So you started your first blog, and need some advice on how to write your first blog post? Great, you are at the right place! Read below to find 5+ tips to help you create quality content for your blog.
How to Start Your First Blog Post?
A common question among bloggers is how to start their first blog post. No, you don’t need to start it with “Hello, this is my first blog post”. In fact, the general advice is to avoid this line and instead write it as if you are already blogging for years. In this way, you will look more professional and people coming to your site for the first time are more likely to trust you as you will not look inexperienced.
Create Skimmable Content
Writing blog posts is a bit different than writing a piece for the traditional media (e.g. a newspaper) or for academic purposes. Here, the content should be split into small sections and paragraphs and use more active voice than passive voice. Most blogs are characterised by a friendly tone and skimmable content.
What is skimmable content?
A skimmable piece of content allows people to easily understand the content of a post by just scanning it.
As harsh as it sounds, most people who visit blogs don’t read a post from beginning to end. Instead, they skim it by reading the headings and subheadings to find the sections that interest them the most. This means that if your headings don’t give an accurate idea of what they contain, your visitors will not spend time to read the actual body of your post to see if they can find what they are looking for, and may leave. So, it is important to create content that suits this style of reading.
Luckily, there are many tools that can show you if you are in the right direction. Many SEO plugins give you a readability score for each of your blog posts. They incorporate metrics, like the language you are using, the length of your paragraphs and the amount of passive voice you have. However, keep in mind that these are just guidelines, and it is ok to sometimes divert slightly.
How long should your posts be?
Another thing to keep in mind is length. Research shows that longer posts tend to perform better in search results rankings, rather than shorter posts. However, as long as your posts are at least a few hundred words long (but always more than 300), the exact length of your post will depend on what you are writing.
One way that you can determine the length of your posts is to know what your readers want. Look back at the personas you created earlier and see what your future readers like. If someone is very busy, then maybe they find shorter posts more attractive, but if someone is trying to learn something, then they may prefer longer posts.
There are more techniques to help you find the ideal length of a post using what content already exists, but for the moment it is more important to create as much quality content as possible instead of spending time comparing yourself to others. You may want to delve into this topic once you become more familiar with content creation.
Write SEO optimised content
Most bloggers want their content to appear on Google so that they attract more readers. That’s why you should have already created your Google Search Console account, to allow time for Google to pick up your site and index it. However, this doesn’t mean that your content will appear on the first page of the search results if someone searches using a relevant term.
You may write the best blog post out there, and yet Google will not show it in any of the top results. Luckily there are some workarounds regarding that, which although don’t guarantee that what you write will show up first, but at least increase the chances that it will happen.
These practices are referred to as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and they help you write content that Search Engines will be able to easily pick up. SEO is a big and at points complex topic, so I suggest you take some time to learn more about it. There are a lot of free and paid resources out there that can help you understand everything about SEO.
How to get started with SEO?
In general, the easiest way to get started with SEO without spending tons of time going through the endless material that exists is to follow the suggestions that your SEO plugin gives. These are usually centred around your targeted keyword, i.e. the search term that you want your content to appear under. For example, if you are writing about the top fitness gear that someone should have, then your keyword may be top fitness gear. The plugin will then guide you to include that keyword in specific locations within your blog post (e.g. in the title, headings and text) to help search engines identify the topic of your posts easier.
Again, remember that all these are just guidelines and not rules written in stone. There are always exceptions and different ways to interpret them. And even for some specific types of content, like storytelling, it will be more difficult to get those green signals.
Overall, there are many factors that affect what Google and other search engines show in their search results, so for the moment, you should mostly worry about getting quality content out there. You can always come back and fix SEO if necessary.
Engage your readers
In every blog post you write, you should always include some photos and other visual media. This can help you grab your readers’ interest, keep them engaged and at the same time boost your search engine rankings.
Include images and videos
If you are worried about having good images, then I can reassure you that you don’t need to be a photographer to include photos in your posts. You can always use some photos that have a Creative Commons (CC) license or purchase stock photos. Keep in mind, that you can’t just use any image from Google results, as even though they appear for everyone to see, it doesn’t mean that you can use them free of charge (even if you reference them).
Videos are also great to include in your posts. If part of your social media strategy is to create videos on Youtube, then after publishing them there, come back and embed them in your blog posts. (It’s better to do it this way, rather than uploading the video directly to your site).
Now if you want to embed a video or something else you saw on social media that was not created by you, then you should ask for permission first. Some people may decline or even ask for a payment, but since embedding a post shows the credentials of the original owner, many creators are happy to allow you to do this for free.
Include other relevant graphics
Graphics are also very common in posts, for example including quotes, infographics or prompting a reader to save a post to Pinterest. Again, don’t worry if you are not a designer, as there are many free tools to help you create them.
Canva is one of the most popular tools with many templates that you can use to get started. In addition, many people created courses to walk you step by step on what you need to do to create your blog post graphics.
Include a Call To Action
If you want to motivate user engagement after someone reads one of your posts, you should aim to include a Call To Action (CTA) towards the end of your blog post. This could be something simple, such as “share this on social media”, “subscribe to our newsletter” or “let me know what you think about it in the comments”. Remember to not overdo it and keep it simple to make it more likely for people to follow your prompt.
My last tip is to be as authentic as possible. Don’t try to mimic other people and try to find a unique way of writing your articles that distinguishes you from others.
Now for my call to action: I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know in the comments if there are other things you would like to know about blogging and I can point you in the right direction.
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