Keeping on top of your blog can be a difficult task (I should know) but there are a number of easy-to-follow tips that can help you beat that blank-page syndrome and ensure a steady flow of well-structured, interesting blog posts over a long period of time.
Previously in this three-part series, we have looked at “Part 1: Getting Started”, which helped set topics and create an outline structure to your article, and “Part 2: Writing good content”, which helped get the full post written by breaking it down into bite-sized chunks. In this last stage, “Part 3: Finishing touches”, we look at the little touches that make your blog post work harder for your website or business and round off with a few last tips.
So – you’ve written the post and added some images and links. You’re ready to publish, right? Whoa there, cowboy – hold on just a minute. There are a few last checks and balances you need to do before you hit the big red button…
1. Make sure you include at least one call to action
A call to action is the fancy (some might say poncey) name for what you want the reader to do next. On an ecommerce site, this would probably be a big button saying “Buy now”. On other sites, it might be a link to another page, a sign-up form or downloadable brochure. You really should include at least one on your blog post.
Make the blog post work hard
The point of including a call to action is to make the blog post work hard for you. You’ve gone to the trouble of writing the post, crafting it into a thing of beauty using links and images. Your visitor has found it and is reading through it; you don’t want to let them go at this late stage without trying to make a sale or enquiry out of it.
Add a call to action at the bottom of the blog post
The most obvious place to put your call to action is at the bottom of your post, below the copy.
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. You’ve read through a very enjoyable and informative post, you’re feeling positive about what the author has written, you get to the end and then…nothing. Where do you go from here?
Add a link, or even better a button, that offers them somewhere to go if they want to take their interest further. Possible destinations could include:
- Sign up for our email newsletter
- View our products online
- Book your place/holiday/ticket
- Find out how we can help you
- Make an enquiry
Add another call to action further up that’s relevant to the copy
In addition to your call to action at the bottom of the page, consider whether you can add a further call to action higher up, amongst the copy. Something like a button or a promotional panel might work well here. Let’s say you have a paragraph about something you included in last months email newsletter – you could add a link here to “Sign up for our email newsletter”.
2. Read through, double-check, then publish
This last step might sound obvious, but you really shouldn’t underestimate the importance of checking your post thoroughly before you hit the big red button.
Bad spelling and grammar makes you look like an idiot
You may have created the most brilliant post; dazzled your reader with your wit and elegant prose, and selected stunning images that make the spirits soar – but you’re going to look like a right berk if you’ve spelt something wrong or your basic grammar’s all to cock.
Check your copy, then check it again. Read it through and if you’re unsure of anything, look it up – you’ve heard of Google, right? Use an online dictionary, thesaurus and other reference sites to avoid ending up with egg on your face.
What sounded right in your head when you wrote it might not look so good now
When trying to strike a conversational tone (see Tip number 1 in “Part 2: Writing good content”) it’s easy to get the balance of your paragraphs wrong or use a conflicting tone within a sentence. That joke that sounded hilarious in your head may not actually read quite right and could do with a little adjusting. Don’t be afraid to make changes; just remember to stick to the bite-sized chunks principle we used before.
Top tip: You’ll find it easier to come back for a read-through another time – tackle another task, go and have a cup of tea, do something – anything – else, and then come back to it.
The moment of truth – time to publish
Here it is, the big moment – the time to share your carefully crafted work with the world. Avoid the temptation to publish straightaway, just because you feel you should; consider whether there is a better time of day (or day of the week) to “go live”. Most blog software will let you schedule a post for a future time and date.
3. Most asked questions or top tips
Well done you! I hope that you’ll find writing blog posts a bit easier in future by following these simple steps. Keep at it and don’t forget – little and often wins the day. Finally, I have three last tips that I often share with clients about blogging in general:
Once a day would be amazing. Twice a week would be great. Once a week is probably about right but once a fortnight is acceptable. Once a month is ok too, but anything less and you’re not going to be making the most of the benefits of blogging. The thing to remember is the more often you blog, the more you get from it, but most importantly, the frequency of your posting needs to be consistent and realistic.
The classic mistake is to start off with lots of enthusiasm and write long blog posts for the first few months, then it slips and before you know it, six months have gone past and your blog looks stale. Set a realistic policy and stick to it.
How many words?
It depends on the subject. This series of blog posts is a “How to” type topic, and these tend to need more words than an opinion piece or a story. As a general rule of thumb, I think anything less than 500 words looks a bit thin, but more than 1000 can sometimes become heavy-going, so save these for the “How to” and more technical pieces.
Stock-pile and schedule blog posts
If, like Madonna, you’re the type that “gets into the groove” when you’re being creative, think about setting aside a chunk of time to write several posts whilst you’re in the mood. You can then stockpile them for future publishing and have a number of posts available on stand-by for those busy times when you can’t do so much writing.
Get in touch
For more tips and help with your website, get in touch with the team today.