Get easy, step-by-step instructions to create your blog from a professional writer.
Whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, organization director, or freelancer, one of the best ways to increase your audience is to write a blog. Blog formats, purposes, content, and components have changed since their inception, but one thing remains: blogs provide a lot of value. The best way to think about blogs is that they are essentially online articles. Sometimes, they are short and valuable. Sometimes, they are long and emotional. Sometimes, they have a lot of research while other times, they are littered with the author’s thoughts alone.
The most important aspect of a blog is knowing your audience and your purpose. Your audience will dictate every single aspect of what you write. Think about it. If you’re writing to a group of young entrepreneurs, your tone, your topic, your language, and more will all be tailored to that group. You’re not likely going to reference gathering around the radio to listen to Abbott and Costello with that audience. Your purpose will dictate certain components of your blog as well. What are you asking from the audience? Why should they read your blog? Why should they trust you?
As a writer and a writing teacher, I often see that people struggle to write their own blogs. If you’re struggling to write your own blog, check out these 10 steps to creating a blog for your business.
There are many ways to brainstorm topics, but I like to have a notebook (or my phone’s notebook) with me at all times in case inspiration strikes. Make lists of what topics you could write about. If you’re struggling to find topics to write about, think about questions people ask you about your business or about your life.
Considering who you’re writing to and why you’re writing to them, select a topic from your brainstorm list. Some topics may work better for certain seasons or times of the year, but always keep in mind who your audience is and where they are in their lives. That means that you need to research your audience a bit to know more about them to connect to them.
Outlining your ideas within a topic means getting short, rough details about smaller sections. Oftentimes, I’ll start outlining on my brainstorm list to determine what to select for that blog but also to go back and reference later. When you outline your ideas, you don’t have to have a formal outline or massive details—just get the details out.
Writing in sections is the easiest way for writers (even professionals). You can use your outline to write one section at a time. As you’re writing, you might find that you add more sections or details, but you might also have areas or sections that need to be deleted or entirely new blog topics. Consider also if you want to include research. Blogs hyperlink research rather than providing a reference page typically.
When you complete your sections, read through them to see if they make sense and flow well. Once your sections are together, look at the entire blog. Do you have an introduction? Does your introduction tell readers what to expect when reading? Do your sections have enough details? Do they flow well together? Are they in the best order? Do you have a conclusion? Does your conclusion have a call to action (CTA)? All of these questions will help you revise your blog.
Blogs that have images typically see more traffic than those who do not have images. Make sure you select images that relate to the blog and place and format them strategically. Avoid more than one picture per section. There are many sites that have free images that you can use; however, you still have to credit those authors. If you’re a photographer or know someone who is, be sure to include those credits on your images. Personally, I use Unsplash or Pixabay and only use 2-3 images per blog.
One of the best things you can do to increase readership and fluidity in your blog is to add dynamic components. People skim more than they read word-for-word. So give them pieces to skim. Each section should have a header. Make sure those headers are layered properly. H1 headers are typically titles or larger, main pieces (not your introduction). H2 headers are more often main points. H3 headers are points under those H2 settings. H4 headers should only be used if your blog is over 2,000 words. (Tip: Most blogs are not over 2,000 words). Bulleted lists are also an easy way to increase readership. I like to create my own bullets!
Here’s where I’ll step up on my soapbox for a moment. Editing comes in a variety of forms: line, copy, proofreading, etc. If you have the skills to step away from your blog and come back to it with fresh eyes and edit the sentence structure, how the paragraphs are put together, the subject-verb agreement, word choice, how the overall piece looks, and more—GREAT. But if you do not have those skills, hire someone who does. Grammarly, Hemingway, and such do not—DO NOT—provide the editing you need for a blog. As a professional writer and editor, I even have someone else look at my work. Someone else is more likely to catch small mistakes that your brain fills in automatically because you are the author. <<Exits soapbox.>>
You have to have a spot for your blog. Most websites have a blog option, but if you do not have a website, you have to consider where your blog will live. Once you have the house for your blog, you need to upload it and then format it! You can usually copy and paste, but there are formatting issues that you have to be aware of and adjust as needed. Many times, you need to add a cover image, title, and meta description. You need to add in SEO keywords and alt text for your images. I also recommend making sure your post is ADA compliant.
One step that people forget is to share their blog on social media and to monitor feedback on the blog site and on social media. You can add comments or reactions, but you need to check back regularly and respond. Avoid arguing with others. Try to keep your responses positive.
Writing blogs is not always an easy process, but it’s a process that increases your value and (often) your income. But you have to do it.
If you or your team aren’t equipped to write, edit, or upload a blog, consider hiring someone! My team and I are ready to help.