Every time we drop a call for blog submissions in our Facebook group, we hear the same things: I don’t know how to write a blog! I’m not experienced enough in SEO! I can write about dragons, ghosts, murder, and romance, but don’t ask me to write a blog! Welcome to the basics of blog writing.
We get it; blogging is not for everyone. But I think blog writing is a little simpler than a lot of writers believe. If you can put words together (and being a writer, we know you can!), chances are you can write a blog. Here are some steps to get you started.
Step 1: Choose what you want to share
The first thing to consider when it comes to blog writing is the purpose. Why are you writing the blog? What is it you want to say? What do you want your readers to know?
Maybe you want to share your author journey step by step. Perhaps you are a writer who loves giving writing advice to other authors. A lot of writers make supplementary income on the writing and editing services they offer while crafting their novels on the side. Everyone has something to share; it’s just a matter of figuring it out.
If you’re still having trouble coming up with an idea, then let’s ask a different question: Why do you read blogs? Entertainment, education on a new skill, information on an event or product, general interest? Why do you seek out blogs? Why are you reading this one?!
There are so many reasons why people seek out articles on the internet. You just have to pick one. Something you know, something you want to share. Everything after that is just a formula.
Step 2: Determine your style
Now you have your idea—congrats! Let’s turn it into a blog. Before you type away in a frenzy, let’s consider your style of writing. Are you an outliner or a word vomiter? We have a bit of both in our group.
An outline blogger is an organized blogger, the one who will plan out everything. They like to have a working title, maybe even decide on their header and subheader titles before they write any of the meat. Let’s look at an outline example based on our Scrivener blog published last week:
Word Vomit Bloggers
A word vomit blogger is a little less formal; I’m a bit of both depending on what I’m working on. When it comes to narratives or inspirational stories, I tend to just write. I don’t worry about the headings. I don’t care about the structure. I free-write to my audience. I may go back and reformat with some headings. But maybe not, and that’s okay too.
One of our favorite word vomit bloggers is our founder, Allie Gravitt. When inspired, she drops a bunch of words on the page and says, “Here you go, Shell!” The words are always powerful and honest. They don’t need the bells and whistles of headers and keywords and fancy titles. Our members connect with the authentic and genuine message. Her pieces reach the people who are meant to read them.
Step 3: Use headers and bullets for a purpose
Headers can be super helpful in your blog. They not only help search engines recognize content to push to a reader, but they also help your reader navigate your article with ease.
Referring back to the outline above, you can see I used three levels of headers: Title (H1), H2, and H3. You don’t have to use this many, but Titles and H2 are the most important. I’m going to go into these a little more in another blog—stay tuned!
If you want to make a word vomit, inspirational rant into a blog that has headers, then you can! I do it all the time. Look for powerful statements and quotes throughout the blog that can stand on their own. Bold them up and make them a header. It will not only pack a punch but will also give you the header structure search engines love with more potential to get noticed.
Step 4: Choose your keywords
Keywords are annoying, I know. They are probably my least favorite part of blogging. However, they do serve a purpose when it comes to attracting readers to your website, especially if your goal is to sell something when they get there.
The purpose of keywords and keyphrases is to get your article noticed by search engines. These are the exact words people are typing into Google hoping to find the answer to their question.
Before you write your blog (or in some cases, after), think of the words and phrases people may type into Google to search for your blog. If you’re writing a book review, what words or phrases would cause that book to pop up on Google? What genre is the book? Does it cover a specialty? Include those words throughout your piece. Scatter them in the headings and in the title and bulk content. Ensure that you mix up the phrasing so it doesn’t read the same keyword over and over every few sentences.
Remember, SEO is important, but it’s not everything. Don’t sacrifice the quality of your blog to make sure you loaded it with keywords. Maybe just focus on one keyword to start: the one phrase you type first to look for your blog.
Step 5: Add internal and external links
When you’re writing a blog, links are your friends. Links create a web that not only helps visitors stay on your website longer but connects you with other resources and credible organizations that can help drive visitor traffic your way.
There are two types of links you should be adding to your blog: internal and external.
Internal links are links you add from your own website to allow your readers to click around. They can be other blogs, products, service pages… anything. The longer someone spends on your website, the more committed they become, and the more likely they are to subscribe or purchase.
External links serve a few purposes. Linking to credible organizations, authors, or institutions helps to back up your advice. It makes you look like you know what you’re talking about and proves you didn’t just make up stats or facts for fun. Linking to outside sources can also help bump you up in the search engines when these credible sources are searched for.
Step 6: End with a call to action or something special
There is nothing worse than taking time to read a blog and then thinking What was the point of that? You want to give your reader something to take away in the end; make your blog worth the time.
Think of what you are looking to gain out of your blog. Do you want email subscribers? Book sales? Clients? Tie the end of every blog into your main goal for your website. Post an image linked to another blog the reader may love. Add a product image to your store. Insert an email subscription box right after a killer concluding statement.
Whatever you do, don’t let your reader get to the end of your blog without being able to do something more.
Step 7: Don’t get too serious
Blogs don’t have to be this big scary thing. They don’t have to be that different from what you write creatively. My favorite blogs are more often than not either straight to the point and informative or authentically inspirational and unique.
They don’t have to be 5,000 words or include images and videos and embeds on every page. Blogs can be short, simple, and to the point. The only requirement is that they reflect who you are and what you want to say.
Still need help with blog writing?
Reach out to us! We love talking about writing, and we’d be happy to help. If you have a blog that you think would fit ours, submit it here! We are always looking for new contributors.
Happy writing dreamers!
About the Writer: Shell Sherwood is a poet, fiction writer, freelancer, and creator of silly children’s stories, who could live on coffee, pastries, and romantic tragedies. She lives in Hudson Valley, NY with her three boys, and aspires to own a small writing getaway in every climate. Shell is currently working on her debut poetry collection. Learn more about Shell and follow her writing journey via her author blog, Instagram, and TikTok.