How to Write Engaging Blog Posts
When I first started blogging for Badass Web Goddess, I really wanted to learn how to be a better blogger and how to write engaging blog posts that people actually read. You see, I stumbled into the blogging business.
I started my first website in 2004 before blogging was really a thing. I learned how to write content because I had to. I recently went back and read some of my old content, and it sucked. Back then, you didn’t have to write that well. There weren’t millions of bloggers to compete with.
This post was one of my very first blog posts on Badass Web Goddess, and honestly my first draft of this post sucked. It wasn’t remarkable. It contained all the same basic crap all the other bloggers had.
This is what a lot of bloggers do when they write a blog post. They go scour the internet, and literally rewrite other people’s content. On top of being a digital marketer, I am a freelance writer and I see this all the time. You should see how many people pay writers to spin an article. They don’t come up with anything new or improve an article, they just rewrite it in their own words.
This is not how you write an engaging blog post and if you are guilty of this, you should keep reading.
I am going to teach you how I write engaging blog posts that perform well in Google and get read!
Some people will tell you that all you need to do to get good at blogging is learn how to do SEO. I am great at SEO. That is certainly an important aspect of blogging, but if you don’t know how to write awesome content, your blog isn’t going to grow or make you money.
Writing a high-quality blog post that keeps someone’s attention is hard!
Over the years, I have learned a few tricks. One of my best secrets for getting better at blogging is to read other people’s blog posts. You have probably heard authors say the same thing. If you want to get better at writing, you need to read!
You can learn a lot from checking out your competition. When you read a blog post that you love, learn from it. What did they write about and what was it about their blog post that kept you reading?
So, how do I write engaging blog posts?
You don’t need to be hilarious or entertaining to write a great blog post. I love reading people’s posts that are funny! But, the type of content you write really depends on the type of blog you have. You can write about a topic that’s totally boring and still be engaging.
Being engaging doesn’t mean writing catchy titles or coming up with the next viral post. It means writing something that provides your reader with value, so much value that they want to keep reading.
Yep, you probably already know this.
Blogging is all about solving the reader’s problem or answering a question. This is the main reason people read blogs. They want to find out more information on a topic they are interested in.
I read a lot of other blogs. I sometimes get jealous when I read other digital marketer’s blogs. Some of them write outstanding content. But, honestly, most of the blogs I read on the topic of blogging or how to make money blogging are totally useless. They don’t tell me anything I don’t already know.
If you want to provide value to your reader, your blog post needs to be the very best, most informative, blog post on the topic.
I have been writing for the web since 2004. When I started out, my content was terrible, but it ranked well in Google. I learned a lot from my experience as an editor, but I have learned so much more since I started blogging as a business. I have put a lot of research and personal experience into this blog post and I really hope you find my tips useful.
Tip #1: Your blog post should solve a problem
This is the most important component of a great blog post. You want to think about your searcher’s intent. When you decide what you are going to write about, create your title based on what your reader might search for. Use the keywords you would use to search for the topic in your blog title.
Really think about what you’d like to know if you were searching for this topic. What details would you like included? Write all your ideas down before you start your post.
These days people search for everything in Google. If you’ve thought about it, someone else probably has too. If you write the best, most useful, or best-researched information on your topic, more than likely your blog post will be the post that gets read. Your reader might click through the search results and skim other articles for their answer. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they will move on to the next post.
Tip #2: Read other blog posts on your topic first
Before you write your posts you need to research the topic. One of the things that drives me absolutely crazy is when I do a Google search for something and read blog post after blog post that say exactly the same thing.
I love reading a blog post where you can tell the writer put some research and thought into it. This is what will help you create content that stands out from your competition.
Do a search for your keyword and read the first ten results. Write down everything you notice about your competitor’s blog posts. This way, you know what you’re up against. But more importantly, this tells you what you need to write to make you content better! Remember your blog post needs to be the very best one.
Tip #3: Break up your blog post with headers
Every blog post I write is broken up with headers. Breaking up your posts with headers or bullet points makes it easier to read. Most people do not read blog posts, they skim them. According to a survey by Hubspot, less than a third of your readers actually read your entire post. Forty-three percent of your visitors are just skimming your blog post. This is why headers are so important.
Headers are also great for SEO
Not only that but, using keywords in your headers is one of the best ways to search-engine optimize your post. Make sure every blog post you write is optimized for the keywords in your title. If you don’t know much about SEO, start following my blog or other popular digital marketers to learn more about SEO. It’s a highly important skill you need to grow your blog traffic.
Tip #4 Keep your paragraphs to 2 or 3 sentences
When you write for the web, you want to keep your visitors engaged on your website for as long as possible. You don’t want them to breeze through your entire post in 15 seconds and leave. Writing in short, two to three sentence paragraphs, is the best way to keep people reading your blog post for longer. It makes your posts easier to read and keeps visitors on your page longer.
Tip 5: Make your blog posts visually appealing
One of the most surprising facts about highly-engaging content, the kind that people read and share on social media, is that photos and visuals are sometimes more important than the content itself. Now, I am not saying you should write crappy content, but most people are attracted to visuals.
A post that contains a lot of professional, colorful photos or graphics looks better and keeps someone’s attention longer. According to Jeff Bullas, an expert on content marketing, articles that contain images get 94% more views.
Like headers, pictures help break up your posts and make them more visually appealing. There are tons of free stock photography sites out there. Find some photos and add a photo after every few paragraphs in your blog post.
Tip #6: If you have writer’s block, just write your dang blog post
I love Ernest Hemingway’s quote, “Write drunk, edit sober.” I am not saying that you should write your blog posts while you’re drinking. But, I am telling you to just write them. The best way to overcome writer’s block is to start writing.
My intro paragraphs often start with rambling just to get me writing. You should see some of the things I write when I start a new blog post. It’s often utter nonsense. “Get coffee and write okay keep writing yeh you can do it baby” This is literally how some of my posts start off, but once I start writing the words begin to flow. It’s one of my writing tricks. I edit the nonsense out later, of course!
Here’s another thing I have learned about blogging. If you want your blog to be successful you have to publish a lot of content. This means writing a lot of blog posts fast. However, when you write fast and write often, the quality of your content sometimes suffers. It takes time to write a high-quality blog post.
Now, here I am telling you telling you that engaging content should be the best out there. But, also telling you that you need to write fast. There is a trick to doing both. How I arrive at my best content isn’t always on my first publication. See tip #7
Tip #7 Update your old blog posts
This is my number one secret to writing engaging blog posts!
I update my blog posts a lot and often. Usually I just make minor tweaks, but sometimes I will totally rewrite a blog post to make it better. If you want your blog posts to be awesome, update them. Awesome bloggers get awesome with practice. So, it’s okay to go back and update your post later to make it the best!
Updating your blog posts is also a good practice for other reasons. Editing later will help you catch any typos or grammatical mistakes you might have made. It happens. Additionally, you’re bound to come up with a new idea or a better way to word things.
When you are working on writing a blog post for hours, your mind gets spent. Coming back and updating it later, allows you to approach it with a fresh brain and better ideas. Most importantly though, Google loves updated content. Even if you just change up a few sentences, updating your content will help you to rank better in Google.
Tip # 8 Long-form content is best
If you read about search engine optimization, like I do, you might have read that long-form content performs best in search engines. Most websites aim for around 1,000 to 1,500 words for a blog post. Some bloggers aim for up to 2,500 words.
I am going to be honest with you. I hate long-form content. I have serious ADHD and hate reading really long posts. But, Google loves long-form content, so I try to make my blog posts at least 1,000 words.
According to Medium.com, the most engaging blog posts take about 7 minutes to read. The average reader reads about 300 words per minute. While that amounts to about 2,100 words, keep in mind your blog post is not just text. People are scrolling through pictures and other content on your page. Still, this gives you a pretty good reference on how long your blog posts should be if you want them to be engaging.
Unfortunately, when you write really long posts, you can lose your reader’s attention. This is why your blog posts also need to be concise. Don’t add extra sentences or words just to lengthen up your posts. Word count is never as important as word quality. When you’re done writing your blog post, go back through and remove sentences that are redundant or don’t add value.
Tip #9: Start your blog post with a great intro paragraph
So why am I making this tip number 9? This tip is one I have read on every single blog post about blogging. I suck at writing intro paragraphs, so I always leave my intro for last. What I do is write my entire post — usually with a crappy intro — and then go back and work on the intro paragraph later.
Your intro is where you hook your reader. If you don’t get your reader interested in the first paragraph or two, you will probably lose them. One of the best ways to start your blog post is by telling a story. GrooveHQ wrote a post about story-telling and blog engagement. This post is totally worth reading. According to their post, blog intros that start with a story perform 300 percent better! More people read your post to the end if you start your post with a story.
Tip #10 Include research in your blog post
Most bloggers write posts with no research at all to back up what they are saying. I love well-researched blog posts. The extra time you spend looking up statistics makes your blog post better and adds credibility to your post. Adding research to your blog posts, also is an incredible tool for getting backlinks. People link to posts that contain data.
Blog posts that include stats get 283% more backlinks!.
According to QuickSprout, blog posts that contain stats and data get more backlinks. Why? people love to include stats in their blog posts. If your post contains a lot of statistics or information from research or case studies, people will link to your blog post to add credibility to their own post. Writtent did a case study on this. According to their case study, you can drive over 300 backlinks to a blog post simply by adding data.
Tip #11: Keep them reading your blog post to the end
Most readers do not read a blog post to the end. If you made it this far, you’re awesome and thanks for reading! You really need to give your readers incentive to keep reading. My best tip for achieving this is to read your own damn blog post.
If you’ve lost interest, your reader has too! Read and reread your blog post before you publish it. If you have paragraphs that cause you to lose interest, edit them out. You are better off having a shorter, well-written blog post than a post that has 2,500 words but loses engagement in the middle.
I love feedback. It helps me to improve my own writing. If you read this post to the end, I’d really love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
I am Patty Malowney, the creator of Badass Web Goddess. I am an SEO and digital marketing consultant located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I started my first internet business in 2004 with a $40 garage sale computer and a whole lot of determination. I sold my first website, JustMommies.com to the dating company eHarmony.com in 2008. My website was acquired by another company where I worked as a consultant and editor until July, 2019.
After encouragement from friends and family I decided to branch out on my own and start my own consulting business. I offer advice and services to local business on how they can rank better in Google.
In addition to running Badass Web Goddess, I am an avid blogger. I run several blogs including my internet marketing blog here at Badass Web Goodess.