So you want to know how to write. Pen, meet paper. Just kidding… This is a mighty big topic, let me tell you! Since we’re almost to the half way point of my “Be A Blogger” series, today let’s focus on how to write an interesting, readable and successful blog post that will keep your audience coming back for more.

How to Write
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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve clicked onto someone’s website and been visually accosted by bad photos, a paragraph of text the length of a bible or content as random and incoherent as this. Without the right tools, even if you have great content you may scare people away before they read beyond the first couple of lines. So how do you know if your blog posts are providing your readers with a joyful and valuable experience or if they’re turning people off faster than a clap-on-clap-off-clapper?

Below are my top 5 tips to writing great blog posts that are guaranteed to lead you to successful blogging experiences both for you and your readers.

Be there for them.

The number one rule in knowing how to write, create, sell, etc… is know your audience. Who are you talking to and why do they care about what you have to say? By examining who comes to your website, what kind of brand or company you are, or who your typical client is, you will be able to assess what they need and then you can provide them with the solution. The BEST way to guarantee return traffic (and genuine connections) is to provide something of value (i.e. solutions) to your reader’s questions and problems. What interests them? What will drive them to come back to your website before someone elses?  If you aren’t sure, do a bit of industry research to figure it out. Google is right there. Use it. You can also think about installing Google Analytics on your website or hiring a professional to analyze that data for you. Once you know who might be interested in what you have to offer, you can start writing on the subjects that would be of value to them.

How to Write
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Focus.

Seriously. I’m all for sharing tid-bits and side-notes – I do it all the time. But for each post, pick one general topic (i.e. How to Write Great Shit) and stick to it. If your entire post is about fluffy squirrels and then you throw in a random blurb or photo of wax candles somewhere in the post, I’m going to be left going, WTF? And I’m unlikely to take you seriously. One topic per post, please. If you need to write about wax candles, write a second post. But please, for the love of god, only publish one post per day. Start with a great headline and work from there.

Breaking up is hard to do.

Do it anyway. Knowing how to write means knowing when to take a break. Breathe. Make the reading experience easy on your audience. Bullet points, new paragraphs, headlines and images are all ways to make your post more accessible. If you ramble on without stop gaps, it feels like a chore to get through your blog post – even if it’s only 300 words.
Side note: Just like content breaks are important in posts, so is the quality of your images. Use the best ones you can, don’t steal, always give credit where credit is due (see the “source” under most of my pictures?), and try to center them in your posts. That last one is just a personal preference but they look nicer centered, so does your text if you justify it’s alignment.

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Be human.

It shouldn’t be difficult – you are one! By this, I mean stop writing like you’re the be all and end all of all things in your industry. Have flaws. Tell personal stories. Keep it relevant to your main topic, but extend the connectivity to your audience by giving them something to relate to. This doesn’t mean you get free reign to forgo spell-check (always spell check! And edit!) – it just means you can be professional and authoritative whilst being friendly and approachable. And when you do well or your blog gets mentioned somewhere, feel good about that. Own it. Take pride in it. You’ve worked hard. Share your successes as well as your failures. Learning how to write this way encourages in post SEO without SEOing and gives people something to connect with.

Be needy.

Requesting engagement at the end of your blog posts is a great way to encourage commenting. You’ll see I very rarely finish a blog post without posing a question (or 5) to my readers based on what we’ve just discussed. Give them a reason to read your blog by writing concise, friendly, well formatted posts on subjects they’re interested in and then give them a reason to comment (i.e. ask them to). Ask for their advice, anecdotes, opinions, etc… And the same goes for social media. Encourage engagement. They’ll respond. Let’s test this theory….(please don’t make me a liar ;))…

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What do you think makes a great blog post? What posts are the most memorable for you? What’s your most positive blog post experience? Least positive? Do you agree with my tips? Disagree? Let’s talk!

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19 Comments on Be A Blogger Series (4 of 10): How to Write Great Shit (& Own It!)

  1. suzy supnet
    September 3, 2013 at 9:01 pm (4 years ago)

    I am loving this series. Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      September 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Suzy!! It’s a pleasure having you stop by!

  2. Cari Kissel
    September 4, 2013 at 3:12 am (4 years ago)

    This is an excellent post. You showed by your example how to make a post easy to read, & you encouraged engagement. I am just starting out with my blog, & am still learning as I go, so these tips which you posted are very helpful. Thank you!!

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      September 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks Cari!! Good luck to you in your ventures! Please let me know if I can offer any other advice or help with your blog. Very exciting!

  3. Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts
    September 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm (4 years ago)

    I commented! Seriously, I’m too wiped to take this in (and, sadly, too wiped to get off the couch and put away the computer) but I wanted you know know that I read and enjoyed this post.
    Thanks, Kristy!

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      September 6, 2013 at 1:46 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you darling 🙂 Honestly – you comment so whole heartedly and so thoughtfully all the time, you deserve a night off 😉

  4. beyond the peel
    September 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm (4 years ago)

    I think it’s the person behind the blog. When someone’s true personality shines through (a voice that’s authentic to the person writing). But I like to feel something. Either laughter, sadness, memories brought to surface or that I’m simply sharing my morning coffee with someone I think I could be friends with while I read their thoughts.

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      September 12, 2013 at 8:47 am (4 years ago)

      Absolutely France. If the person behind the blog is interesting to read (voice) and can drum up some kind of emotion from me, I’m hooked for sure.

      It’s posts like that which make me feel connected to the people I meet blogging. In fact, some of my best friendships have evolved that way.

  5. lindsey @ NW Backyard Veggies
    September 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm (4 years ago)

    I totally agree with all of this and YES, I took the time to watch the badgers video because dammit – I’m between clients and it seemed like a great idea.
    I concur that too much rambling, nonsensical stuff is a turn off, but you know what turns me off MORE? Grammatical Errors. I capitalize both words for emphasis.
    If people are going to blog, pleasepleaseprettyplease learn how to write and manipulate the English language. Use punctuation. Don’t be afraid of dashes and ellipses. And spell check that mother.
    Because good use of language is just about the nicest and most polite thing we can do for our online audiences.
    Did you cover this in a previous post? I think you did. So I’m reiterating. 🙂

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      September 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm (4 years ago)

      hahahaha – badgers are always a great idea 😉

      I agree re grammatical errors. It’s polite to type properly and if you can use a semi-colon correctly?? I’m in LOVE!

      I’ll be honest – I have a terrible habit of not capitalizing things. like this. see? not because i’m lazy but because kaitlyn @ isavirtue has rubbed off on me. her distaste for capitals has had a disastrous effect on my typing skills. But consider that a project I’m working on 😉

      p.s. I haven’t covered this in our discussions as of yet; great point!

  6. Steph
    February 18, 2014 at 9:24 am (3 years ago)

    Your series is fantastic to read. Thank you!! Randomly opened up an article this morning on why to start a blog and several links led me to you:-) Very pleased that it did. Seriously considering starting a blog on the side. I’ve been looking for another hobby and this might be it.

    • kristygardner@gmail.com
      February 21, 2014 at 9:22 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Steph! Thank YOU so much for taking the time to comment! Blogging can be a very rewarding hobby or business – the contacts, the experiences and the knowledge are unending 🙂 Good luck if you start one up and feel free to shoot me an email if you wanna talk shop!

  7. Paul
    August 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm (3 years ago)

    Good day,

    I was on the hunt for a blogging calendar and came across this series. Absolutely love the insight. I just started blogging back in Feb/March as just a kind of a online journal and have decided to put real effort into it. Thank you for this series.

  8. Afton
    May 24, 2015 at 9:50 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you!
    I think just about everyone in blog world needs to read this post! (And probably the rest of them, too!) I’m starting in the middle here, way out of line, but I’m definitely going to read them all and learn some new tricks.
    Afton recently posted…10 Things I’m Loving Right Now – Home EditionMy Profile

  9. Candace
    July 21, 2015 at 9:46 am (2 years ago)

    Thank you for the clarity and the encouragement.