How to write a great blog post

First, I’d like to say that there is no how-to guide or recipe for writing a brilliant post. That being said, I’d also like to point out the fact that some posts seem to perform better than others, but there’s no norm here. Lists and guides usually receive more comments and likes than “normal” blogs.

The title

It’s very important to come up with a catchy title. This along with the first paragraph are the first to be noticed by readers. Also, the title shouldn’t be too long.

The opening paragraph

This paragraph determines whether or not a reader will read (or try to) your entire post. It should aptly describe what the post is about. If you can come up with a snappy sentence, than do it.

The rest of the damn thing

You should do well on your own here. In fact, there isn’t much I can help you with. Yeah, I could say a bunch of nonsense and act like I know it all, but I’m not going to. Because what worked for me might not work for you. Also, I’m not sure I know what I’m doing.

I just write. As simple as that. I write what I want, when I want, how I want, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Maybe there’s a good advice here: don’t be afraid.

One of the most harmful things you can do in this life is to try to please everyone. You can’t. This is your virtual space, your online home. Try to tell people what you think, what’s your opinion about this or that, and I guarantee you, people will respond.

My most popular posts are basically opinion pieces. The ones that received hundreds of comments, all of them are about me taking a stand. A lot of people agree, a lot disagree. But they all know what I think about that certain topic.

Blogs are for opinions. For everything else, we’ve got Mastercard and Wikipedia.

Well, this is not entirely true, but you get the idea.

In time you start to realize what people expect to read from you. You also start to understand what you’re really good at. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Write different types of posts, try out some weekly features. You never know.

As you gain confidence, you’ll feel more comfortable about tackling more sensitive issues.

The only way to grow as a writer is to write. A lot. Also, if you have the time, read other blogs. Popular blogs, not so popular blogs, everything actually. That way you’ll get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. You might even spot some of your own faults.

Try to find your own voice. Don’t listen to people telling you how to write. They can’t write your posts for you.

Links and tags

Don’t forget to add these. Two, three links to relevant information, articles, or other blogs are very useful. For SEO and what not And your followers will thank you. Also, don’t forget to add tags. That’s how the Freshly Pressed editors find you. And readers can know what to expect from your post.

Format the damn thing

Layout is very important. What do you want your readers to focus on? Think very carefully.

If you have a longer post add:

  • subtitles
  • lists
  • blockquotes

Try to make the post look nice. Add pictures, sketches, whatever. There should be a balance… you know the eye grows tired when it sees a lot of words. Font size, colors, all that stuff.

Like I said, there’s no secret formula to writing a great blog. All you can do is write. Indeed, it’s important to focus on content, but don’t forget that the visual layout of your posts is equally important.

Now, I’d like to know what do you think. What do you think makes a blog great? Is it the content? Or the layout? Or a mixture of both?

Advertisements

46 thoughts on “How to write a great blog post

  1. Good advice. I like controversial posts best, but I like blogs that mix it up and tackle different topics. I know some people tell you that you should find a niche, but I like the blogs that write about different interesting things all the time, even if they have a sort of theme throughout – sort of like a big picture theme.

    For example, the blog might be themed towards fiction writing and a good many posts deal with that subject matter, but every few posts, they throw in something different, such as a political view post or opinion piece.

  2. I see now what you mean by trying different blogs out, I posted a blog about something that annoys me today .. Far from my usual deeper stuff, and what do you know I’ve already got more hits than I’ve ever had in a single day.

  3. Well for starters I am becoming a big fan of leaving questions at the end of posts to try and get a few readers to engage in conversation, so for me that end of the post, wrap-up question is essential.

    I’d never thought of links critically before. I’ve left a few when it seemed necessary, but adding links to sources that may interest the reader sounds like it might very well bolster a post and perhaps even provide counterpoint to your own asserted opinion, which is nice.

    This was a nice post, and point taken on the formatting! :)

    -David

  4. Thanks for the post. I agree the Title and the opening paragraph is the make or break element of any blog. Too often, nicely written blogs do not get the due attention because the title does not convey the content and the opening paragraph wanders instead of leading to the meat of the discussion.

  5. Great piece – you have distilled the essence of what is important, what works and doesn’t –
    Will share with my class mates – thank you :)

  6. Content, the blogs I read consistently teach me something, well mostly, sometimes I read a blog because the author is very different then me, so I guess I learn there too. Good formatting is nice, but content is everything. Funny, for everything else there’s MC… :)

  7. I do get caught up on the whole “trying new things,” part. I think I cornered myself into thinking that I need to try to write about certain things. Or make sure that my posts are featuring a certain part of myself when really I wan to expose so much more. Thanks for the Pep Talk.

  8. You got it! I think the best advice is don’t be afraid. I run into a lot of potential bloggers (I work on an IT blog content team in my day job) who are afraid of the global audience. For some, this is debilitating. Maybe similar to speaking in public.

    On my personal blogs, it was when I finally told myself that I am writing/sharing for “me” and it doesn’t matter if anyone reads it, (I hope they do, but it is not my reason for writing) that is when I lost my fear. Now I have 4 personal blogs and simply enjoy expressing myself and my photography “just because”.

  9. Blogs are most effective when they are both personal and interactive. If the blogger doesn’t ask intriguing/provocative questions and care about his reader’s comments/answers enough to respond back, then we might as well be reading a book.

  10. I agree with your point that blogs are for opinions. They’re fun to read, even if we don’t agree with the blogger’s opinion. For me, I like reading humorous blogs because the posts are so creative. I think a great blog has a combination of fabulous content and good layout (something simple and easy to read).

  11. You’ve boiled it down nicely here. I get sucked into the mixing it up too much, which I think is important, but I can see how it’s important to write what you really want to write about. After all, if you don’t care what you’re writing about, that’s going to come across in everything, isn’t it?

  12. I’ve found that short creative blogs, blogs with pictures, and omen that have opinions or emotion to them usually get some comments. I don’t think people read really long blogs unless they have been written extremely well, and it sucks you in. My experience has been that it’s only worth writing something long if you’ve really worked hard to perfect it. 😀

  13. Great piece, thank you. I’d say content keeps a reader, but layout is what gives the first impression. There have been a few blogs that I have been seriously put off reading because of daft layouts, intrusive ‘tips’ boxes and the like. And I’m a very verbal person, not usually visually motivated, which makes me think layout is probably more important than I thought it was when I began reading your post. Thanks for making me think.

  14. Your insights are very helpful and I appreciate the fact that you admit you don’t know everything. I think a good post is a combination of things which you already mentioned including a catchy title, a good and easy to read layout, and interesting content. And, of course it needs to be well written. I have to continue in improving that. I have also learned along the way that a blog needs to have a purpose and a theme. And when I err by writing posts that don’t fit my theme, it seems to throw the readers off.

  15. I like it. And thank you for the tips. I will quote this “Blogs are for opinions. For everything else, we’ve got Mastercard and Wikipedia.” too if you don’t mind. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s