Imagine you show up at someone’s house for a party.
Balloons and streamers adorn the front porch, letting you know you’re in the right place. You’re all dressed up (i.e., wearing jeans instead of joggers) and you’re proudly toting a bottle of wine.
You stand there in nervous anticipation for a few seconds—you don’t know these people all that well—and ring the bell. The host swings open the door, and…
No music, no decorations. Instead, you see just a few people perched on the couch, quietly eating cubes of sweating cheddar.
You feel yourself deflate and glance nervously back at the door.
This is exactly what you don’t want visitors to your blog to experience. They’ve made it all the way to your site, eagerly anticipating a good time. You don’t want them clicking on a post and instantly closing the tab.
So, how do you write a blog that’s worth reading?
Let’s look at six must-haves for writing the best blog posts. You’ll walk away with actionable tips for refreshing an existing blog post or writing a new one.
Almost every business has a blog these days—and for good reason. Blogs drive traffic to your site, increase your average time on site metric, and let you showcase your expertise.
But knowing you need to write blog posts and actually writing ones that’ll resonate with your visitors are two very different things.
Here’s how to avoid the blog equivalent of stale cheddar and awkward silence:
A good party host knows this, too: you’ve gotta greet guests at the door, take their coat, and ply them with offers of drink and food to get them to stay. 😉
I could’ve started this very blog post like this:
Writing a good blog is important but hard. Let’s dig in!
But no one—not even my mom (hi, Mom! 👋)—would want to read that.
Any kind of company, whether it’s a handmade jewelry company or a big ole tech company, can start its blogs with an interesting intro. (Please, I beg of you! Do this for me!)
To hook readers in and keep ‘em reading, try these tips:
One final note: Remember that you don’t have to write the intro first. Save it for last if it helps. Sometimes I write them early to get them over with—they are tricky!—and sometimes I save them for later if I want to get some small wins, like a subheading or two, under my belt first.
Was anyone around for the ‘80s? No? Just me?
At the very least, tell me you’ve seen a John Hughes movie or two.
In addition to some pretty amazing movies and music, the 80s offered structured clothing and linebacker-esque shoulder pads.
You’ll need to go just as heavy on structure for your blog posts. It sounds boring, but structure helps readers navigate your posts and keeps them reading.
Let’s start with the basics: H1s, H2s, and H3s.
If I’m staring at a blank page, I like to fill in the structure first. On the bar up at the top of your screen in Google docs, you’ll see a little drop-down menu that says, ‘Normal text.’ Click on the arrow. You’ll see a list of options. Use H1 for your on-page title, H2 for the main subsections, and H3s for the sections under those.
This formatting will not only provide you with a nifty little outline on the left side of your screen—but it will help create a structure that search engines (and human readers) like, too.
Fun fact: we once fostered a corgi puppy named Loki. Not-so-fun fact: Corgis are herding dogs, and Loki was an epic ankle-biter. (But cute as a button and personality plus!)
The only thing better than a short-and-snappy puppy is a short-and-snappy blog post.
By ‘short,’ I’m not talking about total length. Blog posts can be long—like this one, which is more like a guide. In fact, you’ll likely want your blog posts to be at least 1,000 words for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. (This Backlinko study found that the average page in the Google top 10 was 1,447 words.)
Individual sections should be short and easily digestible. Sentences should mostly be short, too. Strive for clarity above all else.
How can you ensure clarity? Cut the fluff. Go back and do one last read of your piece, cutting any words that don’t serve a purpose. You should be able to justify the existence of every single word in the blog post.
Look at each word or phrase and ask:
Be ruthless in your cutting. Cut anything that doesn’t fit with the subheading. Cut 80% of your adverbs. Cut filler phrases and jargon. Cut like you just want to go back to the free-and-easy days of preschool.
Let’s be honest here. There are two types of people who will stop by your blog: readers and skimmers. The readers will read every word (like this one—thank you, reader)! Skimmers are only here for the juicy bits. They don’t want to miss a thing, right, Aerosmith?
Use headings and subheadings—more than you think you need—and bold key sentences. (My skimmers just read this sentence. 🙌).
We’re all busy these days, and there’s limited time and virtually unlimited content. So, if your audience just wants to quickly pick out the M&Ms in the trail mix, let them!
What else can you do to help your skimmers?
Readers come to your blog for value. Full stop.
Give the people what they want!
This is not the time to stuff your writing full of keywords. You’ll get the reader to your site—if Google doesn’t see through you—but your reader will quickly turn on their heels.
Instead, show the reader that your content is different. It’s cooler, funnier, more interesting, or more actionable than the rest. That’s what will make your readers trust you—and keep them coming back for more.
How do you make it meaningful?
Is anyone else a visual person?
When I land on a blog without images, I feel anchorless, like I’m floating in the middle of a vast ocean with nothing to grasp onto. (Too much? 😆)
But seriously, visuals bolster the reader’s experience.
Let’s start with photos. Stock photos are fine—and there are plenty free ones for commercial use. Try Unsplash or The one Sara Recommends.
Looking to add even more personality? Use GIFs. These short video clips capture emotion and can help you connect with your reader with a shared interest or TV reference.
One more tip: In addition to screenshots, you can also add screen recordings to your blog posts. If you are providing a how-to for your reader, a screen recording can help a ton. Hit CTRL+SHFT+5 (command-shift-5 on a Mac). You’ll have the option to record all or part of your screen. Then, hit the same shortcut combo again to stop the recording.
We all want our blogs to be a poppin’ party with 90s hip-hop and a charcuterie that’s just too pretty to eat.
If you follow the tips above, your blogs will be more fun to write—and more fun to read. Your audience will look forward to your posts because they know they can expect value and a good time.
Overwhelmed? Start by tackling just one of the tips on this list. Go back and add a visual or two to old blog posts or polish up an intro.
Still overwhelmed? I’ve got you. Click here to learn more about my content writing services.
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Photos: Folchi Creative