If you're working your way through the How to Start a Blog or Website series, I recommend you write at least ten posts before you even set up your blog. Twenty is better. Yes, I'm serious. Write them on paper or on your computer, but just write 'em and save 'em. You may be tempted to skip this step, but trust me, you'll be so glad you did. There are many benefits:
- It helps you clarify the direction and topic of your blog. Funny how sometimes we start to write something and end up in a place we never anticipated.
- It gives you a good collection of content once your blog is live. Make these posts your best stuff. You want something great for people to read when they visit your new blog.
- It makes it very apparent if blogging is right for you. Maybe you'll start to write and decide you'd rather spend your time doing something else.
- It helps you know whether or not you have enough to say. Once you finish 10-20 posts, ask yourself if you can imagine writing like this for several more years. (If not but you don't want to waste what you've already written, turn it into an ebook.)
- It allows you to concentrate on other aspects of your blog at the beginning. It's nice not to have to worry about writing when you're trying to deal with the snags that come with launching a blog.
Here are some tips for writing great content. Clearly you won't incorporate all these tips into every post, but this gives you an idea of what makes for great content.
1. Make your posts scannable & easy to read
Online readers scan; they don't read like they read a book. Therefore,
- Use lists.
- Use headings.
- Use bold, italics and other text formats (but not so many that it's jarring).
- Use lots of short paragraphs.
- Or to put it another way, avoid long paragraphs.
- Or to put it another way, break up your content into small chunks of text.
- Break up long posts into a series of posts.
- Don't use light text on a dark background. It's hard on the eyes.
2. Be helpful and/or entertaining
- Offer something useful.
- Give practical advice.
- Write a tutorial or a how-to post. Include images (here's how to find free ones).
- Solve a problem.
- Create a video or screencast.
- Interview an expert.
- Compile a list of your favorite niche resources.
- Be you. Be you. Be you.
3. Be engaging & "sticky"
- Start your posts well.
- Link internally to past posts and comments.
- Post regularly.
- When you write a series of posts, use cliffhangers at the end of each one.
- Interact in the comments on your own blog, but also on other blogs.
- Cross promote.
- End your posts well.
Other posts in this series
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Intro & FAQ
- How to Start a Blog or Website: Cheat Sheet
- How to Find (or Refind) Your Passion
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for Readers?
- How to Decide What to Blog About: What Works for You?
- Understand Branding: 4 Tips
- Understand Keywords: Increase the Odds of Getting Found
- Writing Great Content: 3 Tips
- How to Write a Killer About Page
- 12 Blog Organization Tips
- How to Choose a Domain Name: 12 Tips
- How to Register a Domain Name
- How to Set Up Hosting and WordPress
- How to Change Your Nameservers
- How to Add a New User in WordPress
- How to Optimize Your WordPress Settings
- How to Install a Plugin
- My Favorite Plugins
- How to Get & Optimize a Feedburner Feed
- How to Choose a WordPress Theme
- How to Install a WordPress Theme
- Elegant Themes for WordPress
- How to Install Google Analytics
- How to Use WordPress: Tips & Tricks
- How to Start a Blog or Website: 10 Tips for New Bloggers