Principles of good blog writing
Remember the newspaper?
People would take them to their home and read at breakfast. Newspapers go out of business because their news cannot keep up with the 24/7 news cycle that prevails today.
Newspapers have their flaws, but one thing they do right is make sure their stories are easy to read. In fact, the first newspapers hit you with a headline that made you want to read more.
Blog writers need to do the same when writing a blog and they format their blog posts and choose their blog designs so that they can read easily. Long, narrow newspaper columns mean that your eye can easily jump from one end of a line to the beginning of the next without losing its position.
Writing and formatting a blog for the web is much more complicated than writing for print because how we read on a computer screen is different from the way we read in print and is even more challenging.
Below are some principles for writing a good blog
- Web writing is unique: it’s for humans and robots both
For web writing, unlike blog writing, it is different from what is taught to you in the school English classroom. Sure, you were asked to write for your audience. Your teacher never told you that your audience had robots. Walking, talking, not humanoid robots. I’m talking about web robots, usually just bots and more specifically web crawlers, which are computer programs that “crawl” the internet, collect data and create snapshots of the web. If you can find your blog or website on Google, Web Crawler means it is “read”. And these web crawlers are an important “audience”; Contributes to how well you write for how your blog ranks in search engines.
So if you want to bring more visitors to your website, keep this important thing in mind: You are writing for humans and robots.
2. Focus on the quality
The blog should never feel like it was written for web crawlers. It needs to read well, maintain interest, and be helpful. In other words, it needs to be written for humans.
In more recent years, Google and other search engines have been developing increasingly sophisticated software that weeds out and penalises those sorts of methods. Instead, Google is trying to encourage websites to create high quality content—write well, and you’ll be rewarded in search rankings. Your primary focus should still be on writing interesting, insightful, compelling content for real, flesh-and-blood people.
3. Write what you know
Content marketing is based on the idea that creates something worthwhile for a potential customer. Your blog is a way to share a bit of your expertise for free, which shows people that: a) you have expertise, and b) you’re a nice enough company to share it. So write blog on topics that you know about.
One of the great things about blogging is that you can get away with being specific. Your topics don’t have to be about the Unifying Theory of Everything. It’s acceptable, often preferable, to write a blog post about something “small” and highly specialised.
4. Let the content dictate the length
In a fast-paced world of tweets, we assume that people want short, snappy, easy-to-digest blogs. The content should dictate the length. Some topics can be done n’ dusted in just 200 words. Others need 2,000 words to do them justice. Good writing is disciplined writing. Start by writing the length you think the topic deserves. That way you’ll have a fat-free blog post that’s the right length for the topic.
5. Make it easy to scan
Even if you decide to write a story for your next blog post, remember: whatever the length, it needs to be formatted in a web-friendly way. Don’t waste too much time in your intro. Try to jump right into the topic as quickly as possible so that readers know what it’s about at a glance. While we’re on the topic of formatting, don’t forget to use images. Yes, it’s extra work and, if you’re buying stock images, extra expense. But it’s worth it. The fact is, we humans love pictures; they temper our interest and keep us reading (or at least scanning).
6. Put a lot of thought into the headline
Your headline might just be the most important part of your blog. It’s the first part of your blog that readers will see and is the thing that will most often draw them into reading—or drive them away. 80% of people read the headline, while just 20% read the rest. But do it right and you’ll be able to boost that number.
7. Focus on your keywords
If the prospect of writing for robots still sounds weird, it’s just a fancy way of saying that you need to engage in the art of search engine optimisation (SEO). This means crafting your blog posts in such a way that search engines, like Google or Yahoo!, put your website high up the rankings for relevant search queries. And since search engines are the ones that use web crawlers, this is where writing for the robots comes in.
8. Promote your blog on social media
Finished? Once you’ve put in the hard yards writing a solid blog post, it’s time to get it out there! Social media is your ally here. Check out our guide to promoting your blog with social media.
Business blogging is a powerful way to bring more visitors to your website. Writing does take time and effort, but if you follow these eight principles above then you’re well on your way to crafting a blog that works for your audience—the humans and the robots.