Whether you’re a fashion blogger or a financial blogger, beginner or seasoned, you’ll want to improve your writing. Today, I’ll give the rundown on 28 tips on how to write better blog posts, as well as tools to help you improve your content in no time.
So you’ve built your blog, posted a few articles on it. You get some traffic, shares, and comments on your posts. You get compliments on social media about how helpful your articles were.
You feel pretty good about your articles and your blog in general.
And then it happens.
You look for an old blog post of yours to repurpose into a webinar or podcast, and then horror of horrors: you read it again.
Yup, same thing happens to me too.
The thing is, it doesn’t have to. Or at least, it doesn’t have to happen with all your writing. We all can improve.
Let me say that again: Every writer can be a better writer.
There’s a reason why it’s said that “content is king”; it’s because as a blogger, content is your currency. It’s what you offer your readers. And if you ever hope to make money blogging, you’ll need to ensure that you’re continuously producing great blog posts. Here are the reasons why it’s important for you to know how to write better blog posts.
All compelling reasons, right? Let’s get into the tips so you can start doing them today!
Before you even write your blog post, you’ll need to pick a topic. You should already have a basic idea of how to think of what to write about at this point, but if you want to make better blog posts, you need to do better research. Here are some tips to level up your research skills.
Before we delve into the rest of the tips, let me reiterate this fundamental concept: always have your readers in mind when you write your blog posts.
Write blog posts that your readers will actually want to read. In the end, they’ll decide if your blog post is valuable. Not the search engines, not the influencers in your niche, not even you.
If you chose the right blog niche, there are a lot of questions being asked by people in your niche that don’t have answers yet. And even if there are plenty of other bloggers in your niche, there are always more questions than answers. It’s a matter of finding these questions so you can answer them.
Look for these questions in communities. Quora and Reddit are great places to start. Social media is another good source of potential blog topics. The comments section on your own blog (as well as of other popular blogs in your niche) is also a great place to research on problems and questions that your target audience may have.
With some questions, you might think “Oh yeah, I definitely know how to solve that,” but with others, you might be like, “Um, I actually don’t know but I’d love to find out so I can help other people.” This is where your Google-fu will come in handy. Search and you shall find. And when you find the best articles, don’t simply copy them.
Instead, expand on them. Add your own spin and write it from your perspective. Or maybe disagree with some of the answers you find.
Yes, search engines will provide you with answers if you know how to search for it. But how reliable are your sources? The website or blog may be reliable, but it may already be secondhand, even third-hand information. Try to find your sources’ sources.
Statistics look great on your blog posts and gives them that extra oomph of authority. But make sure you’re citing statistics that are credible. Same thing when you’re quoting studies and experts in your niche or industry. Make sure that study really happened, and make sure the expert you’re quoting really said it.
Similarly, don’t answer current problems with outdated solutions. It’s like telling people to apply butter to burns (seriously, don’t do that; run cold water on the burn instead).
Stay on top of your game by always tuning in to news and social media trends in your niche.
A simple way to know your purpose is to fill in the blanks in the following sentence:
My blog post will help my readers solve [INSERT PROBLEM] by teaching them/showing them [INSERT SOLUTION].
If you can fill in the blanks, then you’re good to go.
Writing blog posts is different from writing any other type of content, and there are certain best practices you can apply. Here are some writing techniques you can use on your blog posts.
When you know what you want to write about, you’ll need to create an outline. This way, you know the major points you want to cover even before you start writing. You’re also less likely to get lost or go off into tangents while you’re writing. Plus it saves time because you’re less likely to have to rearrange your ideas when you’ve already written the subheadlines in order.
To create an outline, write down all your major points as subheadlines. When you have those subheadlines, you can flesh out the ideas more systematically.
Research shows that users pay the most attention to the information near the top of the page. That means your introduction should pique your visitors’ interest enough for them to continue reading.
You can hook readers through a story, a shocking statistic, or an appeal for empathy (i.e., something that says, “I feel your pain”).
Aside from the grabbing attention part, you have to present the reason you want to share this information with your readers, as well as their takeaway from your blog post.
AND you have to do all this in the first few paragraphs of your article. Talk about an insane amount of pressure to get this exactly right. Which is why you’ll want to…
I know, writing the first part last sounds counterintuitive. But hear me out.
First, if you write the body before the introduction, you’ll have a clearer idea of what your whole blog post is about. Thus, the introduction you’ll write will be much more in tune with the rest of your article.
Second, as with most things, getting started is the hardest. Add to it the abovementioned pressure of getting your introduction exactly right, and you may feel too overwhelmed to write. Starting in the middle, then working your way down and then up to the intro eases that “writer’s block” feeling.
Finally, you’ll just end up mentally kicking yourself if you end up writing a really great introduction first, and then it ends up not being a good fit for the rest of your article. Having to delete that witty, clever introduction is a heartbreak I’ve experienced and believe me, you won’t like it.
Chances are someone else will have already written about what you want to write about, but don’t let it stop you. Focus on what you have to offer that isn’t already out there. Offer your own perspective on a popular topic. Someone with your unique combination of experience and knowledge should make your take on it stand out.
You can do everything you can to put out a piece of original, unique content. But if you absolutely must borrow something as is, like a great quote, or a statistic, always cite your sources. Don’t just steal it and claim that it’s yours.
It’s as simple as placing a borrowed quote in block quotes and citing the source of that quote, along with the URL of the website where you found it. That’s as easy as it gets, so there should be no excuse for you not to do it.
This is especially important when images are involved. Before you use an image you found off Google Image Search, check to see if there’s any copyright to it, and if you can use it without attribution or if you’ll have to indicate the creator of the work.
Yes, blogging is text-based, but images complete the message you’re conveying. They provide aesthetic appeal, break up the text, and illustrate your examples. All in all, using the right images provides a great experience for the reader.
Use images strategically, though. If they are unrelated, and therefore don’t add value, they can actually turn off your readers.
Building trust involves proving that you’re trustworthy. Show your readers proof that the solution you’re describing actually works. Demonstrate that your solution is practical. If it works for you, it will probably work for them.
Writing a great blog post involves communicating your message or idea quickly and powerfully. So when writing your blog post, have a point, support your point, and stop when you’re done.
Stories can transform a useful but blah list post into an engaging piece that people want to read all the way through. Stories are relatable. They make your reader feel that there’s a real person behind the posts, who is genuinely thinking about them and not just churning out content.
It doesn’t even have to be your story. It can be one of your readers’ stories, or maybe your mother’s (note: ask permission to use their stories in your blog!). Just make sure it’s related to the topic of your post. Otherwise, your story takes away from your post instead of adding value to it.
You can tell it at the beginning of your post as a hook, in the middle as an example, and at the end as a takeaway.
Readers of books are different from blog readers; blog readers are notoriously scanners. So you need to write articles structured for the scanners and skimmers. Use bulleted lists, whitespace, and subheadings to break your text up into easy-to-digest chunks. Emphasize important points with bold and italic formatting; be careful of ALL CAPS because it looks like you’re YELLING and it’s rude to yell, even online.
I know I just said to write for scanners, but it doesn’t mean you should always write short content. Longform blog posts (and by long, I mean 1,500 words) rank well in search engine results, get shared more often, and increases the amount of time your reader spends on your blog. Longer, detailed, well-written content will be perceived as more valuable by your readers.
If you feel you can’t do long-form posts every time, that’s fine. Just don’t ever go below 500 words because it’s just not going to be seen as valuable content, both by your readers and search engines. You’ll be hard-pressed to fit value in a 300-word post.
Simple words, simple terms. If you’re not writing about technical stuff, don’t do jargon. That’s an easy way to turn off your reader. And even if you are writing about technical stuff, explain them in everyday words as much as you can.
You don’t have to be a comedian to inject humor into your blog posts. It’s partly about improving the reader experience and partly about letting your personality shine through. Knowing your target audience will really come in handy here; you want them of all people to “get” your sense of humor.
Even if you don’t think you’re funny, you can still find inspiration from something you’ve read, or mundane things, or even poking fun at yourself. However you decide to use it, use just enough so your readers are entertained. Don’t put too much.
And of course, don’t turn readers off with off-color jokes. Stay away from sexist, racist, and political jokes. Some writers can pull that off, but don’t automatically assume you’re one of them.
What are sound bites? A sound bite is a short message, often no longer than 10 words, that describes the main idea of your content. Using sound bites is a good idea because they’re easy-to-remember, easy-to-quote, and often get shared.
To create sound bites that work, you can try using contrast (“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”), rule of threes (“of the people, by the people, for the people”), unexpected words (“15 minutes of notoriety”), and rhyme (“If I fits, I sits.”).
But if you can’t create sound bites, and someone else said it better, just quote them. Nothing wrong with that, as long as you attribute the source.
This is usually the part where you have a call to action (CTA) asking them to sign up for your mailing list. This is also where you ask them to share your post, invite them to comment, read other posts, etc.
Sum up your post nicely. A tried and tested way is to do a recap, add some final words, and a strong closing sentence. Again, you’re writing for skimmers, so if your readers only go through the intro and then scroll way down to the conclusion without reading the body of the post thoroughly, they should still be able to understand what you talked about in the body.
It helps to hear it so you know if your blog post sounds like, well, you. You’ll catch yourself using words you wouldn’t normally use, and it’ll help you decide if it adds to your blog post, or if it sounds too unnatural for your readers.
You never want your reader to finish reading your blog post and go, “Now what?”
Add a CTA to tell them what to do next: subscribe to updates, download a content upgrade, or read related articles. You may think this is merely self-serving, but it benefits your reader as well. If they want to read more about the same topic, then you’re helping them by listing related articles. If they want a free ebook or any other learning material, then they can download it right there.
You can experiment with various CTAs. It may take some time for you to get it exactly right, but you need to make it a habit to add at least one CTA to any blog post you write.
Improving your writing technique will show in your finished product, but improving your skills makes you better equipped to apply those writing techniques. Aside from better blog posts, honing your writing skills will help you write better emails, better landing pages, better sales pages, better ebooks. Think of it like a chef perfecting her chopping skills so she can make a mean salsa and whatever dish she wants to make.
Here are some tips to become a better writer.
If you don’t write it down, chances are you won’t remember it when need it the most–like when you’re in front of your laptop ready to write down your blog post. Use your smartphone’s built-in note-taking app or download a third-party one with more functionality. Better yet, have a notebook and pen with you at all times so you can jot ideas down whenever you have them.
Make writing down ideas a habit. Start with jotting down ideas that occur to you when you’re idle, such as on your daily commute, or when waiting for your laundry to be done. Once you’re used to doing this, you’ll eventually pick up the habit and jot down notes whenever an idea occurs to you.
It doesn’t have to be brilliant, or exceptional. It just has to be something. You can get inspired even with the most mundane ideas.
Reading other great writers trains your brain to recognize good writing and bad writing. Pay attention to their styles, the mechanics, how they structure their sentences and paragraphs. By doing this, you eventually find your own writing style.
Study magazine covers for their headlines, novels for their word usage, poems for their sensory words, and ads for their sales copy. How do they do it? Can you apply them to your writing?
These are not the only sources of inspiration. At this point, you should be reading other blogs and articles in your own niche and even subscribing to their newsletters. Those are a good source of inspiration as well.
Take care, however, when you read too much content from other blogs. You may feel like you need to write in a certain way to be as successful as other bloggers. I know I feel that way sometimes. But it’s just not true.
These bloggers have become successful because they’ve found their own voice and worked to develop their own writing style that works for them and their readers. And so it’s important to be familiar with all types of writing styles not to imitate them, but so that you can borrow some of their best writing, experiment, and find your own style.
Some people work best in the morning, others work best in the evening. Some work best at home, others work best in a coffee shop. Some work best when they’re given 25-minute intervals and then 5-minute breaks, others work in a frenzy for 4 hours straight then go to sleep for 6 then work for another 4 hours straight.
Whatever your rhythm is, make sure you know it and embrace it.
This should go without elaboration, but you need to be distraction-free when you write. Shut off your phone, close your social media on your browser (except when it’s time to share your blog post). Wear earplugs to drown out background noise, or listen to ambient sounds if you can’t stand total silence (I’m definitely one of these).
When you’re done with writing an article, take a short break and take off your writer hat. After your break, sit back down and wear your proofreading hat instead. There are many proofreading tools you can use to help you, but practicing will also make you more aware of the usual mistakes you make: typos, minor grammatical and punctuation errors, spacing errors.
Learning to be a better writer takes a lot of practice. The idea is to develop a habit of sitting down and doing the work. It doesn’t have to be long or particularly well-thought out. Just sit down and write out a couple of paragraphs then leave it. The more you do it, the easier it gets and the more comfortable you become with words. Over time, writing becomes enjoyable to you and you become better at it.
Having said that, if you’re running a business, your time is valuable. Writing your blog may require more time and energy than you can dedicate to it. If that’s the case, give yourself permission to outsource your blog to a freelance copywriter who has the skills and experience to complete the work faster than you do.
Finding the latest news in your niche, as well as the trending topics and articles, is essential when doing research for your next blog post. Here are some tools that can help you do better research:
From where to find images, to checking your headline, to editing, here are some tools to help you create better blog posts.
As blogging evolves, so do the tools available to help us write better blog posts. Here are some tools to help you become a better writer.
You don’t have to have a degree in English or in writing to be a great blogger (though it certainly helps!).
What you need is to invest time and effort to learn how to improve. Which brings me to one final tip:
Writing better blog posts happens one post at a time, one click of Publish at a time.
You can’t improve if you don’t practice. So even when it aches, WRITE.
Ever felt stuck in a writing rut? Which of these tips helped you improve your blog posts? Do you have a tip to add? Share it in the comments below!
JoAnne is your average, everyday, sane stay-at-home mom who believes in the power of the internet to make dreams come true. She has an insatiable appetite for chocolate, as well as all things internet marketing. She keeps up with the latest trends in blogging, affiliate marketing, e-commerce, and more.