Be honest. Are you where you want to be as a blogger? Are your articles getting shared and discussed and linked to?
If your posts aren’t getting the traction you want, you might trick yourself into thinking you’re not a good enough blogger. But the truth is, anyone can follow a few simple steps to improve their posts.
Here’s a super-easy five-step plan to dramatically improve your blog post.
1. Think before you sit down to write.
You’d be surprised at the millions and millions of blogs that never get even to a hundred readers and a hundred blog post. Why? Because the owners of said blogs write before they think.
The write because they want to write something, as if addicted by the sound of them punching those damn keys.
If you start with a blank page and put down whatever comes into your head, you’re not doing yourself or your readers any favors.
Before you start your post, think.
What is your blog post about? Who should read it? What is said person going to get out of it?
Why would anyone read this post?
Do it: Spend a few minutes planning your next post. If you’re not sure where to begin, create a mindmap, and record all the ideas that come to you. Later, you can decide which to keep.
2. Examples > opinions.
You might have lots of fascinating info to share with your readers — but, for your post to be effective, this needs to be presented in a way they can easily grasp and use.
Readers don’t want abstract principles or theoretical discussions. Think of all the boring teachers you had back in high-school. We just don’t want to know a why behind something unless we also know what to do, or, better yet, what someone else did with said why.
Opinions are nice. Everyone has them though. But experience? Doing the thing, and then writing about it? That’s a recipe for killer content.
Do it: Look at a recent post. Could you add in a short example for each subsection or point?
3. End with a call to action.
When a reader finishes your post, what do you want them to do next? Subscribe to your blog, leave a comment, join your mailing list, buy your products?
Unless you give readers some direction, they’re not likely to take action at all. They’ll just move on — probably to another blog.
4. Edit, edit, edit
Beginners are often plagued by the idea that great bloggers can turn out a great post with one draft. That’s just not true.
Writing is rewriting.
You need to edit your post, and might want to pay special attention to:
- Your headline — this alone will make or break your post. A fantastic post with a mediocre title isn’t going to get seen.
- Your introduction — if it’s too vague, confusing, or too long, the rest of your post won’t get read.
- Your conclusion — if someone reads all the way to the end of your post, there’s a good chance they enjoyed your writing and liked what you had to say. Don’t lose them with an abrupt ending, or a weak call to action.
Do it: Plan time to edit your next post before you need to publish it. If you can, get help from a friend (ask them to choose between several titles, or a couple of versions of the call to action).
5. Formatting (also) matters
We’re all in a rush online. Readers don’t want to go through big, long paragraphs of text — they want content that is easy to read.
Use subheads, bold text, bullet points, and other formatting features to enhance your writing.
- Subheads act as signposts to the reader. Make them clear, not clever.
- Bold text is a great way to highlight certain elements, making your post easy to scan.
- Bullet points add white space and make information easy to take in.
Do it: Next time you come across a blog post that seems effortless to read, take a close look at how it’s formatted — and see what features you could use too.
Sorry, but great information isn’t enough to get your posts noticed in today’s over-crowded blogosphere. By making sure your posts are easy to read and engage with, not only will folks read your content, but they’ll also share it on social media.
Is one of the above steps a weak point for you? Focus on it more than on others for the next five blog posts.