How to Write a Blog Post – Choosing a Topic

How to Write a Blog PostWhen it comes to a choosing a blog topic – more times than not, the topic of your blog CHOOSES you instead of the other way around.

By that I mean that one of the main components of blog success is passion on the part of the writer.  While it’s possible for someone who has never had children to write about child rearing topics – in the world of blogging, that blogger is not going to last long.

There’s an element of “transparency” in blogging which will reveal in short order the author’s lack of experience in the world of child rearing.  While it is possible to watch others undergo the rigors of parenthood – it’s almost impossible to blog and CONNECT with readers in a meaningful way if you yourself have yet to make that journey.

Passion is probably the most important part of choosing a topic for your blog because you’ll need to be passionate to be able to compose 100, 200 or more blog posts on the topic of your choosing.

While passion is important – it’s not the only necessary ingredient to a great blog topic.  Not only do you need PASSION but you also need DIRECTION.

If you choose to blog about child rearing – then you need to keep in mind the DIRECTION you’ve chosen for your blog.  There are MANY phases of child rearing – from infants to teenagers.  Most bloggers find it’s best to “stick with what they know”.    Now, if what you “know” is the “joy” of  raising a teenager AND a toddler at the same time, then by all means – blog about that topic.  You’ll find your readers are also experiencing the “joy” of raising a toddler and a teenager at the same time.

While it’s fine to make an occassional “detour” from the topics of combining potty training with driver’s training – it’s always best to tie these content “detours” back into the common thread of your blog.

Think of your blog like a magazine.  There are magazines for sports enthusiasts – parents – fishermen and business people.  Choose a topic which you can enthusiastically write endlessly about – because when you launch a blog – that’s what you’ll be doing.

You’ll find writing blog posts becomes INFINTELY easier when you choose your topic and define it carefully.

How to Write a Blog Post -the Title

How to Write a Blog PostIn advertising there’s an old saying that 80% of readers will see the headline while only 20% will read the first paragraph.  While I’m not sure if there are studies to prove that the same is true with blog posts – one thing is certain – a great blog post title is probably the most important piece of content you’ll write on your blog.

Your blog post title has many jobs to perform.  It’s primary job – of course- is to encourage readers to “dig in” and read the actual content of your blog post.  This is similar to the “job” of a newspaper story or magazine article title.    However, that’s the ENTIRE job of the magazine or newspaper story title – to encourage people to read the article.  The blog post title has to do that and a whole lot more!

YOUR BLOG POST TITLE HAS TO BE GREAT WITH NO “CONTEXT”

See, magazine content is tightly targeted.  There are magazines about parenting -and magazines about sports – to name just two broad categories.    The magazine article title “the terrible two’s” might be a catchy title for an article on toddler temper tantrums –  and might be an equally catchy title of an article describing a struggling sports’ franchises latest woes – as in “Two straight errors, coupled with a two-run shot, cost the struggling home team…”

Same title – different meanings.  The reader of the sports magazine doesn’t expect to read an article about parenting a temperamental toddler – but if the reader has ever been the parent to such a creature – such a title would DEFINITELY not only catch the reader’s attention AND elicit an emotional response.

Your blog post title – on the other hand – has to be catchy even without the benefit of context.  The title must be catchy AND provide proper context for your article.  You don’t have the benefit of context which is enjoyed by the magazine or newspaper writer.

YOUR BLOG POST HAS TO CATCH THE EYE OF HUMANS AND MACHINES ALIKE

Not only does your blog post title have to catch the eye of the human reader – it also has to catch the attention of the search engines as well. Since 80% of all internet traffic is search driven, your blog post HAS to communicate to not only human readers – but also the search engines – what the content of your blog post is all about.

If this sounds like a tall order – to fill – it is!!  Which is why, you will want to spend CONSIDERABLE time “naming” your blog content a.k.a. choosing the title.

As you write your blog post, plan on spending 60% of your time focusing on, researching and creating an attention grabbing title which humans and the search engines will love.  Then, spend the remaining 40% of your time on the content of the blog post itself.

Yes – the blog post title is THAT important!

Creating Comment Friendly Blog Posts

blog post commentsNot everyone wants comments on their blogs.  Some blogs are designed to be search engine magnets – attracting traffic via the search engines and then monetizing those visitors in one way or another.  Those types of bloggers usually don’t care about comments.

Another type of blog is the blog which is functioning as a CMS (Content Management System).  I’ve launched many blogs in this style – where the website owner wants an easy to use, easy to update website and WordPress is the perfect, search engine friendly CMS for their website.  These blogs are a variation of the type of blog listed above – except the blog owner wants to “monetize” the traffic by converting visitors into clients or customers.

However, there are bloggers who see comments and covet them.  They see a blog with lots of comments and wonder why their blog isn’t getting any comments.  I will admit, when the posts on  my flagship blog at Virtual Impax started getting lots of comments – I started having prospective clients comment on how “impressive” my website was.

There are several things to keep in mind about comments.  First, you will find that 90% of the comments made on your blog are made by other bloggers and website owners.    Many of them are leaving comments to leave a breadcrumb trail back to their blog or website.

I’ll share here what I tell my clients – it’s YOUR blog and YOUR sandbox.  If you don’t feel a comment “Adds” to the conversation – delete it.  You don’t owe ANYONE a voice on your blog.  Some people will act like TROLLS and leave comments just to stir up a debate.  If you want to allow that on your blog – go ahead.  Like I said, it’s YOUR blog.  If you choose not to allow such sport on your blog – again it’s YOUR blog!  You’ve got the gold and you make the rules.

There are a few time honored ways to encourage comments on your blog.

Getting More Comments Tip #1: You can end your post with a question.

Ending your post with a question is a GREAT way to encourage comments.  Even a question as simple as “What do you think?” can get the comments flowing.

Getting More Comments Tip #2: Leave your post unfinished.

I know – I know – this one is HARD to do.  However, when you write the definitive “how to” you make it hard for people to add their two cents.  I was just at a blog today that did just that.  The only POSSIBLE comment I could leave would be the lame “Great post” because the blog post author tied up every possible loose end.  Then, as if to discourage comments, he took the first two people to make comments to “task” – correcting them sternly.   Which brings me to  the third point:

Getting More Comments Tip #3: Respond to comments

Comments are conversation starters – so go ahead and respond.  (But please, oh please, DO NOT berate those who wish to engage you in conversation!)  Sometimes, you can really get the comments “flowing” on a particular post when you start a conversation there.

Getting More Comments Tip #4: Install Comment Encouraging Plug-ins

If you’re using a WordPress self hosted blog (and you know you SHOULD because all the successful bloggers are using WordPress) there are several plugins which will actually ENCOURAGE people to leave comments on your blog.

Here are just a few of the plugins that can make your WordPress blog comment friendly:

  • Comment Luv: This plug in will display the comment author’s latest post.  (Because I’m telling you that 90% of your comments will come from OTHER bloggers!!!)
  • Subscribe to Comments: This allows people who comment to be notified when someone else comments on a post where they have left a comment.  This is how full blown conversations happen within the comment section of posts.
  • Edit Comments: There’s nothing worse than leaving a comment and realizing you’ve made a typo.  Now your poor spelling (or typing) skills are on display for the world to see – unless you have this plug in installed so people have time to edit comments they’ve made .

So here’s your invitation to leave your suggestion on what YOU do to encourage comments on YOUR blog.  What do you do?  Do you have a favorite plug in I haven’t shared here?