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How to Craft a Blog Post – 10 Crucial Points to Pause

It hits you like a TON of BRICKS! It’s an idea for that KILLER blog post that is just bound to bring you all the traffic that you’ve ever dreamed of.

With the idea fresh in your mind you sit down at your keyboard and BANG it out – desperate to hit publish as quickly as you can for fear that someone else will beat you to the PUNCH!

PublishImage by pallotron

As SMOKE rises from your keyboard you complete your post, quickly add a title to it and proudly hit PUBLISH!

Visions of an avalanche of visitors, incoming links and comments swirl before you.

But then…

Reality hits you like a SLAP in the face. There are few visitors, no comments and no links. It’s not a KILLER post – it’s DEAD.

Ever had that experience?

I have – many many times over.

Today I want to start a series of posts that will walk you through an alternative workflow for constructing a blog post – one that takes…. time.

How-To-Craft-A-Blog-Post
Image by Samyra.S

If there’s one lesson that I’ve learnt about writing for the web it’s that a key element to writing successful blog posts is that in most cases they take time to CREATE.

I emphasize ‘create’ because I think too often as bloggers we ‘PUNCH’ out content as though we’re in a race or under some kind of deadline. It’s almost like we’re on a production line at times – unfortunately the posts we write often reflect this.

In this series I want to suggest an alternative approach – the crafting (or creation) of content.

This process is a more thoughtful process that is about crafting words and ideas – shaping posts into content that take readers on a journey.

To kick off this series I want to suggest 10 points to pause at when writing a post on your blog. I’ll include a link to each post that follows in this series as I update them.

Instead of rushing through a post – I find that if I pause at these key moments my post rises to a new level of quality and posts tend to get more traction with readers. They don’t guarantee the perfect post – but they certainly take you a step closer to a good one.

  1. Choosing a Topic – take a little extra time defining your topic and the post will flow better and you’ll develop something that matters to readers.
  2. Crafting Your Post’s Title – perhaps the most crucial part of actually getting readers to start reading your post when they see it in an RSS reader or search engine results page.
  3. The Opening Line – first impressions matter. Once you’ve got someone past your post’s title your opening line draws them deeper into your post.
  4. Your ‘point/s’ (making your posts matter) - a post needs to have a point. If it’s just an intriguing title and opening you’ll get people to read – but if the post doesn’t ‘matter’ to them it’ll never get traction.
  5. Call to Action – driving readers to do something cements a post in their mind and helps them to apply it and helps you to make a deeper connection with them.
  6. Adding Depth – before publishing your post – ask yourself how you could add depth to it and make it even more useful and memorable to readers?
  7. Quality Control and Polishing of Posts – small mistakes can be barriers to engagement for some readers. Spending time fixing errors and making a post ‘look’ good can take it to the next level.
  8. Timing of Publishing Your Post – timing can be everything – strategic timing of posts can ensure the right people see it at the right time.
  9. Post Promotion – having hit publish – don’t just leave it to chance that your post will be read by people. Giving it a few strategic ‘nudges’ can increase the exposure it gets exponentially.
  10. Conversation – often the real action happens once your post is published and being interacted with by readers and other bloggers. Taking time to dialogue can be very fruitful.

Taking extra time at each of these 10 points looks different for me in every post that I do – but I believe that every extra moment spent of these tasks pays off.

Some times the pause I take in one step will be momentary while in others it could take hours or even days to get it just right. Sometimes the above process happens quite automatically and other times I need to force myself to stop and ponder something like a title or the timing of a post.

Each of the 10 points above have much more that could be said about them so over the weeks I’ll be tackling each in turn in the hope that we can have some good discussion and sharing of ideas around them. I’ll link to each of them from within the list above as I release the posts.

For each point I hope to give some insight into how I tackle them and will share a few practical tips and examples of what I’ve done that has worked (and not worked). Don’t expect posts each day on this series – like all good things – this will take us some time!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Darren-

    The call to action is HUGE! Thanks for mentioning it, as I rarely actually make it a priority in my posts.

  2. Mike says:

    Darren, this is the first time on your site. I am semi new to blogging – I actually ran across it on accident looking for new template for my real estate sites. I discovered wordpress and a found a great template but I am still a little intimidated by the writing of a post. This is a great example you have posted here. Thanks

  3. Gatt says:

    Darren, I have seen many times you use flickr images with Non-commercial creative commons license (for eaxample both images used in this blog post). I always thought we can’t use such images on monetized blog. Do you take permission from copyright owners? Can you throw some lights?

  4. Excellent list! The Urbane Lion and I have a huge whiteboard where we keep track of post ideas and blogging to dos. I am going to add these 10 points, as a visual checklist and reminder as we are working on our posts.

  5. These ten steps are very well written. With help like this I can really start exploring what my writing ablities really are and start creating post that are more appiling to my audence. www. revenueherald.com

  6. This is great! Definitey a bookmark worthy post – it’s vital to your blog’s success to be thorough!

  7. Dana says:

    Thank you for this post. As always, your content is timely. I look forward to the future posts.

    Dana

  8. Davina says:

    This makes me want to write another post. I’ve got the bug today! Great list. It seems that there is a formula to the creative process.

  9. I think what’s important to keep in mind is that everyone should focus on writing well-written blog posts — and always write as if it will go viral. You just never know when that next article will start getting stumbled, bookmarked, digged, etc.

  10. John Haydon says:

    Darren,

    Thanks so much for the reminder. I’ve had the experience as well where I feel like I’m on a deadline and have to “rush to publish”.

    Quick question: When you go back and update a post after having “publishers remorse”, how does it effect the SEO aspect of the post?

    John
    http://www.CorporateDollar.Org

  11. Jim Moon says:

    Darren, Thanks for the tips on blog posts. Yes, it is a bit disheartening to find that a post you’ve worked on for some time has had no hits, or visitors.

    I am looking forward to using your advice for the next big thing on my blog.

    Thanks,

    Jim

  12. Probably this will be on of the most important tip that you will give to us, because without good content doesn’t matter how many links you have out there, you never going to have success.
    I hope that I can find the answer for one of my doubts which is what frequency we should publish new posts? That’s one thing that has been bugging my mind.

  13. Great post. I am most interested in learning more about “Promotion – having hit publish – don’t just leave it to chance that your post will be read by people. Giving it a few strategic ‘nudges’ can increase the exposure it gets exponentially.” This post and the future posts for all 10 points should be required reading for any new blogger.

    Blog Disgusted at http://www.PoliticalDisgust.com

  14. Heh,… If I only read this post before… perhaps I would have some visitors by now! :)

    I just imagined going trought the 10 steps after writting the blog post, and it seams it would take a lot of time to edit the posts now – retrospectiverly after the publishing. Perhaps the best would be to print the ’10 Rules’ and read them each time before even trying to post a blog post. I guess in time one would learn them, and hopefully learn to think and write like that automatically.

    Printing the rules in the meantime… :)

    Cheers,
    Ivan | JobsBlog.ie

  15. Doug C. says:

    Darren, it’s so odd that you posted this article right after my last two blog posts, which I banged out in the heat of inspiration and quickly published in self-adulation.

    I was wondering if you could clarify point #9: Promotion – having hit publish – don’t just leave it to chance that your post will be read by people. Giving it a few strategic ‘nudges’ can increase the exposure it gets exponentially.

    To be more precise, could you elaborate on ‘nudges’ – perhaps suggesting ways to nudge the post.

  16. Laura Hecht says:

    As a new blogger, I am looking for solid advice to help me get my dream realized. Thanks for the help!

  17. hey problogger! i really like this blog i recently discovered it so ya. really helpful hints on how to craft a post!

    thank you!

    http://www.TheBusinessOfMyBusiness.blogspot.com

  18. Roschelle says:

    Very good tips. Thanks! I hadn’t really thought about timing as much as I’ve tried to incorporate the other items on the list. I generally post everyday and sometimes more often than that. Again, thanks!

  19. Ganesh says:

    I make sure that I follow nine points except one : promotion. I’m looking forward to that post which tells how to promote a post effectively.

  20. Edie says:

    Glad you are starting this series. I click publish and the next click is edit. Hopefully, this series will provide a checklist before I wear out the editor. :>)

    As others have said, this list will hold a prominent spot on my bulletin board. Thanks!

  21. Darren thanks for sharing this useful information and I’m really looking forward for the whole series.

    Actually, if you do it the right way, it will help them to build a relationship with the whole online community who are active on that particular blog and it helps you a lot in the long run.

  22. SEO Genius says:

    A great post full of useful key points, i have also started to pause after making a point to ensure the point was put across and to make sure that the language i have used is understandable, one of my major flaws.

  23. Samson says:

    Great post Darren.

    I’d put ‘timing’ up there pretty high on the list. If you have a topic that is hot because of current events, then go for it. I’m still waiting to post, however, as I seem to have paralysis by analysis.

  24. Mel Menzies says:

    I’m afraid I’ve found the Fatal Flaw in all your posts, Darren. You are blogging to sell a product manufactured by a third party. But what of we time-impoverished authors? Our product is crafted by our own hand. And like the rest of you, we have only twenty-four hours per day in which to do it.

    Quality content and Quantity in output are the crucial elements with which we create our product if we’re to have any hope of selling it. Topics, Titles, Opening lines, and Points (we call them themes) are the tools of our trade, whilst Depth and Quality Control (editing and re-editing draft after draft) are the hard labour with which we hammer out our craft, before the gentle art of Polishing begins.

    And when all is done, there’s no hitting the Publish Post button. Then begins the foot-slog. The soft soap. The hard sell. The cumulative despondency of rejection.

    If we’re lucky – and with a number of commissions and a No. 4 Bestseller behind me you could say I’ve been lucky – well, yes, we then have the joy of meeting our public, our readers. But there’s still the travelling to be done; the smiling; the hand-shakes; the signing. And the ever-present thought – can I pull it off again?

    So where’s the Fatal Flaw, you ask? The fly in the ointment? It’s this. If we’re to accomplish the ten points of posting a successful blog, when are we to create our product? Because if creating Posts is to crafting Product what blockages in the pipeline are to productive oil flow . . .

    And here’s a call to action: Finish the analogy in two words. Answers on a postage stamp please.

    Mel Menzies – author of ‘A Painful Post Mortem’ (May 2008) http://www.melmenzies.co.uk

  25. Imperfect says:

    Many a times this happens to me… I get this great idea and if I don’t post it right then and there… it’s not a ‘killer.’ Or I really hate it when you’ve typed your heart out and you go to ‘post’ it and all of a sudden some error message comes up and you’ve lost all content :(

    I’ve learned from my lesson and I always hightlight and copy my writing before I click ‘post’ or ‘save’ … Just incase!

    Im’perfect @
    http://wherethecookoocrumbles.blogspot.com/

  26. Mel Menzies says:

    Oh, yes! I can identify with that. I now always write my post / comment in Word, save it, then paste it into the Comment Box. Saves a million grey hairs. :) And the odd divorce or two.
    Mel Menzies – Author of ‘A Painful Post Mortem’ – a contemporary story of love stretched to its limits.

  27. hangelbel says:

    Actually, you are right about it. You need extra time to produce a quality article. You need to produce more information, ask questions from people online or friends. It really gives you more time to develop your article to a more meaningful one.

  28. Mizal says:

    Xcellent post Darren!! Great work!

  29. Thanks for the Help

    I will endeavor to make my blog more professional.
    I made 50 cents last night in adsense and this is very exciting!

    Since i’m foraging for my food all i need is to make enough for rent which is $180 a month! I’m a tenth of the way there! With your help i’ll make it!

  30. Smart Boy says:

    Really, really wonderful post Darren. I enjoyed your 10 tips – and am taking time to ponder each one throughout the day. Bringing these ideals into my own writing will definately help me to generate much better posts throughout my blogging career.

  31. 10 great ideas. It teach me that we must have patient to craft our blog, make it wonderfull for the readers.

    Thanks, Darren

  32. Vishnu says:

    I follow all these steps, I dono how problogger thinks like this..

    Post rocks..

  33. Lex G says:

    I liked the list of tips. Especially the tip on conversation. I’ve experimented with this one a lot and my experience is that actively stimulating conversation in your blog post results in a MUCH bigger chance for comments …

    Lex G

  34. Wakas Mir says:

    As always Darren very nicely put together list. I feel the call to action is what most of us blogger miss out when writing blogs.. but then again that’s how one learns :)

    Thx

    ——————
    http://www.Howtosetuparadio.com

  35. Bill Bennett says:

    Hope I’m not too late to this party.

    Darren could you elaborate on your point about timing? This is something I’m struggling with as I live in New Zealand which has a timezone that is largely out of tempo with the rest of the English-speaking world.

  36. Ray Harvard says:

    Thank You Darren, I’ve been looking for a blogging step-by-step checklist like this for some time.

  37. Solomon says:

    Hi Darren,

    Being a novice in blogging, I got the hang of what a post should look like. I come with some good headlines for advertising, but for posts I go blank. Yours 10 points are great help indeed!
    Thanks for the great posts!

  38. Wow Darren,

    I’ve just read the overview, now I have to click through to read each post. The way you set that up is worth the article all by itself. Talk about sparking ideas. Strangely enough my last post was about our high paced society, and then just browsing around and following links I end up here, with you suggesting we all slow down with our blog posts and really take time to create a top notch article. What ever happen to publish or perish? My self, I am going to enjoy reading all these posts.

    Thank you,

    Walk in Quiet Places

    Nick

  39. How do I know it’s right timing to post?

  40. Nice, nice post… Makes you rethink all what you thought you know about blogging… And wonder if perhaps to retire…

    One thing – why smaller font in the list? Is there some reason for it, or just a design decision?

  41. slamy says:

    Hi Darren,
    Your post inspires me to move forward to a step ahead.
    thanks

  42. Garry says:

    Hi Darren, I am Just starting out. I have found this post inspiring and will make good use of your tips in my future blogging. Thanks.

  43. I’ve started writing differently now. It takes far longer to write a post, but the posts are longer and more details and I try not to cut posts into multiple series.

    Another thing I’ve started to do is ask myself the question: does this really matter? do my readers really need to know about this? will everyone one else have covered this?

  44. BGRoberts says:

    Thanks for a great post!
    I see several ideas I will be implementing in future blog postings of my own.
    I sure appreciate all the info I’m finding here.
    Thanks again!
    BG

  45. BraddahGreg says:

    Darren, you are the man!….I always thought about getting a post up as quickly as possible. But reading this makes me question my tactics on trying to fill my blog…

    I’ve been coming back to your blog once in a while and your proof that patience pays off..

    Thanks again for this useful info
    Braddah :)