If you’re like a lot of bloggers, there’s a good chance you might not have a degree in English or journalism. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to write a blog post that your readers will love – you just need the right process!
When you’re running a WordPress blog, it can be easy to get caught up in the big picture. Of course, developing an overall content strategy and setting up a posting schedule are important. But in the end, your blog’s success is still going to come back to the quality of your individual content pieces.
Writing any type of content is inherently creative, and we wouldn’t want to dictate every decision you make along the way. At the same time, it helps to have a clear process to follow while putting together each post for your blog. This way, you’re sure not to miss any important steps.
Step 1: Pick a topic that sets you up for success
The process of writing a stellar blog post starts long before you set pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). You won’t get very far if you don’t first take the time to settle on an idea you can write a quality blog post about.
There are two parts to this step.
The first is actually coming up with some potential topics. Some people like to simply sit down and think up an idea out of thin air. However, for a more practical approach, check out our guide to finding blog post ideas.
The second part is a little trickier. If you want to create a high-quality post that’s useful to your readers and helps drive traffic to your blog, you won’t want to write about just anything. Instead, the idea you settle on should meet as many of the following criteria as possible:
- Relevance. Above all, your chosen topic should be both interesting and useful to your target reader. To determine this, you’ll want to have a comprehensive audience profile in place. Then, think about how your post can solve a problem or answer a key question for the audience.
- Uniqueness. Most importantly, you won’t want to duplicate any content already on your blog. In addition, do a little Googling and see how many posts exist on the same topic. You don’t have to write about something completely new, but try to focus on a fresh angle or provide a unique spin that makes your post different.
- Depth. Before you start working on any given topic, make sure you actually have enough to say about it to fill an entire blog post. While shorter content can be useful (and it’s good to vary your post lengths), long-form content tends to provide the best returns.
- Longevity. There is a place for time-sensitive blog posts. However, unless you’re running a news-focused blog, you’ll want to focus on ‘evergreen’ content that’s just as relevant and useful to readers a year from now.
Finally, this is also a perfect opportunity to do a little keyword research:
If you want to attract a lot of readers through search engines, you’re best off opting for a post you can build around a specific keyword. Google Keyword Planner is an excellent tool to start out with. Another good option is KWFinder, though the free plan only lets you look up 5 keywords per day.
Look for a keyword that’s both high in search volume and relatively low in competition.
Step 2: Create an outline
You’ll be forgiven if the word ‘outline’ makes you cringe. Many people have negative associations with the concept. When done poorly, outlining can suck some of the creativity out of the writing process, and take up a lot of your valuable time.
However, when done well, starting out with an outline provides many benefits. For instance, having a framework in place enables you to focus on smaller concerns like word choice and flow while you’re writing, rather than having to figure out what you’re going to write about next.
More importantly, an outline helps ensure you cover all the important points in your post in a logical order. In fact, it helps to think of your outline as an organizational tool. At a minimum, you’ll want to include:
- All the major headings and sub-headings to be included in your post.
- A few bullet points for each section, explaining what ideas and topics it will cover.
- Notes where you’d like to include key images and/or links.
It also helps to do some research during the outlining stage. Even if you’re very familiar with the topic at hand, you’re likely to stumble across new ideas or angles.
Finally, it’s important to remember that your outline is a tool – not a cage.
You’re likely to deviate from it while writing the post, which is fine. You’ll essentially have a road map to refer to when you write a blog post, so you know how any changes you do make are likely to affect the post as a whole.
Step 3: Write the post
We’re going to keep this step short and sweet. As we’ve mentioned, actually sitting down to write a blog post is a creative process, and everyone’s approach will be different.
With this in mind, here are a few tips that work for us when writing a blog post:
- Don’t worry about self-editing while you’re writing the first draft. There’s plenty of time to go back and make fixes later. Just get all your ideas down.
- Aim to write too much, rather than too little. You can always trim down what you’ve written, but trying to lengthen a post after the fact can result in adding too much ‘fluff’.
- Write your post’s introduction and conclusion last. Once the rest of the post is laid out, you’ll have a better idea for how to best open and close it.
It’s also smart to keep in mind more general writing advice, such as finding somewhere without distractions and writing at the time of day when you’re most alert and focused.
Step 4: Edit your first draft
This step is where a lot of bloggers stumble – especially first-timers. The biggest mistake you can make is simply to omit this phase altogether. Many people simply write a blog post, give it a quick pass for spelling mistakes, and hit Publish.
However, much of a post’s quality comes through in the editing process. Your first effort is called a rough draft for a reason – polishing lets your ideas, opinions, and advice shine through without distraction. This holds true no matter how much (or how little) experience you have.
We’ve written about the editing process in the past, and we recommend you check out the article for a full checklist. As with the previous step, though, here’s a summary of the most important advice you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Don’t edit right after you’ve finished writing. Allow for time to pass so you can see the post more objectively – ideally a day or so.
- Watch out for the basics. Spelling and grammar may seem simple, but they’re important for establishing your credibility and putting the focus on your content (not your mistakes).
- Edit the entire post, not just the text. This means looking over images and other media, checking your formatting and metadata, and so on.
- Check out your post on the front end. No matter where you’ve actually written your blog post, you’ll want to preview and read it through on the WordPress front end. This lets you catch all sorts of errors you may have otherwise missed.
- Give your post a final proofread. When you’re happy with the post, give it one final read-through to catch any lingering errors, confusing sentences, etc.
You really can’t devote too much time to the editing and polishing process. The result will be a high-quality blog post you’ll be happy to put your name to.
That’s how to write a blog post that people want to read
If you’re looking to build a thriving WordPress blog, there are a lot of strategies you can employ. You can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to drive more traffic to your site, and even take advantage of useful external tools. Along the way, however, you can’t afford to ignore the importance of the writing process itself.
When it comes time to write a blog post for your site, you’ll want to make sure you cover these vital steps:
- Come up with a viable idea – one that suits your audience and lets you provide a unique piece of content.
- Create an outline that provides an overall structure for your post, without constraining your creativity.
- Write the post, getting the first draft down while everything is still fresh in your thoughts.
- Edit your first draft, keeping an eye on small- and large-scale considerations alike.