How to Blog like a Pro

Business Owners

How to Blog like a ProBlogging is one of those things that seems easy to do … until you start doing it. It takes a lot of work to make a blog post on your website effective. If you’re starting to blog, here’s the list of do’s and don’ts that will make your post compelling.

check-do-thisDo Grab Your Audience’s Attention

Start by grabbing your audience’s attention by using a headline with EMV words. These are specific words that are either emotional, intellectual, or spiritual, that will entice your reader to click through to your article. You’ve got maybe 3-5 seconds before they continue scrolling, so your headline is a “make or break” moment. Check out Advanced Marketing Institutes free and easy tool.

no-check-dont-do-this Don’t Write a Cutsie or clickbait title

You want to grab your audience’s attention, but you also want them to know what they’re clicking to read. A cutsie title is something that sounds clever (and you probably are very proud you thought of it) but it doesn’t tell the potential reader what the article is about.

A clickbait title doesn’t give any information, but instead of being clever, it entices you by appealing to your curiosity – and not in a good way. For example, “You’ll never believe what the monkey did at the zoo this week!” or “This one moment will blow your mind!”. Don’t be fooled; these are bad for you in two ways: first, social media is continuously removing clickbait articles from their feeds and secondly, people will immediately click off your site – and Google tracks, knows, and doesn’t like that.


check-do-thisDo Write a Good Excerpt

Excerpts are often overlooked by beginning bloggers, but these little paragraphs provide the backup for that awesome title you’ve written. In WordPress, you should add a small paragraph of text (1-2 sentences) into the EXCERPT box. You have a little more room here, so use this as a “hook” to draw those potential readers in. Remember, your blog posts should solve a problem for your readers. Whatever that problem is, make sure your excerpt communicates that.

Note: Don’t see an excerpt box while editing your post? At the top of the page, click on the box that says “Screen Options”. Then checkmark the “excerpt” option. Scroll back down to see it below your post.

no-check-dont-do-thisDon’t Leave your excerpt to the computer

Your excerpt should be handcrafted for your readers. It should explain what the article is about and how it can help your reader. But the first two sentences of your blog post might not do that as efficiently as the reader would like. This excerpt is your last chance to get someone to click on your post, so make it count!


 check-do-thisDo Use the Right Headings

Headings are not playthings. They are not there for the text size and color. Headings are for search engines first, and our eyes second. Which means this: Your blog post should never contain a Heading 1. Ever. Ever. Ever. Your Heading 1 will automatically (if your theme is set up correctly) be the title of the blog post, and you can’t have more than one Heading 1 on a page. So any headings for your post need to start at Heading 2.

Think of these like an outline:

  • Cats (Heading 2)
    • Black Cats (Heading 3)
    • White cats (Heading 3)
  • Dogs (Heading 2)
    • Brown Dogs (Heading 3)
    • Pink Dogs (Heading 3)

no-check-dont-do-thisDon’t Change the text color in the Text Editor

Oh, how the days of clipart ruined us. When you want to draw attention to a phrase, do not – I repeat – DO NOT change the color of the text. If you need to highlight something, use bolding. Text colors are an unfortunate hold-over from the 90s. If you want the standard text or the headings a different color, talk to your web developer.


check-do-thisDo Use Short Paragraphs

Unlike your school years, paragraphs should be kept to 2-3 sentences not 4-5. Your readers interpret 3 paragraphs of 3 lines each as easier to read than one long 9 line paragraph. Once you’re done writing your post, preview it; that will allow you to see how long the paragraphs will look from the user’s viewpoint. Aim for under 5 lines generally.

no-check-dont-do-thisDon’t Write each sentence as it’s own paragraph or use Indents

Indents are dead online. Instead, paragraphs are separated automatically by an extra line. If your site doesn’t have a line added when you hit enter, talk to your web developer.

Just like long paragraphs are hard to read, a bunch of single lines are just as hard. Each sentence is seen as an individual though with nothing linking them together. It’s fine to have a sentence here or there that’s on it’s own – usually for emphasis – but if your whole post is one-liners? Pull ‘em together into paragraphs!


check-do-thisDo Include an Image

Images are vital for sharing on your post on social media. Depending on the social media platform (twitter, facebook, etc.), photos can increase the likelihood of people clicking by anywhere from 35% – 80%. So include images that fit into the overall look of your site with every post. Besides making sure you’ve got an image inside the post, make sure you add an image to the “Featured Image” area on the lower right side of the page.

no-check-dont-do-thisDon’t Steal images or add them in random places

Images should fit into the page layout. The best default way of doing this is to make the image size be less than 1/2 of the width of the page and float it to the left or right. If the image needs to be larger than 1/2 the width of the page, go for close to full width and center it so that no text will be awkwardly to the right or left.

Second, don’t steal images. If the owner finds you, they can charge you a license for the whole time you used the image, even if you just “didn’t know”.


check-do-thisDo Write as yourself

Typically people graduate their schooling having their writing voice effectively removed. Every paper or item they turn in has a professional detachment. Forget that; no one will read what you’re writing if you don’t come across as human. Be yourself. You’re not presenting facts and figures, you’re having a conversation with a friend who might become a client.

no-check-dont-do-thisDon’t Blather on and on

The other “skill” we learn in school is how to make a 2 page paper last for 4 pages by essentially adding nonsense content. In the real world no one has time for that. Make your point succinctly and quickly. Most people will be scanning your article anyway.


check-do-thisDo Bold Important Concepts

We live in an increasingly busy society where every moment is claimed for something. The majority of readers for the majority of your articles will be scanning the text for the most important concepts. They only have a few minutes to read and grasp what you’re trying to communicate. Bolding the most important concept of each section can help them know whether they need to read that whole section (they’ve never heard that concept before) or they’ve already go it and can move on.

no-check-dont-do-thisDon’t Bold Every other sentence

On the opposite site, bolding too much becomes annoying for the reader because the bolded sections lose importance. To make sure you get this right, try two tests. Test One: each section of your article can have one bolded sentence that’s the crux of the argument/section. Test Two: preview the page/post and read only the bolded text. Are you basically reading the whole post? too much bolding. Do you get the basic concept only? perfect.


Final Touches

Proofread

The most important thing you can do with any post is proofread it. Above the UPDATE button in WordPress, there’s a PREVIEW button. Click on that to see your post within your actual site. Then read your post from top to bottom checking punctuation, concept communication, grammar, sentence structure, and anything that could distract your reader from the point(s) you’re trying to make. To make sure your sentences “flow”, try reading them out loud. Finally, save the post and come back to it after 24 hours and re-proofread it.

End with a Call to Action

Who is reading this post? What do you want them to do when they finish? Every post should have a call to action at the end that invites the user to do something, even if it’s just to leave a comment. Ideally, most of your posts should focus on leading the user into the main call to action of your website. If you’re main goal is to have them sign up for a complimentary session, add a link at the bottom of the post.

It’s typically better to avoid the heavy-headed sale person approach and go for text that’s a little softer. For example, “Our tutors would love to see what they can do for you. Get started a free session here.” Different text can lead to different results, so try a few variations on posts to see what type of call to action gets the best response.

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