Sunday, June 27, 2010

How difficult it could be to Write a Blog post?


How hard could it be to write a blog post? If a teenager can do it, you can too… right? Well writing a blog post isn’t hard at all, but writing a great blog post is very difficult.


Over the past few years I have started 2 blogs. Although my first blog was a personal blog, the content was crap. Readers didn’t care to read the content or engage in the conversation (comment on the blog).

The Ultimate Site Guide on the other hand isn’t a personal blog, but you actually read the content and engage. I constantly am getting great feedback from you and requests to write more content.


I know I am not the best writer out there and I still have a lot to improve upon, but I feel that I have a good formula when it comes to writing blog posts.

Here is how you can write a blog post like me:

Get out of your old ways:
Do you remember writing term papers in high school or college? If you don’t, lucky you! If you do, then writing blog posts is going to be a difficult task for you. You have to ignore all of the things that your professors taught you about writing.


You aren’t here to write a term paper, you are here to create a conversation!
If my blog posts sounded as if I was talking at you instead of to you, wouldn’t you get bored and irritated with me? Make sure you do the same and talk to your readers and not at them.


Know what you want to write about:
Before you start writing the first word, you have to know what the last word is going to be. I don’t mean this in a literal fashion, but you have to know how you are going to start off your blog post, the points you are going to convey, and how you are going to wrap everything up.


If you are one of those people that likes to wing things and be spontaneous, that’s great. As one of those people, I have realized that it doesn’t work too well with blogging. All it will cause is you to spend more time writing than you need to.


Plus, I am pretty sure you are already strapped for time. Right? So why waste more of it.

Create an awesome title:
So are you ready to start writing now? Wrong! Until you can come up with an awesome title, you shouldn’t start writing your blog post. You could have the greatest content, but if your title sucks, most people won’t end up reading it.

To come up with some cool titles, I tend to look at 3 blogs:
1.    Brian Clark from Copyblogger has written some cool blog posts about titles.
2.    Leo Babauta from Zen Habits usually uses cool titles for his blog posts. Although his blog isn’t about blogging, it is a great place to go to for some inspiration.
3.    And last but not least, Darren Rowse from Problogger also uses catchy titles.

The approach I use when browsing these 3 blogs is to not only look what titles they have used, but also how many comments each blog post received. What I am doing here is correlating how readers feel about a particular title because blog posts with good titles usually get read more, which means more people comment on them.


Hook your readers:

You only have a few seconds to grab people’s attention. If you can’t grab someone’s attention within the first few sentences you write, you have lost them.

If you look at the paragraph above, you’ll notice that I have done a few things:
1.    I created a conversation with you.
2.    I showed you that anyone could write a blog post, which makes you feel that you can do it to (which you can).
3.    I enticed you to read further by alluding to the fact that not everyone writes great blog posts.

Now everyone has different writing styles, so I don’t expect your introductory paragraphs to be like mine… and that’s fine. As long as you use some of the elements I used, your readers will be engaged.


Get into the nitty gritty details

For a moment, take a quick break and go to some of your favorite blogs. The chances are these blogs are pretty popular. What you’ll notice when reading these popular blogs is that most of them contain very detailed content.


They don’t just cover the basics; they actually get down into all of the little details. Sometimes they go into it so much, that it seems like they are holding your hand and walking you through whatever they are talking about, step by step.


When I first started Quick Sprout I was writing decent blog posts, but for some reason the blog wasn’t growing in traffic. I couldn’t figure out why, but one day I wrote a very detailed blog post (unintentionally) and my traffic started to grow. Ever since then, I have been writing detailed blog posts and traffic has been going up.


I hope you’ll learn from my experience and not waste your time writing mediocre blog posts.

Wrap it up:
Remember in school how your professors told you to summarize what you wrote in your conclusion? That works great for an essay, but it doesn’t work well in a blog post.


I take a 3-prong approach with my conclusions:

1.    Keep it simple stupid – good conclusions aren’t long, they are short and to the point.
2.    Add your final thoughts – don’t just regurgitate what you talked about within the blog post, but say something new and meaningful.
3.    Leave things open – if you want to get more comments on your blog, you have to leave your conclusion open. The easiest way to do this is by asking your readers a question.

Adding the final touches:
Don’t you feel relieved that you are now done writing your blog post? I hate to break it to you, but you still aren’t done yet. You have to check for spelling, grammar, and most importantly flow issues.

We all make mistakes so not only should you check and double check for these issues, but you should have someone else read through your blog posts before you post it.


And after you do all of that, you have to find a cool picture to add within your blog post. Reading content off of a computer screen can be hard on the eyes, but if you add a picture within your blog post, it will make it a bit easier on your readers’ eyes.

Conclusion:
The way I write my blog posts, may not fit your writing style. This doesn’t mean that you have to adjust your writing style, but you should take the elements I described within this blog post and incorporate them into your writing style.


And lastly, you’ll never perfect your blog writing skills. But don’t worry, no one else will either. There is always more room for improvement! So in that spirit, do you have any recommendations on how to write a great blog post?


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