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Blogging tips for beginners: Ten simple rules for better blogs

After reading our previous blog, I imagine you are itching to get cracking on one of your own so we’ve put together ten handy tips for how to write a blog. OK cue the drum roll:-

1 The headline is king

Research shows that while 80% of people read a blog headline, only 20% read the copy. In other words headlines are key for luring people in but they often don’t do their job properly.

Your headline must fit within 65 characters or most search engines will cut it off on their results pages. So use those words wisely please!

Use words in your headlines that are central to what you are talking about – the kind of words people would tap in when they are searching for related topics on Google.

Research indicates that words that show people what they can gain from reading your blog should help too. Phrases like “Five top tips for XXX”, “Eight must-have XXXs” and “How XXX can grow your business” will increase your chances of getting people to read on.

Right, now we’ve got the headline out of the way we’ve only got the other 99% of the blog to write. So we are well on the way then. We’d also suggest:-

2 Keep it fresh

Keep your blog updated regularly. And if you are reacting to something that has happened in the news, get it up there as quickly as possible.

3 Break it up

Bullet points or subheadings can help make blogs more manageable for the reader. Search engines like Google and Yahoo! also tend to reward the occasional bolding of keywords.

Top ten lists are often a good way to break things up but if you are going to have a top ten, we’d recommend you number each point as it helps the reader get a feel for where they are and makes it easier to refer back to other points.

We’d recommend you use short snappy pars and simple language – the kind of language that people use in conversation. If people have to think too hard about what you mean, you’ve lost them. And you’ve only got yourself to blame. And them of course. The idiots.

4 Teach people

If the reader feels they are learning something there’s a much better chance they’ll carry on reading. So keep asking yourself how you can help them. One tip is to remember the “6 Ws”: Who, What, Why, When, Where and How. I know what you are thinking: How doesn’t begin with a W. Not so fast Sonny Jim, apparently it does.

5 Be controversial

People like to be challenged so feel free to be a little bit controversial at times – as long as you can justify it. People will see through controversy for controversy’s sake. If you are going to make a passionate argument for why the government should decrease spending on the NHS or why your local football club should sack their manager there’s a good chance people will read it – but they will soon click away if you can’t back up what you are saying with facts.

6 Link away

Search engines like sites that link to other relevant sites – after all, that’s what the World Wide Web in its purest form is all about. And users will appreciate it too. Links between different pages on your own site can help as well.

7 Images and video

Fresh relevant images and video can make your blog easier on the eye and spice it up but bear in mind they can slow down page loading time. The best blog in the world is of no use if no one is prepared to wait around for it to load up.

The cats loved it when Mozart dressed in women’s clothes

8 Encourage some debate

Depending on what you are writing about, you might want to give people a chance to respond – but watch out for spam comments at the end of your blog. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.

9 Be patient

Your grocery store isn’t going to start outselling Tesco on the back of a couple of good blog posts. And it’ll take more than 500 words on Syria before you get invited to No. 10 for a cup of tea and a policy-related chinwag. Almost certainly. So be patient – it takes time to get noticed and build up a loyal following but the rewards will come. Unless of course you are rubbish, in which case they won’t. And finally…

10 Use social media

Make social media buttons visible on your blog and tweet and share your blog to spread the love. Tweet your older posts as well as your new ones. Who knows? If you follow the points above then sooner or later you may even have a nice new band of followers who’d like to read them as well!

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