9th of March 2017 Writing Content 13
Are your blog posts as good as you want them to be?
Perhaps you don’t seem to get many comments or shares. Or maybe your recent posts are great, but you feel like your older ones are lacking something.
You don’t need to rewrite each post from scratch to improve it. Often, a few small tweaks can make a dramatic difference.
Here are ten of my favorites to try out today:
1: Make the Title Stronger
Some bloggers have the knack of writing powerful titles; others struggle. If you find yourself going with the first title that comes to mind, it might need a bit of work.
Good titles grab attention and make a clear promise to the reader. Compare:
Write Better Blog Posts – not specific enough, doesn’t make it clear what the reader will gain from reading this post
Ten Ways to Improve Your Blog Posts – better, though still a little too generic
Ten Simple Ways to Improve Any Blog Post In Minutes – much more specific, makes a clear promise, appeals to readers who want quick and easy solutions rather than lots of theory or detail!
2: Shorten the Introduction
When you’re drafting a post, it’s easy to let the introduction drag on a bit too long, as you get into the swing of writing. That’s absolutely fine … but you don’t need to leave everything you’ve written in place!
Is your introduction gripping and engaging? Does each sentence draw the reader into your post, maybe by giving them a vivid picture of the problem they want to move away from – or a promise of what’s about to come?
If your introduction seems to ramble a bit, cut it down. Readers rarely need to know exactly where the inspiration for a particular post came from, for instance.
3: Add More Images
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blog post that had too many images! A large image at the start is always a great way to draw the reader’s eye … but you can also use images along the way to break up the text and to add useful information (e.g. screenshots, book covers).
If you’re struggling to find good images to use, check out Where to Find Free Images Online for links to lots of great sites.
4: Create More White Space
“White space” is all the stuff around the words of your post. It might seem an odd thing to think about when you’re trying to improve the post itself – but white space makes it easier for readers to engage with your actual words.
You can add more white space by:
- Writing in short paragraphs.
- Using bullet-pointed lists (like this one!)
- Including quotes (see #5)
- Using subheadings (see #7)
If the text on your blog seems a little cramped or difficult to read in general, consider increasing the font size and/or the spacing between lines. You can do this by switching to a different WordPress theme, by adjusting your theme options (for some premium themes), or by editing your Style.css file.
5: Include a Quote
Quotes from other people can help support the points you’re making in your post. You might use a quote to kick-start your post, or you might include one part-way through.
Normally, quotes are set in “blockquote” formatting, which will often be indented on the left-hand side – creating extra white space.
For lots more on using quotes in your posts, check out The Why, How and When of Using Quotations on Your Blog.
6: Add Links to Other Posts
Have you written about a related topic in the past? Include a link – either part way through your post, where it’s relevant, or at the end of your post in a “Further Reading” or “Next Steps” section. This is a great way to draw people further into your blog – and it can be very handy if you want to cater for readers of different ability levels; you can link to basic information and definitions for beginners and/or to more advanced posts for experienced readers.
Of course, you can link to other people’s posts too: this provides just as much value to your reader and also helps you build relationships with other bloggers (who’ll almost certainly be delighted by the link)!
7: Use Subheadings as Signposts
Like it or not, most readers will not read every word of your carefully crafted post. They’ll scan through for the parts that are most relevant to them.
Subheadings are very helpful for these readers: they “signpost” what’s coming up. If you haven’t used subheadings, or if yours aren’t very clear, go through and make sure that each key section of your post begins with a subheading that explains, briefly, what you’re about to cover. (In this post, for instance, each item in the list begins with a subheading.)
8: Add a Conclusion
Is your post rounded off nicely … or does it just stop? Your conclusion is just as important as your introduction: it ends your post neatly, giving readers a sense of completion – and it also often prompts readers to take action.
If you’re not sure how to finish your post, you could:
- Invite comments (“Do you have any tips to add? Leave a comment below!”)
- Encourage readers to implement what you’ve written about. (“Try just one of these ideas this week…”)
- Offer extra resources (“Click here to download my .pdf on…”)
9: Proofread Carefully
One very simple way to improve your posts is to proofread them – carefully. It’s so easy for typos to sneak in, and your spellchecker won’t necessarily catch all of these. If, like me, you tend to leave [notes to self] when you’re drafting, do make sure you’ve gone through and filled in any blanks!
If you’ve written a particularly important post (perhaps a guest piece for a large blog or a post that you’re going to be sending a lot of traffic to), then it might be worth asking another blogger to help proofread: sometimes, fresh eyes can spot mistakes that you missed.
10: Categorize it Correctly
This might seem like a small thing, but it can make quite a difference to readers: make sure you’ve categorized your post correctly. Definitely avoid using “uncategorized” as a catch-all default – this tends to look haphazard and unprofessional.
Not all blogs use categories as navigational tools, but if your does, it’s particularly important to check that you’ve put your post in a sensible category. That way, people interested in that particular aspect of your topic can easily find past posts that are relevant to them.
Improving your blog posts doesn’t have to mean spending hours rewriting them: a few little tweaks can really make them shine.
You don’t need to do all ten of these for every single post on your blog, of course. Instead, pick one or two that you’re going to try out this week (either when you work on a new post or when sprucing up an old one).
If you’ve got any quick blog post fixes to add to the list, too, drop a comment!