NB: This is a general post for how to write a blog post and is not directly related to singing or voice. If you’re not interested in writing a blog, then please skip this.
What I’m not going to cover here
This post is not an article about how to set up a blog from scratch. There are excellent resources here and here. This is a topic that has been written about well by numerous bloggers. I may cover this in a future post, but only once I feel there is a unique take that I can bring to the table.
What I am going to cover here
Instead, I’m going to talk about the actual process of how to write a blog post. This is something that is often overlooked and undervalued. After all, content is the #1 reason why a blog exists. Therefore, it makes sense to have an efficient, secure and seamless process.
Since most bloggers use WordPress, that’s going to be the contextual framework of this post. In truth, it doesn’t matter whether you use Blogger, Ghost, Medium etc., the concepts we are going to cover are the same. Check out this list of alternatives to WordPress.
#1 Creating a Draft Title in WordPress
Creating a Post title in the WordPress Post section (Posts -> Add New) allows you to quickly jot down the title and any small notes in Draft form. This allows you to know what your next post is going to be about. I always have anywhere between 5 and 15 titles in Draft, ready for me to fill in with actual content. It’s a great way to keep the writing momentum going.
On the WordPress Admin dashboard, there is also a Quick Draft feature that allows you to jot down the title and any notes without going into the Posts section. A great time-saving feature.
A post title should be something engaging. I like to think of it as answering a specific question that a reader will have. It’s not just information or a list. We’re not Robots that consume lists or data sets. Whenever we search online, we are looking for an answer to a problem. Your post should reflect that.
#2 Writing the Raw Text in a Word Processor
Write out your post in a Word Processor. This could be Microsoft Word or any free or paid software. Personally I like to write and know that my work is saved locally rather than write in a web page where you may lose work due to a lost connection. Writing on a train or plane is much more reliable when you don’t rely on a spotty Wi-Fi connection. Word, for example, offers superior formatting, spellchecking and other word processor features which definitely assist in the writing process.
#3 Saving on Google Drive
Next comes the backup on Google Drive. Create a folder where you save and number all your post files. Numbering is important as it allows you to keep track of your posts chronologically. You want to make sure you have at least more than one backup: Google Drive and a backup plugin in WordPress. We’ll get to this in #7.
#4 Copying to WordPress – Adding Media
Now comes the point in the process where you take all your raw text and turn it into something engaging and exciting to read. Hit Ctrl + A in Word to highlight all your text. Then hit Ctrl + C to Copy all that text. Go to your WordPress Post Draft that you have created in #1 and copy all the text. Hit ‘Save Draft’ to save your text in WordPress.
Let’s add some media. It’s very common to add a Featured Image to your post that will appear on your main blog page, inviting your readers to this post. Pick an engaging picture that illustrates the overall point of the post. It can be a cartoon or caricature that conveys your concept. It doesn’t have to be a photo-realistic image of any sorts.
Now the rest of the Post needs some media. Are you featuring a Video or Audio? Use WordPress’s ‘Add Media’ button to add the content and an appropriate caption. Even if you are not adding Audio or Video, adding some pictures, charts or diagrams at the relevant points throughout your posts makes the whole post way easier to read. No one likes to read a giant block of text or even a collection of paragraphs. If a caption is relevant for these, don’t forget to include it.
#5 SEO and Readability – Yoast SEO
If no one can find your posts, then they’ll never get read, which kind of defeats the purpose of a blog! Along comes Yoast SEO, which gives your specific pointers to massively improve your SEO rankings with major search engines. Examples include tips for the title, meta description, keyword, text layout, grammar and sentence length of your post.
Aside from the SEO aspect, I’ve found that Yoast SEO tool trains you how to write well so that your post sticks to the point and is easy to read. Who wants to have readers arrive at your blog only to leave halfway through a badly written post?
Yes, you can do your own in-depth research about SEO and readability, but nothing can compare to having a tool that actively advises you on how you can improve your writing as you are writing it. It even can highlight text where you are either doing something correctly or not.
Once you have updated your post in accordance with Yoast’s recommendations’ then you go from a Bad to Neutral to Good Rating. The goal is to get a Good (Green) rating for both SEO and readability.
You’ve added your media. You’ve refined your text, paragraphs, grammar, spelling, punctuation and headings. Now you need to see what it will look like to the world! Hit Preview and another Tab will open up with what the Post will look like once published. (Don’t worry about the bar across the top of your browser – that’s just the Admin control panel and won’t show to any other user.)
How does it look? Any tweaking/refining or spacing changes should happen now. Hit ‘Save Draft’ and then Preview again to view your tweaks. After a few iterations, you will (hopefully) be happy with how everything looks.
This one is simple. Hit ‘Publish’. The post is now live! Go to your website to make sure you can see the post in all its glory J. Check that the post is visible from the main blog page, from category links, archive links etc. You also can test your outbound links and links to other blog posts you have written.
#8 WordPress backup
It’s imperative that along with your local Word and Google Drive backups, you also have a backup of everything you did in #4, #5 and #6. This is where a great free plugin like UpdateDraftPlus comes in handy. You can save backup files locally, send the to cloud storage or email them to yourself. Make sure you set up a schedule so you don’t have to think about it. You don’t want to lose all your hard work for no reason.
Getting your writing process is critical to a successful blog. Content is the main product you offer as a blogger so it really pays to have this process down to a tee. After the initial setup of your blog, this is where you will be spending most of your time.Follow Me!
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