5 Steps to the Perfect Blog

There’s a big difference between a great blog post and a good blog post; one, your readers will get to the end and share it around, the other will sound like a brain splurge of content that’s faintly interesting but soon turns your reader off. Maybe before they read the end and arrive at the Share Button.

5 Steps for the Perfect Blog with Digitally Sorted

Even if you’re not much of a writer, that’s not a problem – all you have to do is stick to the outline below to create something that’s not only readable, but gets the reader to take action too.

Your Blog Outline
1. Eye-Catching Headline

This is what makes the reader read your content over all the other on the page. It has to be attention-grabbing and it has create intrigue.

Here are 3 easy steps to producing a great headline:

  1. Know your target audience and write for them. Look at the other types of blogs that they read and the magazines they buy. What have they got on their front covers?
  2. Have a think about how you’re going to set your article out. For example, is it going to be a ‘How to’, a list, a personal story?
  3. Write several different headlines experimenting with the different benefits. Do the same identifying the problem. After all, people are looking for two things – something to solve a problem, or something to improve their gain.
2. Intriguing opener

Once you’ve pulled your reader in with your headline, don’t stop there. Provide your audience with a couple of lines to introduce further what you’re going to be saying. Statistics work fantastically well. Try searching for what you need online at National Statistics for example. Don’t forget to look at university research too.

3. Give Points and Evidence

Provide at least 3 points and supporting evidence. Give stories, provide emotional pull, use more statistics where relevant. Are there any case studies, graphs, or even cartoons that help provide colour to your article?

4. Conclusion

Don’t leave your audience hanging! Make sure you tie all the ends of your article together and think about giving them something to take away. Is it something to think about it or an action they take in the physical world?

5. Call to Action

If you don’t have a call to action, you’re not guiding your reader to take action once they’ve reached the end of your article. It’s a bit like presenting them with a dead end and no one likes that. Examples of call to actions include:

  • Share
  • Highlight a Product
  • Subscribe
And don’t forget:

Resources: if you’ve referred to any studies, don’t forget to provide a link to these.

Images: Images make all the difference to a blog post. However, you’ve got to be careful where you find these from otherwise you may get some unfriendly emails. Take a look at this list of free image resources to be on the safe side. 

Best Free Images Resources

If you don’t want to end up on the receiving end of a rather hostile email from a company accusing you of stealing images, you had better be smart about where you find them.
Death to Stock Photos

Death to Stock Photos – sign up and receive free photos each month.

Free image libraries don’t give you the same variety as royalty-free paid images and you’ll have to spend some additional time searching for the right one but they are fine if you’re on a tight budget.

Here’s my favourite list of best free images resources – believe me, I’ve tried several and these are the only ones I’d use.

Getty Images

Getty’s image service doesn’t let you download images, but rather to embed them onto your website. This does have the disadvantage that you can’t manipulate them but if an image is all you want, then it’s a good solution. It comes with a link back to the image on the Getty website.

Website: www.gettyimages.co.uk 

Unsplash

Unsplash is one of my favourite free image websites. Subscribe and you’ll receive 10 images every 10 days. The images are beautifully shot, although they have a certain style and may not be useful for every blog owner.

Website: www.unsplash.com

Death to the Stock Photo

Run by two self-taught photographers, subscribe and you can receive free images each month. The last ones were all to do with Desk images which are perfect if you’re writing about productivity, work environments etc. Each photos is beautiful and there is a wide variety of them. This doesn’t allow you to access the past photos – for that, there’s a Premium service which costs $10 a month and includes exclusive photos to your membership.

Website: www.deathtothestockphoto.com

Morgue File

A repository of free images with an easy search function. Some of the images look a little ‘homemade’ but the upside is that there are a lot to choose from covering almost every category you need.

Website: www.morguefile.com

Free Images

An easy search function and high quality images. Most of the images look professionally short and there’s a wide range.

Website: www.freeimages.com 

Flickr

Flickr is a photo sharing website that contains portfolios of professional photographers as well as the everyday enthusiast. Some of them are truly beautiful. Each user has the right to set different content rules and some of these are licensed to Getty. For those that aren’t, you can contact the owner directly and ask their permission.

For help with the Flickr photo using ‘rules’, click here. 

Website: www.flickr.com

And the best option of course? Take them yourself.

For a start, taking photos yourself means anything you snap belongs wholly to you and secondly it’ll be unique. You can also take perfectly good images with your iPhone and there’s a wide range of photo editing apps available for free or low cost.

Like this post? Share it with others.

WordPress Blog Template

If you write for an online publication and you don’t have access to the WordPress system then you’ll be asked to submit your blog, usually in Word.

If you’ve never had access to WordPress before, it can be tricky to work out how your blog post should be submitted and how you should lay out the content. Having worked with many bloggers across many different WordPress sites, this template is the one that seems to work best. So far at least – things are constantly evolving!

This template assumes that the WordPress website has an SEO plugin installed – most good websites will. Download it and get writing.

But before you start, it’s well worth reading this guide ‘Before you Start’.

Download your WordPress Blog Template here:

Free WordPress Blog Template

 

 

 

USEFUL LINKS

Content Inspiration for your company website

If you’re aiming to update the content on your website regularly (say once a week), it can be tiring trying to think up new things to write about. Don’t worry though, there’s an infinite amount of things you can post, these are just a few inspirational ideas to get you started:

TOP TIP: Make it a habit to look at everything you do, see, hear or read and ask yourself ‘would my target audience want to know about it?’ If it’s not worthy for your website, could it be a good fit as a status update or link on your social media platforms?

Inspiration for your website

  • There’s a new event coming up that you believe others would be interested in attending. Feature it. Or, if you’re hosting it, write an article on why people should go.
  • What do people most ask about your company or service? Perhaps write a ‘Top Tips’, ‘Guide To’, ‘Ten of the best’ post inspired by the most frequently asked questions that your customers ask.
  • Respond to a story in the newspapers. By having an opinion, you will stand out from others and be noticed. Establish your organisation as an authority.
  • Do you have a new product or service? Tell people about it.
  • Are you discontinuing a product or service? People will want to know.
  • Do you have any upcoming price changes? It is important that you let people know.
  • Is your office closing due to a special occasion? For example, a Bank Holiday or Christmas? Let your customers know. If you’re staying open, people will need to know too!
  • What’s going on in your company? Did someone at your company get a mention in the newspaper? Did someone review on of your products or services? Write about it.
  • Got something to give-away? Perhaps a short course or a product? This is a great way to increase traffic to your site. You could even use it as a way to get more details from your users by asking for certain information as a condition of entry. In the same way, you can help spread awareness of your website by asking people to share your content across their social media networks.
  • Need more staff? Make sure you’re promoting the fact on your website.
  • Is your industry undecided on a certain topic? Why not write a blog post on it and invite others to comment.
  • Create a regular feature – for example, every week or month consolidate relevant industry news on your website.
  • Write a book review that’s relevant to your industry.
  • Ask someone else to write a guest-post for your website.
  • Add an interview – many people love to be interviewed and you can make this as long or short as you wish. You can do a simple Q&A, or even a video or podcast.
  • Attend an event that’s relevant for your industry and review it. Was it worth going to? Who was there? What were the 5 main points you took from it?
  • Profile a company or individual who’s relevant to your industry. Make sure you send them the link too so they can share it with their contacts. Maybe they could even link to their site to yours?

 

If you’re hard-pressed for content ideas, or don’t have time to find news related to your industry, set up a Google Alerts for a couple of your industry keywords and have stories delivered straight to your inbox. You can use these as inspiration for your next article, respond to them via your website or round them up into a consolidated page.

 

Google Alerts Screenshot

 

Got an idea that you’re keen to write about? Before you start, read this – ‘How to Write Your Blog Post.’ > 

Before you publish content online: The Checklist

Don’t feel daunted by publishing content with this handy checklist. This should help improve the content you write for the web, both for the user and for your website.

A checklist for publishing online

  1. You know who you are writing for and what you’ve written addresses them in a way they can relate to and understand.
  2. You know what your keyword/s are and you have researched these.
  3. Any images you’re using are relevant to the content and you have already sourced these. If permission is required, you should have already sought this.
  4. It is clear what you expect people to do once they finish reading your content.
  5. There are no dead-ends in your content and your user is encouraged to click elsewhere at the end.
  6. If you have included a reference to another company / organization / individual, you have also included a link to their website / LinkedIn page and told them in advance that you are going to reference them.
  7. The title of your content is eye-catching; it is catchy, creates intrigue.
  8. Your keywords have been strategically placed in your article.
  9. Your page looks visually appealing.
  10. There are no spelling mistakes, capital letters are where they should be and it reads well.

 

If you’ve not yet written your content, why not take a look at the series of articles ‘How to Write Your Blog Post’. It’s a very good place to start.