Mar 312013
 

You have purchased a domain, set up a web hosting account, and have a fresh WordPress installation set up.  Now what?

"Now...what in the world do I write?"

Damn! If you are not an experienced writer (and maybe even if you are) that first blank sheet of virtual writing paper, also known as an empty text document, can be pretty intimidating. What seemed to be a good idea…sharing your passion for (insert your topic here)…just yesterday, now seems to be an almost unbelievable task. Yet creating compelling content (Epic Content, as the folks call it), is the cornerstone of a successful blog.

Here are a few questions the sight of “that blank screen” might generate…and some tips that might prod you towardssitting down and typing out a few words to share.

  • What should I write about? My blog has a main theme or “niche”, but I’m sometimes stumped for individual post topics.Write about an aspect of your niche that you are passionate about on that day. While you are really into the niche your blog is in…I hope, else you shouldn’t be blogging in it…different aspects of it pull you towards them on differentdays.  For example, I have that focuses on simple living as its main theme, but it is categorized into “Yurt Yak” (about yurts, not yaks…lol), “Family Homesteading”, and “In the Kitchen” about recipes, and kitchen tips, tricks, and tools.I am passionate about simple, old-fashioned living (despite also loving the tech side of blogging), but I couldn’t write every day about one aspect of it, like always writing about yurts, for example, though I love yurts and live in one. I have other “sub-passions” on that site that I can write about as the mood strikes.
  • What about post titles? What is a good post title?A good post title consists of three parts: It should be Google friendly, which means it should contain the relevant keywords for the post(as much as possible and still be readable and maks sense, not just be keyword-stuffed) and should have 70 characters of less. If you must go over 70 characters, get the Google-friendly parts in the first 70 and let the fluff go in the overflow text.Your post title needs to be informative as to the post content, not just an optimized title that please the Google gods, but that will bring search results. Your reader will first choose a site to visit because it is well up in the search results for their search term(s)…but once they click on your site from the search page then the old saying “first impressions count” comes into play. When a visitor lands on your site, you have 2 seconds to convince him that he has found a place with the information he was looking for. Note: Right here is where you need to pay attention to a properly written and formatted sub-title as well. More on that in another post.As well as being informative, a post title needs to be “catchy”, even to the point of being tacky or corny (Sometimes! Don’t go overboard with tacky and corny!) There is a reason that the “… For Dummies” series of books is popular. The title “Cleaning Out Clogged Pipes” is not nearly as catchy, and would not sell nearly as many books (or get nearly as many
    page visits) as the title “DIY Plumbing Repairs for Dummies”. Just be sure that in your search for the perfect catchy title you don’t ignore relevance, or Google will ignore you.
  • OK, I picked a specific aspect of my main blog theme…something I can write viscerally about. How long should an article be?As long as it needs to be and no more…but no less, either.There is no “right” post length, although on the technical side, there is a minimum length your article should be. Any post you write should contain a minimum of 300 words. Right or wrong, anything under 300 words is looked at by Google as worthless, and will do nothing to improve your search results. While it may be a great article, as far as Google is concerned, it doesn’t exist.With that said, the answer to the question “how long should an article be?” Is simple… It should be as long as it needs to be. The article doesn’t have enough words until it is done, and once it is done, anything extra you add, is making the article longer than it should be…but don’t leave your article too short by simply providing information with no “personal touch” to the article.People visit blogs for two reasons: first, they want information, and second, they want that information in an entertaining manner. At whatever point your post gives them both, it is the right length.
  • How much research should I do for an article?As much as is needed.This is where choosing your blogs topic carefully can make your blogging life much easier. By choosing a topic that you are arty passionate about you are usually starting with a good bit of basic knowledge on the subject you will be writing blog posts about.There will still be research to do… sometimes a lot of research… but at least you’re starting off with a good, functioning understanding of your subject, which will make research quicker and easier.
  • What “person” should I write in (first, second, third)?At its core, a blog is a conversation… A conversation between the blogger and his readers. With this in mind, a blogger should write in the first person. Just think about how you talk when you’re talking with friends or family, and talk in the same voice. Just as with friends and family, though, make it an inclusive conversation, using “you”, “y’all”, “you folks”, etc. as much or more than you use “I”, “me”, and so forth. It is supposed to be a conversation, but not a totally one-sided conversation… include your readers in the conversation as well.
  • I think my muse went on vacation. Can I go too?No, just because your muse decided she needed a break does not mean you don’t have to write. You might think that’s a good excuse, and your friends might think that’s a good excuse, but Google doesn’t like excuses. A successful blog that ranks well with the Google search engines has consistent quality content. The “quality” part is the most important, but consistent runs a close second.
  • Follow – up to the vacationing muse question…I’ve been sitting here an hour with nothing accomplished. How much longer do I sit here?The short answer is, “as long as it takes!”. For the longer, more detailed answer. Read the post “Where should you write a post? Here.”.
  • My muse showed back up. Now…how do I “design” a blog post?Ahhh…now THAT is a topic for another post. Watch for something along the lines of “Anatomy of a post” or “Post construction tips”…coming soon!

Bob Hayles

A Luddite at heart, Bob has adapted to being in a tech world adequately. The King of Cheap, he enjoys sharing his WordPress and inexpensive web video production skills with others. He abhors Geek-lish, but translates it into normal human language quite well. He avoids code as much as possible, and breaks out in hives at the mere sight of php, but he will make minor adjustments to HTML. He also reverts to being a Luddite at JuicyMaters.com and is something of a political junkie/blowhard at Common-Sense-Conversation.com.

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