Writing a blog post (or any type of online article) requires a completely different writing style from writing an essay for university or writing an e-mail to a friend. There is so much more to blogging than just writing a few hundred words and posting them online.
There are many different things that you have to factor in before you hit the “publish” button in terms of your writing style and the structure of your post!
Writing Your Blog Post
Do Your Research
Make sure that you’ve researched the topic of your post thoroughly and that any facts you’re citing are accurate. No-one likes fake news!
It’s great to be able to take inspiration from other people’s articles and posts, but never copy them. That’s plagiarism and it could get you into a lot of trouble, both with the original writer and the law! Besides, no-one wants to read the same kind of post over and over again. Create original content and find your own voice!
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Trying to write everything down and thinking about SEO at the same time can get confusing and overwhelming. My own personal technique for writing for SEO is to write my post in it’s entirety before I even consider SEO. This way, I make sure that I have everything that I want to say in the body of text, and then it’s just a matter of formatting it. I’ve also found that as I get more used to writing for the internet, I subconsciously start to write in an SEO-friendly way. Recently I’ve had less and less formatting to do at the end.
Yoast SEO is a must-have WordPress plug-in to maximise the SEO rating of your post. It works in a “traffic light system” rating your post’s readabilty and SEO from red, to amber to green. According to Yoast, you should be aiming to have two green lights before hitting “Publish”.
There are a few differing opinions about how useful and reliable the Readability feature of the Yoast plug-in is. Some say that sticking staunchly to their rules means that you lose your unique writing style. I tend to stick to them just to be on the safe-side, but having a green light for SEO is far more important.
Proof-Read Before You Post
Sometimes when you finish a post you’re really proud of, it can be tempting to hit “publish” straight away and start promoting but it’s SO important to proof-read your work before it goes live!
You can read over your work yourself (but take it line by line, sometimes it can be difficult to spot the little mistakes in your own work). I tend to ask someone else to read my posts before they go online. Alternatively you could use apps such as Grammarly if you want a really thorough check.
You could have written the most interesting and informative piece of content in the world. However, if it is riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes it takes away from the quality of your work. Coming back to SEO, Google ranks posts with grammatical mistakes much lower than those without, so if you want your post to be seen, spare some time to proof-read!
Structuring Your Blog Post
Use Headings and Sub-Headings
Using headings and sub-headings breaks down large chunks of text and makes your post easier to read. I tend to use “H1” tags for my headings and “H3” for my sub-heaadings. My favourite type of blog posts to read and write are list-based as posts with a clear format are far easier to follow and they keep the reader’s attention.
Also, if someone is looking for a particular section or piece on information within your post, headings and subheadings will allow them to find what they’re looking for quickly.
Using keywords within your headings and subheadings will help to improve your SEO ranking too!
Keep an Eye on Your Word Count
When it comes to word count, there is no ‘magic number’. I tend to aim for at least 700 words, as a personal preference. After all, how much useful content can you really fit into 500 words?
With that being said, writing for the sake of writing can get repetitive and it can put readers off quickly so it’s important to find a good balance.
Every blog post should include at least one image, and if you can include a “pinnable” image – that’s even better. The majority of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest. Vertical pins are most likely to be ‘repinned’ – the optimum dimensions for a pin are “736 x 1104” and you can make some really easily on Canva.
When you’re adding images to your post, make sure that you ALWAYS include ‘alt tags’. Google can’t read images, so it relies on your alt tags to know what your image is of. For example, if I’m posting a photo of a beauty product I’ve reviewed, my alt tag for the image would be ‘Benefit Hoola Bronzer’ or ‘red Maybelline lipstick’.
Include Internal and External Links
An internal link is a link within a blog post, to another related post on your own blog. For example if I am writing an article about Pinterest, it would make sense to link back to a previous post about using Tailwind.
The more blog posts you have with links directing to other pages within your site, it’s more likely that search engines will find you and send more traffic to your blog.
Another perk for sign-posting readers to other articles they may be interested in is that it will keep them on your blog longer and help to reduce your ‘bounce rate’.
External links are simply links to sources outside of your own site or blog. They allow Google to match your site with other similar sites within your niche. An external link could be to a source you used to research your blog post, or to an article written by another blogger which relates to yours. Using external links is key to boosting your SEO.
If you monetise your blog, an example of external linking could be affiliate links. Bear in mind that if you are using affiliate links, you MUST disclose this at the beginning of your blog post.
These are the main points I refer back to when I’m writing new posts. Don’t forget to share your writing/blogging tips below, I can’t wait to read them.