So, you want to learn how to write a blog post? Sounds easy, right? Just open a blank doc and start typing.
While some bloggers can crank out blog content, others of us *raises hand* need a little help getting started. I mean, it’s overwhelming. You’ve got to decide what to write about, how to organize it into a cohesive article — and it’s got to look good.
One of the first blogging mistakes I made was not paying attention to what makes a good blog post. I just put stuff on the page and hit the publish button without thinking much about it.
I’ve gone back and rewritten most of those old cringe-worthy posts because they were baaaddd.
So let me help you avoid the mistakes I made as a brand new blogger, and get you started off right. This post is going to cover exactly how to write a blog post from start to finish. This step-by-step guide will help you write professional-looking and authentic blog posts that put you on the right path or a successful, money-making blog.
How to write a blog post in 8 steps
1. Start your blog
I’m starting these steps at the very beginning in case you’re interested in blog writing but haven’t started your blog yet. If you have, then you can scroll ahead to Step #2.
There are a bunch of different blog hosting sites, but WordPress is, by far, the most popular place to start a blog, especially if you want to learn how to make money writing a blog. I use WordPress for this site, and all of the professional bloggers I know use it, too. Self-hosted WordPress gives you complete ownership of your content, which lets you control how and when you monetize your blog.
Then you need to choose a blog host -- that’s who stores all of the content you keep on your blog, like videos, images, etc. I highly recommend going with Bluehost, which is under $3/month. Plus, WordPress comes free with Bluehost, so that’s a big perk of going with them.
You can learn exactly how to start a blog in my step-by-step guide. I break everything down for you in that post with pictures, a video, and detailed instructions.
Also, if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed with the blog set-up process, I have a free service called Launch That Blog for anyone who signs up for Bluehost using my exclusive M$M link.
With Launch That Blog, my team sets your WordPress blog up for free. We install the must-have plug-ins, a professional and customizable theme, and teach you how to use your new blog. This way you can focus on learning how to make money writing a blog and not get stressed by the set-up process.
Since many of you will have already started your blog, let’s move on and get into the bulk of how to write a blog post.
2. Choose a topic
Picking a topic is the foundation for every blog post you’re going to write, and it’s incredibly important to pick topics interesting to you. Sure, you want to write blog content that’s relevant to your audience, but if you’re going to make money blogging, then you’re in it for the long haul and need to find a way to stay motivated.
Being passionate about what you write about, or at least interested in your topic is key, and it has a two-fold effect:
- Choosing a blog topic that interests you makes the work feel like fun. Throughout your blog’s life, you’ll probably be writing 1000+ posts, can you imagine if even half of those posts are ones you don’t care about?
- Your enthusiasm shows in your writing and gets your audience excited about reading more.
You can tell when a writer is bored or doesn’t care about the content, and there’s nothing worse than that. I mean, why would you want to take advice from someone who didn’t care about what they were saying?
But the reality is that not every post is going to be a party. Sometimes you have to find a way to connect to the topic to keep it interesting for you.
I mean, I started a personal finance blog because I’m legitimately interested in talking about money, especially helping people take control of their financial lives. But not every personal finance topic is fun.
For example, I recently wrote an article about how to start an LLC. Not exciting stuff, but I kept in mind how it would help my readers. I put myself in their shoes and remembered back to starting this site, and how overwhelmed I was with the business end of things. So I got interested in the topic, thinking about making things easier for my audience.
The bottom line here is that your blog’s niche will help you decide what your audience wants to read, but your enthusiasm is what keeps them on the page.
3. Start with a working title
A working title is a placeholder, and putting one at the top of your blog post can give you some direction and focus your post. There’s nothing more intimidating than staring at an empty page.
This is one of the tips for writing a blog that I still use after nearly 5 years of blogging. You can always edit your title later, but it helps to start putting words on the page so you can start writing your blog post.
Your blog post can follow one of a few different kinds of article types, depending on your topic. These are common kinds of blog posts because they work well for you and your reader, and they’ll help you come up with a title:
- How-to: These are informative blog posts that explain something.
- Listicle: Buzzfeed made this kind of post famous and works for all kinds of bloggers.
- Definition post: Choose a term that’s relevant to your niche and define it using simple language.
- Reviews: Do an in-depth review on a product or service that’s relevant to your audience.
- Resource/link list: You compile a list of helpful articles or links about a single topic and share it with your audience.
Now that you’ve got some ideas for the kinds of posts you can write, let’s check out some examples of titles to get your creative juices flowing.
We’re going to pretend you’re a coffee blogger, and you want to write about French presses. The French press is your topic, and using the article types above, here are some title ideas that can guide your post:
- How to Use a French Press in 5 Simple Steps
- 7 Best French Presses Under $30
- What is a French Press & How Does It Work?
- The Ultimate French Press Review: Is This French Press Worth It?
- 10 Unexpected Ways to Use Your French Press (this would link to articles on other blogs for each “way”)
Any of those titles would give you a solid place to start writing your blog post. What’s kind of cool is that you get five post ideas from one topic, and you can write a blog post for each iteration.
Remember, you can always go back and tweak your title a little bit. I like to use the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer when I’m polishing up titles. It’s free to use and analyzes each word in your title so you can see how subtle differences perform better or worse.
4. Write an introduction that readers can’t ignore
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes… They click on a link to your article, maybe someone shared the link or they found it on Google. They start reading your post but it’s just, well, blah.
In the words of Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for that!
Your reader has a finite amount of time, and if you don't give them a reason to stick around, they’re gone.
You want your blog post to grab your readers and give them a reason to read on. And if you want to learn how to make money writing a blog, keeping readers on the page has a massive effect on your ability to generate income from your blog.
Start your post with a short question, joke, a shocking statistic, or something that hits a pain point and draws out emotion. I like starting with a story because I think it helps connect with readers.
One of the craziest things I’ve ever done was quit my stable teaching job after making only $3 from my blog.
Right now you’re probably thinking: Uhh, Bobby you’re a personal finance blogger and that sounds like the worst money move ever.
I get it. It wasn’t the smartest move, but I had a plan.
I was determined to turn my little site into a 7-figure blog, and here’s how I did it…
There’s immediate intrigue because my story is kind of crazy, and the start is completely unexpected from a guy that makes his living giving out financial advice. So you want to read on to find out if I’m full of it or do have a solid plan.
No matter what you’re writing about, even if it’s something kind of bland like weed whackers or accounting software, do something that makes your post stand out.
5. Organize your blog content
Writing a blog post can be overwhelming at times. You want to make sure you cover every step and piece of information, and answer every question your reader might have. That’s a lot.
Drawing up an outline gives you a chance to organize all of your thoughts so you don’t miss anything. It’s honestly one of the most practical tips for writing a blog, and you’re just putting together a list of everything you want to cover.
Your outline organizes and structures your post, which is great for you as the writer, but it also helps you guide your readers on a journey from start to finish. You’re breaking down the blog post into easy-to-digest chunks of information for them.
There are different outlines for different kinds of posts. Some are obvious, like a listicle will be organized numerically. A step-by-step guide is organized by, well, one step after the other. Makes sense, right?
But for not-so-obvious outlines, here’s a template I used when I’m outline a new post:
Not every topic will fit that structure, but you can use that blog example outline to help you get started with yours.
6. Deliver content that easy to digest
Have you noticed that most of the paragraphs in this post are 3-4 sentences long at most? There are even a bunch that are a single sentence.
That might make your high school English teacher cringe, but it’s what works best for blogs.
Short paragraphs break up content so your reader isn’t staring at a wall of text. It gives your audience a chance to breathe, and it’s easier for them to find their place if they were distracted.
Besides short paragraphs, here are a few more tips that will help you write digestible content:
- Use subheadings: Crafting an outline helps create subheadings, but you can break down those sections with smaller subheadings.
- Make important points stand out: Bold any key things your reader needs to see. Readers are scanners, and bolding helps them find the good stuff.
- Use bullet points: There’s a reason I’ve broken down some of this article into short lists. It’s easy to digest!
- Add images: When it’s appropriate and adds value, images can break up content and keep readers interested.
- Stick with a simple font: Swirly, curly fonts might look nice to some people, but they’re tough to read. Same goes with the color -- a basic color that contrasts with your background is best for standing out on the page.
7. Wrap it all up with a conclusion
You’re so close! Pretty much all of the hard work is finished, and no you’re just putting on the end piece.
Now, some people think the conclusion is a throw-away section-- you know something no one is reading. That’s true for some readers, but others will scroll down to the conclusion thinking that’s where they’re going to get the final point. Don’t disappoint those readers!
The best thing to do is to quickly summarize the most important points of your post. Like: You learned about _______, and it’s great because of _______ and _______. But don’t forget about _______.
I’m a big fan of a little motivational pep talk at the end too. Tell your readers you believe in their ability to use the information you wrote about in the post and charge them to take action.
A pep talk can be a simple reminder about why the topic was important for them to learn about, and that you believe in their ability to get started.
8. Polish your post
Give yourself a round of applause because you just finished writing your blog post. Now put your post aside for a little bit and take a break before you look back over your post to clean up everything.
I know you’re probably anxious to edit and hit the publish button, but you’ve probably been staring at your screen for hours and you need to put some space between you and your blog. Even just 24 can make a big difference.
When your break is over, you’ll be ready to edit with a fresh set of eyes. Here’s are some tips for editing your post:
- Cut the fat. Get rid of any unnecessary words, sentences, paragraphs, etc. The goal is a concise post so you’re not wasting your readers time.
- Explain things. Make sure you explain overly complicated phrases or terminology. Depending on the audience and topic, it’s possible they know exactly what you’re talking about, but don’t assume so.
- Ditch the lectures. There can be a fine between knowledgeable and condescending, and your reader won’t like being talked down to. Just tweak those sentences so your reader knows you’ve got their back.
- Avoid problematic language. Unfortunately, there are some words and phrases ingrained in our society that are harmful to others. It’s your responsibility to create a space that’s welcoming and open, and accessible to everyone, and you can do that by removing language that’s derogatory or divisive.
- Smooth out transitions. You want your post to slide from one topic to the next and not jar readers.
- Watch out for repetition. Are there words or phrases that you use over and over again? If so, cut them as much as possible.
- Check your sources. If you’re using data or statistics or have some not-so-well-known facts to share, check it again before publishing. Also, make sure you give credit by sharing your source.
- Fix grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. I’m sure you know this, but do a final check for writing errors. Software like Grammarly can be a massive help if you’re not a natural proofreader.
It may take you two or three passes of your post before it’s completely ready to go, and you don’t want to rush it.
I promise this step is worth your time. Your credibility and ability to make money writing a blog depends on how professional your post looks.
How to write a blog post: the final word
Whenever I tell someone I’m a blogger, I get a look of disbelief, like they don’t believe that blogging is a real job. There are also a lot of people who think it’s easy, easy work.
But considering the amount of work that goes into writing a single blog post, you know it’s more than that.
That’s why in the beginning, I said to pick topics that interest you, or at least find a way to connect to them. Then you can take it step-by-step so you’re not overwhelmed staring at a blank page.
But here’s the thing, the investment you’re making in your blog is something that can change your life. I went from a high school band director to a 7-figure business owner in 5 years.
Not everyone will have that trajectory, but there’s money to be made online, you just have to get started.
It might be hard at first, but I promise that writing a blog gets easier over time.
Now go forth, you’ve got work to do!