When I was thinking about starting a blog I did a lot of research and I discovered there are a number of steps to turn an idea in to a great blog. Here is what I discovered.
Step 1: Understand your audience
OK. I have been writing about travel now for a long time, over 20 years and in particular I have concentrated on writing about overseas working holidays. So yes, I believe I know my audience and the information they want to know. My question here is, should I know my topic first or my audience? Know both well!
Step 2: Start with a topic and working title
hmmm….coming up with a working title that will grab someones attention in 2 seconds has been pretty daunting. Once again research has taught me that titles with numbers in them are very useful to attract attention. Headings such as
7 steps to write a great blog
Our top 5 useful packing tips
8 good reasons why a working holiday is for you
Top 6 attractions not to miss when in London
Step 3: Write an intro (and make it captivating)
This takes me back to my school days when it was drilled in to me how to write an essay. You need to grab your readers attention straight away and set the scene for the rest of the essay. To do this captivate your reader with your introduction otherwise you may lose the reader before they have even started.
Step 4: Organise your content
Just like when writing an essay you need to organise your content. Get your thoughts out, make the content flow. Give each thought/point a paragraph. I was advised that a blog should have a minimum of 300 words. Too much longer and you have the possibility of losing the reader, particularly if they aren’t being given the information they have been promised.
I was also advised to have a minimum of 3 links. Links will be to your services, your products and the affiliate programs you have joined, etc.
Step 5: Write!
Write, write, write – In the first person and write like you are talking to someone.
Step 7: Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end
I’m not sure if it is at the end, but throughout the blog a call-to-action is when you want your reader to join or to purchase something, for instance, join your mailing list, purchase your ebook or your course, etc. You will need to include the link to the product or service here. So here I will advise you I write the Live Work & Play series of working holiday guides that will help you prepare and enjoy your working holiday overseas. The link I have created will take you to my bookstore.
I’ve added an extra step here, I will call it step 7a – from reading lots of blogs I have noted that they have an ‘About the Author’ at the bottom. I think this is a good idea where you can tell the reader about yourself and also link to your own products/services.
Step 8: Optimise for on-page SEO
(This will probably be another blog). My understanding of SEO is limited, however, my website designer added Yoest to my blog so when I am in the back end of my blog where the designing and linking occurs I can add meta tags and key words which enables people to find me in search engines.
To conclude, I would suggest you read other blogs to see how they set things out, discover the tone they use, etc. and remember, practice makes perfect.
About the author:
Sharyn McCullum is travel writer / blogger specialising in travel writing. I have three websites/blogs: the one you are now on and www.liveworkplaytravel.com which has general information on working holidays and www.londonworkingholiday.com which has absolutely everything you need to know about a working holiday in London.