In this part I’ll give you many of the writing tips I learned the hard way (by writing terrible blog posts when I started).
Writing Killer Headlines
What causes you to read a blog post?
It’s the most important thing. Without a good blog title, your post won’t ever get read. A great headline will cause people to click and read your blog.
A bad headline does the opposite.
There is an art and science to writing great headlines. Let’s keep it simple, so you don’t get too bogged down.
Here is an exercise you should try:
1. For every blog post write ten headlines (yes, 10) in five minutes.
2. Use a headline analyzer
To create better headlines use a headline analyzer to check your ideas. Both of these are free:
• CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer; checks how good your headline is.
• Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer.
You’ll get different results from each because they measure things differently. One might give you a high score and the other a low score for the same headline.
Try not to get bogged down creating the perfect headline. A good headline is better than not publishing your post.
What do you do with all those extra headlines you wrote? Try different versions when you’re sharing your posts on social media. When you share your content, you don’t have to use the same title as the one on your blog.
AVOID USING ALL CAPS IN YOUR BLOG TITLE!
It makes it seem like you are yelling at the reader. Capitalizing one or two words for emphasis is OK!
Writing Really Long Posts
If you want to rank higher in search engine results write longer posts. A blog post that is 1,000 words long is seen as having greater value than a blog post that is 300 words long on the same subject.
Studies have proven this.
At a minimum, your blog posts should be 500 words long. If you have to choose writing three blog posts that are 500 words each or writing one long 1,500-word article on the same topic – write one long article.
I know what you’re thinking –
But I’ll have three articles instead of one!
The more time a reader spends on a single page the better. Search engines record the time readers spend on a page. My best blog posts are the ones that take over 5 minutes to read, and Google ranks them very high in search results.
Proofread, proofread, proofread
The grammar police will arrest you.
• They send emails
• They write nasty comments
• They will never come back to your blog if you write poorly
If English is your second language and you’re writing for an English audience, it’s even more important to get it correct. But there is an easy fix. Here is the exact process I have used to become a better writer.
1. Write first; Forget about spelling, proofreading, and grammar as you go along. Just write the dang post and get it 95% of the way there.
2. Proofread; Copy/paste your post into Grammarly (Grammarly is a free online proofreading tool). It catches most grammar and spelling errors.
3. Read your blog post out loud to yourself; You’ll catch any remaining errors including things you’ve written that don’t make any sense if you read what you’ve written out loud. Trust me – it works.
Note: I do not write in WordPress. I lost a really long article once because auto-save wasn’t turned on. I’ve never written my posts in WordPress since. I write in Evernote (it’s free) because it helps me keep my content organized.
That’s my process for every blog post. It’s simple, fast, and free. I don’t hire professional proofreaders, and I rarely get the grammar police contacting me.
Create a schedule and stick to it
To make money blogging, you have to blog. It may sound silly, but you can’t make money working if you don’t show up to work.
At a minimum, you should blog at least once a week. If you blog less frequently the chances of you making extra money decrease dramatically. You need content on your blog to attract readers.
If you don’t blog regularly, your readers may not come back or move on to other blogs.
The secret to a better writing
The best way to get better at writing (in fact the only way) is to write more and more.
Here’s a tidbit every blogger will tell you – the stuff you write first is going to be terrible. I know because my first blog posts were too. When you look back 2–3 years from now at your earlier posts, you’ll say the same thing we all say:
I can’t believe how bad this is!
It’s normal. A baby doesn’t get up one day and start running 5k races. They fall on their face and butt over and over again. Then they start to wobble a little. Then they fall back down. In a few weeks, they start walking. And so on.
I encourage you just to write. Your writing will get better. My blog writing has improved since I started. It’s because I kept doing it and reading other blogs to see what made their content great.
1. Create a Content Calendar – Keep it simple. Write down the topic of each blog post you will write over the next 30 days. One per week each week for the next four weeks.
2. Create Ten Headlines – Try creating ten headlines for your next blog post using the Headline tools.
3. Read How To Write Great Blog Posts – In my How To Start a Blog Guide. I go into great detail about the structure and content of good writing.