DO NOT UNLEASH EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE – it can be awkward reading. Do your readers really want to know about all your crap? Can you somehow turn it into something they can take advice from or learn from?
Once you feel confident you’ve done the necessary groundwork before you write your blog post, then it’s time to write it. I would advise writing it in Word as opposed to putting it straight into WordPress, Tumblr, Umbraco or whatever you use. There are several reasons for this; firstly, if for some horrific reason you get a horrendous virus on your site and have to take it down and lose all your content (it happened to me), then you have backup. Secondly, you can continue writing even when you’ve not got internet – great for it you’re writing on the go.
Things to think about when writing your blog post:
A good headline
Like a newspaper where headlines sell, your headline needs to be click-worthy. This means, it has to be intriguing, topical, shocking, useful or have something sexy about it. Often, such blog titles get more interest. It would also help if your headline has your keyword in also – but not if it makes for awkward reading.
Length of your article
Unless you’re writing a thesis, keep blog posts to between 600 – 1000 words. Often, people online are looking for information so will need to find things quickly and easily, which is why a clear layout is so important.
Using keywords sparingly
Once you’ve established your keyword/s, don’t go crazy as it makes it hard to read and search engines will start to think you’re a bit spammy. Add a nice sprinkle of them:
- In the heading
- In the first sentence of your blog post
- In the last sentence of your blog post
- In the Alt tag of your image
A good layout
I’m sure, like me, your heart sinks when you click on a link and you get a giant scrolling page of nothing but black on white text. Eurgh. Dull.
Make your blog post look visually easy to read. Break up your post into different sections using sub-headings, bullet points and styled text, such as bold words and italics. Links are often in a different colour so add these too where appropriate.
And obviously, add images where you can and where appropriate.
Adding images & links
For accessibility, make sure your links have the relevant descriptions. Most CMS’s such as WordPress, Umbraco etc, have the option for you to add in a short description. This helps the user, the search engine and screen readers understand where the link is going to take them to. Make it relevant and ensure it describes the link so that the visually impaired understands where it is taking them.
It’s the same with images. Don’t upload an image that has the description ‘IMG_1027.jpg’ and no alt tags. Use a description that describes the image.
If you have an image, can you link it anywhere relevant? If so, do, again making sure you add an alt tag description to let users know where this links to.
DO NOT RANT– it can be funny but swiftly gets tiring.
The final check before your publish your blog post
For every change, preview your article. Sometimes, your CMS can do strange things – WordPress recently did something weird whereby if you made a word italic, the next word would appear on the following line automatically. I didn’t realise this until I’d pushed it live and then felt like a dick when someone else spotted it. Schoolboy error.
Make sure you’ve checked the following before putting your article live
- Does it look good to read? Are there interesting images? Is the page set out well?
- Does it read well?
- Is it easy for the user to understand why I’ve written it and what I want them to do at the end?
- Are there any spelling mistakes?
- Do all my links work?
Written your article? Then it’s time to get it out there! Read how to drive traffic to your blog post >
NB. Writing for the web is different to writing print articles. Whilst both require you to write with your audience in mind, you also have to think about how search engines trawl websites, how users read online and cutting through all the other competition.