As you can imagine, successful blog writing depends on many things. It’s absolutely true that getting your blog set up and running is hugely important – without doing that, you don’t have a site at all. It’s also true that you need to be engaging in strategies to maximize your potential blog growth. But these aspects can fade into the background when it comes to the true bread-and-butter of any website: the blog content.
In order for a blog to be successful, it needs to provide the world with something of value. No matter how flashily it’s designed, how intuitive the pages are to move through, or how cleverly you master SEO and social media marketing, if the blog’s articles are subpar, it’ll never truly take off.
Creating top quality web content is the cornerstone of any successful blog. The problem is, unlike blog set-up and growth, there’s no real formula for great web writing. It’s not something that you can “hack,” or find ways to get around. There’s no secret trick to producing good material.
There’s no one-size-fits-all web writing manual, but there are certain considerations that should be kept in mind across the board.
Being cognizant of these things (plus actually making an effort with your content) can be the key to unlocking your blog’s potential. If you want to start prioritizing your blog’s articles, our guide is here to help.
Keep the Audience in Mind
The cardinal rule of web content writing is to keep your audience in mind. When you write a blog post, you want to have a consistent and homogenized tone throughout. This helps shape your blog’s identity and makes your audience feel they can rely on your web site.
Choosing the voice you want to have, and the notes you want to strike really depends on your target audience. Think quite specific about who you expect and want your target audience to be – it can help to make a list of their qualities to refer back to.
Some of the first decisions you need to make are things like whether you want to be more formal or informal. Do you want to sound like a friend or an expert? Are you planning on employing humor, or keeping things stripped back and down-to-business.
When making these decisions, consider what you think your target audience would prefer, rather than just how you’d prefer to write. If you’re out of ideas, have another person in your niche write a guest post. Ideally, that would be long-form content. Guest blogging is a very effective method to spice things up.
Creating Great Article Headlines
An absolute tenet of quality web content creation is the headline. In web writing, particularly, headlines and titles are hugely important, as this tends to be the link readers will click through to access your post. This is the main thing to consider before you start writing.
First and foremost, you want your article headlines to describe what the piece is about accurately. You don’t want to mislead potential readers, even by accident. It can be a good idea to come up with a title, write your post, then reconsider your title again before publishing, to check the piece hasn’t strayed from its roots.
Alongside their accuracy, you also want your article headlines to be enticing. Here, you should pay attention to two things: Firstly, you want to be using exciting, descriptive and attention-grabbing words in your titles. And secondly, you may want to consider the searchability of your titles.
Using tools like Google Analytics, you can find out what are the most popular search terms related to a topic. With this information, you can tailor your title to ensure it has the maximum potential to be found in the online sea of content. It can be as simple as switching one word for a more search-engine-popular synonym, but it can be very impactful in terms of article reach.
Subheaders or Section Headers in Articles
Unless you’re writing very short posts, you’ll also want to employ subheadings within your posts. They can help readers navigate around your piece more easily, plus make it look more initially appealing (and less intimidating) on the screen. Again, these subheadings should follow the same three general rules as your article title. They should be accurate in describing what each section of the piece is about.
They should be attention-grabbing and sound interesting, in order to make your audience actually want to read the section. And they should employ some element of search engine optimization. Search engines favor subheadings over body text in terms of searchability, so you want to make sure subheadings employ popular enough words that potential readers can find them.
Voice / Tone
If you’re struggling to maintain the same tone blog post to blog post, a great tip is to have a quick read of your old posts before you start working on a new one. This can help subliminally bring your desired tone back to the forefront of your mind, and help you get “in the zone” of text creation.
Tips & Tricks
Unless you’re writing a highly specialist blog, the tone of a “friendly expert” tends to be most favored. This tone can be hard to strike, particularly if you’re self-consciously trying to emulate it. A helpful trick is to imagine, as you’re writing that you’re simply composing an email offering advice to a friend.
There should be some level of authority and instruction in what you’re saying, but at the same time, you want your audience to feel warm to you in order to forge that connection.
Words to use or Avoid
There’s no set formula to good web content – unfortunately! However, there are some generally applicable rules which can offer universal guidance, particularly when it comes to specific words.
There are certain words which are more popular and can make people far more likely to stick around on your post or blog. There are also words which pretty much universally act as a turn-off, and can end up killing an article before it’s even off the ground.
One rule to keep in the forefront of your mind when choosing your specific words (particularly for headings and subheadings) is whether you can add an SEO word to replace a less searchable word. This can often not have any real impact on the meaning or tone of a title but can make a big difference in terms of who finds your blog.
Avoid negative words, even if they’re contextually more positive. Things like “cheap,” or even simple negative words like “none” can implicitly turn readers off your article. Humans tend to look for positivity, so being a “yes man” when writing titles are key.
When it comes to slang, it’s generally a good idea to keep it to a minimum. Words which are particular killers include “stuff” (too vague) and “whatever” (seems flippant). While it can be good to use some “internet speak” or employ tactics of meme culture in your titles, remember that these types of jokes have a very short shelf-life, and you want your content to be evergreen.
Trying to emulate the tone of the internet can also seem pandering or patronizing, which never goes over well.
Writing Blog Posts
While writing great web content can’t be reduced to a formula, there are some aspects which ring true across the board. Having a process for creating your content can help you produce it faster, plus retain the high level of quality you need.
The first thing to consider is the audience, and the tone that’ll best interest them. You then want to consider the actual bare bones of your article – and in order to create something valuable and informative, you’ll need to do some research.
Then think about the article’s structure, including search engine optimized headings and subheadings. You also need to consider things like links, images, and a meta-description. It can be an excellent idea to create a physical checklist to go through before you hit the publish button.
For more in-depth information on the blog post writing process, check out our article, Blog Post Checklist You Need To Be Successful.
Writing Great Sentences and Paragraphs for the Web
This area of article writing advice is the most subjective, and therefore the most difficult to create hard and fast rules on. There’s no one type of web content, and therefore no specific guidelines as to the specifics of writing it. You can work on making writing great sentences and paragraphs for the web easier.
The first tip is to read a lot. You want to be an expert on the popular voice and tone of the web content in your niche. But on top of that, read outside of your niche, too.
You can find innovation and inspiration in other writing styles that can help elevate your work above the general noise. Emulate, for sure, but innovate, too. You want to give readers a reason to come to your blog over the tons of other options out there. Think about what makes your writing unique, and lean into that.
You can also employ some tools to help you along your way. A great option for those writing in WordPress is Yoast. Yoast looks at the “Readability” of your drafted work and gives you a score. To improve your score, Yoast also gives you specific pointers as to any potential problems.
This could be really helpful for those just starting out in web content creation; it can be hugely helpful.
Introductions & Conclusions
One thing you’re going to have to consider when it comes to web content writing is the fact that people skim. Far more than with a physical book, something about reading words on a screen tends to bring out impatience in people, as they just look over the piece to find the specific area of relevance to them.
This can feel disheartening, and like you’re putting in work which will, inevitably, be overlooked. But there’s a positive spin you can put on this “skim-culture” – it gives an extra level of gravitas to your introductions and conclusions.
Often, when people are just skimming a piece and trying to glean the general meaning, they’ll stick mostly to the introduction and conclusion. These are the two places where you sort of summarize the general message of the article, so make sure you get them right.
You want them to be engaging, interesting, informative and not too cheesy. You also want them to speak to the reader, to encourage them to stick around and read the whole piece.
When you first start, expect to spend a fair amount of time on creating your web content. When you aren’t used to it, it can seem like a tricky process, with many factors to think about. Don’t be discouraged; over time, it will become easier.
As with any skill, writing a blog takes practice. Our advice is to do some every single day. This doesn’t have to mean creating an extensive blog post every day, though – it can be as simple as drafting a paragraph. As you get more used to writing, it becomes more intuitive.
You won’t have to deliberately think about all the different factors that go into high-quality content, as you’ll be employing these tactics naturally.
Writing Inspiration & Writer’s Block
The only real way to stay inspired and avoid the infamous blog writer’s block is to read. Presumably, if you’re an aspiring blogger, you’re already an avid consumer of internet content. Reading as much as possible is the best way to improve your writing, and the best part is, it doesn’t even feel like work.
You should be consuming content not only in your particular niche but everywhere online. This can offer inspiration in times of need. Try looking at popular blogs or search engine trends can offer you a readymade selection of excellent jumping off points.
Writing Calls to Action (CTAs)
Another top tip is to utilize calls to action in your writing. These help the reader feel more engaged and involved with your blog, plus can increase bounce rate and comments. For more information on calls to action, check out our post on how to update your website. That was a call to action! Meta!
If spelling and grammar don’t come naturally to you, we highly recommend Grammarly. It’s a far more exhaustive tool than usual spellcheckers and can be integrated right into your content creation platforms, including WordPress and Blogger. There’s a free version of the add on which is perfectly adequate for beginners.
Alongside natural writing skill, there is an abundance of useful writing tools to help bloggers create quality web content. Check out our list of the best blogging resources for more information.
Citing Sources and References in Your Web Content
A final tip when creating web content is the keep referencing in mind. The last thing you want to do is end up in some legal hot water. If you ever use another article or blog post in your work, make sure to cite it and link to avoid any issues of plagiarism.
You also want to be careful with images – you can find royalty free options online, or create your own, to avoid getting into trouble.
Do you have any writing tips? Let us know in the comments below!