Wouldn’t it be amazing if writing a blog post was just a case of sitting down and the words just flowed freely, without too much of a thought for having to do anything else at all?
Of course, at times it can be that simple but mostly these posts need a lot more effort than that and are very time-consuming.
A lot of effort goes into bloggers writing. Here are just a few of the things we need to remember to do every time we write a post.
A to Z of writing blog posts
A – Agonise over a good title or alt tags which are descriptions on your images explaining what the photo is for the visually impaired. There is also the Anchor Text to consider
B – Browse social media for the next 2 hours for inspiration
C – Canva is a great resource for creating eye-catching images for your posts. You can add text, create an infographic and even Pinterest images with clickable links. I use the free version which has all I need on it
D – Disclaimer. Make readers aware if this is a paid post, review post, advertorial etc.
E – Edit or proofread. Take time to check your writing over to make sure spellings are corrected and it makes sense.
F – Feature image. For those of us using WP this is an image which goes at the top of your blog post and which is pulled through to social media when you share your post
G – Grammarly. This is a chrome extension which highlights gramme and spelling errors (handy for those of us without A levels in English), there is also Google Adsense if you have it set up and then, of course, remembering to add in a few adverts to make a few pennies.
H – Headings, is it clear from your title what your post is about. Would you click on that if it popped up on your timeline? Clickbait is a huge NO NO for me and I hate it.
You can also use subheadings which helps to break up your text, gives the readers a clear idea what the next piece of text will be about and is also great for readability.
I – Ideas. If you have an idea for a blog post at midnight, jot it down quickly otherwise you’ll be unlikely to remember when you wake up.
J – JPEG, OK, I struggled with something to add to J but every blog post does need images either your own or stock images. You’ll also want to resize these to fit the width of your blog and compress them so they take up less space.
K – Keywords, what your post is about or what you would like it to be found in search engines for.
L – Links. Does your post include links both internal and external? Internal are ones lining back to your own posts/pages which is good SEO practice and external link to other websites.
M – Meta tags. A short description of what your blog post is about, usually containing your keywords.
N – NoFollow or DoFollow – NoFollow links are links that don’t give the linkee any search engine link juice. Follow links can be used if you aren’t being paid to write about something or haven’t been given it to review etc. I’m not getting into these any further in this post – which you use is a personal choice and only Google’s guidelines, not the law. This is a post I wrote for BlogOn on Follow and NoFollow links.
O – Outsource. OK, another letter I struggled a little with but there are things which can be outsourced easily – I have a wonderful VA (virtual assistant) who does some of my social media for me. Other things could be stock images – you could spend ages to take a perfect shot to accompany a blog post or you could pay for images, I use DepositPhotos quite a lot and they are very cheap (never grab images from Google) or there is Pixabay or Unsplash which are free.
P – Promotion. You’ve spent anything from 20 minutes to a few hours writing your post but readers won’t automatically find it. Promote your blog/content over social media, to your email subscribers and add a Pinnable image so it can be shared to Pinterest. If it’s about a local event/attraction why not share it with that company or on local FB pages. Tag in brands. (if you’ve received tickets /items etc to write about or been paid don’t forget to make that clear to your readers)
Q – Quote. Try adding a clear quote into your blog post, this is handy for prs to send over to their clients or gives others something to reference if sharing your post. It could even be a Question….. Engage with your audience by finishing your post with a question, this gives them a reason to leave a comment
R – Readability. Are your paragraphs too long? Is your reader able to read them easily? Is your post too long/too short? Yoast has a traffic light system to help with this and SEO.
S – SEO. Yoast is a great plugin for WP Blogs which helps you with SEO. Remember you need to add keywords to your title, within the first paragraph and again a few more times within your text.
T – Treats. Needed of course to get you to the end of your to-do list without falling asleep.
U – Unique. Making a blog post unique and stand out is hard but after a time you find your own voice, so while you may have a similar idea to someone else, writing in your own style and keeping your own voice is the best thing to do. Your readers will soon learn the tone of your writing and will know if it’s yours or you’ve added a copy/paste article to your blogs.
V – Viral. We can only hope but making sure your content is easy to find, readable and worth sharing really does go a long way. We all dream of that viral post. It happened once to me on Xmas day for a toy review as the toy didn’t work well. 3 years on I still get hundreds of hits weekly on that post (not the 24k I got in one day sadly but it all helps).
W – Wine, a treat for finishing the post. Of course, it could be coffee or tea but those letters were filled.
X – X-rated. Remembering to cut out the swear words which accidentally creep in when I am writing as I would talk to a friend.
Y – Yourself. Yes, I am stuck again here. But when writing a post, even a sponsored one which I have been paid to write I always try to keep it personal and in keeping with all my other posts. If writing about holidays or holiday destinations, for example, I will use anecdotes of our own holidays, images of the kids playing on the beach, talk about keeping them amused on long journeys – and the things which don’t work as well as those which do. I far prefer reading blogs and posts which are relatable. Just because I am paid for some pieces of writing doesn’t mean my style of writing should change too.
Z – zzzzzz and sleep, you’ve finally finished. Head to bed and dream of waking to a viral post.
As you can see, there is more behind the scenes workings than you’ll ever notice by just reading our posts. It’s certainly not an easy task, and that’s without the procrastination added into the day, the answering emails for people wanting backlinks into our posts for free or the hours spent going back and forth with clients only to discover they expect us to work for exposure… Well I’m sorry, that doesn’t pay my mortgage or make me want to spend a huge chunk of time ticking all the boxes above for nothing.
I’m sure I have missed some other vital elements, can you think of anything else to add?