7 rules of writing engaging blog posts
Becoming a good blog post writer takes time. The best way to learn how to write great blog posts is by practice. By practicing writing, you can learn how to become a better writer.
I used to build WordPress websites for a living.
Building WordPress websites taught me the basics of software development.
Knowing the basics, I was able to land my first full-time software developer job.
A few years went by working as a junior software developer when it was time for a change.
I wanted to advance in my career so I transitioned into consulting.
I learned frontend, backend, databases, networking, and business by going hands-on.
But then I burned out.
After recovery, I realised I wasn’t feeling fulfilled in my job.
I started looking for ways to use my skills and knowledge to find my fulfilment.
I began writing a journal and started thinking about creating my own blog.
I went back to looking into the WordPress ecosystem.
Nothing had changed during the five years I hadn’t been involved with it.
I had gained a lot of experience and started noticing many bad things with the platform.
WordPress was very slow.
It was lacking behind the industry best practices.
WordPress was bloated.
There was no way I would build my own blog with WordPress.
I started looking for alternatives.
I found many promising projects such as Hugo and Jekyll.
I experimented with these alternatives but I found them bloated as well.
None of these systems were really a perfect fit for my needs.
I started building my own blogging platform and a content management system as a side project.
I began my blogging journey by building my own blogging platform from scratch.
A year went by as I kept building my own system while using it to write my first blog.
I decided that it was time to take the project to the next level so I decided to open-source it.
It got a lot of traction and many users, but I quickly shut the project down.
Managing an open-source project was too stressful for me to do on the side of my job.
While building the system, I had learned the ins and outs of SEO and CMS.
I had learned all the technical things that happen behind the scenes when writing online.
I had learned what it takes to write successful posts for the search engines.
I had learned how to build 100% optimised articles that score a perfect 100/100 in Google Lighthouse report.
But I had nothing to show for this.
I had learned yet another skillset and gained yet some more knowledge but I was still in the starting point.
Instead of writing a blog, I had gone down the rabbit hole of learning everything there is to learn about blogging.
I decided it was time for some results with all of these skills I had acquired.
It was now time to put all this knowledge and skills into action.
All this knowledge I had gained from the early days of my WordPress consulting, my software developer career, and learning the ins and outs of SEO and blogging while building my own content management system.
This is how I finally started my own personal blog.
Never write directly to your blog
The number one thing to do when writing any content online is to never write it directly to the publishing platform.
Use local software such as Microsoft Word, Pages, Google Docs etc. to draft your posts.
Treat your publishing platform, such as WordPress only as the publishing platform.
Value your work and manage your content in your own hard drives and other cloud services.
When something goes wrong with your publishing platform you have your work safe.
When you want to switch platforms, you have your work in transferrable format.
Always try to tell stories
No matter what kind of content you are publishing, try to tell some kind of story.
Stories are engaging and they sell.
Write easy to read content
People scan the web and most people do not read every single word in your blog post.
That is why it is recommended to write easy to read content by keeping paragraphs short and using clear headings to split your text.
Using images and lists is also a great way to break up your content and deliver your main points in simple formats.
Prefer evergreen content
There are many ways to write a blog.
Some might use a blog to keep their readers up to date on what is going on day in day out.
I personally prefer to try to write long lasting, evergreen content.
Evergreen content is content that doesn’t get old and is still relevant in the future.
Take example this post.
This post should still be relevant in ten years if nothing major happens to the internet as we know it.
This post is not aimed to bring overnight success, but rather to provide relevant information in the future as well.
Use your personality, but maintain structure
As a writer, you should try to bring your personality to your writing while providing relevant information.
This is because it makes you stand out and makes your content unique.
When you use your personality in your writing it makes it nearly impossible for other entities to compete against your style and content.
Quality over quantity
It might be good to begin new blogs with lots of content to see what sticks over the long run.
However, publishing bad quality content will bite you back in the future.
You can always edit your badly written posts in the future, but it is much less stressful to take care of post quality right from the start.
This way you don’t have to worry about bad quality content when you start getting traffic.
There is nothing better than knowing that you crafted your posts with everything you had when people actually start reading them.
Don’t make your blogging so serious and try to experiment with different writing styles and ways to publish your content.
You never know what you might find when you try different approaches of delivering content.