Promotional Website Blogging Series
I would guess that almost everyone has a blog in them. Certainly, every business has the interest and inspiration to squeeze one out every month or two. If you’re uncertain how to get that inspiration tap flowing, take a look at episode one of this blog series on the subject. Once you’ve been through that, you will have plenty of website blogging ideas, but still a blank screen. So how do you actually write the blog? Award-winning author Neil Gaiman has the short answer.
“This is how you do it: You sit down at the keyboard, and you put one word after another until it’s done. It’s that easy, and that hard.”
It really is that easy, and that hard. For a deeper and, dare I say it, more helpful guide, keep reading.
Return to the master blog – Blogging to Promote Your Website
Plan your blog post
If you have followed episode one, you will have a load of interesting blog ideas listed with sub-ideas for each and a bit of research and commentary to put meat on the bones. Start by picking a blog to start with. This is your choice, but an idea that sticks close to what your website is about and gets people interested in it is a good start.
That done, it’s time to plan how you will fit them into the space you have available. This is important to stop your blogs from becoming endless spiels or disjointed brain dumps.
Plan out the order you will present your facts and ideas in and how many words you will allot to each. This part of the process is one of ordering and sometimes elimination. Start thinking about how you will create a story or order to your blog and how you will link each concept to the next smoothly. If an interesting little point or tidbit comes up, add that to your list.
Sort into sections
When you have all your points, ideas, facts and opinions in a list, you need to sort them into topical sections. This is important so that your readers can break up your blog into manageable chunks and understand what they are getting where. You might find that it is easier to sort your ideas list into sections as you create it, or you might prefer to do it after you’ve corralled all your concepts.
Two ways of getting words on paper (or screen)
Finally, one whole blog and 400-odd words into our series on how to create a blog, we’re going to start writing. One thing we’re not going to do is start with the introduction. This and the conclusion are left until the end, when you’re happy with the main content of your blog. Otherwise, if you go off-piste, or have a flash of fresh inspiration, your intro can end up looking out of place.
Write your blog on Microsoft Word or similar word processing software, not directly into a blogging app. Although blogging apps have some great tools for finishing off a blog, word processors have loads of great tools for starting them and avoiding basic errors. Nothing says amateur like a blog that hasn’t been spellchecked.
How you start doing the actual writing is the most personal bit of the whole process, and you will find your own way. I always found it useful to start by writing each section title and then filling them in, from first to last. Section titles are important to blogs. They help users to navigate and skim-read. Blogs with section titles are much more likely to get read and engaged with than those without.
Search engines also check your section titles, placing blogs with a good number of relevant sections higher up their listings. Use the heading styles in Word’s top toolbar for the best effect on your website. They can copy and paste into most blogging programs. Use Heading 1 for your blog title and Heading 2 for section titles. On which subject, a good number is one section for every 100-300 words.
From then on, there are a few broad approaches people tend to take to blog writing. Some people prefer to paste the list of ordered facts, ideas points and opinions into the document, expand on them, and link them together as needed. Others prefer to simply have the list to hand and to write the blog fresh. Yet others like to free-write it – but only do this if you’re sure this is what you want to do. It’s a matter of preference, depending on what you find easier. It could be worth trying both and choosing your favourite.
When you’ve completed the main section of your blog, read it back, correct any obvious errors and get a grasp of the thing as a whole. This will help you write your introduction and conclusion.
With the introduction, you should aim to tell the reader what is in the blog, why they should read it and how it will help them. It should take between one paragraph and around 10% of your entire blog. If you’re having trouble, a good way to come up with something is to imagine how you would tell someone about your blog, and simply write that down.
The conclusion should be the same length as your introduction. Your aim here is to sum up the main points of your blog and bring the blog to a satisfactory end, for example by reminding readers how you helped them. Finally, some of your conclusions, if not all, should include a call to action. This is a short line or two motivating readers to take an action that helps you and them achieve their goals. It should include a link or button to let them do the action, too.
Some good website blogging calls to action
- “If you enjoyed this blog, you may be interested in (a relevant page or blog on your site)”
- “To learn more about blogging, download/take a look at/contact …”
- “Contact me on sam’samhollis.co.uk to talk more about blogging.”
Check, check, and check again
The main difference between a good blog and an obviously bad blog is checking. It goes without saying that you should run spelling and grammar checks on your blog, but there is more to it than this.
There are several other helpful tools that can improve your finished blogs significantly. The Hemmingway Editor App will check to ensure your writing is short, sharp and to the point. It’s easy to get lost or overcomplicate your sentences, making your blog hard to read. Hemmingway resolves this problem. Grammarly is another great option, running a more in-depth grammar check on your writing.
Finally, you can add Yoast SEO to your WordPress site. This app is excellent for website blogging on WordPress. It will check how search-engine friendly your blog is and also highlight any structural problems.
All the apps in the world can’t make up for the most important check of all: The read-through. This should be done after a reasonable break, if possible. A good night’s sleep is a great way to lay a fresh pair of eyes on your work.
There are several things you should check for in particular:
- Difficult to read sentences
- Bits that sound awkward on reading.
- Abrupt stops or points that don’t lead smoothly onto the next.
- Accuracy of facts, names and unusual words.
- Have you stuck to any rules and regulations?
If you’re planning to write a few blogs, it can be worth having a list to check against.
If you want to be double-sure, get someone else to read your blog, too.
Once you’re happy, you’re ready to upload
The technicalities of uploading your blog depend on the platform you’re using.
Most of you who have partnered with me, as well as many of you who haven’t, will use WordPress for blogging. If that’s the case, find out how to upload a blog to the platform in this vlog of mine. If you’re running the popular WordPress Divi addon, you can find out how to upload a blog here.
In any case, it’s worth going back through the blog and checking that the layout and format is still correct after you’ve uploaded it. Check the links and headings in particular – Make sure you’re using Heading 1 for your blog title and Heading 2 for section titles. If you have Yoast on WordPress, scroll to the bottom of your blog where you can check the SEO and practical readability of your blog.
When that’s done, ensure that the text and background colours are both readable and attractive. Changing heading colours is a great way to add visual character to your blog. Last but not least, don’t forget to illustrate your blog and include a featured image that sums it up nicely.
Conclusion – You’re ready to publish!
Once all that is done, you’re ready to publish. It can be worth giving a final read-through first. When that’s done click the big button and feel proud!
- Plan your post
- Sort out your sections
- Write the main section in a word processor, either by expanding on your notes or referring to them.
- Add the introduction and conclusion last.
- Check and read through carefully.
- Upload and publish
Follow this guide and you should be writing blogs like Neil Patel in no time. If you have any trouble or want to know more about blogging, just get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org. (There’s the call to action)
Return to the master blog – Blogging to Promote Your Website