How to Write a Blog Post – Using Images

How to Write a Blog PostThey say an image paints the picture of a thousand words – and no where is that more true than on the web.

A powerful image can sometimes serve as the ONLY content in a blog post – for other bloggers, the image is the source of the inspiration for writing the blog post.

While images are not “writing” so to speak – choosing the right image is essential to drawing the reader’s eye into your post.

You’ll notice on this blog that I use the “technique” of leading with an image.  In this case, this blog post is part of the “How to Write a Blog Post” series.  The image above is used to create a visual “connection” between the various posts within the series.

That is just one way to use images to make your blog posts easier for your readers to read.

However, while the use of images does create a sort of “visual glue” for separate blog posts – it can also be used to help “signal” the search engines as to what the blog post is all about.  In this case, the image used for the How to Write a Blog Post series is also “tagged” with the appropriate keywords for the blog posts themselves.  Since the search engines can’t “see” the image – they only have the information contained within the “alt” tag to tell them what the image is.  So, if you’re writing a blog post about potty training and terrible twos – and you’ve found the PERFECT picture of a toddler in the act of being potty trained – you can “help” the search engines by including the keyword terms “potty training” in your image’s alt tag.

So, not only do images help draw the ey into the body of the post AND help the human readers of your blog to quickly discern what this particular blog post is all about – when properly tagged, they can also alert the search engines as to what the blog post is about.

Of course, some blog themes are so “visually rich” that sometimes – using a complex image like the one above would be overkill.  In those situations – simply create an image of the dominant WORD you’ld like to focus upon and then use that as your “visual glue”.

While images are not written content – they are an important part of your blog post.

How to Write a Blog Post – The Opening Line

How to Write a Blog PostFirst impressions make all the difference – it doesn’t matter if you’re writing a blog post or the next great novel.   When it comes to writing a blog post – make sure you don’t leave the best for last!

A friend of mine tells the story of how he invited an editor to go boating one afternoon.  The editor replied, “I have about 50 manuscripts to go through before I can go.  If you’ll help me – we can knock these out in under an hour.”

“Fifty manuscripts in under an hour!  There’s no WAY we can both read 50 manuscripts in under an hour!” my friend replied.

To which the editor wisely stated, “Don’t worry – you’ll know within the first three paragraphs whether the book is any good.  If the writer hasn’t grabbed you by the first few sentences – the writing will never get any better.”

Earlier, we talked about the importance of the title of your blog post.  In the world of creating your blog post content, it’s recommended you spend 60% of your time on the title – of the 40% of the time you spend writing your blog post – pay considerable attention to how you OPEN your blog post.

As a general rule, blog readers will read the headline – and if they’re interested, the first one or two lines.  Readers will decide quickly whether the blog post is worth their valuable time to “wade through” until the end.

The “rule” public speakers use to engage their audiences is to “tell them what you’re going to tell them – tell them – then, tell them what you’ve told them.”  If your blog is instructional in nature, then this is a good “format” for you to use as you create your blog posts.

If your blog is more “conversational” in nature, then you won’t want to adopt the “tell them, tell them, tell them” format – but rather keep in mind that your audience’s attention span is limited so don’t dilly dally around  – especially in the beginning.

Just remember that, after the headline- readership of your blog post drops dramatically from top to bottom.   As you write a blog post – be sure you don’t save the best for last!

How to Blog Successfully

There are tons of resources telling you “how to blog”.  I just read one that walks you step by step through installing your own WordPress self hosted blog.  Somehow, these people keep “selling” the idea that the HARDEST part of a creating a blog is the technical “set up” of the blog.

Oh my friends, nothing could be FURTHER from the truth.

While it’s true, starting with a self hosted WordPress blog IS a great start to building a blog.  But the structure of the blog is just the beginning of the “How to Blog Successfully” story.

The true FOUNDATION of a successful blog is not found in the technical installation of a blog.  After all, there are dozens of successful blogs which are not self hosted WordPress blogs.    The true key to how to blog successfully is to start with a plan.

First,  identify your GOAL for your blog.  What do you want from your blog? Money? Fame? Advertising for your business?

If you’re blogging as a business (to make money) you’ll want to adopt a different blogging style than if you’re blogging trying to achieve a level of fame and recognition.  Want to blog to advertise your business?  That’s another “style” of blogging all together!

Then, identify the “niche” you want to target.  I can honestly say at this point that it’s almost impossible to select TOO narrow of a niche.  Most people are literally not able to wrap their brains around how BIG the internet is – how many websites there are out there and how many people scattered across the globe there are that fit into a tightly defined “niche”.

If you want to make money online, I’d advise you pick a niche outside of the “MMO” niche.  There are wide open opportunities in THOUSANDS of niches outside of the make money online blogging niche.  While you may struggle for years to make a name for yourself in the make money online niche, you could quickly become a blogging superstar in the knitting clothes for toy breed dogs niche.  (While I just made that up off the top of my head, I’m sure that somewhere, there is a Facebook group or Myspace Group dedicated to just those enthusiasts!)

The true “key” to how to blog successfully is to set a goal and pick a niche.  Then the fun begins!

How to Blog

Maybe you’ve heard how EASY it is to blog.  A blog makes it easy to get your thoughts and ideas  onto the internet. A blog is made up of posts and pages.  Posts are like articles arranged in reverse chronological order.  Pages live outside of the blog posts. There are two reasons why blogs are so popular these days:

  1. Unlike “static” web sites, a visitor to a blog can leave a comment and add his or her voice to the conversation.
  2. Unlike “static” websites, a visitor can subscribe to the RSS feed.  An RSS feed is simply a text version of the posts on the blog and can be delivered via an RSS reader or via email.

Blogs are simply software that makes it easy to get content onto the web. Blogs today are being used by tens of millions of people who want to share information (content) via the internet. Sometimes that information is personal, sometimes that information is political and sometimes that information is to promote products and services offered for sale. The modern “blog” is really just an easy to use “content management system” or CMS. Some blogs are hosted on individual hosting accounts just like “regular” static websites. These types of blogs carry the “responsibilities” of domain name registration, hosting and keeping the blogging software of choice up to date. When you hear people talking about the “magic” of blogs, the real “magic” is in the ease of use.  Blogs make it EASY to get your message onto the web.  However, creating a message worth reading is still the most difficult job of all.

Blogging is Dead – Long Live the Blog

It’s official.  Blogging is dead.

Wired.com declared it.

“Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.”

Mike over at the DoFollow Blog Information shared it.  Oh, Mike also shares this in his post Blogging is Dead

The real key to blogging today, is to find niches to blog about.

For example, if you try to get traffic to a general political blog today, you will have a hard time competing with the big boys.  But, if you decided to blog about something like politics from a Christian’s prospective, or from a lawyer’s perspective, or an internet marketer’s perspective, you should be able to find an audience.

BINGO!!!

If you think of a blog as a “mystical magical money making machine” then it’s easy to declare that “blogging is dead”.

If, on the other hand, you view your blog as a MARKETING TOOL to use to promote your BUSINESS -well, then blogging is VERY MUCH ALIVE!

Blogs are kind of like online magazines – and declaring that magazines are “dead” would make about as much sense as declaring that blogs are “dead”.

Magazines are the poster child of target marketing.  Each magazine has it’s own “audience”.  Is it tough to launch a magazine that appeals to ALL women?  HECK YEAH – but Oprah seems to have succeeded there.

Do I recommend that you try to launch a magazine that appeals to all women?  HECK NO!!!

However, there are tens of thousands of small “niche” magazines that are incredibly successful.

Would I recommend that you launch a magazine that appeals to a tightly targeted audience – HECK YEAH!!!

There are two ways to use a blog and both are illustrated by using magazines as an example.

  1. Your blog can act as a marketing tool to promote your business
  2. Your blog can act as an “entertainment medium”.

YOUR BLOG AS A MARKETING TOOL:

If you’re using your blog as a marketing tool to promote your business – well, think of it like the quarterly magazine published by Kraft foods.

Every quarter a very slick magazine filled with dozens of informative articles and recipes arrives via snail mail courtesy of Kraft Foods.  This magazine is actually an ADVERTISEMENT for their many products, because each recipe calls for ingredients made by Kraft Foods.

However, that’s not ALL that appears in this magazine.  There are also informative articles – and of course, full page ads for various Kraft Products.

My local hospital offers a similar publication to area residents to promote their health care system.

Your blog can act like that – providing USEFUL information to people to people to whom you’d like to sell products and services.

YOUR BLOG AS AN ENTERTAINMENT MEDIUM

There’s another way to use a blog and that’s as an “entertainment” medium.

When you use your blog as an “entertainment” medium, you’ll be using it like a traditional magazine would.  Think Better Homes & Gardens Magazine.

It’s your job to provide articles (blog posts) that people want to read.  Just as magazines offer advertising space within their publication, the way you make money from this arrangement is to offer advertising space on your blog.

See, advertisers want to get their message in front of people and if you have people coming to your blog to read your posts, then you have something to “sell” to advertisers.

The thing is, advertisers like it BEST when you can tightly target your audience.  For example, if your blog is all about COOKING – that’s one thing.  You can try to sell ad space on your blog to cooking schools, cooking equipment manufacturers, appliance manufacturers, etc.

But if your blog is all about COOKING TO CONTROL DIABETES – ah, now THAT’S another story. A blog that is all about COOKING TO CONTROL DIABETES suddenly is very appealing to a pharmaceutical company selling diabetes testing supplies AND the company that makes foods especially for people with diabetes.

The thing is, the second blog can command a much higher rate for advertising (even with fewer “eyeballs” consuming the content) because their content is SPECIALIZED!

BEFORE you pull the plug on your blog, pick up a copy of the 8 Week Power Blog Launch.  In the 8 week course, you’ll learn not only how to pick a niche market for your blog, but you’ll also learn how to build content AND drive traffic to your blog as well.

Long live the blog!