Written by Kellye Parish, freelance writer and professional editor
It seems like everyone has a blog these days, and that assumption is not entirely wrong.
Here are some staggering blogging statistics reported by Growth Badger:
- Currently, there are more than 600 million blogs worldwide, with over 2 billion blog posts published each year.
- WordPress alone sees almost 78 million new blog posts published each month.
- “How to start a blog” is searched on Google 121,000 times each month.
So, it’s pretty clear that if you want anyone to read your blog, it needs to be one of the best ones in your niche.
Luckily, many of the blogs across the Internet are poorly written or inadequately optimized for search engines. Therefore, writers who make it a point to master those aspects of blogging are already leagues ahead in the game.
But how exactly do you write blogs that rank highly in search engines?
Here are some techniques you can use to help move your blog from amateur status to a well-respected source of information.
Brainstorm to Improve Your Blog Topics
While some people may insist that just putting the words into a blog can ultimately lead to success, this is a lazy way to approach the art of blogging that will damage your reputation early on. If you establish yourself as a writer who puts out lots of low-quality material, you won’t be seen as a blogger worth following.
The best way to write compelling content for your blog is not to go with the first ideas to spring to mind, but rather your second and third ideas. These ideas tend to be more original than your first thoughts and can lead to innovative topics that can bring your blog the attention it needs to get off the ground.
Here are some things to consider when brainstorming for blog topics:
- Look to your life experiences and hobbies. Your unique perspective on the world is your singular claim to fame, no matter what your walk of life is. You can blog about anything in an exciting way when it comes down to it. The art is to take a mundane topic and make it fresh again by writing about it as if you’re looking at it for the first time.
- Read some new material. It can be either fiction or nonfiction, but reading good writing can often inspire a writer to write more, including blogs. Learning about new topics through nonfiction books is also an excellent way to form the kind of cross-connections that lead to great blog topics.
- Check out some other blogs that are like yours. While you shouldn’t copy other blog topics directly, looking at other blogs that explore the same niche topics that your blog does can give you ideas on riffs or iterations of those topics for your blog. On the flip side of that, it can also show you which topics are overdone in a niche market, so you know which blog topics to avoid right out of the gate.
- Try stream-of-consciousness writing. When brainstorming for your blog, doing stream-of-consciousness writing or writing whatever comes to mind for a set amount of time can help you come up with writing topics that you might not have otherwise thought of. Doing this writing with a timer can pressure you to write even if you feel yourself becoming hesitant, often leading to original thoughts that can lead to compelling content.
- Consider what you know. One of the things that many readers seek blogs out for is to learn about things they don’t know, so one of the greatest sources of blog content that you have as a writer is the things you know well enough to teach someone else. What talents and experiences do you have that could potentially make for exciting reading? Learning these things about yourself can help you come up with better blog topics.
- Read some blogs about other topics. Sometimes it’s a good idea to go against the grain and start looking into some blogs that don’t have anything to do with the type of content that you’re trying to write. Not only can you learn something new by researching blogs like this, but you might also gain a fresh perspective that you can bring back to writing in your own field.
- Come up with regularly scheduled content types. Coming up with a series of related blog posts or a regular category of blog posts (such as movie reviews) can give you consistent content to put out that will keep readers checking back in. This is especially true for series content since wanting to know what comes next in the content series can help draw readers back after their first visit to your blog.
Brainstorm for blog content several times a week in your downtime when you’re relaxed, and your mind wanders. This can be one of the best times to mine your intellect since cross-connections between topics and areas of knowledge come freely when you’re calm. Keeping a journal at hand where you can jot down any blog ideas or notes whenever they come to you can go a long way toward keeping your thoughts organized.
Outline to Give Structure to Your Blog Posts
When you’re creating articles for blogging, learn how to outline before writing out the article itself. This makes generating copy much easier and more efficient; it also helps you keep on track while writing so your article doesn’t stray off-topic.
An excellent way to set up a blog article is to come up with the main blog topic, then break it down into 3-5 smaller subtopics. Then, you can break each subtopic down into smaller sections and organized so that the reader can transition smoothly from one part to the other without struggling to understand the text.
Make Topic Lists to Help You Plan Your Blog
This tip for improving your blogging technique goes along with brainstorming. Once you’ve come up with some useful blog topics for your blog, you should keep a running list of topics to choose from so that you always have something available to write. One of the worst things that a blogger can do is allow their blog to sit idle, as this causes it to drop in visibility on search engines and diminishes the likelihood of visitors.
Once you have a large number of topics available, group the topics and make categories of similar blog topics. This will allow you to see what kind of patterns lie in your upcoming blog content and give you ideas on how to set up blog post series and other forms of organization. These structures help make your blog more readable and engaging.
Add Pictures to Bring Interest to Your Blog
Even if you aren’t a photographer by nature, having bright, vivid pictures as part of your blog is a surefire way to generate interest and help break up the text, helping the reader’s eye to follow the blog post down the page. Learning to take photographs is a fantastic (and free) way to come up with plenty of original stock photos since most smartphones have a decent camera.
If you need specific images for your blog that you can’t take yourself, you always have the option of seeking out stock photos online. The license for these photos can usually be found either for a small fee or sometimes for no cost, depending on the stock photo website you use.
If you have both artistic and writing skills, a blog can be a perfect place to showcase any drawings or comics, even if they are just works-in-progress or character studies. Having examples of your work available for viewing is essential for success as a creative. If you have multiple talents in creative fields, try to incorporate them into your blog as much as you can for maximum creative exposure.
Learn SEO and Web Design to Make Your Blog Visible
Bloggers who want to gain a massive following for their blogs will need to learn how search engine optimization (SEO) and other related web theory works, especially as it pertains to social media marketing. The more common your blog content is, the more competition you’re likely to have for the top results of the most well-respected search engines around, such as Google and Firefox.
Learning basic web design can:
- Teach you how web analytics work and how they pertain to your blog growth
- Improve your blog’s design on an aesthetic level
- Help you incorporate changes that refine your blog’s look and purpose
Without basic web design skills, you will have to outsource these tasks to a virtual assistant or other web design expert, so to save money, a blogger should learn these skills themselves.
Share Personal Experiences for Compelling Blog Posts
While it’s always a good idea to write informative blog posts, you should also incorporate personal anecdotes and other experiences to humanize your blog and make your posts more relatable to your readers. However, these anecdotes must pertain directly to the blog topic that the writer is trying to address to make the most impact.
Here are a few ways that you can incorporate your personal experiences in your blog posts:
- Tell a story from your childhood.
- Explain why you love a hobby or interest.
- Get on your soapbox about a public issue that has personal significance to you.
Your personal experiences make you uniquely you, so they’re the perfect wellspring for inspired writing. Incorporating yourself into your blog posts gives them a special touch and makes the readers empathize with you as a person.
Write Better Headlines to Keep Blog Readers Entertained
When it comes to blog writing, it’s important to make sure that headlines are snappy, informative, and compelling. You want the reader to want to read more about the content the headline is calling out.
When readers visit a website, they will skim the headlines and subheadings before actually reading the content, so making sure these headlines are interesting can keep them from hitting the back button.
Learn Readable Formatting to Make Your Blog More Accessible
The quality of the writing in your blog is one of the things that will keep readers interested and coming back, but the thing that gets readers involved, to begin with, is readability. If your reader hits your blog post and encounters a giant wall of text, they’re unlikely to keep reading.
Here are some ways you can make your formatting more readable in a blog post:
- Be sure to use plenty of subheadings. Subheadings help organize the blog post’s main topic into smaller concepts, making it easier for the reader to transition smoothly from one line of thought to another.
- Make sure that paragraphs in the blog do not exceed 4-5 sentences. Any paragraph longer than five sentences makes the blog appear overly dense and will likely be glossed over by readers if they aren’t already interested in the content of the writing itself.
- Be sure to bold headings and important information. Bolding information (either a phrase or a sentence) that you want the reader to pay the most attention to is the best way to draw their eye to that part of the blog.
- Use bullet points and tables. If you’re trying to organize information to be readable, it’s good to incorporate as many bulleted lists and tables as possible. This formatting makes it easier for readers to skim and absorb the information quickly without getting lost in a sea of text paragraphs.
If your blog isn’t readable, it doesn’t matter how good the content is—people will not read it. That’s why making sure the formatting in your blog is easy to read and accessible plays a significant part in getting people to read and follow it consistently.
Cross-Link to Other Articles to Add Interest to Your Blog Post
Even though it might seem counter-intuitive to send your readers elsewhere through a cross-link, linking your readers to other interesting articles (and using product links) can help establish your blog as a useful source of information.
Hyperlinks are popular because they allow the reader to jump directly to a point of interest without having to back up into a web search engine and search for a secondary source of information.
Learning how to cross-link effectively can be financially worthwhile if you use your blogging to become an online affiliate. By incorporating affiliate links into your blog, you can use resulting click-throughs to earn a passive income.
Learn How to Plan for the Long-Term for Blogging Success
The primary reason that most blogs fail is that their writers lose interest and give up on them. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to plan your blog well in advance so that you never find yourself at a loss for words.
Here are some ways that you can plan your blog for the long-term:
- Brainstorm regularly for new content. Brainstorming should be done as part of a weekly routine within your blogging schedule to generate unique content and focus on improving your blog writing. Without constantly generating new topics, your blog will quickly run dry.
- Write a few articles in advance. Write a few articles ahead of schedule and put them aside, just in case you hit a brick wall when writing and can’t write a new article in time to keep your established blogging schedule. This can remove a lot of the pressure for you to be able to produce new writing on command. Remember to replace your collection of backup articles occasionally, or you’ll eventually run out of emergency content.
- Plan your blogging content a few weeks in advance. Coming up with a blogging schedule and knowing the topics you’ll be writing about next can prevent you from stalling on your blog’s progress even during weeks that you don’t feel like writing. Sometimes it is motivation enough just to have a direction to work in to get the job done.
Blogging may seem easy when just getting started, but it’s much more challenging to stay genuinely interested enough to keep blogging. It requires discipline (and a great planner) to see a blog through for months – and years – on end.
Improving Your Blogging Technique Can Increase Your Audience
The process of becoming a better blog writer can take months or even years to accomplish, but putting forth the effort to become better at blogging—not just the writing aspect of it, but all of the tasks within the blogging process—can eventually lead to a loyal following. All it takes is some planning, work, and patience to make it show up in the clicks.
Tell us what you’ve learned from this blog in the comments below!
Meet the Author: Kellye Parish
Author Bio: My name is Kellye Parish; I’m a thirty-five year-old fiction writer, professional editor, and freelance magazine writer of nonfiction and investigative journalism. I’m a news junkie with a love for horror movies, civil rights, zombies, spaceships, and international conflict theory. I’m always working on short stories, but I’m also at work on my first book, a dystopian novel about post-WWIII California called We are the Weapon. I’ve been published most recently in The Arab Tribune, Aquarium Fish International, and Tales of the Zombie War.
You can read more of Kellye’s writing at Salt Over Shoulder.