Let’s get back to basics and talk about what makes a good blog post.
Many bloggers sit down and write a bit of a stream of consciousness, then hit publish. They favour a kind of bloggy ramble about their day/life/interests/fave things. I think this is GOOD. That said, it’s always a great idea to hone our skills, (or hone our ramble in this case.) It’s good to think about the elements that make a post interesting, rewarding or easy to read and blog a bit more mindfully, I think. That’s not to say you should cut the bloggy rambles altogether, but if you’re trying to improve your blog or mix it up, it can be great to think about the ways you can do that.
Let’s get improving! Here’s 12 things to think about if you’re trying to write a great post.
1. Authentic voice – This is the much lauded foundation of all good blogs (although some ‘voices’ are in fact visual… some bloggers do their talking in images!) Write in your own voice (as you would to a friend) with your own conversational quirks and your own bright ideas.
2. Interesting Topics – Write about the things that are meaningful to you, or compelling to others. The more you care about an issue or topic, the easier it is to write something great.
3. Great Motivation – Think about the WHY! Why do you want to write this post? What are you hoping to achieve? Write to that outcome. Perhaps it’s just a check-in and hello to your readers? Maybe you want to weigh in on a particular issue or story? Perhaps you want to teach your readers something? Work out the WHY and make sure you deliver the outcome you’re after.
4. Excellent Clarity – Does your post match your motivation? Did you stay on topic? Does your post have an introduction, a middle and a conclusion? Are you paragraphs flowing into each other nicely? Try to write in full sentences (unless you are a poet!)
5. Spot-on Accuracy – Be sure to fact check, link to your sources and check your spelling too. Try to write in full sentences (unless you are a poet!)
6. Lovely Imagery – Great posts are indeed about great writing, but images are extremely important. Many readers will judge a blog by its cover and if your images are badly lit, out of focus, sized incorrectly or just plain fugly, many will click away without giving your blog a chance.
7. Succinct Storytelling – Try to edit your post before you hit that publish button. Shave it down to a readable length, remove ‘extra’ words that aren’t needed, trim sentences, shuffle paragraphs, work your magic until it’s super readable and says just what you want it to in as few words as possible.
8. Surprising Content – Mixing up the way you deliver your content is a great way to keep your readers excited about visiting you and to keep yourself on your toes. Play around with audio podcasts, video, blog linking memes and giveaways.
9. Community Focus – Don’t let your blog be constant naval gazing. Remember to focus the lens outwards and champion the work of others without expectation. Find ways to include your readers or community in the blogging work you do.
10. Intimacy – I wrote about this a little while ago and it still rings true for me. Write your blog for one person. Think about who your dream reader is and write from the heart, in your voice to them. It’s totally impossible to please every single reader, but if you’re writing to your dream reader, you’ll be 100% true to your blog and yourself.
11. Readability – Font size, font colour, background colour and browser compatibility all play into the reader experience. Make sure your blog is easy on the eye and a pleasure to read.
12. Usefulness – Some blog posts are short-lived in terms of their content (say a post about Julia Gillard’s leadership woes) and others have a longer life span (for instance ‘How to crochet a granny square’.) It’s worth thinking about this and writing accordingly if you’re measuring your success in terms of longevity.
I’m just getting started really. I think there are a ton of ways we can make our posts a true reflection of ourselves and a joy to read, too. How about you? What would you like to add to this list? What makes a good blog post?