Close
Close

5 Keys to Writing Excellent Blog Posts

Today in a radio interview I was asked to give 4-5 quick tips on how to write great blog posts.

Quick isn’t my forte when giving tips (I have a lot to say) and I can think of many more than 5 tips for writing great blog posts – but here’s a brief overview of the things I mentioned:

1. Be Useful

When I start writing a blog post, I always identify how useful the post will be to my readers.

Will it solve a problem? Will it make people think? Will it start a conversation? Will it entertain? Will it make readers feel like they’re not alone? Will it teach them something?

Unless a blog post is useful on some level I don’t think it’s worth publishing.

More on Useful Blogging: Usefuless: Principles of Successful Blogging #3.

2. Write Conversationally

This one partly comes down to my own style, so it may not be for everyone, but I find my most effective blog posts are written as if I’m sharing the topic with a friend.

As a result, my posts are fairly informal and written with a lot of ‘I’ and ‘You’ language.

For me, this is partly because I find it a lot easier and more natural to write in this tone of voice – but I also find it connects with readers in a pretty powerful way.

Read more on conversational blog writing at 23 Top Tips to Make Your Blog Posts More Conversational

3. Write Great Headlines

I think about my headline before, during and after writing and it often will change numerous times before I settle on the final version.

Headlines, or blog titles, are often the deciding factor on whether someone reads a post or not – so they have a lot of impact.

Read more about writing headlines at – How to Craft Post Titles that Draw Readers Into Your Blog (with 8 great tips) and Titles that Work on ProBlogger – And Why.

4. Build Anticipation and Momentum

Having somebody read one of my blog posts is something I value very highly – it is a real honour – however I have a higher goal.

I want them to read more posts – both immediately and in the future.

As a result, I’ve discovered that if you write blog posts that build momentum in some way you’re much more likely to keep readers hanging around.

One simple way to do build momentum is to link back to old posts you’ve already written, both during and at the end of a blog post. You can see an example of this a few paragraphs above when I gave you links to read more on writing great headlines.

Linking back to old blog posts drives readers into your archives which makes them more likely to engage and become loyal readers.

I’ve found that writing in a way that builds ‘anticipation’ in your readers is particularly powerful. If you can get your readers to look forward to posts you’re yet to write, you give them a reason to subscribe and connect with you in the future.

I wrote a series on building anticipation that I highly recommend you check out.

The key is to look beyond the blog post you’re writing and draw your readers (particularly new ones) into the story (both past and future) of your blog.

If you can get them to see that your blog is much more than the post they’re reading, you might just find you have a reader that engages with you for years to come.

One more bonus link: How to Keep Momentum Going By Building on Previous Posts.

5. Build Engagement

The last thing I mentioned in the interview was to try to build some level of engagement into the blog posts that you write.

This can start with writing in a conversational style (see above) but it goes a lot further. The benefit of getting your readers to engage with you and your content is that they’re much more likely to stick around and become a regular reader.

It also builds social proof, making your blog more useful and relevant to a wider audience.

I won’t go on a great deal about building community because it has only been a couple of weeks since I wrote this mega-series on the topic:

How Would You Answer the Question?

If you had to give 4-5 tips on writing great blog posts – what would you say?

Looking forward to your responses in comments below.

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.

Problogger.net runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

Check out the incredible features and the selection of designs. It's that simple - start using Genesis now!

Comments

  1. While i haven’t explored this website in depth, the articles look intriguing and I’m sure will be useful. Your 5 keys to great blog posts are logical.

    I have book-marked this page and will return!

  2. JamesMC says:

    I’m a little new to the world of blogging and really enjoyed your piece. In regards to the second point of “Writing Conversationsally”, do you ever worry about writing “I” too much? I remember an English teacher in grade school having us do an exercise where we counted out how many times we wrote the words “I” and “me” in our papers. Ever since then, I’ve been apprehensive of sounding too self-centered in my writing. Is that a concern I should be worried about or are blog readers just looking for my perspective anyways, so I shouldn’t care?

    • Delia says:

      James, this is an interesting one! When I edit my posts, I try to replace as many I’s as I can with you’s, while rephrasing, of course.

      Try it, it makes it sound much better, about the reader indeed, it really does :)

  3. Darren, Your tips are helpful anyday, anytime. Great writers know how to carry their readers along and make them feel at home while they reader your post.
    One way to write excellent blog post is to try and be simple so that everyone can understand your language. There is no point trying to play to the gallery, using complex tenses and lose your readers in the process. Once your language is simple enough and there is no ambiguity, everyone would understand you better.
    You should also build interactivity into your post by allowing space for your readers to participate. They should be able to ask questions or express their personal opinions at the end of reading your blog.

  4. Jon Rhodes says:

    1. Maker it useful (like you said Darren).
    2. Make it interesting for the reader. Adding a touch of humour for example can work wonders.
    3. Give your article a unique angle. Don’t just rewrite the same old stuff everyone else writes. Give your own unique perspective.
    4. Encourage participation in the comments. This can seriously enhance your post as there can be different opinions and voices all discussing the same issues.

    • John says:

      I completely agree. One of the best methods for me is writing content that requires comments. I do not simply put, what do you think? I make sure to engage the reader and spark a discussion. It does not always work, but my 2nd goal beyond writing meaningful content is to write content that people want to talk about.

  5. 1 – Be Practical

    2 – Write Frequently – this helps you dissolve attachments to any one post

    3 – Target with Keywords

    4 – Boost Engagement by asking questions

    5 -Study Successful Bloggers – Use advice which vibes with you.

    • zolar says:

      great additional info..
      Yes, we need to write entry that be useful for our reader

    • Ryan, another great set of tips. I have never thought of #2 in the way you described it, but it makes so much sense. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Zack says:

    Good stuff. Number 2 is a delicate thing, but if you can write about controversy well, it can be one of the best things you can do for your blog.

  7. Delia says:

    1. Be short and to the point.
    2. Resolve a problem/Answer a question.
    3. Be informal, as you would be speaking, not writing.
    4. Edit by replacing your I’s with you’s.
    5. Edit one more time and take out any words that can still be taken out.

    Great, you’re done!

  8. Very masterful piece-always a nice read Darren-we loved it! Have a great day on purpose….

  9. Rohit Sharma says:

    Hi Darren,

    I appreciate your tireless attempts to write about blogging!

    You have already covered everything – since you have asked, I’ll add the following line.

    Initially for most of the new bloggers – blogging is just like a one sided love affair and gradually the love story moves on and after some time only few succeed.

    You may break the rules but never break the promise.

    Every successful blogger has one blog promise to keep for his readers.

    And success waits for the one who never breaks that promise.

    Cheers!

  10. siddharth says:

    The above mentioned details are essential 5 Keys to Writing Excellent Blog Posts. If you follow these tips and tricks, you can become successful to grow a healthy community soon.

  11. marty says:

    If you dont do number one 1 then I realized no reader will ever come back its a hard lesson to learn .Writing like your thier friend and your on thier level and you understand what problems they have goes a long way

  12. From the technical side I’d like to add write in short paragraphs (2-3 sentences in one paragraph). It’ll make reading more comfortable.

  13. Saanvi says:

    I am glad I went to this site, these are great ideas you suggested. I belong to a few Article, but someone I never thought or heard of. I will join some of what you suggested. Thanks.

  14. - Be Honest
    - Set objectives for every post
    - Add value, don’t just fill spaces
    - Ask questions and encourage discussion

    Cheers

  15. Hello there..
    Nice tips for writing a great blog post .Specially the first one.Ya it is really important to
    ask yourself that the post you are going to write ,will it really useful to readers or not?And what we have to do is answering this question truly.Because every blogger is also a reader .He will able to answer this question.Thanks for nice tips.

  16. Michael says:

    Making it useful is the biggest challenge of writing a post when there’s a lot of content out there.

  17. 1. Keep on topics of interest to your readers
    2. Lots “how-to” and/or step-by-step type of posts
    3. Do not recycle – write completely new issues within your niche
    4. Thought-provoking
    5. Do not be afraid of controversial issues
    6. Well-researched with documentations
    7. well-written
    8. Scatter questions throughout, not only at the end of the post
    9. Use illustrations/photographs to separate sections
    10. Build your brand/expertise – once you have a name like problogger (Darren) everything becomes excellent

  18. You have a great impact on my writing.

    I always follows your step, and you can see that, when I break the line above :)

    Hope to meet you someday and get all these learning face to face. Thanks for giving us the share in your wisdom Darren. We owe you a lot.

  19. mildjob says:

    Well, I discover that almost all of you article are useful to me..

    Thanks problogger

  20. Darren, great tips and very enjoyable to read.

    To answer the question at the end, I would say to keep the style in conversation style. I find that the more enjoyable posts for me to read and engage in are the conversational posts.

    I need to remember this as I write my own posts.

    Thank you for sharing your tips.

  21. Matin says:

    I have recently started blogging. I also decided to make money online. Just I am searching useful content about this. Your information is most helpful to me. Please keep your content up to date so that I can get tips. Thanks for nice sharing.

  22. These are all the things that I listed in my eBook and that I’ll be talking about at BlogPaws! I guess now I know where I learned it from! This is spot on! My blog is nearly 1-1/2 old and I’ve been in two magazines and I’m speaking at BlogPaws. I have a great following.

    Engagement is so key. One of the regular compliments I receive on my blog is that it feels like their reading a letter from a friend and that they find the posts so helpful. I’ve gain many new readers who don’t typically follow blogs, because mine was referred to them.

    This really is a great post and something everyone should take to heart.

  23. Rusty Boozer says:

    Thanks Darren – I’ve tried to incorporate these types of styles within my post but what do you do when you really don’t have an audience yet?

    I would love to have a conversation with someone, but it seems most folks are not interested in commenting.

    Maybe I need to look for a different niche besides just trying to help people be better in their everyday lives.

  24. Novels and movies generally follow a fairly simple formula to engage their audience. They establish the staus quo – upset the status quo – resolve or establish a new staus quo. This simple formula can also be applied to blogging.
    Very often people assume that upsetting the status quo means an acrimonious conflict of some kind but it doesn’t. For example if applied to a new product review you could mention what products this product is competing with (establish the status quo) , explain why this product is so much better (upset the status quo), insist that other products will have to reach this new benchmark (establish a new status quo) or if its not better mention the other products that are best (re-establish the status quo).
    This simple formula can be applied to nearly any writing and ensures your posts will have a logical flow which the reader is used to seeing in almost all media from movies to newspaper articles. Sometimes it just takes a little while to figure out how to apply it to a post.

  25. Sagar Rai says:

    Darren, I agree with the last point. Until unless there is engagement between the writer and the readers, I don’t think it is worth enough spending time to write such a lengthy post and same way for a reader to spend time on reading.

  26. I’d like to add that some posts may lend themselves to a more traditional newspaper article layout than the greek drama format mentioned above. Important facts first – background or context- analysis – quotations or references.

  27. I love reading the advice on this blog to continue to grow my writing and blogging skills. What I would say in terms of tips for writing good posts is the following:

    1) Tell a Story

    2) Be Vulnerable (for me, the posts that connect with readers the most are posts where I am letting my guard down)

    3) Write a Great Headline (I am still working on crafting great headlines, but the Problogger challenges really make it apparent how having a good headline is so important. If you headline is boring, people are much less likely to click on a link to read your post.)

    4) Have a Consistent Voice

  28. Using a conversational tone helps make an article more engaging. It makes the article accessible to more readers, and it gives the impression that the post was written for humans, not search engines.

  29. Whitney says:

    These are some good tips. I think what makes a good blog post, is one that presents ideas and value in a DIFFERENT way..in other words it stands out, those are the types of blog posts people really remember. I always try to keep it conversational too, which is important because your blog readers are like your family.

  30. Dan Erickson says:

    1. Be helpful.
    2. Be concise.
    3. Add value.
    4. Use stories.
    5. Be honest.

  31. Bob says:

    #2 is something I definitely agree with (of course, I agree with all of your tips here). I was once very sales-oriented on my blog posts, which really got me no where. Now that I’ve re-focused on adding value to my content, traffic, views, and yes, even sales, are increasing! Value is so much better than a sales pitch, and I agree that being conversational is a key factor behind all of this.

  32. Wali says:

    Your tips are worth reading and the major key points of a post, and we all know you are a guro of blogging, so simple and fresh words from you.

    Thanks for the best info!

  33. The J Day says:

    A fine read indeed. I’m just starting up my own blog site and having read this makes me think more of how I can write effectively. Thank you for sharing this! You’ve given a really nice set of writing tips.

  34. Chatung says:

    6. Should be easy to understand.

    One should not forget that It’s not a place to show off the yours vocabulary knowledge. Most of the reader will not gonna hold a degree in Literature. Write simple, use simple but in an effective way.

  35. Asif Billah says:

    My problem is that I am a poor writer. I like your idea of doing a first draft and the best thing to do is read your post out loud to help. I have tried that and boy do I find mistakes. However, many times I can write something with mistakes and read it aloud as if there wasn’t a mistake. I think it also helps to have someone else read what you write. We all have different perspectives on what is interesting. I think I have been out of school too long to use an outline, but it was useful when I was in school so I plan to try it out. Thanks for your help

  36. Sharon says:

    I’d say be authentic and be vulnerable. Find your voice and be you; even if that you is a bit loud and ‘out there’ … there are those who will love your blog because of your unique voice.

    Be Vulnerable and share of yourself. Of course you’ll have to walk the fine line between over-sharing and letting your readers into your world (at least to some extent).

    Great tips in the post and the comments. Thanks everyone!

  37. Gareth says:

    My biggest problem is the engagement part on my blogs. I can write great posts, get 1000+ uniques to the post but just the odd spammy comment.

  38. Mona says:

    Hi Darren,
    Writing conversationally is a good idea ,though it may not be necessary.At times it may even prove counter productive.Again not always.
    I’ll explain if you want to convey something about a procedure or a method,you will willy nilly need to use the jargon peculiar to that field.Eg meditation or weight loss procedures,or recipes.
    Of course you can differ with these views.

    Thanks Anyway
    Mona

  39. vinton samms says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thank you for a wonderful post with sound advice. It is very important especially for new bloggers that they write with passion, that their content is as unique as possible and pay attention to grammar and sentence structure, avoiding abbreviations as much as is possible. Doing these things will keep their readers coming for more and not just that but to tell others about the blog as well. If it is a blog for business/money making then this is even more important and can not be stressed enough. To get traffic to the blog and to be ranked so that it can be found by the search engines, then these are critical elements that must be present at all times.

    Vinton Samms

  40. Great tips here.

    I’d like to add a few…

    1. Be authentic. “Do you.”

    2. Don’t be afraid to take a stand on important issues.

    3. Recognize that quality trumps quantity. The key is to be brief, but substantive.

    4. Provide great take-away value.

    5. Pay attention to details–(grammar, spelling, design)

    • Bob says:

      I totally agree Jennifer, with “Be authentic”. When I first started out it was all about “sales”, and it sounded like a sales page and was lame and boring. Once I started mixing in my own personal brand, views went up, engagement soared, and sales increased! Magic!!

  41. Ayoub says:

    hi!
    what you say is not a general rule that applies to all blogs, but hey it’s useful to know..
    Thank you

  42. Number 3. Write Great Headlines…To me, this should be the number one priority. You should take time with your headlines. If possible, you should make a few and select which one you like best. Don’t skim over them. They are the first thing people read. If your headline does not draw the reader in, they will not read the rest of your post.

  43. Sibo says:

    I am currently working on “31 Days to Build a Better Blog challenge” and I really see how powerful a list post is. As a reader, I am enjoying all the be 5 Keys listed in this post.

    Thank you for the great information!

  44. Richard Ng says:

    Great tips Darren, can’t agree more with you.

    Following are my personal tips of writing an excellent blog post:
    1. Create your own voice/style.
    2. Be controversial (occasionally)
    3. Length of post is important (my recommendation is not to long in the range of 300 to 500 is fine).

    Cheers!

  45. Write good headlines is easy but the content written in the post must match with the headline,otherwise it gives bad impression about author creativity.So this is also an important thing to remember while writing a post.

  46. Alexandra says:

    I have always read you, I love your photography DPS. But I never knew it what a blog was…..until now, that I want to create my own…and came across this great info, and recognized your name! So thanks twice!!
    And wish me luck!!!! I’m aiming to write a travel/photo blog, as I travel a lot lately, and have plenty of time, AND I’m living in a new country.
    Cheers!!!

  47. Aini clive says:

    Hi I am blogger. It sound interesting isn’t it. I can write. I know all those things which you tell me. Most of the time those things which is interesting to me is really boring for others. this makes me crazy. whenever I pick some critical event and share my reviews on it to people people never tell me what is wrong or right. Do they like it or hate it. what they tell me in comments about is blog designing. I think there is lots of problem with writing or me?

  48. This never gets old. Writing great content is the best strategy to improve your SEO, to build your authority, to improve your analytics and so on.
    When we can focus on creating high quality content everything becomes easier.
    Great tips here! Working on these topics can really make your content more enticing for readers.
    Nice article.

  49. Sarah says:

    Hi Darren
    Just stumbled on your site and blog today. I have just started blogging after procrastinating for ages. Interesting site – and I have bookmarked for regular visits.
    Although a newbie to this – I would put the most important blog criteria as:
    1. Relevance
    2. Quality of the content (grammatically and informationally)
    3. Tone
    4. Titles & headings that capture the readers imagination
    Hopefully not too far off track!

  50. Matt Brennan says:

    Great refresher here. A pleasant, conversational writing style is key to getting people to read your work. Nice post!