Blogs take time and effort to write and produce, so optimize your time and your word count to make the greatest impact on your audience. With a little practice and these six tips (plus a little bonus content down at the bottom), you can craft tight, snappy, informative posts that everyone wants to share!
- DO post on a regular schedule.
If people know when to expect a post from you, they will get excited about having something new to read. If you generally post on Wednesday mornings but one week you don’t, regular readers may feel disappointed.
This doesn’t mean you have to be at your computer every Wednesday morning, typing away madly. You can use software to schedule your posts, so you can write six of them on a productive Saturday and set them up to post whenever suits your schedule.
There are better times to post new blogs. Weekday mornings around 9 a.m. are best. Avoid Fridays and weekends: fewer people are usually online.
- DO keep it brief, fun, and informative.
A great blog post can be read in a single sitting. You want it to be easy to read and share. 300 words is a good benchmark.
Blogs should be enjoyable to read – that’s what makes them shareable. Humour is a great addition, but if you wouldn’t say it to a friend’s grandmother who you just met, don’t say it on your blog.
Shorter sentences are better for writing on the web. Avoid semicolons or long lists. If you do have a list, use bullet points to make it stand out, but don’t overuse them.
Blog posts should contain useful or new information that readers can use or share. It should answer a need or a question. Also: No need to pretend the pandemic isn’t happening. Address it, but don’t belabour it.
- DO focus on a single topic or event.
Focus on one idea, event, or topic per blog post, so every sentence is essential reading. If you want to cover a multi-part topic, consider creating a series – also a good way to keep readers coming back for more!
- DON’T use your blog for sales or self-promotion.
I know – what are you doing this for, if not to self-promote? But readers know when they’re being sold to. What you want is to connect with readers, so that when they need your services, they will think of you as someone they already know, like, and trust. So save the promotional hype for advertising.
- DON’T plagiarize.
It’s fine to look at other blogs and content sources for ideas, but once you’ve done your research and made notes, close your browser window and write from scratch. Also be aware that there are entire content factories on the web that will “write” blog posts for you (i.e., trawl the web and “rewrite” posts from other content sources).
- DON’T let any typos or major errors sneak through.
Everyone makes mistakes, but typos and errors can damage your credibility. So run the spelling and grammar check, but don’t stop there. Check your facts. Ask someone else to proofread the post. Or read it aloud. You’ll be able to hear if anything sounds weird or wrong or awkward. If you’re using a word that is similar to another word, look it up to make sure you haven’t confused the two. Take an extra 10 minutes to polish up your post and really make it shine.
Bonus #1: Comments or no comments? Moderating comments can mean weeding out spammers, trolls, and pointless self-promoters. You’re far more likely to get engagement on your social media sites, so link to your blog posts from each of your accounts. People can like or comment there if they choose to.
Bonus #2: Want to keep it even simpler? Consider microblogging on Instagram (a photo with a longer caption and additional self-comments as needed), Twitter (numbered tweets formed into threads); Facebook (notes or longer posts), or LinkedIn (posts). Remember, the six do’s and don’ts still apply.
Alison Larabie Chase is a freelance writer and editor with over 20 years of experience. She has worked with clients from the not-for-profit, higher education, arts and entertainment, and real estate sectors to create and edit web content, news releases, feature articles, profiles, ad copy, newsletters, video scripts, speeches, blog posts, and more. She still wakes up every morning excited to play with words all day long.