If you’re interested in learning how to write a good blog post then I’m afraid I don’t have good news for you…
Crafting a quality blog post can take a lot – a lot(!) – of time.
Let me show you.
Exhibit (a): this post of ours comparing three of the most popular “mega themes” for WordPress – Divi vs Avada vs X Theme took around 16.5 hours to complete.
As in, from blank screen, all the way to hitting the “publish” button, it took us 16.5 hours of work.
But that one is perhaps a bit extreme, due to its depth and the research that went into it.
That being said, you shouldn’t really expect to craft a quality blog post in less than 3-4 hours.
3-4 hours is the minimum to craft a quality #blog #post … here’s how
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How to write a good blog post
In the following sections, I’ll show you what the exact steps are. Here’s how to write a good blog post:
🥅 Step 1: Start with the goal in mind
Every blog post that you publish should have a specific purpose behind it – a goal that you want to further with the use of that post.
I know this might sound a bit “grand” perhaps, so let’s break things down:
First off, you need a content strategy when running a blog. You can’t just begin publishing posts left and right and hope that things will magically happen on their own.
In fact, compiling an actual written blog strategy doubles your chance of success (data says).
(Charts by Visualizer Lite.)
But what does that mean exactly, right?
You need to start with your main goal.
A goal for your blog is the answer to the question of “why do you blog?” – a crucial element when figuring out how to write a good blog post.
- Do you want to build a brand in your niche and make a name for yourself?
- Do you want to make money by referring people to products and earn commissions?
- Do you want to sell your own products?
- Do you want to let people know about the latest goings-on within your company, or some events happening nearby?
- Do you want people to visit your brick and mortar business?
- Do you want to generate leads which you can then take and follow up with?
- Or maybe there’s something entirely different that’s on your radar…
Whatever your goal might be, it should always be the underlying reason behind you publishing each individual blog post. Each time you’re working on a piece of content, think, “How is this helping me achieve X?”
Take a look at the following example; this is a post of ours comparing the most popular CDN services in the market. There were three main goals that we wanted to achieve:
- Continue building up our brand in the WordPress community by providing an in-depth resource that WordPress pros can benefit from.
- Grow our newsletter.
- Bring additional income through affiliate links.
Check it out, see what you think of that post.
🔑 Step 2: Pick the right keyword
Each post that you publish should tackle a specific main keyword or key-phrase.
Ideally, that keyword is something that people search for a lot on Google, yet there’s not many other posts or sites that compete to provide answers.
You can do keyword research with tools like Google Keyword Planner or KWFinder. I personally enjoy the latter since it comes back with a lot of additional details on each keyword and does a good job of suggesting actual questions that people might have on the topic. It also tells you how difficult it’s going to be to earn a good spot for that keyword.
Every post that you create should have its own focus keyword. Don’t duplicate your keywords. You shouldn’t have more than one post optimizing for one specific keyword.
🗞 Step 3: Come up with 5 (or more) alternative headlines
At this point, you have the main idea for your blog post mostly crafted. This means that you probably have the headline roughly figured out as well. However, you shouldn’t actually settle on a final headline too soon.
Headlines do matter. Like, they really – really(!) – matter. Various research pieces done over the years indicate that headlines account for as much as 80% of any given article’s success. While this may sound insane at first, it actually checks out when we look at some of the absolute leaders in the headline game … BuzzFeed and Upworthy.
Everyone’s favorite “I really need to procrastinate right now!” -websites have made it a point to work on perfecting each and every one of their headlines … to the point of absurd. Rest assured, when you see a headline like, “Which Justin Bieber Hairstyle Are You?” it’s no coincidence.
For example, it’s been reported that the editors at Upworthy propose up to 25 alternative headlines for every piece of content. That list is then narrowed down to a few final versions which are tested against each other.
Why do they do this? What do they know about how to write a good blog post that we don’t?
Well, again, they do it because headlines matter.
If your prospective visitor doesn’t get excited upon seeing your headline, they won’t ever see the rest of your post, no matter how awesome it might be.
If your headline sucks, no one will see the rest of your awesome #blog #post
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So spend some quality time trying to come up with better headlines.
This is quite simple, actually: When you’re getting ready to work on your next blog post, don’t put your
pen keyboard down until you have five alternative versions of your working headline.
Then, once you’re done working on the post – once you go through the rest of the steps described below – come back to your headline ideas again and write another round of five new ones – leaving you with 10 alternative headlines in total.
Here’s an example from this blog. Check out this post. These were the headlines considered:
- Here Are 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Use WordPress
- 10 Actually Good Reasons Why You Should Never Use WordPress
- 10 Totally Legitimate Reasons Why You Should Never Use WordPress
- Why You Should Never Use WordPress: These 10 Reasons Actually Make Sense
- Don’t Use WordPress! Here Are 10 Reasons Why
Need some help coming up with headlines? Try these tools:
1. They help you clarify your idea for the post. This is where you get to decide what you’re going to write specifically.
2. They give your post a better structure. It’s easier to see how things fit together when you’re looking at all subheads at once. You’ll often end up realigning them for more clarity.
3. They keep you in check and make sure that your post doesn’t get too lengthy and that you don’t go off topic.
An outline doesn’t need to be fancy. Even a simple list is good enough. Let me give you an example. Here’s a post of ours: MaxCDN vs CloudFlare vs Amazon CloudFront vs Akamai Edge vs Fastly
This is the original outline:
- Explain what a CDN is.
- Server locations.
- Pricing and features available (plus all the unique features that each CDN might have).
- Performance compared.
- The technical setup – what each CDN actually does under the hood.
- WordPress integration.
- Market popularity.
- Conclusion + ultimate comparison table.
👨🔬 Step 5: Do your research
Putting in the groundwork and doing sufficient research before (and throughout) writing a blog post is probably the most overlooked part of the process.
We often trick ourselves into thinking that “I know this stuff! I can write from my head.”
Well, the harsh truth is that there are very few bloggers out there who are read because people actually care about their opinions. Most people care about rather what the content that the blogger provides can do for them.
Or to put it more bluntly: people don’t care about what you think, they care about what’s in it for them.
This basically comes down to one thing – trust.
Before you build sufficient trust, people have no reason to believe anything you say.
#blogging advice: readers don’t care what you think, they care what’s in it for them
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Think of it this way, if Christopher Nolan decided to publish a post titled, “Everything I know about filmmaking in 10 simple points” but did so under the name of Joe Doe, no one would care. If he signed his own name under the same post, well, that would probably be trending for like ever!
What I’m trying to say is that you can’t afford to write content based purely on your own thoughts and opinions when you’re just starting out. So this is where hard data comes into the picture.
By researching your topic beforehand and referencing various data points throughout, you’re effectively convincing your reader that they should pay attention to what you’re saying because the information has its grounds somewhere. This is how trust is built and, eventually, how to write a good blog post.
Here’s what you can do specifically:
All of the above proves to your reader that you know what you’re talking about.
Here’s an example from this blog – a post on how to optimize your ThemeForest landing page. We did a couple of things in that post:
- we did our own research and analysis,
- we reached out to experts and asked for their opinions,
- we found a lot of examples to help us make a better case.
✍ Step 6: “Write → Edit → Proofread”
Although this will lengthen the process of creating a blog post considerably, it will also make the final effect soooo much better. Here’s the thing:
How to write a good blog post? Make it a three-step process:
- Write on day one.
- Edit on day two.
- Proofread on day three.
Sounds like overdoing it, but hear me out:
First, when you write, you should write only, with no self-correction on the fly. This self-correcting is very tempting. We often feel that fixing our sentences/paragraphs as we write them makes sense. It seems natural, it’s what we did when writing papers for school. But this is far from effective!
The problem with editing as you write is that it stops the flow of ideas, disrupts your creative thinking and makes storytelling harder.
The goal when creating the first draft is to get as many words as possible out, and not to worry about how it all reads. Just write down everything that you can think of that relates to the topic at hand. Don’t correct yourself on any of it.
Then, once you have the whole draft written, this is when editing can take place. But let things sit. Come back the next day and start working on your draft then, editing it and making it better, tighter.
Here are some additional tips on how to do this right.
Lastly, there’s proofreading – getting all the typos out of the way. This is, again, something that’s worth doing after another day of idle time. This break simply allows you to bring some fresh eyes to it, which, in result, lets you notice some new issues.
Personally, the proofreading phase is also where I take care of other looks-related tasks, such as adding images to my post, tuning up the layout (example below), and finally evaluating if what I have in my palm is likely to help me achieve the goal that I set before I ever got started on the post. If not, back to editing.
Example. Here’s what I mean by a custom-layout post. Notice the non-standard columns and image alignment.
🔁 Step 7: Repeat
All that’s left now is to keep coming back and going through the process over and over again with each consecutive blog post of yours.
There might be nothing sexy about this process, sorry … there’s really no silver bullet solution when it comes to publishing reliable, quality blog posts. It all comes down to regular effort and being conscious of why you want to write a certain blog post and what you can expect from it.
💡 PRO TIP: Create an editorial calendar
To keep your efforts more consistent, it’s a good idea to create an editorial calendar. In its simplest form, this can be very basic. Even blocking off time in Google Calendar is good enough. For more impact, you can experiment with tools like Trello (our favorite) or CoSchedule. Read more about the concept here. And let’s not forget that WordPress allows you to simply schedule posts for later publication.
Overall, your task when crafting any blog post is to share information that nobody else shares, or information that people would happily pay for, yet you are giving to them for free.
For example, our first hit on this blog was a post titled How to Simplify the WP-Admin to Get It Client-Friendly. At the time, there were virtually no posts on the topic and few people knew this was possible, yet, there were still users looking this up on Google anyway. We noticed this and wrote the post.
This about sums up the topic of how to write a good blog post and also Chapter 8 of our upcoming guide on how to build, grow and promote a blog. Here are all the important steps again, in checklist form – should make things easier to follow as you’re going through the motions:
- 🥅 Step 1: Start with the goal in mind
- 🔑 Step 2: Pick the right keyword
- 🗞 Step 3: Come up with 5 (or more) alternative headlines
- 📁 Step 4: Prepare the outline
- 👨🔬 Step 5: Do your research
- ✍ Step 6: Write → Edit → Proofread
- 🔁 Step 7: Repeat
So what’s your take on how to write a good blog post?
Also, is there anything in particular that you’d like to achieve with your blog by the end of the year?
Share in the comments.
How to #write a good #blog #post: step by step … research, writing, editing, publication
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