The Secrets of a Successful Blog Post

With your blog set up, it’s time to start writing. Blogs are, after all, about content - so let’s put ideas about growing your audience to one side for now and get something written.

As you sit down to write, bear in mind everything in my previous article - but don’t get too hung up on minutiae. The blank page may look intimidating, but a few brief bullet points as you think of prompts for the post can be a great starting point.

The Format

In its very simplest form, a blog post has just two requirements: a headline or title, and the post itself. As you write, try to add some structure to each post - you are, after all, trying to tell a story.

As with any great story, you’ll need to think about a strong opening and ending. Along with the headline, your opening will ultimately determine whether a visitor to invests time in reading the post. Equally, the ending determines what (if any) action a reader takes: some examples of calls to action would be asking a question of the reader their thoughts; or with a more direct prompt such as the “Sign Up” prompt at the end of this article!

Headlines

Headline-writing is an art into itself, with dedicated headline editors at major publications. Thankfully Poynter has some great questions that can help fuel your headline writing. After all, the success (or otherwise) of your blog posts hinges on an engaging headline.

Post Lengths

“So, Nik, how long should my posts be?”, you might be asking - and the honest answer is “it doesn’t matter”, as long as your content is interesting. If you decide to write a long article, the onus is on you to deliver something that readers want to stick with!

If you’re covering a topic that demands a long post, you may find it easier to write it as a series - three 500-word posts are not only more-easily absorbed by readers, they also help you to keep publishing regularly. Shorter pieces are also easier to edit, particularly if you can break it into three distinct topics!

Images

Wherever possible, try to include a decent photo or image with your blog posts, and consider writing a caption for it also. It may surprise you, but popular consensus suggests that readers invest considerable time in the captions beneath great imagery, so make the most of the likely interest in the images!

Avoid Blocks of Text

There’s plenty of tricks to help make your post easier to read, and convey key points:

  • Bullet points and numbered lists are easily spotted by readers skimming through, and a great way to make a set of points quickly and succinctly.
  • Varied paragraph lengths help to break up large blocks of text, and help bring emphasis to key points
  • The hardest thing to convey in written text is emphasis - when we speak after all we have all manner of tricks up our sleeves. Formatting with bold and italics not only breaks up a large body of text, but highlights key phrases.

Make It So!

With some basics out of the way, it’s time to sit down and write that next blog post. As always, don’t get bogged down in the smallest of details. The success of your blog depends on getting posts written, proofed, and published.

Next time, I’ll be looking at ways to start extending the reach of your blog - until then, Happy Writing!

Read “Typed Monthly Report: November 2015” next


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Nik Fletcher

Nik Fletcher

Nik is part of the Typed team, focusing on user experience and content strategy. In a bygone era, he was a published technology writer with work appearing in The Guardian newspaper, MacFormat magazine, and many others.