Writing your first blog post can be nerve-racking. You want to get everything perfect and write content that people will want to read. It’s particularly stressful if you’ve never had your writing read by a large audience. You may have imagined worst-case scenarios where no one reads your article or you get nasty comments about it. The truth is these negative experiences are rare, and following some basic guidelines will ensure that your blog post is loved by lots of readers.
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Check Out Popular Blogs
Before you begin writing, you’ll need to figure out what works, and get a feel for how blogs are written. You can do this by checking out other blogs. Doing a simple Google search will lead you to some top blogs. You can search a topic you are interested in or how to write a blog. The point is to get a feel for the tone and structure that works. It’s also a good way to find ideas for your first blog.
Choose a Topic
Choosing a topic is the most crucial aspect of your first post. If your topic isn’t interesting, then you won’t be able to attract readers. The good news is that finding first blog post ideas doesn’t have to be daunting as long as you follow some basic guidelines.
You’ll want to begin considering your target audience at this point, and keep them in mind throughout the process. You want to write content that appeals to them. You’ll also need to decide what your goals for your post are. Is your goal to inform, entertain, or encourage them to purchase something? Your topic and your post should be in keeping with your target audience and your goal.
If you haven’t decided on a general idea or theme for your blog, now is the time to do so. Writing about something that you are knowledgeable or passionate about is always a good idea. Your writing will be better when you care about the topic, and it’s easier to write about something you are knowledgeable about.
If you have a general idea of the topic you would like to write about, you can use the Twitter search tool to find out what others are saying about the topic. If you are writing for a business, check out their blog for first blog post ideas about what they are looking for. This should help you get some ideas for your own post.
Brainstorming is another excellent idea to come up with first blog post ideas. Go into a room where you won’t be distracted or disturbed for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Take a piece of paper and write down every idea that comes to mind. Don’t worry about if they are good or bad, just keep writing down ideas. Once you’ve reached the time limit, it’s time to go over your ideas. Take another sheet of paper or your computer and split the ideas into two categories, one for good ideas and one for bad ones. You’ll likely feel connected to one of the ideas. Use this one for your first blog post, and keep the other good ideas for future posts.
Talk to Others
Never be ashamed to ask for help. People love to give advice, and there are bound to be people that would love to give you advice about what to write about. Just having a conversation about your post can get the ideas flowing through the course of conversation. It’s also a great way to brainstorm because ideas flow naturally in conversation.
Is Controversy a Good Thing?
Controversy can certainly drive more traffic to your blog, but will it work in your favor? The answer depends partly on the type of controversy you are generating. Out of the box thinking with a different, but inoffensive, point of view can be a good thing. However, genuine controversy may hurt your blog more than it hurts.
The problem with controversy is you are bound to wind up alienating part of your audience. Especially while your blog is in its infancy, it’s best to stay away from topics that are controversial. Topics like politics, religion, and any other topic that could alienate a portion of your readers should be avoided, unless your blog specifically pertains to a controversial subject.
Create An Outline
When you are ready to start writing, you’ll want to start with an outline. How detailed it is depends on your personal preference, since it’s just for your needs. You can write a very informal outline that highlights the main points, or a formal outline complete with roman numerals and bullet points. The right way is the way that works for you. Creating an outline gives you a roadmap to follow. You may add or subtract a bit from the outline as you go, but it should be your basic guideline. It may seem like a waste of time, but it will save you lots of time and effort in the long run.
Create an Interesting Introduction
Your introduction is going to be what hooks the reader and makes them want to continue reading your article. Readers read 18% of a blog post on average, but creating a great introduction can keep them interested enough to keep reading.
One way to do this is to let them know what questions you can answer for them. Starting with a question also makes the reader feel welcome and understood, especially when you phrase the question so it’s directed to them. “Are you nervous about your first blog post?”, is an example of this method. It makes the reader feel understood, and lets them know something that will be addressed in your post.
You can also show readers that you identify with them or have something in common with them. An “We’re in this together” or “I know how you feel” type introduction can catch the readers attention. You can also make things a bit more personal by beginning with what motivated you to choose the blog topic you chose. An example is “I saw yet another person screaming at the TV because their team didn’t score, so I had to let the world know why football is the worst sport ever.” The writer is clearly passionate about the topic, which encourages the reader to keep reading, even if they disagree with the author’s view.
Online readers have short attention spans, and using subheadings creates content that they can skim through easily. This allows them to get right to what they would like to know. You’ll also want to keep your paragraphs fairly short, and use bullet points when needed. These things all help hold a reader’s attention and keeps them reading.
Write a Rough Draft
To put it simply, it’s called a rough draft for a reason. Once you get your ideas going, you want to keep them going. Stopping to correct your spelling or grammar can mess up your flow and actually stifle your writing. The best method is to get all of your ideas on paper (or a screen). Once you’ve said what you needed to say, you can go back and edit your content. Before you begin editing, it’s a good idea to let the content sit for a day if you can.
You tend to get attached to the content that you write, and it can be hard to look at what you’ve written with an objective eye. Letting it sit for a day makes it easier for you to take a step back and look at it from a reader’s point of view. Once you’ve edited and proofread your content, let someone else read it before you publish it. They may catch an error that you missed or have a suggestion about how to improve your post.
Once you’ve finished editing, it’s time to publish your content. This is the easiest step, but it brings its own challenge. The reality of putting your post out there for the world to see sinks in. If you’ve put in the work, you should feel confident that your post will do well. The only thing left to do is hit the publish button.
Writing your first blog post is an exciting experience. It’s a great opportunity to express yourself and get your writing out there for the world to see. It can be challenging, but it’s well worth it.