One of most important things you can do as you build a blog, whether the blog is for your business or the business is your blog, is to write better content. You don't have to be a perfect writer to produce good content.
As you consider how to improve your blog content, here are 6 things to keep in mind:
1. Determine Your Goal
Before you start writing a blog post, stop and think about the goal of the content. What do you want to accomplish? Figure out whether your post will be a how-to, an entertaining list, or a piece of news. You might want to try to influence the reader's opinion, or direct him or her to make a purchase. Once you know why you are writing a particular post, you will be able to concentrate your efforts toward that end.
2. Consider the Reader
Think like your reader. Put yourself in the position of a reader approaching your blog? How would you want the information presented? What word choice should you avoid? What is most important to the reader? Take a few minutes to organize your thoughts before you start writing to ensure that you know your goal — and how it can benefit the reader in some way. You don't have to write out a formal post outline (I rarely do), but it can help to take a deep breath, and spend two minutes thinking about the post, and what you want to convey from the reader's point of view.
3. Write in a Readable Manner
Writing for the Internet requires that you follow certain practices to make the content more readable. Some of the things to consider include:
- Include short sentences: While you can use longer sentences to add variety, make sure most of the sentences are fairly short.
- Short paragraphs: Large blocks of text are daunting.
- Subheads: Clearly partition the content so that it is easy to scan.
- Lists: Lists and bullet points add to scanability, and make it easy for readers to process the information.
4. Let the Reader Know What to Expect
Readers don't like to be let down. Let the reader know what to expect, and then keep your promise. Write clear, direct headlines. Follow the basic rules of composition that include starting out with a main idea, then supporting that idea and expounding on it, and then concluding by tying it back to the main idea. This formula satisfies the reader, and it can help you stay on track as you create your blog post.
5. Don't Confuse Writing and Editing
It's common to try to edit as you write. However, this can frustrate you, and stymie the process. If you are writing, then write. Let it flow. Realize that editing is a separate process, and comes later. Wait until you are done writing, and then return to the work and edit it. If you keep stopping to erase a sentence here, or move a paragraph there, you will lose the thread of your writing, and become frustrated.
6. Proofread Before You Publish
Even the best writers make mistakes. And, even the best writers overlook mistakes, even after editing. However, you can cut down on mistakes by proofreading before you publish. Improper grammar, misspellings, typos, and other errors distract the reader and detract from your content. Try reading your blog post aloud before you publish, or even have someone else look at it.
Better blog content can draw more people to your web site, and boost your business. Writer better content, and the readers will eventually follow.
Photo: Pascal Maramis