If you've got interests and slightly more personality than a doorknob, you can write a blog. This may seem intimidating, and you may be thinking "no way, man." But you can, and we're here to show you how.
Writing a blog post is probably one of the most effective ways to communicate in the modern world. And nowadays, it seems like everyone is writing blog posts about everything. This really begs the question: Can it be that hard to figure out how to write a blog?
The truth is...yes. It’s no lie that there are hundreds of millions of blog sites out there, and even more actual posts that are clogging up the search engines. But that doesn’t mean they’re all being read.
In fact, such a high volume of blogs means that the blog writing world is competitive. If you really want to develop an audience, you need to know how to write a good blog post. After all, anyone can write words, but few people can write something worth reading.
If this seems overwhelming, don’t worry. We’ll be going over each step of the blog writing process, right here, right now, so that you’ll have a solid idea of how to start writing some quality blog posts.
QuillBot's paraphrasing tool helps you find your voice
What is a blog post?
It's probably important to know what a blog post is before you try to write one, huh?
A blog post is any piece of writing published on a blog or the blog section of an established website. These can be articles, diary entries, or informational guides, and they usually include relevant images, infographics, videos, and other miscellaneous media.
Each post has a goal or theme, and is written in the voice of the blogger (whether that's a random teenager on the internet or a writer for The Wall Street Journal).
Types of Blog Posts
The one thing that ties all blog posts together is that they are all published on blogs. Besides that, they are all wildly different.
There is a blog type out there for everyone, and we're going to cover the main ones so you can get a good sense of what you like and dislike when it comes to the kind of blog you want to run.
As you can probably tell by its self-explanatory name, a how-to blog post explains how to do something.
(Fun fact: this post, that you're currently reading, is a how-to blog post.)
How-to blog posts often include lists or step-by-step instructions. This lets the readers know how to do whatever the task is fairly quickly and easily, breaking down the monumental goal into smaller, more manageable steps.
If you want to write a blog post like this, you'll need to be well-versed in how to do something specific. Whether that's speaking a language, building a car, or even tying your shoes, you need to be able to explain the process in detail for your readers.
List-based blog posts focus around, yes, lists.
Typically, each item in the list will be a subheading, and more detail will be included underneath.
List-based blog posts aim to inform the reader about several options at once. For example, QuillBot has posted a few list-based posts that include "Top 9 English Grammar Resources Online" and "The 9 Essential Elements of a Cover Letter + Templates, Examples, and Tips."
Yes, news articles can be blog posts! Are they always? Well, no.
Remember when we said all blog posts have one thing in common, and that thing is being posted on a blog? This is a great example. A news article has to be posted on a blogging platform in order to be considered a news article blog.
These typically look exactly like regular news articles, with exciting headlines and details down below.
Much like news article blog posts, interview blog posts are only differentiated from regular print interviews in that they are posted on a blogging platform.
Interview blog posts usually consist of an introduction / overview of the interviewee, and then the question and answer portion of the interview, followed by a short conclusion.
There are two types of review blog posts: sponsored and non-sponsored.
Bloggers get compensated for sponsored reviews, whether that comes in the form of money or free products. Sponsored reviews are great because you know the blogger has used the product, but they can also be biased toward the company sponsoring the post.
Non-sponsored reviews are done not for compensation, but to tell the truth / give an opinion on a particular product. In these instances, bloggers are giving their unbiased thoughts on a product or service without being compensated or monitored in any way.
Personal blog posts are basically online diaries. They are used to update readers on the blogger's life, sharing intimate thoughts and personal photos.
Personal blogs can vary a lot in what they look like, because it all depends on the taste of the blogger and how they want to present themselves to the world. There is no set of standards or guidelines for personal blogs.
Similar to the how-to blog post, the explainer blog post is used to educate readers.
Instead of teaching the audience how to do something, they explain a concept, idea, or phenomenon.
Topics can vary greatly for explainer blog posts, and it's quite easy to find a post explaining anything you're searching for, because they're so plentiful.
Little catches a reader's attention like an image.
This type of blog post has little text, and is made up of visuals, primarily. These visuals can include photographs, drawings, graphs, infographics, etc.
How to Start a Blog
There could be many reasons to blog. It could be to share your opinions or to build a personal brand and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Before you can begin writing blog posts, you have to have a blog to post them on! There are a few things that are super important when it comes to starting and maintaining a blog, and we'll go over those now so you can get to writing ASAP.
Determine What Topics You'll Cover
This step should be easy. What do you like? What do you want to talk about and share with the world? Is there a particular blog you really like that you'll be taking inspiration from?
Your blog doesn't have to be super specific (though it can be!). Topics can range from "Romanian recipes" to "medieval war tactics" to "things I like."
Although your blog can be anything at any time, it's probably good to have a few ideas of what you want to cover kicking around in your head. Your blog post ideas are just that: ideas. If they're bad, throw them away. If they're good, use them!
Check Out Your Competition
Okay, so maybe "competition" isn't the best word to use. You'll want to look at blogs that post similar things to what you'd like to post. This will help with inspiration, learning what does/doesn't work (in terms of audience engagement), and overall understanding of how to write a blog.
You might see something on another blog that you've never thought about trying before, or something that inspires you to do something else. Before you start writing, you want as many great ideas as you can get.
Understand Your Audience
This is a big one. The whole point of running a blog is to have people read it, right? In order to draw readers in, you have to have a baseline understanding of what they like and are looking for.
Look at other bloggers' comment sections, forums, and other internet spaces specific to your topic in order to get a good idea of what's going to hook readers that are interested in your topic.
Once you start posting, you'll be able to experiment more and learn what your specific readers like in terms of tone, language, and humor. Of course, you should stay true to yourself, but it's best to find a balance between what you and your audience likes.
Identify Your Unique Angle
Let's say you're wanting to writing about nightlife in your city. The problem is, there are dozens of blogs that are already doing the same thing, and they probably have a follower base built up.
What are you, a new blogger, to do?
Find your angle. Instead of covering nightlife in your city like a news publication might, try to find something unique about yourself that you can apply to the lens through which you interact with your city.
Maybe you're new to the city, and want to give people who are thinking about moving there a perspective from someone without any biases or prior knowledge of the city. Maybe you're older than the typical person "out on the town," and you'll write about your experiences through that lens.
No matter what your angle is, make sure to position yourself as a unique, fresh voice on the blogging scene.
Name Your Blog
Your blog name will determine what kind of audience you draw in. It needs to hook readers right off the bat, making them want to click the link and explore your site.
Your blog name should probably have something to do with the general topic of your blog so people know what they're getting into and can find it easily if they're looking for that kind of content.
It helps to look at titles of blogs that you like. What about their titles do you like? Whatever traits you enjoy in others' blog titles should be apparent in your blog name as well.
Create Your Blog Domain
This is going to be what people type in to get to your website. It will usually match your blog title, which is helpful but not totally necessary.
Your blog domain is important because it's a big part of what people will use to try and find you online. Hence, be aware of what is web address and choose it wisely for your website.
Choose a CMS and Set Up Your Blog
CMS stands for content management system, and it basically lets you run a website without having to know how to code.
Before you can start cranking out great blog post after great blog post, you need something to write and publish content on. Luckily, the internet is chock full of CMS options, ensuring you'll find the perfect one for you and your workflow.
Customize the Look of Your Blog
This is technically optional, but you should still do it. Plus it's fun.
By customizing your blog, you're making it your own and allowing it to stand out from other blogs of the same nature. Remember the "finding your angle" step? Well, this is part of that.
Pick colors, fonts, and images that you think represents yourself and your topics well. This will be the first thing people notice once they arrive at your blog!
Write Your First Blog Post
Okay, the big moment. This is it. You're going to write your first blog post on your new, shiny blog. Read on for the six crucial steps you should take in order to knock it out of the park.
Step 1: Think About Your Writing Goals
Remember that old board game, Battleship? If you don’t, it’s basically a naval warfare game where players slowly and strategically narrow down their search for enemy submarines.
The writing process is very similar: You have to start out with broad blog post ideas, and have to work your way down heading by heading, sentence by sentence, and letter by letter. This creates the clearest articles, and the most straightforward writing experience.
Thus, the best way to begin is to think about the broad reason that you want to write in the first place. Perhaps you want to tell people a story, convince them to agree with you, or even take some kind of action. Whatever your main idea is, figure it out first. Write it down if you like.
Once you have your central point figured out, you can use it to frame the whole post. This way, the outline, flow, and tone of the article will all be strong and relevant.
Step 2: Build Out Each Section
At this point in the process, we’ve got the big picture figured out, but we’re not quite ready to start writing each specific sentence. So what’s missing?
In order to know how to write a good blog post, you have to know what you’re going to write, from beginning to end. This is done by building an outline of headings and subtitles.
In other words, you’re making a list of big ideas you want to talk about that you can expand upon later. That way, you’ll have a better sense of direction when writing the article, and the final product will be much clearer.
Your outline is kind of like the blog’s “skeleton.” It defines the rough structure and size of the blog, and holds everything together.
Build a list of headings to divide each part of the post. Some articles have dozens of headings and subheadings, while others only have a couple.
As a general rule, it’s good to have some kind of subtitle for at least every thousand words, if not more. Once completed, this list will serve as your outline moving into the writing portion of the process.
Step 3: Get Writing!
Now that you’ve constructed your outline, it’s time to add the real text. This step is pretty self explanatory. Essentially, this is the actual “writing” part of writing a blog. It’s what most people think of when they think of blogging.
How you write your blog is really up to you, and the possibilities are endless. There’s so many styles and ways to write, so pick what’s best for you and your talents.
Regardless of your choices here, it’s good to keep some general formatting things in mind. You should roughly know how much text should be written in each section, how big paragraphs should be, and how you’d like to space everything.
If you're totally new to the blog-writing world and are unsure where to begin, using a paraphrasing tool can help you find your voice. You can word-vomit all of your thoughts into the input box, and play around until you find a paraphrase that you like and you feel represents who you are.
Once you’ve finished this step, you should congratulate yourself! You’ve just created your first rough draft of a blog post. Woo-hoo!
Step 4: Figure Out What’s Missing
For your first blog post, the rough draft might be pretty close to the final product, because, well, it’s your first attempt. But for many bloggers, a successful post will have more than just some text.
Here, it’s time to review what you’ve typed, and take note of what else should be added. Using an online summarization tool is a little-known trick that will really help you in this step. By summarizing what you've written so far, you can see if your writing aligns with the message and vision you had for the post going into the creative process. This is when you'll be able to determine if you left out any important information.
QuillBot's summarizing tool helps you review your blog
Depending on your writing goals, you can add pictures, videos, extra paragraphs/footnotes, more sources, extra writing, descriptions, or anything else that the article needs to be perfect. Rounding out your blog posts with different types of media will make them visually appealing, and more people will be inclined to read them.
Step 5: Settle On a Title
You may think creating a title should be the first step, so you have a phrase to guide you through the writing process. But coming up with a title before doing any writing can actually be restrictive and cause you to stick too closely to a predetermined path.
You want to be able to explore different avenues while writing, and besides, you’ll come up with a much better title once you have all of your content written.
In order to come up with a good title, think of the big picture. What is the overall message or topic your blog post is covering? Why should people care?
Generic titles could be good to gain a larger audience, but specific titles can be eye-catching on their own. It all just depends on what the blog post is about and what the tone is.
Step 6: Make Your Final Changes and Publish
Finally, it’s time to do one last combover to check for any last minute changes that could be made to your article (don't rely on your eyes alone. At least use a grammar checker to do a once-over on your work).
At this point, it’s great to imagine reading your new blog post from the audience’s perspective, as if it were already published. Getting in the mindset of the reader will help you to determine what is working and what isn’t, on a content level.
Blog Format Guidelines
Formatting your blog may not sound like a huge deal to you, and may seem like something you want to skip over entirely, but it's actually such an important step in gaining and maintaining an audience.
The way your blog is formatted will determine how Google (and other various search engines) reads and ranks your content, which will have a huge impact on how many people see your blog at all.
Here are some tips and tricks on proper formatting.
Include H2s to Arrange Your Ideas
H2 tags are used to break up your content. Think of them as subheadings: each one represents a certain element of your main topic, and will be explained further in the text below each tag.
H tags are essential for good search engine optimization, or SEO. These tags allow search engines to understand what kind of content you're producing and how to rank this content.
Try using keywords associated with your topic in your H2 tags. That way, search engines will pick up on these keywords and rank your content higher, maximizing the amount of people who will see it. If you’re not sure which keywords need to be targeted, use the keyword research tool.
Center Your Images
This one is pretty obvious. You want your blog to look nice. You wouldn't invite company over if your house was a mess, would you?
People like symmetry. They like uncluttered web pages. By centering the images you use in your posts, you're ensuring, as best you can, that your loyal readers will enjoy looking at the visuals you've added to your blog. They might spend more time on your blog because of this, or even tell their friends about it.
Add Alt Text
Alt text for images is used for accessibility purposes, ensuring that those who cannot see the images on your blog will still be able to gain the benefits of those images.
The alt text should briefly describe exactly what the image is, and if there is any text included in the image.
This step can also aid in search engine optimization purposes.
Keep Your Sentences Short and Concise
Short sentences are easier to read and understand, for both humans and search engine crawlers. Not every sentence has to be short, but most of them should be a reasonable length. You'll want your content to be as easy to read as possible.
Use Media with a Purpose
Your blog posts should be cohesive. This helps with gaining an audience and also with search engine optimization.
You should add images and videos that are relevant to the topic(s) you're writing about. They should underline and illustrate your points in order to help readers understand everything better.
Blog Writing Tips
As you move through the writing process, there are some valuable blog writing tips to keep in mind in order to help your blog stand out:
- Make your writing excitable. It would be great if everyone who viewed your blog post read it start to finish, but most people don’t. In this age of information, the posts that get shared the most are the ones with catchy headlines, skimmable writing, and relevant content.
- Refine, refine, refine. Nobody’s perfect, and mistakes are a familiar foe to even the best writers. It can be difficult to write neat, engaging blog content for a single topic (especially for a long post), so editing is always necessary. Make sure to go back and check for any mistakes, improving any part of the article that needs change.
- The audience knows best. At the core of it, writing a blog is about catering to your readers. They directly decide which posts get views and which blogs gain a following. Always think about the post from their point of view.
- Do more research. Whatever your topic is, it can get stale hearing about it from one perspective. To keep things interesting, maximize the amount of outside sources, opinions, and ideas present in your text (and when/if you do, be sure to cite your sources. This is so important).
- Make your writing unique, especially from itself. Plenty of writers get into the habit of writing in one specific style, and it can be super boring to read. Look for ways you can vary your flow, sentence structure, tone, and writing style.
Writing a blog is an awesome way to connect with the world and share your interests. While there are some steps that need to be taken if you want your blog to be successful, the bottom line is this: writing a blog should be fun.
Let your imagination run free; your passions will make your blog posts shine.