Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tips for Writing a Successful Blog Post

There are a lot of articles out there that contain great points and insight. Unfortunately, many of them are ruined and never become successful because of grammar mistakes, the message not being conveyed clearly enough, or other such problems. Sometimes the article would require a mere five minutes to touch it up and make it nearly perfect, or sometimes it would simply not be ready for publishing yet. Either way, you don’t want to waste a great post idea on an article that no one will ever read or appreciate. If you implement the following tips hopefully you will see a great improvement in your writing and your site’s content from the first word to the last.

1. Come up with an eye-catching title.

It’s a proven fact that titles that are easy to read, enthusiastic, and even those that contain numbers do better than those that don’t. The title of your article should make the reader excited and should make them want to sit and read each word you’ve got to say. Which title is better: “10 Tips to Self Satisfaction and a Happier Life” or “Advice for Being More Happy”? The first one, of course! If your title is bland, how do you expect visitors to continue on to the actual content?

2. Make sure your post is easy to read.

Sometimes it’s all about the visuals. Most of the time online readers like to scan articles instead of spending two hours on them. Create titles within your post and highlight them with bold html. If your post can be written as a list instead, scrap the paragraphs and use numbers. The quicker and easier your article is to read, the better.

3. Reread your article and check for all errors.

No matter how great of a writer you are, you’re always going to mess up sometimes. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and botched up sentences will sometimes just slip through. If you aren’t good at recognizing mistakes at a first glance, try saving your article and reading it again in fifteen minutes or half an hour after it’s not totally fresh in your mind anymore. If you like, think about asking a friend to check over your article for you to find errors and offer advice.

4. Reread your post again and check to see if the message is clear.

If you go on and on about random things, or switch back and forth between multiple topics, or just didn’t get out the words the way you should have, then readers might not be able to grasp the message you’re trying to convey. Not all articles can be perfect the first time they’re written. If you have to, do some rewording here and there. If the post is a wreck but you think it’s worth saving, even consider trying to rewrite it. Don’t waste a great topic by publishing it within a horrible post no one will take the time to read!

5. Make sure all names, references, and URLs have been entered correctly.

If you’re writing another blogger’s name or linking to their site, it’s very important to make sure you haven’t spelled or typed in anything wrong. Most people won’t get offended by it, but it’s an embarrassing mistake to make. Also go through your post again and check all of your links and that there are no errors in either the URL or the anchor text.

6. Include the right mixture of internal linking.

It’s important to implement internal linking. You give exposure to posts you’ve written in the past, drive traffic to them, and share the link love with your other articles. Internal linking is especially helpful to provide fresh information for your readers or to refer them to another page for detailed information on any topic.

7. Add an image to your post.

This is something I often struggle with because usually I can’t think of any good images that would work in articles. But if you have the time or if you have an idea for an image to add to your post, then don’t hesitate. Images are interesting and catch the eye. Just make sure it’s the right size, doesn’t mess up your layout, and that the background and overall image blend in nicely. Also make sure you have the right URL and tags keyed in for your image.

8. Understand that spell check is your best friend.

Even though you’ve manually checked for errors earlier, including spelling errors, there’s always a possibility you could have missed something or didn’t even know something you spelled was incorrect. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us! That’s why the spell check was invented. If you use Firefox you have a built-in spell check, and if you use the Wordpress platform there is one. If you’re writing your articles using a program such as Word, then you’ll have a spell check there too. Almost everywhere has spell check!

9. Get your post where it’s supposed to be at the right time.

Tag your post properly and make sure it’s placed in the correct categories so it can easily be located on your blog. Then make sure you are publishing your post at an appropriate time. If you’re using the Wordpress platform, understand that timestamp, just like spell check, is your best friend. Publish your post on the day of the week that it will receive the best exposure, according to your site’s statistics.

10. Make sure your article is seen by everyone!

You’ve obviously worked extremely hard on producing a very well-written and thought up article, so of course everyone needs to know about it. Email other bloggers who you think might be interested in your post, and leave comments on articles relevant to what you’ve written, linking back to your post. Stumble it with StumbleUpon and have it dugg on Digg. Get it out into the blogosphere and into all the social media sites. Good luck, and happy blogging! If you like, please share your own tips in the comments section below for writing a successful post.

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