A blog is a good way to keep the content on your website fresh. A fresh website is interesting, will possibly keep visitors longer and may also help your product or service rank higher in Google searches.
This checklist assumes you’ve already found some topics to write about.
Visualise your reader
Before you’ve even put pen to paper, your blog will be easier to write if you form a picture in your head of who you are writing it for.
Try and imagine one person who will read it. You could choose a regular customer, or if you’ve done some work on personas in your marketing plan, this is a perfect way to use a persona.
Like any piece of short writing, your blog will be most effective if it has a shape.
Start with a summary sentence
Good journalistic pieces begin with a small summary that tells the reader what to expect in this article. Around 27 words is perfect. We’ll use this as a basis for creating the meta description as well.
If you’re stumped about where to begin, try starting it with words like ‘Find out how… ’ ‘Four reasons why…’ ‘Surprising insights about…’
Tip: Know your writing style
If you are the kind of writer who formulates your ideas as you write, then sometimes it’s easier to write the summary at the end. If you like to work to a plan, then create the summary first, to guide you as you write.
You’ll hear many different views about optimum word length. As a rule of thumb though, for maximum readability and the best chance of being discovered on Google, make sure your blog post has at least 300 words and no more than 800 words. There are exceptions to this but unless you’re committed to microblogging, or working in a long form context, the space between 300 and 800 words will give you the best return (engagement) on your investment (writing time).
People reading on the web tend to ‘skim’ so subheadings are a very good way to keep them engaged. Break your article up with sub headings. A sub heading should be short, and give an indication of what’s to be found in the paragraph beneath. Don’t have more than 300 words without a sub heading. Aim for a sub heading for every 100-150 word chunk.
Ensuring a universal reading level of say Grade 8 (12 year old equivalent) is not a way of saying that you are writing for 12 year olds. Remember that web readers skim – and are often time poor and will simply move on if you ask too much of them. Make it easier for them to read and take in your valuable information by using shorter sentences, the active voice (not the passive voice) and avoiding adverbs and adjectives.
Use the Hemingway App to check your work. You’ll be amazed (and it’s a little bit addictive if you have some word nerd in you)
Arrange a professional review
It’s a strange phenomenon that we can’t properly review our own work. Professionals who write for a living – experts in the craft of writing – need a peer review as much as a beginner writer! Peer review is best done by a fellow professional. Avoid recruiting friends or family unless they have business or editorial skills.