How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide
This post was last updated on May 24, 2021.
When you create a blog, you have the opportunity to dive deep into your favorite topics, highlight your expertise, and build a community of readers interested in your work. Whether you want to start a blog from scratch or make blogging part of your business strategy, publishing content online is an effective way to share your knowledge and ideas with the world.
That said, composing a winning entry takes practice. In this A to Z guide, you’ll learn how to write the perfect blog post - from choosing the right blog topics and picking the proper format for your articles, to selecting strategic images that generate interest and engagement. By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have a clear idea of how to create strong blog content that effectively communicates your ideas and stands out from other articles on the web.
How to write a blog post
01. Brainstorm blog topics
When writing a blog post, whether it's you're guest posting for someone else or writing for your own blog, you’ll want to cover topics that bring value to your readers and fall in line with their interests, as well as your own. Rather than trying to find the perfect topic right away, start by jotting down different ideas that come to mind.
There are several places you can look to spark new topic ideas:
Browse other blogs within your niche. If you’re starting a travel blog, for example, simply Google “travel blog” to see what your competitors are writing about.
Use Google Trends to find out which topics are trending.
Look for current events and recent news stories related to your field.
Once you find some interesting ideas online, think about the unique ways you can approach those topics. Consider the various ways you can play around with topic ideas to come up with something that isn’t only trendy and relevant, but that’s also original and fresh.
Let’s say, for instance, that you want to write about chocolate chip cookies. There are a few different angles you might consider taking here:
A how-to post that instructs readers how to do something with clearly ordered steps (e.g., “How to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies from Scratch”)
A curated list that offers a set of recommendations for your readers (e.g., “The Top Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes”)
A tips and advice post that provides expert guidance and resources. (e.g., “Tips for Making Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies Extra Gooey”)
A definition-based blog post that helps explain the meaning of a term or topic (e.g., “What Are No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies”)
A top trends article that highlights what’s currently popular (e.g. “The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes From This Year”)
A personal or business update that lets you unveil something fresh or recently unknown (e.g., “My New Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Revealed”)
02. Refine your topic with keyword research
Part of writing a blog post involves keyword research. This crucial SEO practice is used as a marker to see which terms you can potentially rank high for in certain online searches.
Once you’ve chosen a direction for your blog post, you’ll need to figure out the chances of its success on search engine result pages - which ultimately means getting more eyes on your content. In order to succeed, conduct keyword research to find the most relevant queries for your topic.
You can find keywords for your own articles by using various keyword research tools. If you’re new to blogging, you’ll probably want to start with free tools such as Answer the Public, Ubersuggest, and Google Keyword Planner. Afterwards, you may want to upgrade to more advanced tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs.
While conducting keyword research, keep in mind that the more specific the phrase, the more closely it will match your audience’s intent. On the other hand, broader keywords tend to have higher search volumes - meaning more people are searching for them each month.
Think about the benefits of opting for a broader phrase, like “chocolate chip cookies,” over a more precise phrase, like “how to make chocolate chip cookies.” Choosing the right keywords means striking a balance between high search volume and high intent.
Once you’ve selected your keywords, you can use them to shape the structure of your content. Google those phrases to find out which articles have successfully targeted those same keywords, and spend some time browsing their content. This will give you inspiration for your own article in terms of what to include and how to structure it.
03. Define your audience
Now that you know what you’ll be writing about, you need to find out who you’re writing for. Anticipating the kinds of people who will be reading your posts will help you create content that is interesting, engaging and shareable.
Of course, your audience largely depends on your type of blog. If you run a baking blog, you’ll probably be writing for an audience of people who love baking and are seeking recipe inspiration. Even more specifically, if you run a healthy baking blog, you’ll be writing for people who similarly love baking but who want to make their culinary creations healthier. It’s important to keep these nuances in mind when crafting your content, since your goal is to write articles that resonate strongly with readers.
So, how do you figure out your audience in the first place? Start by taking another look at the other blogs in your field. Consider who they seem to be writing for, and the kinds of assumptions they’re making about their readers’ interests and lifestyles. For example, you might find that most of the blogs address a particular gender or age group.
You can also use online forums to find the main questions asked by your audience, or visit Facebook groups to read what topics they like or talk about. This will help you create content that piques their interest, sparks their curiosity and answers their questions.
04. Create an organized outline
The key to learning how to write a blog post is doing thorough research and planning before you create the article itself. After deciding on the topic and blog format, you’ll need to build the mold for your content. Creating an outline is critical, as it ensures your article will have a strong foundation that you can build on as you write your blog post.
Start by creating subheaders, which are the backbone of an organized outline. These small but mighty pieces of content help you break down your article into bite-sized sections - making it easier for you to write and more digestible for people to read.
If it’s a step-by-step guide or a list of tips, start building your outline by listing out all the main points clearly, as in the example below:
Outline: How to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies from Scratch
1. Gather your ingredients
2. Mix and knead the dough
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
4. Scoop mounds of dough onto baking sheet
5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Add bulleted notes within your introduction and under each of your subheaders. This will help you formulate your main points.
If you find yourself getting stuck, use one of these blog post templates to guide you through the outline process.
05. Write engaging content
Now that you’ve sketched out the blog post, you can begin typing away. Keep in mind that blog posts, like many other types of writing, typically include three main elements: an introduction, the body text, and a conclusion.
Let’s start with the introduction. In the first few sentences of your article, you should already grab your readers’ attention. Begin with a relevant quote or statistic, tell a short story, or share an interesting fact. Then, set the tone for the article by sharing a brief summary of what you’re going to talk about in the body text. This gives your readers a reason to keep going.
Next, fill in the body text. In your outline, these are the bullet points beneath each subheader. This is the meat of your blog post, so it should be clear and compelling. Avoid fluff and repetition, and instead offer deep value by sharing your knowledge, research, and insights.
A concluding section isn’t always necessary - in fact, our blog rarely uses one - but it can be useful in the case of storytelling or when wrapping up a very extensive article. You can tie your main points together using a short bulleted list, or by sharing some closing thoughts in a few sentences. No matter the case, you’ll want to end on an engaging note.
06. Craft an irresistible headline
When writing a blog post, you don’t only need strong content; you’ll also want a powerful headline. A great headline entices readers and enhances your blog design, ensuring that they actually click on your article in the first place.
Learning how to write a catchy blog title doesn’t have to be hard. All you need to do is keep the following points in mind: clarity, specificity and offering an answer or solution.
Writing a good headline also depends on how well you put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Use the title to promise readers that your blog post will provide valuable insight that will benefit them in some way, whether by satisfying their intellectual curiosity, teaching them something new, or helping them solve a problem. This will increase the chances that they’ll click on your article and read it.
Here are some examples of headlines that we are quite proud of, to give you a general idea for your own content:
Create a Powerful Free Landing Page in Under an Hour
20 Best Time Management Apps to Organize Your Life
How to Design an A+ School Website (With Examples)
Make a Change: Using Photography as a Tool to Raise Awareness
If you're looking for inspiration to get started, try out this free title generator.
07. Stylize your blog post
Writing your blog post may be your first priority, but you’ll also want to package it in an appealing way. Having an article with strong visual appeal is crucial for striking the right chord with your readers.
If you’re writing a blog about organic ingredients, for instance, using a natural color palette on your site will set the right tone for the type of topics you’ll be writing about. This same color palette should also be used for your blog logo, as well as on your social media platforms.
The best way to customize your blog’s design is by choosing from one of these free blog templates. These are all created by professional designers, and they’re fully customizable to reflect your blog’s messaging and tone. For inspiration, check out these blog examples to see how others have used these templates to transform their blogs into beautiful, content-rich powerhouses.
08. Pick relevant images
Likewise, you should also enhance your blog post with a few great images that illustrate your main points. It’s important that your pictures add value to the subject, rather than serving as placeholders. Pay extra attention to your featured image - this will be the main visual below your blog’s title, and it’s what readers will see when they browse your articles from your blog’s homepage.
With Wix, you can add a professional photo gallery to individual posts and embed your own pictures within your articles. You can also choose from an array of media content from Wix, Shutterstock, and Unsplash directly within your site’s editor.
09. Implement calls-to-action
In the same way a blog is meant to inform people about specific topics, it can also be used as an important tool that motivates readers to take a certain action. This includes everything from subscribing to your blog to making a purchase.
This element is referred to as CTA, or call-to-action, and is presented as an embedded link or button that states your objective in an alluring manner. Some of the most common call-to-action examples for blogs include “Subscribe,” “Download our e-book” or “Sign up.”
Using CTAs can help you transform your website traffic into engagement and, eventually, profit. While your immediate goal is to get more readers, you may eventually want to monetize your blog further down the road.
10. Optimize for SEO
When it comes to SEO for bloggers, a strong SEO plan involves optimizing your content both before and after writing the blog post. Not only does this include doing keyword research prior to the outline phase (mentioned in step 3), but it also includes using those keywords to polish your final piece.
This begins with sprinkling relevant keywords throughout your article. Let’s say you’ve chosen to target the keyword “business strategies.” Use this exact phrase in your headline, throughout the body text, and 1-2 subheaders if it’s a natural fit.
Next, include this keyword in your metadata. This is the preview text you’ll see for every article on Google, and it includes a title (known as the meta title) and short description (the meta description). You’ll also want to add the keywords to the URL of your article, as well as in the alt text of your blog post’s images. Use these SEO features to give your blog an overall performance boost. Lastly, and make sure you know exactly how long a blog post should be to best rank your post.
11. Edit and publish your blog post
With so many common blogging mistakes out there, you’ll need to thoroughly check your article for grammatical errors, repetition and any other unprofessional content. Furthermore, make sure your ideas flow coherently throughout each section, signaling a clear and purposeful message to readers. You can read about other essential aspects of blogging in this comprehensive blog post checklist.
We recommend asking a friend or colleague to give your blog article a once over before it goes live. Direct them to look for any discrepancies or ambiguity. It’s also important to emphasize quality over quantity in order to keep your readers interested. Then, once you’re happy with your written work, it’s time to hit publish.
12. Promote the final article
Once you’ve written and published the blog post, take the necessary steps to make sure it gets read. Two of the most effective ways to promote your blog post and get readers are email marketing and social media marketing.
Email remains one of the most reliable platforms for marketing, as it allows for a direct communication channel between you and your audience. This highly effective digital marketing strategy involves sending out customized emails to prospective users with the aim of converting them into loyal fans. If you’re interested in getting started, this powerful email marketing service can help you send custom newsletters for your blog.
Beyond emails, sharing your article on social media can also go a long way. For example, if you want to accrue a wide audience, promote your blog on Facebook or Instagram, which have one of the largest and most diverse user bases.
Whichever channels you choose, make sure to actively engage with followers on a day-to-day basis. This will ensure that you not only write a great blog post, but that you get people reading your article, too.
Looking to really get your blog off the ground? Take a look at our Build Your Own Blog online course to get you started.
By Rebecca Strehlow
Marketing Expert & Blogger
By Cecilia Lazzaro Blasbalg Small Business Expert & Writer