Hello, internet buddies – today I’m going to be back spilling the tea about blogging. Namely, the part of it we all seem to sometimes kind of hate – the actual blog-post-creating part. I get it, I do. Writing a good blog post is hard. It’s time consuming, it’s elusive and sometimes it feels like it’s damn near impossible. Well, have no fear my friends – welcome to today’s post: How To Write Better Blog Posts; 10 Rules For Writing Engaging Blog Posts People Will Actually Read.
Well, that title was a mouthful.
If you want to make yourself a nice mug of tea and drink along with me while I hit you with this info-dump, today we’re drinking Twining’s Strawberry and Raspberry Tea and – let me tell you – it’s bloody great. (Yes, yes, can I get any more British?)
The cup? Well, this beautiful thang happens to be from Anthropologie and was a steal at £14. It’s gorgeous and I drink so much tea that I figured that buying myself a few cute mugs was justified. It’s for the blogging tips posts, right?
Now our drinks are set up . . . onto the tips!
Here’s the thing about blogging: just doing it is not good enough. Just bashing up a post and hitting publish isn’t going to get you anywhere. For your blog to be successful, people need to be reading it – and for people to be reading it, your writing needs to be good. It needs to be engaging, interesting, entertaining. You need people to like your content. You need them to want more!
All of this is easier said than done, right?
I’d like to think that I’m good at writing blog content. Admittedly, my writing is hardly pretty or flowery – and I’m pretty sure I regularly break like the first 20 rules of grammar – but you guys seem to like it. Most of the compliments my blog gets center around my writing (and, on occasion, my hair).
As I was wracking my over-exhausted and underfed brain* for post ideas, one said comment popped up. And, like a lightning bolt, inspiration** hit me . . . as did capitalist exploitation. Which posts always perform well? Blogging related posts. What post content makes me look like I actually listen to my followers? One they asked for! See, kids? This post is a total sweet-spot.
*seriously, husband who loves cooking, where art thou?
** an idea stolen from someone who literally asked me for this post, but sure I’m taking credit
So without further ado, I’m going to share some of my top tips for writing engaging blog posts. Let’s go.
1. Short paragraphs
The first tip is to shorten your paragraphs. If people see a big old block of text, people tune out and you’ve already lost them. Split your text up into smaller paragraphs.
2. Variety of sentence lengths & structures (hello, GCSE English)
Remember back to when you were taking your GCSEs and your teachers would tell you to use different sentence lengths? Well, they were right. Why? Because humans don’t like monotone – we don’t like it when people speak and we don’t like it when people write. Different sentence lengths can add emphasis to certain points, but they also keep your reader engaged.
Vary your sentence length! Add in some punch; keep it snappy and entertaining.
This also applies to sentence structure – and let’s not forget your sentence openers. Use different sentence openers; starting every sentence with “This” is a quick way to be boring as fuck. And it’s just bad literacy.
(Although call me out on that hypocrisy because starting a sentence with “and” is also bad literacy. My A* English GCSEs and Creative Writing A Level are rolling in their graves.)
3. Read. It. Back.
Best way to make sure that your writing actually makes sense? Read it back. Then read it again.
(This goes for things like making sure your points are easy to follow as well, by the way. If you’re explaining something and even you can’t follow your logic, nobody else can.)
4. Hell, say it back
This one I actually highly recommend – mainly because saying it out loud helps to determine if it’s interesting.
You can easily end up reading over your posts and inadvertently switch to textbook mode – you’re checking that they make sense and that the information is correct . . . but not necessarily if they’re entertaining. Reading your words aloud will help you get a feel of their flow.
If even you’re bored, you know you have an issue.
5. Insert images to break up text
Humans don’t like big blocks of text, our attention spans have been destroyed by our mobiles. Break up your text with images and people might actually stick around to the end of your post.
6. Rule of three, baby
And you people said we were never going to use what we learnt at school in our everyday lives! The rule of three, for those of you who don’t remember, is exactly what it sounds like:
Write things in groups of three.
For some reason, this really appeals to humans (and exam boards). Three sounds good to the mental ear (this, this and that) and, even when giving examples or explaining things, three tends to be the perfect number. 1, 2 & 3. A, B & C.
7. Use headings (for both SEO and aesthetics)
When you’re writing a blog post, one of the largest factors you need to consider is readability. How easily can your users consume your content? Does it look blocky and off-putting? Is the information set out somewhat simply?
Headings are a brilliant way to seperate the different segments of your blog post for your readers – but they also have the benefit of boosting your SEO.
8. This isn’t GCSE English, feel free to bend the rules for style points, baby
You’ll notice that I haven’t included too many writing techniques in here – and there’s reason for this. Blog content doesn’t need to be written in the same tone as print writing.
One of the first things you learn when doing Creative Writing or English is how to adopt a tone to fit whatever medium you’re using. If I’m writing stories, my tone and pacing is completely different to if I’m writing an article for a magazine.
There’s no exam board marking your blog posts. You don’t need to include fancy words, or make sure you’re using certain writing techniques – all you need to do is be somewhat entertaining. So fuck it; break the rules.
You aren’t technically meant to use a “…” for that purpose? Who cares? My friend and I is grammatically correct? Yeah, but sometimes being informal sounds better. You definitely shouldn’t be using so many semi-colons? Probably not – but I write how I talk and that’s with a lot of disjointed thoughts stuck together.
9. Write how you talk
I cannot tell you how much I value this tip. If I could give you one piece of advice only, it would be to write the same way you speak.
Blogging is informal; you’re trying to build a relationship with your readers – and how do you build relationships with people? By talking. By allowing your personality to shine through. By allowing them to feel comfortable and entertained when you open your mouth.
Your writing needs to be your metaphorical mouth. This got real weird, real quick.
10. Rhetorical questions!
Rhetorical questions are a great writing technique to implement in your blog posts. Why? I don’t really know, but they just do it for me.
Okay, you brilliant humans, we have finally reached the end of this post! I hope you took something useful from it; I guess if you don’t particularly enjoy my style of writing, you probably wouldn’t – but then why would be here in the first place?
If you want more blogging tips, I have an entire category dedicated to blogging advice, so make sure you take a browse! Even better (because, let’s face it, I’m hardly the best source of advice) I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to blogging tips. Give it a follow!
By the way, sorry if I’ve been a little inactive and slow to reply; I’ve been bulk writing and scheduling posts because my next couple of months are super busy. As of this post going live, I’m currently all written and photographed up until the 10th July – so I’m getting a lot of work done! So back to business as usual soon!
Alright, kids – that’s this post finished! Did you enjoy these tips? What’s your top tip for writing blog posts? And we can please discuss how beautiful that Anthropologie mug is? Let me know your thoughts down below!