Building and maintaining a consistently updated blog is no small feat.
Ultimately, the ability to write powerful content is the most important skill you can develop. Good writing enhances your blog, tweets, Facebook page, and e-mail newsletters.
Sure, you want your own style. But there are some basic writing principles that will help you succeed faster.
Below, I’ll give you 39 tips and principles for writing awesome blog posts.
Every successful blogger uses some of these tips throughout their career. Use the ideas below that work for you and take writing to the next level.
1. Write about what excites you.
Passion trumps talent. Bloggers who make extraordinary incomes from their blogs usually write for many years about what excites them the most. People tune in to connect to the blogger’s passion.
2. Focus on a narrow niche that you can dominate.
How can you stand out with over 181 million bloggers in the world? At least initially, you’ll have a tough time.
Focusing on a niche that you’re passionate about is a good way to start. If you’re blogging about the latest gadgets, don’t try to be like TechCrunch, which covers everything from DIY robot parts to tech startups.
Instead, work on something specific and stick to it. For example, your blog can focus on mobile apps for Samsung phones or troubleshooting tutorials for Windows 8.
3. Write like you wouldn’t for your high school English teacher.
“If there’s one piece of advice I would give about writing essays, it would be: don’t do as you’re told. Don’t believe what you’re supposed to. Don’t write the essay the readers expect; one learns nothing from what one expects. And don’t write the way they taught you in school” – Paul Graham
Conforming to standard rules of grammar and structure with unwavering resolve will not help you connect with users.
Certainly, Internet users do get turned off by poorly constructed sentences and wrong word usage. But offer rich information and tons of value and they’re likely to forgive you for slight grammar gaffes.
4. Prepare yourself for writing.
Writing is a lot of work. And you have to get your mind, body, and environment ready for it.
Get rid of everything that can distract you away from doing the task at hand. That includes all the errands you need to run, the calls you have to make, and the day’s concerns you have to attend to. And, get away from the Internet. It’s easily the biggest deterrent to focusing on anything.
Shut down your mobile, turn off the TV, and hang up your phone if you need to.
Having a healthy body helps with your ability to write. Proper nutrition, regular exercise, and enough sleep helps lower your stress levels and increases your ability to concentrate and get creative.
Even bloggers, who don’t do much physical work, have a good reason to stay healthy.
Choosing Your Content
5. Picture your ideal reader as a specific person and write to that person.
“I think the best advice on writing I’ve received was from John Steinbeck, who suggested that the one way to get around writer’s block (which I was suffering hideously at the time), was to pretend to be writing to an aunt or a gal friend.” – George Plimpton
Think of a single person and visualize her. Who is she? What does she look like? What does she like and dislike? Most importantly, what does she want from you?
Now, imagine that person sitting in front of you across a coffee table. Imagine that you’re good friends comfortably sharing stories over coffee. How would you approach her? How does she relate to you? Now, write.
6. Look for new angles.
“Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.” – Voltaire
You’re most likely not the first person to come up with the idea for your favorite blog post. But you can always find new connections among ideas and write from unusual perspectives, even when it’s old news you’re writing about.
7. Tweak popular titles.
Create a list of viral blog posts in your niche and see if you can make some memorable blog posts out of them. This idea is a spin-off of Neil Patel’s two-hour writing plan.
Always try to look at things differently. Although the topics have already gone viral, you’re bringing a unique perspective, not a duplication of ideas in other blog posts.
8. Write controversial blog posts.
Some controversy can be good for business. But make sure you believe what you are writing.
Bloggers who write about controversial topics for the sake of getting more readers come across as fake and superficial. Bloggers who write about these topics because they are genuinely interested gain a loyal following.
Remember when writing controversial posts: Back up your claims with hard data. The more facts you have, the easier to defend your post.
9. Address comments in your blog posts.
Comments are a great way to interact with your readers. They’re also a rich source of ideas for your next blog post.
Every once in a while, someone will post a comment that challenges or builds on your ideas. You can take that comment, politely addressing the person who posted it, and develop it into another blog post.
10. Keep an idea journal.
The best ideas pop up in the most unexpected places. And, no matter how marvelous the idea, it may slip from your mind because you’re doing other things.
Having an idea journal always available, whether it’s an old-fashioned spiral notebook or your tablet PC, can help you remember all those awesome writing ideas before they disappear.
Finding a Way to Make the Writing Flow
11. Write with the goal in mind.
What action do you want your readers to take? After they’ve read your blog, what do you want them thinking about? How can you elicit a comment or get a reader to send you a private e-mail?
Hoping for action is not as effective as asking for action.
Always ask for what you want directly and specifically. For example:
- “I’d like to know what you think. Please leave a comment.”
- “Click this link to learn more.”
- “Click the ‘Buy Now’ button.”
12. Do thorough research.
“Writing is hard work. It is gathering ten times as much material as can ever be used. This information has to be gleaned to get the best possible use from it. The reader has to be convinced that the writer knows what he is writing about.” – John Steinbeck
Most people have trouble finding the online information they want because it’s scattered across the Internet. Your job as a blogger is to gather available, relevant information and transform it into something people can digest.
In doing so, you also cut out the parts that don’t make sense or are better placed in another blog post.
13. Create an outline of your post.
Take the main points of your blog post and arrange them in the most logical order suitable for your blog post. Begin with your introduction, move on to the body, and wrap up with a strong conclusion.
A clearly defined outline is helpful for both you and your readers. It makes the writing go faster for you and makes the finished product easier to understand.
14. Write without stopping.
After laying out the structure of your blog post in an outline, fill in the details of each main point without stopping.
Just write as fast as you can until all of your ideas are down on paper. Turn off that critical self-editor for the moment. The goal is simply to record all your thoughts. Save the editing for later.
15. Take a break.
It’s OK to do so. When you can’t seem to get the ideas to flow, chances are you still have other important things that are taking up space in your mind.
Go out and run some errands for a few hours or take a ten-minute walk to free your mind.
Sometimes, you simply cannot force yourself to write when your brain is refusing to stand up to the job.
16. Stick to your schedule.
“Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.” – Chuck Close
In the beginning, you can give yourself some slack for not meeting your initial goals. After all, you’re still trying to figure out when and how often you should write and the best times for posting your blog posts.
As things level out and you get accustomed to a certain writing schedule, keep to it. There is no other way to be successful than to do what you’re supposed to when you’re supposed to do it.
Using Good Writing Techniques
17. Write benefit-driven headlines.
Without a great headline to lure your readers in, your blog posts won’t get anywhere. Show your readers what’s in it for them.
Here are examples of some attractive, reader-grabbing headlines:
- “How to Run a Blog with Only 12 Hours a Week” – Josh Dunlop
- “A Simple Plan for Writing One Powerful Piece of Online Content Per Week” – Pamela Wilson
- “6 Reasons You Won’t Succeed” – Neil Patel
18. Create an introduction that hooks your readers.
Next to your headline, the introduction is the most crucial part of your blog post. The best introductions do these three things:
- Instantly connect with readers.
- Show readers exactly what the article is all about.
- Convince readers that the body of your blog post has an idea so valuable that they must read the whole post.
19. Write the articles that your readers are looking for.
What’s high-quality content? One answer is that it’s content your readers are actively looking for. Here are some examples:
- Detailed how-to’s (The Science of Instagram: How to Get More Followers and Likes)
- List articles (109 Ways to Make Your Business Irresistible to Media)
- Tips articles (39 Tips for Writing Awesome Blog Posts – the article you’re reading)
- Case studies (Triple Your Traffic by Guest Blogging for Backlinks)
- Author insights (Why I Work During the Holidays)
20. Write in-depth, longer articles.
Length doesn’t always translate into quality. But both people and Google generally associate longer posts with better content. The idea is that the more words you use, the more ideas you have to share.
Of course, there are successful bloggers like Seth Godin who can get away with short, 100-word bursts of insightful blog posts. But he’s more the exception than the rule.
For now, it’s better to master the rules of thumb before trying to bend them.
21. Focus on one goal.
You don’t want your readers’ attention to wander. Always aim to meet one important goal and focus all your efforts on that.
22. Provide at least one benefit in every blog post.
What value can you give with your current blog post? Consider these options:
- A tool that makes your readers’ lives easier
- A solution to a recurring problem
- An answer to a seemingly unanswerable question.
- A stroke of inspiration that pushes your readers to take action
23. Add facts and create links to your sources.
Facts increase your credibility. They also add color to your content. For every claim you make, give at least one fact to back it up. Create links within your content to your sources.
24. Use simple words.
Many people don’t like big, complex, or unknown words. Difficult words can intimidate and/or annoy them. They may get the impression that you’re trying too hard to impress. Don’t use big words unless there’s no better way to express your ideas accurately.
25. Use headings, lists, and white space.
A giant wall of unbroken text shouts “Amateur.”
Online readers turn away from text that’s difficult to read.
Make it easy for your readers. Use lots of headings, subheadings, numbered paragraphs, and bulleted lists to ease the reading experience.
26. Tell stories.
People love stories.
Stories don’t just entertain. They add a human touch and a hint of authenticity to your blog.
27. Show examples.
Real-life examples show readers the substance behind your claims.
Case-study blog posts are extremely popular because they show readers practical examples that they can learn from.
The more real-life proof you offer, the easier it is for your readers to believe you.
28. Connect with your readers.
Write your blog posts as though you’re talking to a reader sitting in front of you.
If they were setting in front of you, you wouldn’t address them in the third-person. In your blog, address them as though you’re talking face-to-face. Use “you” and “I.”
It’s easier to break the ice when you’re talking as friends and not as writer-and-reader or authority-and-follower.
29. Incorporate quotations to strengthen your arguments.
“I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.” – Marlene Dietrich
Sometimes your ideas are best summed up in what someone else has already said.
Plus, quoting adds a much-needed break in the text and makes reading on a computer screen a little easier on the eyes.
Quoting isn’t stealing somebody else’s work as long as you properly attribute the quotation and don’t use too many quotations from the same source.
30. Write with your own voice.
Be funny, quirky, or dorky. If that’s who you are, that’s what people will love you for.
Enhancing Your Posts
31. Wait before publishing.
Come back to your blog post a few hours or even a day after working on your first draft. A much-deserved break is what you need to disconnect from your creation and evaluate it with a fresh, objective eye.
You’ll notice awkward points and missing links you were not able to catch a while back.
Plus, you’ll be less inclined to get too attached to it, which makes it easier to cut out the parts that don’t need to be there.
32. Read your post aloud.
Sometimes, it’s not how words look onscreen that matters, but how they sound. Read your blog post aloud with no inflections and listen to how the words flow.
Do you need to polish some of your phrases? Do the words flow smoothly from one to the other? Listen for sentences that catch your breath and uncoordinated phrases that sound awkward.
33. Make changes, even big ones, to strengthen your point.
It’s hard to change or cut sections that don’t serve your blog post well. But that’s all part of the writing process. And you must practice if you want to write well.
Remember, the first draft is only the first draft. You’ll need to have a second draft or a third draft and quite possibly even fourth and fifth drafts before your post is all set for the Publish button.
Don’t be afraid to change your blog post until it sounds perfect to your ears.
34. Make sure all your facts are straight.
A blogger thrives on information. You should be able to distinguish between authority websites, websites merely posing as authority websites and websites without authority.
Become a credible source by ensuring that the facts are true and tested and come from trusted websites.
35. Enrich with images, videos, infographics, and cartoons.
“A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside of it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Content is king. But readers are easily distracted. Pull them back with a bit of eye candy.
Promoting Your Blog Post
36. Network with other bloggers.
“You gain a lot more from making a new friend than you will from making another sale.” – Yaro Starak
Other bloggers help get traffic to your site when they send readers your way.
But you can’t flat out ask for them to post a link to your blog. You have to build these relationships with them, just as you do with friends and business associates.
37. Guest post on other blogs.
Guest blogging is ideal for many reasons.
Use guest blogging as
- A source of high-quality backlinks for your SEO.
- A reliable channel for driving relevant traffic to your blog.
- A way to get your name out by having someone with an already established reputation in the industry mention you and link to your blog.
Take a look at this infographic to compare the benefits of blogging and guest blogging.
38. Respond to everyone who comments.
“Blogging is not about writing posts. Heck, that’s the least of your challenges. No, blogging is about cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with an ever-growing online readership, and that’s hard work.” – Alister Cameron
Your readers do you a huge favor when they comment on your blog post. Don’t hesitate to return the favor by replying to their comments.
Your blog is more than just a blog. It’s a gathering place for an online community painstakingly built by interacting with and creating relationships with your readers and other bloggers.
39. Be consistent.
Whatever you set out to do at the beginning of your blogging journey, decide to see it through. It will be difficult, even impossible at times. Your traffic might rise and fall, or stay at a standstill. Your income from blogging might come in short, intermittent bursts. Or, there might be none at all.
Always stick to your writing schedule, resolve to write high-quality content every time you sit down in front of your computer, and give your readers what they’re looking for.
The traffic and the money will naturally follow.
Let us know…
What’s your favorite tip from the list?
Do you have other blogging tips to add to the list?
Please let us know what works for you in the comments section below.