Writing blog posts on a regular basis can be a pain in the *ss. Not everyone is a natural writer (I’m definitely not), and getting that perfect “flow” between paragraphs to create a great article is a formidable task. On top of that, just thinking of enough content to include in a post can be pretty daunting.
In order to improve my writing skills, I have been visiting a wide variety of blogs and picking up a ton of useful tips and tricks to keep the posts coming. An inspiring site is the IncomeDiary.com blog operated by Michael Dunlop. Michael has narrowed blogging down to a fine science, and I’ve learned quite a bit from reading his posts.
Other great sites that demonstrate some of the tips I am including here include: YoungEntrepreneur.com, Drivingtraffic.com, AnettaPowellOnline.com, KissMetrics.com, NicheProfitClassroom.com. Mark Anastasi (The Laptop Millionaire) used to have a regular blog, but I guess he’s mostly doing email newsletters now.
Most of the blog posts I’ve read follow a specific pattern: introduction, three paragraphs, conclusion. I can’t recall where I initially read about this, but it rings pretty true – with a few minor variations.
The main idea is to tell the reader what you are going to tell them (introduction), tell them using three (or more) points, and then tell them what you just told them (conclusion). It is still a good model to follow, but there’s a few more ideas that should enter into your posting plan.
1. Use White Space
I have no clue why I never really thought of this. I am actually a “skimmer” when I am searching for resources on the ‘net. I quickly scan a page until I find the desired topic.
It seems almost everyone else skims too.
So, spacing things out, rather than bunching them into paragraphs of five or six sentences (in order to get three paragraphs), would make perfect sense. It’s generally easier on the eye, and it’s soooo easy to write a couple sentences with “flow” than writing many more than that.
2. Make a List
According to most successful bloggers, posts with lists are traffic magnets. Why? Because people like lists. They are short and easy to read (usually).
Income Diary’s Michael Dunlop asserts that his first huge post was one such list-type posts – a post about the top 30 income producing blogs. It was a simple table with the blog name, owner, income, and how the income is produced. He then followed up with descriptions of each mentioned income producing method.
The post received thousands of visitors and thousands of social shares. He credits the post with launching his blog.
An interesting observation can be made here – all of the blogs mentioned in the post also rely on the list-type post to generate traffic.
3. The Tips Article
Similar to the list-type post is the tips article. In reality it falls into the domain of being a “list”, but it serves a different purpose.
Instead of repeating listing the “top” facts about something, or being a “who’s who” of a particular niche; the tips article is intended to provide a solution to some sort of problem.
The basic post formula remains the same. Introduce the problem or situation, provide three to five “tips” to help the reader, and conclude by telling the reader what you just told him or her.
This post actually started out as a list, but morphed itself into a tips article.
4. The “How To” Article
Taking the next step in problem solving is the “how-to” article. The “tips” article may also tell the reader how to do something, but not necessarily.
While tips may help the reader along the way to a solution, the “how-to” article should address specifically – in a step by step fashion – how to successfully solve the problem.
The format should be: Here is the problem we are going to solve (note the “we”. Include the reader). First, do this. Then, do this. Then… and so on. If there’s 10 steps involved, repeat all of them in sequence. Finally, repeat what it is we just solved.
How-to articles do not generate as much traffic as the list or tips styles, but they can make rabid fans of readers who benefit from your knowledge.
5. Link Out to Other Bloggers
Although this may seem to violate the accepted practice of limiting outbound links, there is a good reason to do it.
First, if you’re using a blogging platform like WordPress, linking to someone else’s blog can generate a trackback (or pingback). If the trackback is then approved (sometimes automatically), you wind up with a backlink from a (hopefully) authoritative site with good page rank.
A trackback can also provide some free traffic.
Second, if you link out to someone’s blog, and they find out about it, and they actually like your post (because it says something good about them), they may actually share you post on Twitter or Facebook. Imaging having Darren Rowse of ProBlogger mentioning your site to his followers. Now that’s powerful.
Making use of the advice in this post – using white space, focusing on the different post types, and linking out to other bloggers – can help to make you a better blogger. Of course, the content still has to be worthwhile and fairly well written to be effective. Follow the basic post plan (intro, body, conclusion), and you’ll do just fine.
Above all, be yourself and have fun!
- My Number One Blogging Tip(lovindanger.wordpress.com)
- Skipping the Formalities to Bring in Blog Traffic(bloggingtips.com)