We’re still in the early days of blogging. It’s not clear just yet what exactly makes a blog successful — we have some ideas, and we know some blogs succeed and others fail, but there just isn’t a set of hard and fast rules about writing blog posts. Lots of new bloggers struggle with the question of how to write better blog posts, how to attract more readers, or how to promote community. Luckily, there are seven simple ways to write better blog posts right away.
1. Find Your Niche
If you are planning to blog about life in New York City, understand ahead of time that no one’s really going to pay attention. The world is saturated with blogs, and while you may have a unique or engaging writing style and your stories about NYC may be completely mind blowing, people just aren’t drawn to blogs on such general subjects.
You need to look for a way to create a market and then corner it — what is it about your experience in New York that makes your voice worth listening to? A blog about the best out-of-the-way restaurants or your experience in graduate school at NYU is infinitely more interesting than a generic “NYC blog.”
The idea here is to blog in such a way that what you’re writing may be of use to someone else on the Internet. Make your blog about NYC interesting to people about to move there, or students applying to your graduate program. After all, creating a community is a huge part of the blogging experience.
2. Have a Goal
Your blog should have a purpose. You don’t need to be blogging to raise money for a political cause or blogging so you can sell your handmade trinkets — but there should be a purpose to your blogging. Bigger than that, each post on your blog should have its own goal.
Are you attempting to draw more readers in? Then link and talk about other bloggers. Ask questions of your audience. Post a poll — anything to get people involved. Or maybe your goal is just to add some content to your blog — add away. The point is, each blog post should be driven by something other than “Here I am writing on my blog.” Writing with a goal in mind will almost always produce better writing.
3. Write a Snappy Title
Blog post titles do count for something. Some say that a blog post’s title can make or break the blog. Target your blog post title to your blog’s goal — if you’re worried about your blog’s search traffic, you should use a title that can draw search engines, something simple and short.
Some people prefer to write titles to be funny or to draw people in with an outrageous phrase — if that’s the case, be creative. Sometimes people really do see a cool blog post title and click through to read what you have to say.
4. Use Appropriate Blog Style
Surely you’re already using proper grammar and spelling in your blog posts — now you need to think about the style of the blog itself.
Your blog can have whatever tone you want, from casual to formal. Your blog’s subject and the goal of the blog will influence this — a blog about the medical field may be fairly formal, while a conversational blog about being a Red Sox fan is likely to be more conversational. In general, blogging is far more conversational than journalism, but you don’t have to follow the trend.
Yes, vocabulary matters. Too many bloggers thumb their thesauruses to appear professional or intelligent, but in general, your blog’s style is best when it is conversational and informal.
5. Link It Up
Adding relevant links to other blogs is the best way to join the community of bloggers. When you link to another blogger’s post, and maybe spend the time to show the original blogger your post, you’re creating a bond between yourself and another blogger. These kinds of associations are often lucrative in terms of attracting readers to your blog, and if nothing else, it is good behavior in the blog world.
But links don’t have to be external — if you write pretty consistently on a certain topic, you may find it useful to link to your own pasts posts on the subject in the body of the blog. This will get readers peeking around the rest of your blog, and allows people to follow the entirety of an ongoing story on your blog. That’s called continuity.
6. Add Visuals
When you add images and other media to your blog, you are adding color to your page. Your blog will be easier to read with the addition of a graphic, and for some unknown reason, blog posts with visuals tend to have more views. This isn’t to say that a text-only blog would never work, but it is easier to excite your audience and keep them reading if you keep their eyes engaged with images.
Visuals don’t have to mean just images — try highlightiing important sections of your blog post to draw the reader’s eyes to something important. Anything you can add visually will make your blog post that much more readable.
7. Start All Over Again
Once you’ve gone through all these steps and improved your blog, you need to start the process all over again. Never stop improving your blog or your blog writing style.
Look back at your new blog posts — do you see any bad writing? Poorly worded phrases? Opportunities for links that you missed? Re-evaluating your blog changes is a huge part of writing good blog posts. There are lots of things to troubleshoot. Just don’t leave it be. Try something. Try something with each new post. Change one element at a time and see if things improve. You have to constantly change your game plan to keep people interested in what you have to say.
We all want to write better blog posts. You may be well-versed in the art of literary or journalistic writing, but can’t draw blog readers if your life depended on it. Making the small changes above should increase your blog traffic dramatically.