selling results more than a service or product.

Besides, the average Joe Public know what they want as a result but they probably do not have a clue about the technology and hardware. You could soon leave them dazed and confused with information overload and quite possibly scare them off from making a decision losing you the sale. And I know you do not want that, do you?

If you are interested in running an online radio and they are very popular and powerful please check out Streamflowhosting.com and if you simply want to hear some cool sounds both old skool and new please check out my recommended list of online Radio stations.

KoolLondon | KaneFm | DanceRadioUK | SlipMatt | IbizaGlobalRadio | UKObsession | Renegade

Also if you want to be a superstar DJ like Slipmatt he is soon to be doing a special online training course covering all styles old and new. I am ok with the old but need serious help with the new technology so I shall be signing up!

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