Can I tell you a secret?
I didn’t know what I was doing the first time I wrote a blog post.
I’m telling you this so that you won’t make the same mistake I did.
I remember thinking to myself back then, “Hey, you’ve written papers in college. And, you’ve done research at work. How different can this blogging thing be, right?
Well, I was wrong.
… dead wrong!
While you may not sound as cocky as I did then, you may still find yourself falling into the trap of thinking that writing a blog post is just like writing another paper.
Especially when it comes to your first piece of content.
And I’m here to prevent you from doing that.
The good news is, it’s pretty straightforward once you know what to do. That’s why I wrote this article.
My goal here is to guide you through all there is to know on how to write your first blog post. That includes the moment you begin planning the article, all the way until after you’ve finished writing and proofreading it.
So, let’s get going.
Before You Start Writing Your First Blog Post
As a new blogger, it’s easy to get excited.
But, before jumping headfirst into writing content for your blog, it’s important to make sure that you already have a few things figured out.
That said, do always keep them in the back of your mind. This ensures that you know the purpose of each and every post you write.
Here are the things you should know before writing your first blog post.
Who’s Your Audience?
The main purpose of your blog is to serve your audience.
The only exception to this is if you’ve created your blog to be an online diary or journal. In that case, it will be all about you.
Understanding who your audience is allows you to cater your content, freebies, courses, and tutorials for their needs. It also ensures that everything you’re doing is relatable to them.
As such, the first and probably most important step before you create your blog is to FIND OUT WHO YOUR AUDIENCE IS.
The more intimately you know them, the better you’ll be able to focus your writing about what they want and need.
Also, do keep in mind that NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE YOUR BLOG.
… and, that’s okay.
Don’t try to write for everyone. If you do, you’ll end up writing for no one.
That’s a bad thing!
This is why niche and audience research is important in the beginning. It ensures that you have a large enough market to cater to. And, a market where your blog’s profit potential is good.
This eliminates the need of trying to attract readers who aren’t part of your target audience.
What’s Your Niche?
This is very much related to your audience. After all, your audience probably comes from your niche.
The most important thing to remember here is to STAY IN TOPIC.
Remember, your audience is there for one reason: it’s to read about what you have to say on a SPECIFIC SUBJECT.
This may be blogging, personal finance, fitness, or arts & crafts.
If you suddenly start talking about different topics or start covering all sorts of unrelated subjects, then they won’t know what to expect.
More importantly, after a while, your readers might lose interest because they’re not getting enough of the niche-specific articles they want.
When this happens, they’ll search for other blogs that will give them what they’re looking for.
What’s Your Voice?
The last thing to figure out before writing your first blog post is your voice.
Your voice will represent you… in a way.
That’s because your tone, and how to speak through your words will shape your identity.
As such, it will be an important part of your online personality.
Your Voice makes you relatable to your audience
Your voice, your tone and how you approach your blog’s main topic all play a role in connecting you with your readers.
As such, it’s important to figure out which aspects of your personality they’ll relate to the most.
You use terms specific to your readers
For example, I’m in the blogging niche catering to those looking to start a blog.
This is why you’ll see me use words like visitors and readers a lot instead of traffic.
If you’re new to blogging, this eliminates the risk of getting confused or trying to understand what ‘traffic’ means.
Similarly, you won’t see me use a lot of the more advanced terms like conversions or retargeting.
In contrast, if I cater to advanced bloggers, it would be the other way around. I won’t be discussing topics about starting a blog.
Instead, I’ll focus on things like link building, email deliverability, or conversion optimization.
It depends on who you’re talking to
Your niche and audience will somewhat determine your language and perspective as well.
For example, let’s say you run a mom blog or a faith and spirituality-based blog.
In either case, you’ll likely avoid talking-smack, cursing or discussing your vices, even if you normally have a foul mouth, drink and smoke a lot.
That said, you want to be yourself.
… but, do filter out some of the things that won’t be appropriate for your audience.
This lets you focus on what’s important: where you can help your readers.
How You Approach Your Topic
In addition to the three items above, there’s also how you approach and talk about your topic.
This is somewhat an extension of your voice because it involves the perspective or point of view you’re coming from.
Here, there are a few options you can take:
- An expert, or authority. This is a role you can take if you have considerable experience in the field. Being an expert or someone with vast knowledge or experience lets you teach and guide others. If you have specific qualifications and certifications, make sure to mention them as well. For example, if you’re running a fitness blog, do mention the fact that you’re a certified fitness professional if that’s the case. When you take this role, your tone will likely be more formal or professional. As such, it will be different compared to someone who’s talking to a friend.
- A friend. Speaking of which, this is another approach you can take. Here, you’ll go with a more casual voice. You talk to them like you’re in a conversation. Additionally, even the words you use will be more casual as opposed to formal.
- Be in between, not overly formal, yet not too casual. Of course, there’s always the “go-between”. This is a bit tougher because you’ll be juggling two hats so to speak. In doing so, it may get confusing at times.
In addition to how you treat your readers, there’s also the role you play as a blogger.
That is, how do you want your readers to see you as?
Here are a few examples.
- A Leader. Here, you’re an influencer. You’ve been there, you’ve achieved success. And now, you’re leading the way and showing your readers what works and doesn’t. This means speaking with conviction because you know what you’re talking about. Doing so allows you to help them achieve the same success that you enjoy.
- An explorer or adventurer. This is a very different role to that of a leader. Here, you don’t talk about your successes or accolades. Instead, you’re trying to uncover and discover things about your niche. As such, you test different things, do case studies and experiment to see what works. This can make your approach very analytical. But, you can likewise take other non-scientific approaches as well. For example, in you have a cooking blog, you can try different recipes and ingredients. Plus, showing your readers which alternatives work if they don’t want to use sugar, for example. The approach you’ll take here is much less analytical. But, nevertheless, there’s still a lot of adventure, experimentation, and curiosity involved.
- Someone on a journey. This is somewhat similar to that of the explorer. But, you’re taking them with you on your path to somewhere. Some travel blogs do this very well. They tell a story and guide you through their trek of the Himalayas or while they go backpacking across Southeast Asia. Another example would be taking your readers through your weight loss journey or path towards paying off your debt. In the process, you give them tips and tricks they can use to help themselves with their own weight loss or debt situations.
How To Write Your First Blog Post
Now that you’ve gotten all the preliminaries out of the way, it’s time to get to the heart of the matter…
… writing your first blog post.
In this section, you’ll be going through the different steps in creating the first article for your website.
Along the way, I’ll also be answering some of the common questions readers have asked me when it comes to content creation, especially as a beginner blogger.
Let’s get to it.
Do I Need an Introductory Blog Post?
Speaking of which, this is one of the most popular questions I get asked.
And, as much as I’d want to be able to give you a definite answer, I can’t.
The good news is that there’s no right or wrong answer. It just depends on what your blog is, and how you’d like to open it to your audience.
As such, you have a few options you can choose from.
1. Make the first post an introduction about you
This is a great way to start a blog, especially if you and your personality will play a big part in it.
By that I mean, you’ll be talking a lot about yourself, letting your readers into your life, let them know your family and what you do on a regular basis.
Similarly, if you’ll spend a good amount of time sharing your experiences, like where you just traveled to, including pictures of your yourself and your family BBQing on 4th of July, then spending the extra time to let them get to know you more goes a long way.
In short, the introduction post lets your readers know more about you.
But, be careful not to just repeat everything you’ve said on your About Page.
That won’t help you or your newly found friends.
Instead, go beyond what you mention in your About page.
Here are a few ideas:
- Who are you?
- Give them a glimpse of how you got here, some personal history or journey.
- Why did you start a blog?
- What is your blog about? What topics will you cover and which you won’t?
- Who is your ideal reader? Why?
- How can they get to know you better or be more involved?
- Where can they reach you
- Encourage feedback and ask them to email and/or comment
That said, this approach doesn’t work as well for blogs that take a more serious tone, or have that “get straight down to business” kind of feel.
This is why you don’t see CNN or Forbes magazine do this.
2. Skip the introduction and just go straight to the articles
Another option is to skip the introductory blog post altogether.
Of course, you can always make a brief introduction about yourself at the beginning of your first article.
But in some cases, it may not be necessary. Here’s why:
- You have your About Page. If you look at most of the blogs today, the about page is an entire biography of them or their blogging experience. Since it’s already there, there’s really no need to repeat what you’ve mentioned.
- Your blog isn’t focused on you. If your blog is more topical rather than personal, your about page may be enough.
- Your first post will go to the end of the line. Once you have a few posts published, your oldest post, in this case, your first post, goes all the way to the back. This makes it less visible.
- Not many people are going to read it. Let’s face it, the reality is, there aren’t going to be a lot of readers visiting your new blog. As such, its reach will be limited. And, by the time you get more traffic, your first post will be at the back of the line on page 10 or farther.
- You want your first post to be evergreen. If you make an introduction and update the post, later on, say 1 or 2 years down the road, it may not flow as well to a new reader or someone who’s been following your blog for a while.
The good news is you can always “introduce” yourself later on.
Technically, it won’t be an introduction where you start from scratch and tell them about yourself. Instead, if the need arises you can always come up with a “where I’m at now, and where my blog is headed” post.
You can likewise do an FAQ or “Ask Me Anything” to increase engagement.
These are great options that let your readers get updated on you personally as well as know more about your blog.
3. Start with an introduction about you then go to the post proper
This is the “go-between” the two options.
You can open your first post with an introduction about yourself to help make things more personal.
Then, transition to the article proper.
How Important is the First Blog Post?
It depends on what it is about and how you plan to use it.
Let me explain.
- If you’re starting a personal blog or one that revolves around you. Your first post lets you “get off on the right foot”. That’s because it introduces you to your audience. This allows it to become the cornerstone by which your other posts draw from. It is also the starting point of your relationship with your readers. Thus, making your first blog post very important.
- If you plan on creating an epic post and use it for outreach. This makes your first post essential as well. But, in a way that’s different from that of the personal blog. Here, your first post’s goal is to IMPRESS. Or, if you want to use bolder words, “shock and awe”. An epic first post lets everyone in your niche take notice of who you are. This also opens the doors for outreach opportunities to get backlinks, guest posts, and influencer marketing. Because epic posts take time to research and write, you’ll likely only produce one every two to four weeks. That makes each article very important.
- If it’s a pillar post. This will make the post useful and likewise important. But, it won’t be as essential as the two above. That’s because you’ll likely create a few other pillar posts later on. Additionally, while it does set the tone for things to come, it won’t make or break your blog.
- If you’ll be posting a lot of articles similar to it. This scenario just makes it another blog post. For example, if you run a food blog and start off with one recipe. Unless the recipe has something super-special about it, readers will see it as just another post on your blog once you have 10 or more other recipes published. As such, your first post becomes less important.
That said, your first blog post sets the tone.
While its value really depends on what it is and how you’ll use it, you’ll still want to remember a couple of guidelines.
- Make it high quality. You want it to represent who you are and what your blog is about.
- It should be insightful and valuable for your audience
Most importantly, don’t stress about making it perfect.
First Blog Post Ideas: What Should You Write About?
In this section, you’ll discover what you should write about. This includes not only your first post but also the rest that you’ll be creating later on.
When it comes to your site’s content, you’re free to write about anything you want.
But, it does pay to be smart about what you actually end up publishing.
The most important point of which being, how’s the article going to get seen?
This is why I recommend using the following breakdown.
Or, at least a variation of it.
Search = 80% of Your Posts
Unless you’re going to get bulk of your visitors from paid search/ads, then this is what I’d suggest.
Search includes anything that readers are able to look for on the internet. As such, it involves a few things:
- Choosing the right platform. This includes Google for SEO, Pinterest for blog posts or YouTube for videos.
- Picking the right keywords and optimizing your blog posts for these keywords.
- Knowing which keywords people actually search for.
- Understanding what kind of keywords you’re choosing, ie. are they informational or do they have buying intent?
Audience Questions = 10% of Your Posts
These are great for increasing audience engagement.
Additionally, you know that it’s something your readers are interested in. Otherwise, they won’t bother to email and ask you about them.
This gives you an opportunity to help your audience with a question or problem they’re having.
Personal Article That Increases Your Connection to Your Audience = 10% of your posts
In the remaining 10% of your articles, you can talk more about yourself.
But, don’t just ramble about your life.
Remember, each post should have a purpose, especially if you’re going to spend an hour or more writing it.
For this kind of article, the goal is to write something that shows your readers a side of you.
It can be your personality, your experiences, or something relevant that happened in your life.
That said, the most important thing about the topics you choose for this kind of articles is that they should be relatable to your audience.
There should be some kind of connection between your article, its story, and your readers, be it their current situation, a problem they’re having or a hint of a solution to one of their issues.
Why This Breakdown Works?
You’ll notice that all your articles are geared towards ONE THING.
That’s YOUR AUDIENCE.
They’re the focus of your blog.
As such, you’re writing for them and ONLY THEM.
At least, if your goal is to make money.
Of course, you can add a few fun and entertaining articles here and there. But, to maximize your chances of blogging success, it’s important to write for your audience.
One important note is that as your brand grows and if you become the center of that brand, you’ll notice a shift in interest.
At that point, your readers will become such big fans of yours that they’ll clamor to know more about you. This is why you’ll see influencers and big-time bloggers publish posts talking about what they do and how their days go.
As a beginner though, you haven’t built up that kind of trust.
So, you’ll need to prove your worth first.
… that is, by helping your readers with their problems.
How Long Should the Blog Post Be?
When it comes to your first post, the length isn’t much of an issue.
Instead, it’s about setting the tone for your blog.
So, in addition to the 3 items, you’ll be writing about above, you also want to write PILLAR POSTS.
What are Pillar Articles? Why Write Them?
Pillar posts are what define your blog and your brand.
They’re the foundational content of your website.
And, they play a HUGE role in building your blog’s authority, credibility, and trust.
They’re longer than regular posts because they’re filled with useful content. And ideally, they cover the biggest, most important topics in your niche.
If you happen to cover multiple topics, you’ll eventually want to create a few pillar posts for each of these categories. These pillar articles will set the tone for each of the subtopics your blog covers.
That said, pillar posts often cover the “What, Why and How”.
Although, many come in the form of How-To posts, Lists posts, and Ultimate Guide posts.
What they all have in common is they help your readers solve a big problem they have. They’re in-depth and typically will guide your audience through the different steps of a particular process.
Or, You Can Practice First
That said, while pillar posts are an ideal place to start, you don’t necessarily need to make them your first posts.
As a new blogger:
- You’re still getting the hang of writing articles. Odds are, your first creations aren’t going to be your best.
- You won’t have a lot of visitors in the beginning. The only exception to this is if you’re going to write a few pillar posts and heavily promote them. But, that’s a more advanced topic.
- You may still be learning the niche.
In these cases, writing a few blog posts to get the hang of things before creating pillar articles is a better way to go.
Doing so not only boosts your confidence, but it also provides you with a sense of achievement. Both of which will help you get started on the right foot as a blogger.
And, if that’s your choice, the length of your article will depend on what kind of post it will be.
In addition, you’ll want to consider a few things as well:
- How you want to approach your articles
- Do you plan on writing long in-depth content regularly?
- Or do you prefer shorter content published more frequently?
- What kind of traffic are you looking to attract?
In general, you want to shoot for 1,000+ words at least.
If you want to learn more about whether you should write long or short articles, check out my post on the topic here.
A Caveat About Practice
BUT, if you do choose to go this route, you HAVE TO SET A LIMIT of 5 posts MAX.
After that, you need to WRITE YOUR PILLAR ARTICLE.
Otherwise, you’ll fall into a lull and believe you never have to create those scary, big, in-depth blog posts.
If you think there’s a risk of that happening to you, then you’re better off just taking the plunge and writing the pillar article immediately.
First Blog Post Examples: What Type of Content to Write?
The last piece of figuring out what to write about is knowing the different types of blog posts.
Here’s what you know so far:
- You may or may not write an introductory post
- The value of your first post depends on what it is, and how you plan to use it
- You want 80% of your article to focus on search
- You want to write at least 1000+ words, ideally in the form of a pillar post
And, these are the types of blog posts that you can create.
The most popular ones are:
- List Post
- Tutorial and/or Guide
- How-to Post
You can also go with these other options:
- Personal Story/Experience
- Case Study
- Interview Post
- Roundup Post
- Review Post
- Before and After Post
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Comparison Between Two Things
- Beginner’s or an Ultimate Guide
- Inspirational Story / Testimonial
- Problems and Solutions
How Do You Research A Blog Post Fast?
In this section, you’ll go through all the steps needed in researching your blog post. Here’s a quick look at the things we’ll cover.
- Find a keyword that your blog post will focus on
- Create an outline for your article
- Start researching the information that will fill out your outline.
Let’s get to it.
How to Do Keyword Research for Your Blog Post?
The keyword research you’ll use for your blog will depend a lot on what traffic source you’re targeting.
For the most part, bloggers go after Google search because it’s the biggest search engine on the planet.
That said, it’s not always easy for a new blog to rank in Google.
This is why in addition to Google, I’ve also included Pinterest below, which is what I recommend most beginner bloggers start with.
The only exception to this is if your niche isn’t something popular on Pinterest.
Doing Keyword Research for Google
With Google search traffic, it’s all about targeting the right keywords.
And, when it comes to keywords, two of the most important things to consider are:
- Search Volume: this tells you how many searches a term gets each month. The higher the volume, the more visitors you can potentially attract.
- Keyword Difficulty: this estimates how hard it is to rank for a specific keyword. The higher the difficulty, the more authority your blog post needs to achieve in order to get to the first page of Google’s search results for that given keyword.
Step 1: Enter your keyword in Google search
When you do so, Google will show you some suggestions.
These are all phrases that are related to what you’ve typed.
More importantly, they’re things that people search for based on the first word or words you’ve entered.
Step 2: Pick the Keywords You Feel Align with Your Audience’s Interests
After trying a few, you’ll be able to compile a list of keywords that are related to your niche.
From the entire list, choose the ones that fit your audience’s interests and needs.
They’re the ones you’ll look into further.
Step 3: Find the Search Traffic for your Keywords
After you’ve come up with a list, it’s time to see how many searches they get per month.
This is key because you don’t want to spend 2 or more hours writing an article only to find out that the keyword it focuses on only receives 50 searches a month.
That’s a waste of your valuable time and effort.
To do so, you’ll need to use a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner. This is Google’s free keyword tool. And, it will give you an idea of how many searches a particular keyword has.
All you need to do is enter the list of keywords and let the tool show you the results.
Sadly, Google’s Keyword Planner only gives you an idea of how much traffic each keyword potentially brings.
If you want more information, you’ll need to use the free or paid tools below.
If You Have Paid Keyword Tools
Paid keyword tools are the best option.
That’s because they give you both the monthly search volume and keyword difficulty of a particular term.
… plus, a lot more other useful SEO features.
- You’ll know how many people search for that keyword on a monthly basis.
- And, how hard it will be to rank in the top 5 or 10 on Google for that term.
This allows you to decide which keywords to write about, whereby giving you the highest probability of ranking on Google’s search results.
Here are some of the best keyword tools on the market.
Among them, my favorite keyword tool is Ahrefs.
If I was doing keyword research for the term “blog post ideas”, all I have to do is type it in and Ahrefs will spit out an entire list.
The image above is a screenshot showing keywords using the tool’s “Phrase Match” feature. That is, filtering out all keywords that have the term “blog post ideas” in them.
And, just like that, there are 980 keywords you can check.
For each, you can see the monthly search traffic (Volume) and how hard it is to rank (KD or keyword difficulty) among other things.
This makes keyword research quick and easy.
If You Don’t Want to Spend for a Keyword Research Tool
The good news is that there’s now a solid keyword research tool that’s FREE!
It’s called UberSuggest.
This is an online tool that lets you find related keywords based on seed keywords in your niche.
It also shows you the number of monthly searches and how difficult it would be to rank the keyword in Google.
That’s all you need to get started.
In the example screenshot below, you’ll see the a subset of the results that “blog post ideas” produces.
This gives you many related keywords you can use as the main topics of future articles.
Doing Keyword Research for Pinterest
If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know that I highly recommend using Pinterest as one of your main traffic sources when starting out.
That’s because it’s easier for new blogs to get traffic from Pinterest than it is for them to rank on Google.
And sadly, if you aren’t ranking in Google, you’re not likely to get a lot of consistent traffic from search.
Finding Keywords in Pinterest
That said, here’s how to do keyword research for Pinterest.
All you need to do is type in a keyword or a topic your audience is interested in.
Pinterest will then give you what I call “keyword bubbles”. They’re the colored blocks with keywords in the image below.
These “keyword bubbles” tell you what keywords Pinterest users search for that are related to the main topic you entered in the box.
One thing you’ll notice here is that Pinterest won’t show you how many searches each keyword gets.
As such, it’s something that you’ll learn through experience and instinct.
The difference between Google and Pinterest is that Pinterest has a much smaller number of users. As such it makes it easier for your post to appear in the search results.
How to Outline Your Post and Research Content
Once you’ve chosen the main keyword for your first post, it’s time to research the contents of your article.
Here, you have 2 goals:
- Make an outline for the post
- Find information that will help you fill in each subtopic in the outline
Here’s the step by step process you can follow.
Step 1: Search Google for the topic you’re going to write about.
Most of the time, Google will show anywhere from 7 to 10 results per page.
The actual number will depend on how many ads, questions and if there’s a featured snippet on top.
In any case, go through the results and open the top 10 posts in different tabs of your browser.
Step 2: Skim Through Each of the Articles
Doing so allows you to quickly see what subtopics each article covers for that subject.
It will also let you know what kind of answer they have, what approach they take in explaining each section.
Step 3: Take Note of the Similarities
Often, articles that cover the same topic will have similar discussions. The goal here is to note down the subtopics that are commonly included in these top-ranking posts.
Obviously, you don’t need 10 different articles that give you the same answers.
So, pick the 2 best ones (often the most thorough ones) to use for your research.
Then, discard the rest.
Step 4: Take Note of the Differences
Typically, you’ll see a few of these articles include uncommon explanations or information that the rest don’t have.
You want this!
… as long as they’re useful and valuable for your audience.
This makes your article “stand out” a little from the other 7 to 8 that just say the same thing.
But, it’s not enough if you want to truly stand out.
Step 5: Check Out the Questions That Show Up
More often than not, Google will show some popular questions related to your main query.
Some of these questions will be relevant to what you’re researching while others not so much.
Your goal is to pick out a few of the questions that appear. Ideally, you want:
- Questions that are related to the main topic of your blog
- Items that your readers will want to know about
- Something that you know will add value to your article
Step 6: Add Something Unique Only Your Article Has
Now that you’ve covered all the common information, some uncommon ideas, and popular questions on the topic, it’s time to put your own spin to things.
This is where you set yourself apart from all the other articles.
To do so, think of 1-2 unique things that are relevant to the topic that is likewise helpful for your audience to know.
You can make a video, you can find a video on YouTube that explains how to do a process, you can analyze data or other information, tell a story or discuss a case study.
The goal is to be unique and stand out.
This is why you need to have something that others don’t, something that will set your article apart from everyone else.
Most importantly, it’s so useful that people will want to read your article instead of others.
Step 7: Putting Everything Together
At this point, you already have everything you need:
- Common topics discussed regarding the main subject of your blog post
- A few less common sub-topics
- Something unique and creative you’ve come up with
- Popular questions people often have related to your main keyword
Just as importantly, for each of the sub-topics that fall under the 4 types above, you have resources (other blog posts) that provide you with information and answers.
Your job now is to:
- Organize the sub-topics so they flow smoothly from start to finish
- Pick out the best 1 or 2 blog posts that answer each of the sub-topics
- Figure out how to write the information in your own words.
This applies to all except the sections that are unique to your blog post. There you’ll need to decide how you want to present the information.
Writing Your First Blog Post
The content that fills in your outline will make up the bulk of your article.
The goal here is to answer each of the subheadings as well as you possibly can based on the research you’ve done in the previous step.
The more value you can offer, the better.
That’s the key.
Here are a few tips that will help you achieve this.
- Ask yourself, “how does your article help solve your audience’s problems?”
- Focus on your readers’ pain points
- Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and ask: “What’s in it for me?” Why will I read this article?
- Be unique, be yourself, be authentic.
- Is your article substantially different from other similarly titled articles on the web?
- What’s the purpose of this article? Is it to get more traffic, build your email list, promote your product or an affiliate product, or something else? Don’t just write for the sake of writing. Know why you’re creating this specific piece of content.
- Is it actionable? Your readers should be able to do something with the information in your article. The only exceptions to this are entertainment pieces and news articles.
- Avoid fluff. Clean up any “extra” fluff that your article may have.
Then, there’s your introduction and conclusion.
I like to leave both for the end after I’ve written the entire article.
This lets me know what my post contains and what it doesn’t include.
- Doing so makes it easier to summarize things in the end.
- It also lets you set proper expectations in the introduction.
That said, each blogger has their own writing style.
So, you just need to try different methods to see which one works for you.
In any case, here are a few things to consider when crafting your introduction and closing.
Your Blog Post’s Introduction
The goal here is to hook your readers.
In short, your article’s introduction’s main purpose is to invite your visitor to keep reading.
This is just like your headline’s (blog post title’s) main goal is to make the reader click on it to view the article.
Here are a few things to consider when writing your introduction:
- Why should the reader keep reading?
- Use a story to get them interested or even invested in the main content.
- Be personal.
- Ask a question that will make the reader seek for more information.
- Give them facts. For example, “Did you know that 9 out of 10 billionaires never finished college?” Nope, that’s not a fact, I just made that up. But, it does make you wonder why you spent so much for college and even went into debt for it, right?
Close It Out with a Conclusion
In the end, you want something to sum things up.
But, don’t stop there…
Besides making one final push to get your message across, there are a few things you can do to make your conclusion more meaningful.
- Encourage them to take action
- Ask your readers to share your article
- Encourage them to get involved, be it via the comments section, social media or emailing you.
- You can promote your product or an affiliate product
- If your blog post is part of a series, tell them what’s coming up next or what to expect to get them excited.
Where Should I Write My Article?
Here are some options you can use to write your first blog post.
This is my go-to word processing software.
It’s easy to use and has all the formatting features you need.
You can likewise copy and paste your MS Word document straight to your WordPress editor with all the formatting including the sub-headings, paragraphs, bold and italic fonts.
If you work within a group or prefer something that’s free without having to install anything on your computer, Google Docs is what I recommend.
You’ve probably used it before, and it’s got all the features of MS Word.
The added bonus is that you can collaborate with others. This makes it easy to pass the article to your proofreader and editor once you’re done with it.
I know a lot of people who type directly into WordPress.
The editor makes it easy to get everything done.
And while I’m not a fan of the Gutenberg Block Editor, it works really well, especially for formatting purposes.
That said, I’ve had a couple of experiences where my internet connection hangs or stalls causing me to lose everything I’ve typed or at least a good portion that wasn’t saved.
Yes, you’ve probably had some sort of similar experience as well with unsaved online documents.
That’s the reason why I use Microsoft Word and press ctrl-s a lot more than I should be.
Evernote is an awesome app that lets you keep notes easily.
But, besides taking down notes, keeping your to-do lists and other things, you can likewise use it as a blog post editor.
I’ve seen many bloggers use it, so I know it works well.
There’s No Right or Wrong Choice
Here, there’s no right or wrong option. Just go with something you’re comfortable with. All of them will let you format your article the way you want it.
The key is using something that lets you be productive and ensure that you never lose or have to rewrite parts or the entire article.
How Do You Format A Blog Post?
How your article looks is just as important as what’s in the content.
This probably doesn’t sound logical.
… but, that’s just how it is.
The reason is that if your article looks ugly, is hard on the eyes, or seems difficult to read, people won’t bother to spend the time to even try.
Think of your last crush before you actually got to know them. In fact, think of all your crushes before you got to know them.
Did any one of them look disheveled, unpleasant or untidy?
Otherwise, you wouldn’t even be interested.
It’s the same with your blog post.
You need to make it look pleasing enough visually so that readers will take the time to read it.
It’s all about first impressions. And, yes, people do judge a book by its cover, at least initially.
So how do you format your blog posts?
Keep it simple.
- Use H2 and H3 headings to separate different sub-topics within your article. Ideally, your H2 and H3 headings are different fonts and larger than that of your content. This keeps your article from becoming monotonous. Some bloggers even make the color of their H2 and H3 headings different from their text color to make them stand out even more.
- Use bold, italics and underline. Doing so also breaks up the monotony of looking at the same-sized text as well.
- Make sure your hyperlinks are a different color from your content’s text. Ideally, choose brighter colors to make them pop. This not only breaks the monotony of black text but also makes affiliate links and links to your product pages more visible.
- Include videos, images, photos, memes, graphs, and charts. Varying the types of content formats within your article makes things more visually appealing. As humans, we like looking at images and video more than reading text, so sprinkling them around helps. Just don’t overdo it.
- Use bullet points and numbers. Bullet points and numbering are indented. This makes it easier to read and prevents your article from becoming rectangular blocks of text.
- Break up your paragraphs. Try to keep each paragraph to about 3-4 sentences each. At most go up to 5, but not much more. This prevents them from becoming a big long block of text that many online readers don’t enjoy.
- Add internal links from the article to other relevant posts on your blog. This helps readers find interesting articles that are related to what they’re currently reading. It also helps with your on-page SEO.
- Include external links to authoritative websites. Whenever it’s needed, link to other websites. These provide good references that your readers can go to if they want to learn more about that particular item.
- Add Pin Images. This makes it easy for readers to pin your images to Pinterest.
Proofreading and Editing Your Article
Make sure to proofread and edit your article before publishing.
Doing so ensures that there are no grammatical errors or misspellings that might make your otherwise high-quality article look unprofessional.
When it comes to proofreading and editing, I like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor.
You can go with one or the other, or both.
Grammarly is a free app you can use on your laptop, as a plugin to your WordPress editor (via Chrome extension) or as an add-on to Microsoft Word.
Choose whichever feels more natural for you, they all work.
It’s worth noting that the app has free and paid versions.
- The free version lets you check basic spelling and grammar.
- The paid version does a deeper dive making sure that sentence construction and grammar are correct as well as readability. It also includes a plagiarism detector.
For the most part, the free version is enough.
But, if you want to write better, the paid version really cranks up the way your sentences flow and sound.
Another tool I love is the Hemingway Editor. This one’s totally free.
I use it for 2 things:
- Check what grade level my articles are. Ideally, you want your articles to be in the low elementary grades. That is around grades 4 to 6. The lower the better. That’s because studies show that online readers enjoy reading simpler articles more.
- Check for grammatical errors. The Hemingway app’s coolest feature is that it can break up your sentences into components. In doing so, it can tell you how many adverbs your article has and how many times you use the passive voice. Both of which are no-nos. It also points out difficult to read phrases and sentences so you can simplify them.
- (Optional) You can also check the estimated reading time. If you’ve read my article on long vs. short blog posts, one of the things I discussed there was how readers lose interest after passing the 7-minute mark. This lets you gauge how long it takes for the typical person to read your blog post.
Note that you don’t have to do your proofreading and editing immediately.
In fact, if you’re doing the proofreading and editing yourself, it’s much more effective if you take some time away from the article. Then returning later on or the next day to check it.
This lets your mind clear itself so it can see everything from a new perspective.
Doing so lets you spot errors better.
Similarly, you can likewise send the article to a team member to proofread and edit.
How to Write a Blog Post Title?
Interestingly enough, this is the most important component of your article.
That’s because online readers use a blog post’s title to decide whether or not to click on the article.
So, if the title isn’t enticing enough, it doesn’t matter how amazing your content is, nobody will read it.
In fact, advertising legend David Ogilvy once said,
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
That is to say that on average 8 of 10 people will read your headlines. But, only 2 out of 10 will read everything else (ie. your content).
So how do you write a headline that will make people click?
Here are a few tips.
- Make it unique. Your title won’t stand out if it’s just like all the others.
- It should be very specific. Your headline should give your reader enough information to decide whether or not they want to read on. It also sets expectations regarding what the article will or won’t cover.
- Headlines with a sense of urgency work better. If the reader believes they’ll miss out if they don’t read your article, they’ll be more likely to click on it.
- Make your headline useful. Tell your reader why it’s beneficial for them to read your blog post. What will they receive?
One of the easiest ways to test whether you have an effective title is to use Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer.
The tool rates your headlines between 0 to 100. Ideally, you want a score of at least 60. Anything 70 or higher is very good.
Things to Do Before You Hit Publish
After you’ve formatted, proofread and edited your article, all you need to do is add some finishing touches.
While some of these steps may look like minor additions, they go a long way in helping your blog post attract more visitors and email subscribers later on.
So, don’t skip them.
In case you want the comprehensive, step-by-step list of things to do before pressing “Publish” on your blog post, take a look at this article.
Add a Call to Action (CTA)
A call to action is just what it sounds like. You’re calling on your readers to take action.
What the action is, will depend on what the purpose of your article is.
- Do you want to get more email subscribers? Then tell them to sign up for your newsletter.
- Are you trying to increase your blog’s engagement? Then, ask them a question and tell them to give you feedback via the comments section
- Do you want them to buy a product or service? Tell them to check out the product if they want more information on how to do something that’s related to what you’ve just discussed in the article.
- Would you like them to share your post on social media? Then request them to do so if they enjoyed the article.
The list goes on…
What action you tell them to do really depends on what your current goals are.
And, how you ask them to do it is only limited by your creativity.
CTAs can help increase the virality of a post, boost your email subscriber list or increase audience engagement among many other things.
All of which make your blog better.
The best part is, they often consist of one or two very short paragraphs.
Optimize Your Blog Post for the Search Engines
Another very important thing you should never forget to do is optimize your blog post for SEO.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is basically making a few tweaks to your blog and its articles to help increase its chances of ranking higher on Google.
Because blog posts that rank on the top of a search keyword get a lot of FREE traffic from Google. That’s traffic you get every day without having to post on social media or do anything out of the ordinary.
If you’re ranking well, Google will automatically send you traffic (visitors) on a regular basis.
To understand why it’s important to optimize your blog post for search engines let’s take a quick look at how Google shows its results.
You’ll notice that each result consists of 3 main things.
- Title of the blog post
- Meta description
- URL of the blog post
Because that’s all that Google will show people who search for keywords, it’s your job to customize them in a way so:
- Your blog post’s Google snippet is more enticing than other results that appear on that page. This increases your odds of the user clicking on your entry and reading your post over the others.
- Google uses some of the information in these entries as factors for its search algorithm. Doing things like including your keyword in the blog post’s title help increase your rankings.
So, here’s what you should do for each blog post.
1. Create a Clickable SEO Title
We touched upon creating a blog post title above.
The good news is that you have a chance to write another title.
Here’s the deal.
Your SEO title may or may not be the same as your WordPress article title.
Why would you make them different?
- Different titles let you include more keywords.
- Also, you may want readers to see a different title on the article, all the while customizing another title for Google’s algorithm.
Here’s how to do it.
- Make your WordPress post title something your readers will relate to. This is what your readers see when your page loads. It’s the title on top of the article.
- Optimize your SEO title for Google. This is the title Google uses to help decide where to rank your article. So, making sure it’s optimized for your main keyword goes a long way.
2. Craft an Engaging Meta Description
Google has said that it does not take the meta description into account in its search algorithm.
But, that doesn’t mean it’s completely useless.
When the search results show many similar titles, users will often defer to your snippet’s short meta description to decide which search entry to click.
So, this is your chance to stand out.
Do note that Google’s search results often only shows the first 160 characters of your meta description. So, anything beyond that will be truncated.
3. Include Your Main Keyword in Your Blog Post’s URL
Finally, there’s your blog post’s URL, or what WordPress calls the ‘slug’.
This is another factor included in Google’s ranking algorithm.
So, it’s a good idea to include your main keyword in the URL.
4. Optimize Your Images
Here’s a bonus.
Make sure to optimize your images for SEO as well.
You can do so by including keywords to the image’s alt text tag as well as entering them in its title tag.
Things to Do After You Publish Your Blog Post
Last but not least, it’s time to publish then promote your first blog post.
I’ll cover the two here in brief because they aren’t the main focus on this article.
But, if you want to read more about what you should do after publishing a post so that it builds up traction, check it out here.
Publish Your First Blog Post
This is the easiest part, pressing the Publish button.
It’s important not to be scared or hesitant about it because you can always edit things later on.
That said, the one thing you want to get right from the get-go is the blog post URL. The reason for this is that while you can change it later, it can mess things up.
When you’ve obtained backlinks and shared the post’s URL on social, changing the article’s URL makes all these links point to a different place.
While WordPress does it’s best to redirect all links from the old URL to the new one, I’ve found it a bit iffy at best. As such it can affect your traffic and ranking.
As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
With the rest, be it the images, categories, formatting, content and so on, don’t sweat it.
They’re easy to edit anytime.
Promote Your Blog Post
Promoting is by far the most important thing you should do after publishing your article.
It’s the best way of getting seen online.
Thus, allowing your new website to get its first visitors.
While there are a lot of different ways to promote your post, here’s the quickest way to start seeing readers soon after publishing your article.
- Create multiple images and share them on Pinterest
- Share your blog post to your Facebook Groups
- Don’t forget to share them to the rest of your social media channels as well
- Start working on SEO. While it’s going to be a long-term play, you need to get started as soon as possible and keep at it consistently. Over time, as your blog’s authority increases, SEO traffic will increase as well.
Writing your first blog post can be daunting.
Like all things in life, the first time we do anything…
… we suck at it!
I know that feeling. And it’s not a good one.
The good news is, you can completely avoid being in the dark and wondering if you missed a step somewhere.
By following the steps above, you’ll know exactly what to do.
More importantly, you’ll be able skip things that aren’t listed there so you don’t spend valuable time doing them.
Let me know where you are in writing your first post. And which specific step are you stuck at or having a hard time getting done?