Blogs are hugely popular, either talking to a niche field or appealing to a wider audience; the difference between blogging about the appeal of 19th century Peruvian nose flutes and discussing wind instruments more generally. There’s undoubtedly a market for both, however, as long as your blog and your posts are interesting, engaging, and informative.
Here are a few thoughts and suggestions as to what a good blog post looks are—and don’t forget, another way to get good ideas is by reading other blogs and seeing what gels. What captures your interest? What makes you think? What makes you laugh?
1. Plan first
You need to choose a topic, create an outline, conduct research (checking more websites than Wikipedia), and checking facts. But first and foremost, pick a topic that actually interests you. Nothing—nothing—will kill a post more quickly and solidly than a lack of enthusiasm by the writer.
2. Your title is a window into your post
Compelling titles and introductions attract readers into your article; so many people will make a judgement about what they want to read in the first few seconds on your page. If nothing captures them, they’ll just keep clicking until they find something that is interesting. In that instance, you need to be interesting for them; lure potential readers in with a captivating title, and then pin them down with an opening paragraph that’s captivating. Be creative, focused on the point, and interesting. A great title will bring people in, and maybe even make them come back for more.
3. Edit your blog post
Read it through, leave it for a while—a day at least—and come back to it fresh, then look at it with fresh eyes. Ask someone to read it for you, and accept their feedback as constructive help. Be open-minded with what works and what doesn’t work; don’t be afraid to cut something if it doesn’t work, or add something if there’s not quite enough in another place. Be sure to avoid repetition and read your post aloud to check its flow. This is a trick that many writers learn in workshops (poets often do it to great effect as well). If a piece reads awkwardly out loud, it will probably read awkwardly in your reader’s mind.
4. Use visuals
Part of a post’s immediate appeal is the visual; something that can break down complex topics (graphs), add humour (memes), improve its flow, and generally enhancing your post by supporting your argument. With my own blog, I get so much more engagement when I have a cover picture to the post, and when I’m writing about something complex and longer than usual, pictures help break up the flow of lots of text and make it more readable. I also like lists, bullet points, and quotes. Take a look around the Thanet Writers’ site—you’ll see how our gurus make that work to great effect.
5. Be useful and informative
You’re writing your post to inform and educate readers on a particular topic, either as an opinion piece or a fact-based comment. If you’re seen as an interesting, clear source of information, you’ll get a steady stream of returning visitors. Don’t forget, however, that just because you’re finding the topic interesting, others might find it dry. Consider that when you’re writing; is it diverse and engaging enough to bring people in to understand the facts? Will you appeal to others? Will it make people want to continue reading?
Notice that nowhere in this piece have I suggested checking for your grammar; that should be automatic and ingrained in every single sentence you create. And as I suggested at the beginning, learn by doing and learn by reading; broaden your horizons. Read blogs outside your area of expertise; be conscious of how they draw you in and make their topic accessible. Then write your own!
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© 2018 Matthew Munson
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Thanet-based author Matthew has three novels published by Inspired Quill, is an inveterate blogger, and writing is his passion.