7 Steps to Better Blog Posts

Ive always known I was a writer. I used to write apologies on little scraps of notebook paper and tuck it under my mom’s pillow or my dad’s wallet! I was just more comfortable with the written form than the words coming out of my mouth. As a shy, introverted (and I still am, though sadly no one would believe me offhand now) child, words would form perfect symmetry in my head, but when summoned to find their way out through my lips, they would go all berserk and tumble and fall over each other, strangling some and stomping through each other and a mangled mess would ultimately appear – incomprehensibleΒ at best to the listener.

Since then, I’d stuck to writing.

The thoughts in my head found their solace and partner in the written word and it was a match made in heaven and they still honeymooning the last I checked. So, after close to 1000 blog posts, numerous articles published elsewhere and the emails and documents I’ve written varying in all degrees of emotion, content and audience, words are my best friends.

I find solace in them when my world crumbles down around me. I write to express how happy I am. I write to clear my head of the mud it occasionally finds itself smeared in. I write to be proud (as a mommy) and I write to clear things.

Ok, I think you get the point!

Now, with all that writing, I also have blog readers who ask me certain pointed questions. On the ‘How” and “wow” and “style” and “language” such. I usually just say “I write whatever comes to mind.”

Somehow that does not sound like an answer they are looking for. Despite me convincing that I really had no huge plan in my head and I really just wrote. Then I figured instead I would write up a post on the how and wow and style and language of MY writing. Here you go:

1.WRITE LIKE YOU TALKΒ 

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For most writings, unless you are submitting a thesis or a school paper, this tip applies. Write like how you would talk. Simple. Straight. Just let the words flow. Thoughts and emotions. Don’t worry about how it sounds then, that comes later. Just write as the words come to you.

2. STAY HONESTΒ 

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For an unsuspecting occasional reader, words may seem like just words. Which they are, but when a reader is seasoned as most bloggers are, and when they read the kind of narratives that most blogs indulge in, I can guarantee you that most would spot a not-honest post before they finish the first paragraph. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING is more putting off than to read a pretentious post and most readers would shut off and or zone out. So stay honest, write from your heart. Be you. It’s okay if it appeals only to a bunch of folks, but those are the ones who will become your tribe. They are the ones who matter. So, be you.

3.K.I.S.S –Β KEEP IT SIMPLE, SILLY.

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Simple words. If you stick to the above, you are already 90% here, doing this simple stuff. Coz our brain, regardless of how learned and well read you are, thinks in simple words and language. Yes, of course you can improve vocabulary and use smarter words and better sounding alternatives and Microsoft Word’s Synonym finder is a gift and all that, but still, when writing, simpler is better, if you want to appeal to the larger audience.

4.REIGN IT IN

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Now, since we all love to romanticize every thing we do, including writing, we tend to forget the matter at hand. What *exactly* are you trying to say? What is the *purpose*? Is the *narrative* leading into the purpose of the post? Is that story *really* necessary? Writing in some form is about story telling. So, yes, by all means start with a story or bring a story in, but in our excitement to narrate the story, do not forget the message you are trying to get across to your readers. If you haven’t gotten to the crux of your post by 500 words, you probably have meandered a wee bit much. Reign that story in. Edit ruthlessly. Stick it at the end if you’d like, but don’t lead the reader with “Recipe for chicken pot pie” and then talk about your grandmother, mother, aunt, neighbor and your horrors of one time burnt chicken for the next 1000 words before you hit the recipe. It’s cute, but trust me, when someone’s anxiously searching for a recipe and wants to get to it, they REALLY don’t like to read long nostalgic memories, and would skip right to the recipe anyway. They just are being polite πŸ˜‰

5.BE FUN(NY).Β 

 

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Okay, so you may say, “Wait, I can’t write funny! That’s hard” . I didn’t say write comic, but I said Funny. There’s a difference. We all have a sense of humor. Some more than others, but its that thing that sets you apart, the tone and the situation that makes your lips curve up, or the eyes glisten and yes, there is an audience for YOUR special kind of humor!

For all you know, it doesn’t have to be humorous funny, but how you relate and tell the story can be funny, amusing, satirical or even dark humor. The point is, it bends the readers mind away from the balanced normal.

6.PICTURE IS A THOUSAND WORDS

Yes! Visual medium rocks a word play. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on which side you are on, an image invokes an emotion that can for the most part help your words. It either enhances it or stretches the imagination, and at times is a support for your content, but chosen right never does it diminish the value of the written word.

So add in a pic you took, one of the many available under the CC license, and maybe make your own GIF like I did! It helps!

7.EDIT EDIT EDIT

This is the part where you hate me. Unfortunately, none of us who like to write, enjoy editing. It’s like the time when the calories get to you when you have enjoyed that last crumb of blueberry pie! Yet, this is where you shine, and make your blog post as crisp and clear and concise as it can be, so your message comes across with no ambiguity and at the same time, you respect your reader’s time and also intelligence.

Though I usually wait 24 hours before I edit a piece. Or at least a few hours. Helps reading it with a fresh pair of eyes. Not all posts need editing, but that’s totally a personal call, but editing of varying degrees is something that a good writer wears as an armor.

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So there you have it, my simple 7 steps to writing a post that your readers will enjoy and most importantly you will enjoy. Writing is a beautiful expressive art. Words have the power to heal and hurt and comfort and encourage, and so use them as they come to you.

Content is king, but with some organization and thought thatΒ more or less includes following your heart, a blog post can shine and how!

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65 Comments

  • I can relate to leaving notes everywhere. I’d much rather write it down. And I love the first tip of writing like you talk. People tell me that I do this so I guess I’m doing something right πŸ™‚

  • Great tips! I am probably one of the few that has to do little – if any – editing on my posts. I guess I was just made to write. My husband, on the other hand, struggles immensely – so I cannot imagine how people similar to him write blog posts. I don’t know if I would be able to do it. Loved the graphics you included, btw. πŸ™‚

  • Ah yes… editing. Something I think more people could use. I find some sort of sick pleasure in editing the heck out of my blog posts. πŸ˜‰ And I completely understand what you mean when you say that you sit down and just write what comes to mind. I am also an introvert and so I wonder if maybe we reserve our words until we can write them down whereas extroverts just let their words flow freely and have nothing left to say when they sit down to write. Haha! Just a hypothesis.

    • Looks like most of us writers are introverts and find solace in words. πŸ™‚
      and lol@hypothesis. Of course! How else can we explain it all πŸ˜‰ Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts!

  • I absolutely love the part about there being an audience for your specific brand of humor. I have only just begun putting humor into my pieces because a lot of times I feel like JD from Scrubs where I make a quip that I think is hilarious and everyone else is crickets. However, I’m slowly learning that allowing my idea of humor to shine through not only allows my readers to know me better but (as you also mentioned) adds to my authenticity which is something I believe is so, so important.

    • absolutely!
      LOL@JD – but see, there are so many JDs around, they just have to find their tribe, which you know obviously, so yes, stay on with the humor. The readers will appreciate it soon πŸ™‚

  • Ahh- I see editing has struck a note with other commentators as well as myself! I love the editing, myself. I make an outline to be sure I stick with the topic, and then I freewrite within those boundaries. Then, I go back at least 3 or 4 times and evaluate if what I have said was what was most important. I LOVE to see how it goes from decent to better to best. Editing is a bit of a chore, but even the best writing gets better with editing.

    I agree also with ‘Pictures worth a thousand words…’ One right photo can get a point across better than 3 paragraphs.

  • I love that you said you’ve always preferred writting to speaking – I can definitely relate! I can also remember writing notes to my parents when I was young.

    Thanks for the tips! I like that you said to write like you speak because that’s what I always try to do.

  • I also teach these basic blogging techniques as well and for those who ask about writer’s block, I tell them to get up, close the laptop and live life – you will always see something that you will want to write about. Keeping a notepad or smartphone to take pictures and notes is also a great way to come up with topics.

  • Thank you. This is valuable for a 3 day old blogger like me. I am on the hunt for valuable information like this. I guess the hardest part will be the editing part. I tend to enjoy the writing, but going back to check on stuff becomes a big job. Thanks again. I have just bookmarked your blog. Thank you

    • Thanks Brian πŸ™‚
      As like with anything else, the more you write, the more it gets easier. The technical part of it at least. Good luck with yoru blogging!

  • I try to wait a few hours, or a day, before hitting that publish button as well…although I find that kids are great distractions and cause me to take WAY too long to write!! These are great tips! Thanks!

    • blogging isn’t what it used to be sadly πŸ™

      But no, it’s possible to retain our voice despite the monetization. We have to be honest in what we write, even when doing sponsored posts. People are a lot more intelligent than we give them credit for πŸ™‚

  • I find that my edits need editing, but at some point, you have to call it “complete.” I completely agree with writing the way you would talk to a friend and keeping the vocabulary simple. These are great tips to an awesome blog post.

  • What a great blog post! I like the fact that even though you are obviously an accomplished writer, you still need to edit, edit, edit! I’m not sure what I would do without grammerly and it hasn’t even caught everything with my posts.

    • aw thank you! πŸ™‚
      am so happy! oh u know how apps and sites are, they cannot ever replace the third eye, or our own well rested eyes. Thanks again, for dropping by and commenting πŸ™‚

  • Great advice! I try so hard to write like I talk. Some days it’s hard when I’ve been writing a lot at work which involves medical jargon. My brain just finds it hard to switch!

  • LOL, a kindred spirit. I too find solace in the written word. And am a horrible introvert, except when I’m in my environment.

    Great tips, however, I’m guilty of avoiding #7. I tend to write and publish. I need to let my thoughts simmer before I publish. Because I’ve often found that what I thought had come across clear wasn’t as clear as I thought it was. (Say that 15 times.) πŸ™‚

  • Great tips! Do you think one should write the entire post, and then edit, or edit as they go along? I’ve always done the latter, but it usually means it takes a lot of time to write an article.

    • oh, i think editing must be saved to the end of a post! Only coz it would interfere with the train of thought. Even when writing a book, don’t you think? Thanks for dropping by and commenting πŸ™‚

  • Oh, I am so guilty of going on too long in my posts, but I have such difficulty identifying what to cut from them! I love the Frasier clips; that was a great show! I do find when I write honestly, in my own voice, I do have a bit of humor, and my posts are more well-received. Oh, and I had to laugh at the recipe part; the only person who can get away with being chatty in her recipes is The Pioneer Woman, she cracks me up every time!

    • oh Aimee! Thanks so much for your lovely comment πŸ™‚ Feels good when folks actually take the time to write about what they have read! lol@pioneer woman. Well, she’s a legend, but you know what I mean. Some are just not good story tellers, so its hard to not skip to the recipe :/

  • These are all such great tips. I have always found it easier to write than to talk myself. It seems like when I try to talk I get nervous and start vomiting words. I always prefer to write things down.

  • Great tips! I find that I have the hardest time with editing…probably because I am always working on blog posts on the fly. I need more time in the day πŸ˜‰

    • lol! exactly what I was thinking this morning. We really could use another day or two in a week πŸ˜› Thanks for dropping by and commenting πŸ™‚

  • This is a great post! I am such a sticky note kind of person that I am always finding them in places with blog post ideas. I need to take the time to go through these steps with them!

  • I usually edit for grammatical reasons but not in a way that will change what message I would like to convey. I think almost all my post has my voice and one tip is that it should be like storytelling…Thank you for this post, full of tips!

  • Love love love all of these insights! I’m glad to see encouragement to remain more conversational among the mountains of advice to keep things as short and “scan-able” as possible! Will definitely be bookmarking this for later reference.

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