In my blog posts Choosing a blog platform and Setting up a free WordPress blog you will discover that setting up a blog using a blogging platform such as WordPress is quite easy even for the technologically challenged. So it is now time to move on to the really important bit – how to write a blog post.
If you are an inexperienced writer, it is worth taking the time to get the basics right before you publish your first post. There is a vast amount of blog content out there which is poorly written but with the right preparation, your content does not have to fall into that category.
How to write a blog post – start by getting to grips with English grammar
One of the first rules of writing good blog content is understanding English grammar and knowing how to use it correctly. If your writing is ungrammatical and littered with spelling errors it will be very difficult for your readers to understand and follow.
Even the incorrect use of commas and full stops can affect the flow of your writing and so if you know you have a problem with the basics of English grammar, then either look online for some help or get yourself a good book (or two). Here are a few suggestions:
Accidence Will Happen: The non-pedantic guide to English usage by Oliver Kamm.
The briefest English grammar and punctuation guide ever by Ruth Colman.
Grammar for Grown Ups by Katherine Fry and Rowena Kirton.
You can purchase these books by clicking on the links below.
Read other peoples’ blogs
If you are stuck for ideas or just don’t know how to begin, search for blogs in your genre to find out what other people are writing about and what style and tone they use to engage their readers. If you find a blog you particularly enjoy, subscribe to it so as you are notified every time a new blog is posted. Following other peoples’ blogs is a great way to learn how to write a blog post.
Think about your audience
Most blogging platforms allow you to control who can view your blog. So, if for example, you only want family and friends to have access, you can make your blog completely private. However, if you want to reach a wider audience, you should make your blog public. It is important to think about who you see as your potential audience before you start writing because this may not only affect your writing style but it may also determine the content.
Keep your sentences and paragraphs short
John Ruskin said “Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them”.
Visitors to websites and blogs don’t hang around long if they are confronted by continuous dense text with no white space. However, even in a world where we apparently all suffer from a short attention span, if you present your content effectively and clearly your readers will stay long enough to read what you have to say.
I tend to break up my blog posts with headings to make them easier to read but if you are writing a narrative, then headings may not be appropriate. So, a good way of getting people to read your blog is to aim for short sentences (they are easier to read, particularly online) and to make sure that each paragraph has a single focus or point (but try to make your point in just two or three sentences).
Read your blog out loud
One of the best ways of checking whether your blog content reads and flows well is to read it out loud. If you find yourself gasping for breath in the middle of a sentence, it is probably too long or should at least have a comma at that point. Or, if you stumble over a sentence or paragraph, may be it is because you have phrased it clumsily.
Reading out loud also gives you a sense of whether what you have written actually sounds like ‘you’ and if it holds your interest. If you start to yawn, just think how your readers will feel.
Proofread your blog before you publish it
Before you publish a blog post always proofread it at least once to check for any errors. If like me you have a problem spotting your own errors (we all read what we think we have written), then ask someone else to proofread it for you.