Hello, reader! I hope you are fine! Smile, because you are awesome! Let me ask you a question. Have you ever read a blog and went “WOW!”? Do you want to know what gives blogs a “wow factor”?
After talking to a few content creators and bloggers, I noticed that there are 9 traits or characteristics of every effective blog. This post is for those who are beginning to write blogs, the absolute beginners and also for those who have been blogging for sometime and want to change their approach.
Read on if you wish to know how you can go from a complete beginner to a competent blogger.
- The first step to write an effective blog is to pre-plan the blog. By pre-planning I mean that you should visualize how your post blog is going to look.
- You can think of a topic that you will be covering, the points that the topic can contain, for instance, the pros and cons, the methods to achieve so-and-so, and so on.
- When I pre-plan, I create a blueprint of the flow of my blog. For example, if I have to write about English speaking skills, or how you can expand your vocabulary, I will think of the topic (English Speaking Skills), the points that I will cover (Steps, techniques, resources, etc.) and the visuals which can be used to convey a message.
- If my topic is about, let’s say weight loss, I will include videos of various exercises, stats, etc.
- Now let’s talk about the second point – Outlining. After my flow is ready in my mind, I jot it down on a piece of paper. I write down the topic, the headings, sub-headings and the points which I am going to cover and the summary of the blog.
- You can use post-it notes, mind maps, PowerPoint slides an so on. You can use any tool basis your preference. I love writing so I use my notepad and my favorite pen!
- If I had to give a sample outline, it will go something as below:
(3) Write the Blog
- Now, we come to the business-end of the document! After you have written down the outline of the blog, start writing. Write whatever comes into your mind and DO NOT keep your proofreading hat on!
- Why I am requesting you to not proofread and look for errors is that will break your flow and you might lose the wonderful ideas which you had in your mind.
- Just keep on writing until you finish writing. The goal in this step is to write everything you know about the topic. You might make minor mistakes but that is perfectly fine!
- Get it all out and once you have completed writing, go to the next step which is proofreading.
- After you have the version 1 or the “raw version” as I like to call it, you can start proofreading. But Shubhamjeet, what is proofreading you might ask. To put simply, proofreading is the process of looking for errors – spelling, grammar, etc.
- Proofreading is the process of going through the blog with the intent of finding errors, be it misspellings, grammatical errors, incorrect sentence structure, improper use of punctuation marks like using comma instead of a full stop and vice versa, using exclamation mark instead of a full stop and so on.
- If you are not sure about how to get your blog proofread, you can ask for help from someone who has wonderful writing skills or someone who is a blogger or a content writer. Alternatively, you can also use tools like Grammarly.
- Additionally, you should pay special attention on the tone of your blog. While reading what you have written, notice how it will sound to the readers. Is to too arrogant? Is the content negative? Will my content hurt people’s sentiments? You need to ask these questions while rereading your content.
- You may not want to sound like someone who is too aggressive or negative. Keep the tone friendly. If you think that the content gives a sense of bitterness, you may try my method. As I talked about (rather, wrote about :D) in step 1, the pre-planning phase, I visualize how I will talk about the topic with a friend. I try to fill my blog with humor, a lot of “you” and pun, sometimes!
- I write as if I am actually talking to the person reading my blogs. You can try this technique! It works like magic!
- Now that your eyes are wide open and you have a cheeky smile on your face, I want to talk about the 5th tip that I have for you!
- When you write your blog, on WordPress, Wix, Blogger or any other platform, divide your content in points. Divide your content by using bullet points which will give better readability to your blog and the information can be easily consumed by the readers.
- The mistakes beginners make, I made them too, is that they stuff everything in one large paragraph. As a reader, if I come across such a blog, I automatically look for the close tab button. Readers feel burdened, no matter how interesting your blog is.
- Hence, KISS! Keep It Simple, Silly! or Keep It Short and Simple! This is what KISS stands for! Hey… What did you think I will write about, huh?
- Another important thing is to use simple language while you write. People do not want to know how large your vocabulary is, or what technical terms you know. Write in basic English or any language for that matter. Use simple words which everyone can understand. Try not to sound like a robot or a boring professor. (I am sorry if any professor is reading!)
- The aim of writing a blog should to help people, not to perplex or puzzle them more.
(6) Use Visuals
- “A picture is worth a thousand words!” Yes, that’s right! Do you know that the attention span of people is gradually decreasing? And do you know, not everyone who starts to read your blog will finish reading it?
- Visuals like images, videos, infographics, graphs, charts, etc. help people to understand content better. For example, if I write a 10,000-word blog about weight loss, not many will understand it but I use a video or an image, people will be able to absorb it quickly and better.
- Generally, I place an image or a video below headings. You may do the same, just do not stuff images everywhere. Also, if you are using images or videos from another source, please acknowledge them. Below every image, write “Source:” and post their link. For example, if I take an image from abc.com, I will write, Source: abc.com
- Additionally, the image you use should be clean and minimal. Do not use bright and contrasting colors. Avoid images which irritate your eyes.
- Other type of visuals you can use in your blogs are charts, graphs and infographics. If you write about something which involves studies and facts, you can use charts (bar chart, line chart pie chart). For example, if you talk about the number of bloggers by age, you can use a pie chart to represent a split of bloggers by age.
(7) Use a Relevant Headline
- Now, let’s talk about the most important factor of blogs – the Headline! The first thing that the readers see is the headline of your blog. The quality of your headline will determine how many people will open and read the post.
- Your blog’s headline will affect the click-through rate, aka, CTR, i.e., the number of times your blog was clicked and opened with respect to the number of times it appeared. For example, if your blog was opened 3 times and it appeared 50 times, then it’s CTR will be 3 / 50 = 6%
- Keep in mind that your headline will be the first element that people notice, hence, keep it as catchy as possible.
- Another important point I would like to mention is that the headline should summarize the content. For example, the headline of this blog is “9 Secrets Beginners Ought to Know About Writing Blogs“. The blog’s content outlines the 9 points that beginners should know about writing blogs, hence, this headline is relevant.
- If the headline was “9 Secrets of Losing Weight” (if I use weight loss again, I think I will be dead :P) and if the content was about blogging, the headline would not be relevant. Use headlines which are relevant to your blog and deliver what your headline says.
- If you do not know how to write catchy headlines, you can refer to the following resources:
(8) Update Content
- Let’s say you wrote about how to write blogs and mentioned 10 steps. After sometime, you come across a point which can help people and was not included in the blog. Immediately, edit the blog and include it as the 11th step.
- Aim to keep your content fresh. If you love to write about technology, you’d know it is constantly evolving. With every new release, you will have to update your content.
- When you update your content, you establish a loyal reader base and they stay in touch with the updates. People do not like to know about outdated stuff, hence, keep learning and evolving.
- Another factor which will establish your authority is to provide value. It is important, hence, I will talk about it in the next step.
(9) Provide Value
- As a content creator, aim to serve your audience. Write for the people! If you want to succeed as a blogger, you must aim to solve problems faced by people.
- For example, if you write about weight loss (OOPS!), list steps which can help people reach their goal. Do not answer the What?, i.e., What is weight loss? People do not want to know about the What?.
- Answer their How? List down practical steps that people can take and get results. In other words, when you write, write with a vision of changing people’s lives. Be as detailed as possible and list down every actionable step which will help people.
- Always aim to provide value. If you think your knowledge is limited, invest in your learning, educate yourself, gather as much information as possible and solve people’s problems.
- Pre-planning: Pre-plan your content before you start to write. Plan about the flow of the blog and prepare a blueprint, of sorts.
- Outlining: After creating a blueprint, note down the topic, the various headings, sub-headings and points which you will cover.
- Write the Blog: With the outline as reference, start writing the content and write everything you know about the topic. Do not worry about mistakes at this step.
- Proofreading: After you have finished writing, reread the content and find grammatical errors, misspellings, incorrect use of punctuation marks, etc. In this step we will look for mistakes and make changes. Ensure that the blog’s tone is friendly, similar to that of you talking to a friend.
- Use Visuals: Only plain text in your blogs will them dull and boring. Use images, videos, charts and infographics wherever you can to spice up your blog. Just do not stuff visuals anywhere.
- KISS: Keep your sentences short and use simple language. Do not make the blog difficult to understand. Divide your content into points so the readers can better absorb them.
- Use a Relevant Headline: The headline should summarize the blog and keep it as catchy as possible. The headline should be relevant to the content. For example, if the blog is about how to write blogs, the headline should be relevant to it. Do not use a headline such as “How to lose weight?” if your content is about blogging.
- Update Content: There may be a situation where you will be required to update the blog’s content. For example, if you write technology, you will have to update it every 2-3 months, as technology is emerging every now and then.
- Provide Value: When you start to write, write with the aim of helping people. Your blog should solve people’s problems and it should have an impact on their lives. Your goal should be to change people’s lives.