How to Write a Blog Post – A Beginner’s Guide

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Lots has changed since Myspace days, and the blog has quickly become part of everyday life. They’re personal. They’re professional. And they’re almost indispensable for distributing information online.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s how to write your own blog post.

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Step #1: Determine your topic & target audience

Before writing a blog post, determine your topic and angle.

Let’s pretend I’m writing a blog post about goldfish. I know my topic, but I don’t know what angle I should take. Should I write about feeding goldfish? Should I write about the different brands of goldfish food? Should I write about my personal experiences with goldfish? Also, I don’t know what kind of post I want to write. Do I want a how-to post that talks about how to feed your goldfish? Or do I want to review a new brand of goldfish food? Or do I want to write a post that gathers helpful links and resources in one place?

Once you know what kind of post you want to write, pick your ideal audience. To whom are you writing your post?

Once again, let’s go back to the goldfish post. Do I want my blog post to help new goldfish owners? Long-time goldfish owners? People who want to keep goldfish but haven’t gotten any yet? What audience I pick will determine what kind of post I write, how I write it, and what I include in it.

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Step #2: Research & outline your post

After you’ve determined your topic and intended audience, outline your blog post.

Don’t skip this step! I’m a writer, but I haven’t always appreciated the outline system. In fact, I once thought outlines constrained creativity! I was right…in part. Outlines constrain, but they constrain in a good way. If you use an outline, you can make sure your blog post is logical and includes the most pertinent information. It’s easier to rework something in a 400-word outline than a 1,000-word draft. Outlines save time and tears.

All blog posts start with a simple outline. For example, if I’m writing a post about how to feed your goldfish, I’ll use each step to create the outline. The basic outline would look like this:

  • Introduction
  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Conclusion

If it’s a post comparing two brands of goldfish food, however, my starting outline would look quite different:

  • Introduction
  • Consideration 1
    • Brand 1 stance
    • Brand 2 stance
  • Consideration 2
    • Brand 1 stance
    • Brand 2 stance
  • Consideration 3
    • Brand 1 stance
    • Brand 2 stance
  • Results/Conclusion

If it’s a post sharing my personal experiences with goldfish, I would use a much looser outline:

  • Introduction
  • Story/Experience
    • Beginning of story
    • Middle of story
    • End of story
  • Conclusion

After you finish the simple outline, research and add more details.

Let’s go back to the how-to-feed-a-goldfish outline. At this point, I can start expanding the outline using existing information.

  • Introduction
    • My goldfish story
  • Step 1: Get Food
    • Where to find goldfish food
    • Price considerations
    • Where I got mine
  • Step 2: Sprinkle Food Over Water
    • How much to use
    • Sprinkle, don’t dump
  • Step 3: Close Container
    • If you don’t, it will get moist and clumpy
    • Keeps it from spilling on carpet
  • Conclusion
    • Do you have any questions about the process? Comment below!

Finally, expand the outline with deeper research and details. Using the goldfish blog post example, that means something like this:

  • Introduction
    • My goldfish story
      • I got a goldfish when I was six years old, but it died. Though I never knew why, I suspect it was because I overfed it.
      • Recently, I wanted to attempt keeping goldfish again, but I wanted to make sure I fed it right this time.
      • So I went on the internet and did a little research. I learned how to feed my goldfish the RIGHT way. Here’s how.

If you’re writing a personal blog post, you may not need to do much research. You already know what happened! An educational or review post, however, may require digging for details like numbers, names, and official research results.

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Step #3: Draft your post

Once you’ve completed your outline, draft your post. (This is the fun part, especially if you enjoy writing!)

Look at the outline you prepared, and write your post using the outline points. Don’t worry too much about grammar, spelling, or flow of words. You’ll be reviewing the post later. At this point, you just want to get something down on paper.

slip-up-709045_1920.jpgStep #4: Review your post

Once you complete a draft, start revising it. Before being published, each draft should go through at least two revision cycles, arguably more.

First, perform a general revision. Read through the post and reword anything that isn’t clear. If you notice parts that sound “off” or seem to drag, rewrite.

Next, perform a detailed revision. At this point, analyze your draft on the sentence level. Do you have good paragraph breaks? Did you choose the right words and sentence structure to best communicate what you’re trying to say?

correcting-1870721_1920.jpgStep #5: Proofread your post

You have a polished draft, but it still needs a final proofreading session.

First, check for glaring misspellings, typos, and factual errors. Next, review finicky details like punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

If time allows, let the blog post rest for a day or two, then perform a final proofread. Giving yourself this break helps you catch obvious mistakes that you missed during the first proofreading session.

Finally, ask a friend, family member, or coworker to proofread your post. It’s very difficult to edit and proofread your own writing–even professional writers struggle with proofreading their own work–so a fresh review never hurts.

laptop-2557571_1920Step #6: Format your blog post

Congratulations! It’s time to format your blog post.

First, pick a title.

Let’s go back to my goldfish blog post. Depending on what blog post I picked, my title could be “How to Feed Your Goldfish Step-By-Step” or “How I Fed My Goldfish.” If I’m writing a review post, I could use a catchy title like “Grimley’s Goldfish Feed–Golden or Grievous?”.

Title also depends on your intended audience. If you were looking for the information in your post, what title would grab your attention?

Second, assign your post appropriate categories and tags. Keep categories broad and tags specific. For my “How to Feed Your Goldfish Step-By-Step” post I might use the following categories and tags.

Categories: pets, lifestyle, how-to guide

Tags: goldfish, red goldfish, feeding goldfish, pet food, help for new owners, feeding fish, new pet owners

Third, copy and paste your post into the blog editor and start formatting.

Use headers to split big paragraphs of text into smaller thoughts. This makes long posts more scannable. Why bother? Well, since our eyes tire very quickly when reading online, most of us scan blog posts and articles. If we don’t see what we need quickly, we leave. Using headers allows readers to quickly reference and understand your post.

For example, remember the “How to Feed Your Goldfish” outline?

  • Introduction
    • My goldfish story
  • Step 1: Get Food
    • Where to find goldfish food
    • Price considerations
    • Where I got mine
  • Step 2: Sprinkle Food Over Water
    • How much to use
    • Sprinkle, don’t dump
  • Step 3: Close Container
    • If you don’t, it will get moist and clumpy
    • Keeps it from spilling on carpet
  • Conclusion
    • Do you have any questions about the process? Comment below!

Wow! There are 3 main header options: Step 1, Step 2, Step 3. Using those as my headers, my first step would look like this:

Step 1: Get Food

You might wonder where to find goldfish food. Here are my ideas.

hand-3190204_1920.jpgStep #7: Format your post text

Use bullets to prevent long paragraphs of text. If you include lists of items, consider listing them with bullets.

For instance, if my post compares two brands of goldfish feed, I’d probably compare ingredients of each brand. Instead of just listing them in a paragraph, I might list the ingredients in bullet form.

Use bold, italic, and underlined text for emphasis. For example, let’s pretend my goldfish ate only one-third of the amount of one kind of goldfish food. I’d probably put the amount in bold.

If you’re using links in your post, use hyperlinks (text that is a different color and links directly to the webpage). Hyperlinks allow you to link somewhere using text, instead of messy URLs. (Using hyperlinks keeps your post neat, especially if you need to include very long links.)

This is a hyperlink: Hyperlink.

This isn’t a hyperlink: https://rachelwritingsphotosandmore.com/

discus-fish-1943755_1920.jpgStep #8: Add your images

Add images. Images illustrate your post, like pictures in a book or magazine.

First, you need a main image. A main image is the first image your readers will see, sometimes before they actually visit your post! Find something catchy but related to your blog post topic. Look online for images that are either in Creative Commons (CC) or Public Domain licensing. (Personally, I prefer using public domain photos. They’re much less confusing to use, and you don’t have to worry about attribution.) If you do use a CC image, make sure you have permission to use it for your post and that you understand how to properly credit it.

For my post about feeding goldfish, my featured image would probably be a selfie of me with my pet! For my post comparing two different brands of goldfish food, however, I’d find a catchy image that represented a difficult choice–a fork in the road, for instance.

Next, find photos for each major section. Unless your blog post is unusually short, add images at each header or major section. In “How to Feed Your Goldfish Step-By-Step” I’d put a photo representing each step. For a blog post comparing two different brands of goldfish food, I’d use photos of each product.

Finally, format your photos. Some bloggers add captions, other bloggers don’t. Whatever you choose, keep your photo justification (left, right, or center) and design (captions, border, size, shadow) consistent across your blog.

smartphone-720684_1920Step #9: Publish & promote your post

Look over your post one more time and click Publish. You did it. You published your first blog post!

If you’re blogging for friends or family members, send them a link to your blog post, so they can read it. If you’re blogging for business purposes, you may want to promote your post using social media, online groups, or newsletters. Don’t be afraid to share and interact with your readers!

5 thoughts on “How to Write a Blog Post – A Beginner’s Guide

  1. what an amazing post for a starting post! Valuable advice. Is a hyperlink another word for pingback? I use ping backs all the time in my posts. I shall definately follow you now!

    Like

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