Seven tips for writing an effective blog
Writing a blog article isn’t the same as writing an article for a newspaper, magazine or journal, where your main goal is to clearly relay information to your readers. When you’re writing a blog article, you need to also make sure your ‘audience’ (i.e. the people who are interested in your topic) are able to find your article online.
To that end, it is important to ensure your article is written and edited in such a way that it will attract the attention of the search engine (e.g. Google) that your readers use to search for information about a topic. Because if it isn’t regarded as a ‘good’ article by Google, then few people will get to see it.
Write good, relevant content
The most important thing about your article is that it is good content – i.e. interesting, well written and to the point. And it should be about a topic your customers will be looking for via a search engine (such as Google).
For example, if your customers are looking for ‘writing a memoir’, ‘life story writing’, ‘self-publishing my memoir’, ‘recording memoirs’, ‘editing memoirs’, ‘writing an autobiography’, ‘documenting life stories’, or ‘video of my memories’, your blog could cover one or more of these topics.
Importantly, if your topic is not relevant to any of the key words that your customers might be punching into Google to find information, then you’ve got to ask yourself who you are writing your article for, and why you are writing it. If the article is not about a topic your customers are interested in, then it shouldn’t be in your blog.
Write key words in
Work out your key words first i.e. the words your customers are going to be searching for (in Google) that are related to your topic. Write some of those key words into each of the headings in your article, and make sure there are also some key words in the paragraphs (especially the first paragraph).
For example, if your customers are looking for someone to help them record their memories into a book, they might type one of these into Google: ‘I am looking for a writer to write my story’, ‘I’m looking for someone to help me with my memoir’, ‘I’m looking for a life story writer’, ‘How do you turn your memories into a book?’, ‘Where do I find a writer to write my autobiography?’ etc.
Some of these key words and key phrases should be written into the headings and paragraphs of your article.
Here is a great little tool for finding relevant keywords, and it’s free: Wordstream.
Note: don’t use these key words as ‘fillers’ or stack them into your article. Doing so reduces readability and this will negatively affect your ranking.
Regarding the length and structure of your article
Make sure your article is at least 300 words long, but not too long. If your article is more than 1000 words long, turn it into two separate articles (each linked to one another via backlinks).
For more information as to why this is a good idea, go to How to get more bang for your blog-writing buck.
Most of us learned in Grade 6 that when writing an article or essay:
- start with an introduction focused on the topic,
- follow that with two to six paragraphs, each about a subtopic, and
- end with a conclusion and/or ‘call to action’.
Use this simple structure to write your blog article.
Write in SEO-friendly headings
Google loves headings, and key words in headings.
So use this knowledge. Write in one heading for each paragraph (excluding the first paragraph).
To make your article SEO-friendly, always include key words in:
- the title of your article,
- the first paragraph (which won’t have a heading), and
- each heading within your article.
For a more detailed explanation of how to write in SEO, go to: How to write perfect meta-descriptions for SEO (15 steps).
Include links to other sites and articles
Including links (or backlinks) within your blog article is important because:
- Links to reputable websites or articles show Google (and your readers) that you too are reputable.
- Links to other articles on the same website help your readers find other articles of interest on the site therefore stay longer on the website (which indicates to Google it is a good site).
- Links to other relevant articles guide the reader to more information about the topics they are interested in.
On the other hand, if you don’t include any links in your article, or worse, if you include links to low-quality articles or websites, this indicates you are not connected to any other reputable sites or blog articles.
This is a bit of a bummer for your readers, reflects poorly on your article and website, and will incur penalties (low rankings) from Google.
Do not re-use the same content in different articles or on different platforms or
Re-using content (or writing similar content) in more than one article, or on more than one internet platform, is poor blogging practice. It leads to poor results for the platforms where you publish your articles, and for your articles themselves. If you publish the same or very similar content in either different articles or on different platforms, this can result in:
- your various articles competing against one another for a place in Google rankings thereby ‘cancelling themselves out’ from a search engine point of view
- some or all of your articles being ‘ignored’ by Google due to the duplicated content (because Google considers duplicate articles to be less legitimate than other, more original articles)
- readers being disappointed or annoyed when they discover, while reading your article, that they have read the same (or a very similar) article before. They may never read your articles again.
Get someone else to proofread your blog article
When we write, we all write imperfectly. If we proofread our own writing, we don’t notice the minor errors that another person would when proofreading it.
So you should always get another person to proofread your article.
The person doesn’t have to be a professional proofreader; they may be a colleague who is good at writing. Some bloggers get one another to proofread their articles (at no charge).
If you always get another person to proofread your blog articles, you’ll avoid embarrassing mistakes and make sure your articles are always presented professionally.
Including the right metadata (with appropriate key words) in your article is another important aspect of ensuring your key words are seen by Google. I will cover this in a later article. In the meantime, go to How to create the right meta description.
Summary of tips for writing effective blogs
So there you have it:
- Write good, relevant content,
- Include key words in your title, headings and paragraphs (especially the first paragraph),
- Keep your blog articles between 300-600 words long,
- Use a simple structure: intro, 2-6 paragraphs, then a conclusion,
- Include links to reputable articles/websites within your article,
- Do not re-use the same content in different articles or on different platforms, and
- Always get someone else to proofread your article before publishing.
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