Blog posts are not to be taken lightly.
Blog posts are things to put time and effort into. They deserve work, passion, and love. After all, they’re what make or break your blog! Without good content, you’ve got nothing good to ‘sell,’ and therefore no customers. You’re out of business. Womp-waa.
As bloggers, we want to provide our audience with the best stuff they can get their hands on. We strive to make our content the absolute best that it can be with the most efficiency possible.
I try my hardest to give my readers content that they’ll love every week… and I’m going to spill the tea on how I do that! From beginning to end, my process takes a total of three hours throughout the week to end up with a fun, organized post. My process isn’t perfect for everyone, but, for me, it works!
That being said, let’s get started on a new post!
I know some people have their ‘get-ready-for-writing-a-post-creatively-wohoo’ getup, but… honestly?? I can blog anytime, anywhere, as long as there’s music and a decently comfortable chair (or floor or bed or car seat). I’m not picky.*
But? If you want a grade A style setup? There are a few things I find helpful in sparking that CREATIVITY we’re all craving, such as…
- a fuzzy blanket
- earbuds and a downbeat playlist
- journal & pen for feral ideas
- a sunshiny day
*she says as she skips half the songs in her current playlist 🤷♀️
Every post begins with an idea. I won’t go through the rant that is finding inspiration, but let’s just say that I get inspiration anywhere, any day, anytime. Whenever a post slaps me in the face, I write it down on anything close to me and throw it on my desk. My desk is constantly piling up with these little paper scraps.
After brainstorming for a little while, I begin the post with a list.* Most of the time, this list is cataloged on Trello.com, a site I use almost obsessively for this blog. There, I can monitor my post schedule, assign categories, plan updates, and store notes. You can share your boards with other people, or keep them private.
As the resident List Queen of this blog, I 10/10 recommend this product 👍
My outline isn’t that complicated, just a few simple points I’d like to address and a working title, plus some key words or ideas. They probably don’t make sense to anybody else but, usually, nobody else reads it.
Here’s this post’s outline:
While the outline’s subject to change, it maintains its basic shape and serves as a neat little guideline. Outlines are especially useful for writers like me who tend to stray into rabbit holes or make up (bad) ideas on a whim. So, outlines: a definite yes.
*who am i kidding everything i do starts with a list
A lot of people love writing their introduction and making it all cute and inviting and stuff but half the time I’m just like, “hi dis my post pls read.” BUT NOOO, you have to think about hooking readers and how to get them to click the ‘read more’ button.
Here’s how I judge my introductions — if I were going about my day, casually scrolling through the WordPress Reader, and found my post’s intro, would I read the rest of the post? You probably read the same types of posts as you write. Pretend like your post is someone else’s and you’re flying blind. It’ll give you a bit of your audiences’ perspective.
With that test comes a lot of trial and error. Some posts I can fix up and make click-worthy. Others…..
There’s no ‘right’ way to write a blog post, especially true when it comes to introductions. So experiment; try new styles and layouts, read others’ introductions, and develop your own style. It might not be your cup of tea, but you’ll find it just a tad easier after some time.
Besides a few quick tips, there’s not much to say about body paragraphs! Body paragraphs are where the meat of your post is going to go. There are endless ways you can write the midsection of your post. That being said, try things out! Like introductions, your content’s got to be unique and, well, you.
Personally, I stick to two different formats for a post. The first is a number/countdown post, which is really easy to create. All you have to do is write a list of topics and briefly expand on it. I use this format a lot because OMG LISTS.
A little harder to use is like this post’s formatting: without topics, and no lists required. There are still sections for each topic, but they need to make sense in the order they’ve been written. Each topic builds on the next. This formatting is better used with a topic that tells a story or gives an overview on a topic instead of specifics.
Honestly, your middle is a bit of a freestyle dance. But what makes it great is when you make it your own.
Have you ever watched a YouTube video and s t r u g g l e d to finish it? Like, you made it to the end of the video, but the YouTuber is telling you to like and subscribe. Which you would be doing if you weren’t so darn bored by their spiel. At this point, your mouse is wondering away and whoops you’re already on the next video too bad so sad.
Conclusions are just like YouTube outros. People have very limited attention spans. As bloggers, we have a bit of an advantage — people have an easier time abandoning videos than posts — but the concept still stands. Post conclusions need to be three things: short, sweet, and convincing*
The first two are pretty self-explanatory, but by convincing, I mean you’ve got to prompt your readers to do what you want them to. This is referred to in the business world as a call to action, and it’s where you encourage your audience to like, comment, subscribe, anything under the sun.
A lot of people like to advertise the heck out of their final paragraphs. DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT MISTER! A part of being convincing is to not overwhelm a reader. In my outros, I generally do a quick wrap-up, ask a few questions for readers to answer in the comments, and quickly mention (aka advertise) something that needs attention.
Easy peasy, right? Much better than those awful introductions.
*i wanted so badly to alliterate but the only s word i could think of was ‘seducing’ so nope
By now, I kind of feel like Jay Walker after a particularly hard day.
But our work’s not quite done. There are about fifteen more minutes of work to do. Thankfully, though, we’re at the easy part. Also known as making things pretty~!
I have to confess, guys. I don’t actually format after I write the post. The b&w text is too boring for me; I need some pretty aesthetics to make the first draft easier. So I’ll more often than not format before or while I’m writing. It can be a little distracting getting carried away with making small-font jokes and such but it has its upsides too, like serving as a visual guideline of what comes next.
The most important formatting is…
Header titles are easy to make if you know basic HTML, but if you don’t… WELL I’M GONNA SHOW YOU.
<span style="font-size:large;">WHAT YOU WANT TO WRITE HERE</span>
This is just about the simplest text editing code there is.* All you do to use this in your post is write what you want in between the …large;”> and </span…, scroll up until you see the tab with HTML on it, and click that tab.
After clicking that, click right next onto the Visual editor, left of the tab you just clicked. Your text should be a different size!
- use small for footnotes
- use large for main points and bold that to make it stand out
- use x-large for headers and bold again
Thankfully, most of the things you’ll do on WordPress don’t require much more than what’s already on the toolbar. Color, bold/italic/underline, hyperlinks, and much more are only a click or two away.
*i like it because i’m lazy 🙂
categories: I’m very strict about the categories I place and keep them limited to five: blogging, inspiration, lifestyle, reading, and writing. I treat them as you might folders on a computer, so it’s really important to keep my topics sorted and simple.
tags: Categories are my pride and joy. They keep me organized and sane, two very good things to be.
Tags on the other hand…
I go crazy. I just throw these little babies into every post I can. That’s because tags allow people on the Reader not following you to find your posts. That’s flipping free advertisement!!
WordPress themselves actually have an informative post on how to use (and not use) tags. It explains what they are, why we have them, and a full explanation on how to expand your audience using them. Check it out!
images/gifs: MY FAVORITE PART. Using aesthetics in blog posts is my peanut butter and jam. So I make them colorful. I make them whimsical. I might be passing the boundaries of unprofessional at this point, but I like it as it is.
Unsplash.com is a staple for bloggers with their beautiful free stock photos, but I’m adapting to using my own pictures now. Both options are great! Consider using Canva.com for designing your featured images and the VSCO app for editing.
And then there are GIFs.
If it isn’t obvious what the consistent theme of my GIFs are, ITS NINJAGO. I don’t know about you, but I just find Ninjago generally funny. Its humor is so corny and dumb it’s good, like a Hallmark movie. That’s why I sneak a Ninjago GIF into
everything i do my posts. You seem to like them, too, so it’s a win-win! (lots of you have asked where i get them but i literally find them on google 😉 )
url slug: I’ve heard that changing your URL slug (the end of a post’s link) gets you more views, but no proof of that fact has been proven to me. Changing the slug is simply a preference since it takes needless words out of the URL. SEO also likes keywords in URLs (it’ll make your post more searchable on sites like Google), so add when necessary.
To find your slug, literally look to the left of your post’s title and click the link button (hint: it looks like a paperclip). There, you can change the link.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT!! A finished post! Now you can publish and wait for likes and comments to roll in. CONGRATS. HAVE A POTATO.
AND THE LONGEST BLOG POST OF THE YEAR AWARD GOES TO ABBY FRANKLIN *studio applause* Writing posts is hard work, but it’s 1000% worth it.. because I get to talk to YOU GUYS!! The other day, I was replying to comments and just grinning ear to ear. You’re so sweet and talented!! I’m so lucky to be in this community with every one of you. 🤗
Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite part about writing blog posts? Not introductions, hopefully. What’s your least favorite, or something you’re struggling with? Are you an aesthetic nut like me?! Comment below, friend!