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Content

How to write better blog posts

Gareth Cartman

Blogging may not be good for your health, but it’s certainly good for your website’s health.

If you don’t yet have a blog – or at least a regular news section – then you’re losing out. Why?

  • Google prefers sites that have something interesting to say
  • Google prefers sites that have been updated recently
  • Google prefers sites that HAVE A PULSE

Leave your site to fester, and you will inevitably drop down the rankings. End of story. So now that we’ve re-established the absolute necessity for content, here’s the hard bit – writing better blog posts.

If you search hard enough, you’ll find a million blogs dedicated to writing better blogs. Some of them are interesting. Most of them, well… the less said, the better. Content, however, is what drives the internet, and it’s also what floods the internet. Here’s how to make your blog posts stand out:

1) Give your blog posts a personality and take an angle
A blog is personal, so use your own personality when writing – there’s no need to formalise things. Be yourself, and let your opinions – and passion for your subject – drive what you’re writing. If you’re going to take a subject that has been written to death, take your opinion as the angle.

A good way of making your content unique is finding parallels with your subject. For example, on my personal website, I drew a parallel between the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Grand National – and why neither should have gone ahead. Always try to do something that no one else has done.

2) Write in short paragraphs, not short sentences
Web readers like short paragraphs that they can scan, but short sentences work less well online. When writing for online users, remember to keep it readable, and keep it simple. Take a look at some successful blogs in your industry to see how other people are doing it, but most of all, take a look at online newspapers to see which ones you find most readable. You will develop your style the more you write.

3) Think of your keywords and ‘keyword groups’
A little keyword research goes a long way. If you are writing a blog post about, say, fair trade baby clothes, think about which other keywords could replace each word. Ethical, organic, kids, clothing, the list goes on. Think primarily of what people are interested in, and the various ways in which they would express it. Not everyone searches the way you do!

4) Use internal links to ‘spread the love’
An internal link is a link within your blog pointing to, for example, a product or a service page. One or two per article is the maximum, and make sure that you use anchor text like this: seo blog. The anchor text tells the search engine what the link is about, and passes some authority over to the linked page.

5) Let it flow
Before writing, put pen to paper and get as many ideas as you can for your blog post. Then, try sorting those ideas into a logical order so that when you come to write your blog post, it ‘flows’.

Readers appreciate a blog post that flows from one paragraph to another. They appreciate blog posts that develop an idea – as opposed to blog posts that are a hotch-potch of ideas which could be placed in any random order.

6) Break your blog up
People scan when reading online, and many people read a bit at the top, a bit at the bottom, then a bit in the middle. So give your readers some signposts – add a sub-header every 3 or 4 paragraphs.

You’ll often find Top 10 lists, or bullet-pointed ‘how to’ articles. While they are common to the point of being over-done (and they are mostly rubbish), they are very popular as they are readable and scannable.

7) Create links out to other websites
If you want to refer to other websites within your content – do so. You may have used their content as a reference, or you may think that your readers would value reading their content. So include a link – it may get noticed, and you may get a link in return.

Equally, search engines notice the sites that you link to. If you link to authoritative sources, then you will eventually be rewarded for doing so.

8) Read it to yourself, several times
Read it silently, and out loud, and keep editing. Find extraneous words, reduce sentences and paragraphs, without destroying the meaning.