The 10 Commandments of Writing a Blog Post that People Actually Want to Read

1K Shares 1K Shares ×

Ah the wonderful world of blogging. You hurriedly type out a piece on your lunch break or when you have a spare minute, click ‘Publish’ and leave it at peace to be shared by industry bigwigs. Right?

Sadly not. In an industry where content is indeed king there are still many people who believe blogging is a simple, menial task that any member of staff can take care of. Oh how wrong they are. There are countless factors, both large and small that need to be taken into account right from the start of the writing process to ensure that your posts reap rewards. Whether these rewards are more views, comments and shares or even new business opportunities, your blog content should be working towards encouraging them.

In addition to abiding by the generic advice to “create killer content,” I’ve found the best way to encourage these interactions is by heeding ten more specific blogging commandments…

photo credit: Will Lion via photopin cc

photo credit: Will Lion via photopin cc

1. Thou shalt not shamelessly self-promote

If you’re planning on writing a post that’s purely about your products or services, then stop right now. Shameless self-promotion is never going to work. Your blog is there to establish your expertise in your industry, and to give readers valuable information that works towards convincing them that you’re the business for them. This means your posts need to be focused around industry news, debate, tips and advice, with information about and links to your products or services slotted in sparingly and where appropriate.

2. Thou shalt not keyword stuff

As well as keyword stuffing being one of Google’s main offenders, it’s an archaic SEO technique that reeks of spam and desperation. Instead, utilise keywords in optimal places. Add one as close to the start of your title as possible, use them in subheadings where appropriate and two to three times in your actual body of text. If you’re writing for the right reasons then your keywords should really slot in of their own accord, as seamlessly and as naturally as possible.

3. Thou shalt not steal (content)

It’s one thing to take inspiration from someone else’s blog post, but quite another to steal it altogether. Google got wise to this a long time ago and, whether you copy a post word for word or try to switch the words around a little, you’ll be penalised for it. And what benefit would it give your readers, regardless?

If you find a post that you love or agree with, then put your own spin on the subject and write it from a different slant. You could even fill in the blanks with points the original author missed out. In an age where the internet is full of almost identical blog posts, your readers will thank you for poking your head above the noise and handing them something new.

4. Thou shalt not write endless reams of text

Like it or not, blog posts are usually a skim read rather than attentively taken in. Readers are hungry for information they can quickly consume but will provide invaluable benefits, so it makes sense that your text should be broken up into bite sized chunks rather than left in a continuous stream. It can make a blog post seem longer than it actually is and can be quite intimidating to look at.

Instead, break up your content with subheadings, bullet points, shorter paragraphs, shorter sentences, images and videos.

5. Thou shalt not be an image sheep

I’ve come across numerous blog posts that use exactly the same images, whether from a stock website or a quick Google image search. Even if it is a particular lovely picture, that doesn’t stop me from losing a bit of interest in the post itself.

If your readers are browsing through a number of posts and seeing a stream of the same images, then chances are they’re thinking along the same lines, so why not stand out from the saturated search results by creating your own pictures? Anne Reuss gives some great suggestions and techniques for self-taken imagery in her post, ‘Can we get Some Diversity with our Images?’

6. Thou shalt not withhold sources

Not bothering to link to the sources of your facts, figures, statistics, inspiration and other research is something that can appear quite deceptive, and can prove even more frustrating. On the other hand, a reader being able to click through and actually see evidence of where a figure has come from builds a great trust factor. It adds credibility to your content and shows that you’ve researched the piece thoroughly to give as much value to your readers as possible.

7. Thou shalt not leave thy blog to run itself

After crafting a great post it can be tempting to leave your blog to gather likes and shares by itself, a technique which turns the effort you put into all of that content into a giant waste of time.

Not everyone will happen across your blog on their own, meaning you need to muck in, take pride in your work and spread it across the internet. Push out your posts on social channels, link to them in email newsletters, in relevant areas of on-site content (if you think they’ll benefit page visitors) and on other relevant websites. Making such a concerted effort is something that won’t go unnoticed by potential readers and prospects.

8. Thou shalt not covet thyself

While we’re on the topic of post sharing, are you returning the favour? One of the biggest parts of blogging involves networking; building relationships with your readers and other writers. This isn’t just something that comes from sitting back and basking in the number of shares or comments your posts receive, it’s about reading other industry work, sharing your favourite pieces, leaving comments on them and responding to any commentary on your own posts. Think of the blogosphere as a playground – just being nice goes a long way in forging valuable new friendships.

9. Thou shalt not let thy blog go stale

If your blog isn’t regularly updated there’s every chance it’ll give the impression that your products and services are neglected too. It’s easy to let other business concerns take priority and just forget to write a post, but setting aside a good few hours or a whole day of your time to really immerse yourself in the task will be a huge help. If all else fails, there’s always the option of hiring a professional content writer to create blog content for you.

10. Thou shalt not lose thy patience

Blog success doesn’t happen overnight. Not to anyone. Even industry leading bloggers started out with a readership of zero. All you can do is go into the blogging world with a clear plan in place and in possession of some serious determination and patience. Keep practicing, keep reading around, keep networking and keep abiding by these ten commandments. In the end it’ll all pay dividends.

So there you go! Those our the 10 commandements of writing a blog post that people want to read. Do you follow a set of your own commandments for blogging? Tell me about them below!

1K Shares Twitter 631 Facebook 90 Google+ 50 LinkedIn 146 StumbleUpon 20 Pin It Share 21 Email -- Buffer 50 1K Shares ×
Charlotte Varela

Charlotte Varela

Digital content marketer at Tone Agency
Charlotte Varela is a digital content marketer for Tone Agency, a web design and inbound marketing agency based in (not so) sunny Lancashire, England. After graduating from university with a degree in Creative Writing, Charlotte found her calling in the world of social media and content creation. Quickly learning that customer service and lead nurturing is about much more than incessant sales pitches, she now thrives on creating compelling and original content that readers can take away and put into action themselves. When she isn't tearing up the keyboard Charlotte loves escaping into a good book or the great British countryside, taking pictures of wildlife and baking tasty treats for family and friends, all in between a serious spot of knitting!
Charlotte Varela

@charlotte_tone

Digital content marketer at Tone Agency. Most at home in the Great British countryside or curled up with a good book.
50 Shades of Grey #Facebook Guidelines – How a Small Lancashire Town Added Fuel to the Fiery Debate http://t.co/hnwCtkef7A - 4 months ago
Charlotte Varela
Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for daily SteamFeed content in your email inbox!

Enter your email address:

Comment below:

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Comments

  1. Finally, a blogging "bible". This is awesome Charlotte. Thanks for putting this together!

  2. Hey Charlotte,

    You are right on point with these 10 commandments. The ones that really irk me the most are number 1 and 4.

    I like reading blogs, especially if they have the answers to my problems. When people constantly promote their businesses, products or services, that is a big turn off for me. If you have to do this, promote a feature that is going to be helpful to your readers. But other than that, promote value in general that's going to help readers in your niche.

    Also for me to read a text bound blog post, the title has to be really interesting to me. Other than that, I will skip that lesson. I like to read post that are scannable, and like you mention thats how blogs should be set up!

    Thanks for sharing your commandments!
    My recent post What Type Of Marketer Are You?

    • Sorry about the late reply Sherman, I completely agree! Your blog should be one of the main hooks on your website, enticing in potential leads and feeding with great content they can actually take away and action.

      Thanks for reading! :)

  3. Crafty Spices says:

    Awesome post !!! I may follow some rules (never really written them) but it's definitely good to see some that totally make sense in writing. Thanks for sharing.
    My recent post Follow Who? Social Weekend Hop 40

  4. One of the best articles I have had the pleasure to read in awhile. These are the kind of articles I learn so much from.. Thanks for your caring and sharing.. Regards
    My recent post “How To Stand Your Ground To Avoid The Snakes On The Ground”

  5. Mark McNallen says:

    lol I like this, stumbled across it searching for content blogging tips, however #3 should be punishable by.. Something I probably not publicly post :)

    I hate when looking for information, and about half way through reading, you realize that the blog was not written for people to read, but to just try and rank grrr!

    My recent post Bovada Casino

  6. Thanks for the post Charlotte! :)
    These commandments are proven by many of bloggers!
    Any blogger should build blog around these, and there will be no mistakes!
    Think about long-term benefits and be patient!

    My recent post When Is The Best Time To Tweet – Find Out In 5 Minutes

    • Thanks for reading Branko, and apologies for the late reply!

      You're so right, patience is everything in this industry. It's trying to manipulate for quick wins that can actually set you back even further and require you to do even more work!

  7. Many thanks for great content of which we all need to be reminded! No 5 is what particularly resonated with me, being a very visual person. A great image is always likely to intrigue me and make me read on. Image is what stays to remind me of what I have read.In the past I, too, have been down the road of using freely available imagery for convenience sake. iNot as quick and easy as one would think at first, as finding a very specific image to illustrate a point can sometimes prove a lengthy, and occasionally even fruitless search! Since my most recent weblog I have decided to use only my own images, and realised how much fun I was missing!I now take specific photos to convey exactly what I need them to illustrate my word content, and that adds to the fun of creative process, at the same time creating a unique outcome. I'd like to encourage everyone to add more of their own visual content to their writing rather than keep recycling images which can be stunning, but they have been first seen through another pair of eyes!
    My recent post Busy be{e}-ing

    • Apologies for the late reply Clara. It's so great to read about a success story like this :) searching for images for my posts can sometimes take even longer than writing the post itself! Plus taking your own means you can get so much more creative and experimental :)

      Did you take the pictures of the bees in your recent post? They're lovely, and you're much braver than me for getting so close up!

  8. Tonette says:

    Very helpful tips, Charlotte. The most recommended reads for bloggers. Thank you for this. More power.
    My recent post A Grandparent's Everlasting Duty

  9. I love this blogging bible,am gonna bookmark it for further study
    My recent post Why Monitoring Your Website Downtime Is A Necessity

  10. Hey Charlotte, I loved reading this. Rhi

  11. Hi Charlotte – Just set up my first blog site last week and learning – baby steps. Being a generation ahead of the techno-crowd I'm still learning the basics, so this helped a lot! Thanks. And if you have any recommends for newbies still learning how to manage the blog space let alone be an active contributor, please let me know. I will follow you!
    Catherine
    My recent post Welcome to my blog

  12. Hey Ms. Charlette!

    This was amazing. Its not often I say that I learned about 10 different topics, commandments actually, and then read a useful comment or two following them, great post.

    What I would say is the biggest no-no's when blogging not covered here is to know your resources. Just because it is written somewhere doesn't mean it true, opinions aside. Good resources like the Wikipedia and other sources that have a foundation in educational institutes are paramount when referencing a work as being factual.

    When writing reviews of pieces or sites, I am sure to draw correlations to other authors’ reviews as a basis for their opinions to further establish my writing as having a foundation in the truth. I find that to be the hardest part of making reviews, but it is also why I enjoy doing it so much. Thanks for the great online read again.

    Sammy

    My recent post New USA Casinos

    • Hi Sammy, thank you so much! I'm glad you found it helpful :)

      You're completely right about knowing your resources, thanks for pointing it out! I'd be slightly wary about Wikipedia though as anyone can go in and change the information, so you can't be completely sure it's all factually accurate. I always find that linking to research papers and studies is a good tack as you know they're authoritative sources :)

      Thanks again for your comments Sammy!

Speak Your Mind

*

1K Shares Twitter 631 Facebook 90 Google+ 50 LinkedIn 146 StumbleUpon 20 Pin It Share 21 Email -- Buffer 50 1K Shares ×

Like us on Facebook

Close