If you’ve got a great idea for a blog post you probably want to get straight to writing! After all, there’s no time like the present right?
The trouble with just launching straight into things is a good chance you can lose some of the organization that comes with having a plan first, even if it’s just a loose outline. Of course everyone is different when it comes to blogging, so there are no hard and fast rules.
How I Do It
I treat each blog post like I did the essays I wrote in school; I get my main idea in my head (usually has something to do with what I want the title to be) and then I get started on research. While I’m digging through the wealth of information the web has to offer I start getting a feel for what I’d like to include in my post and the direction it’s going to take. I like to make notes as I go of things like ideas or themes that seem to be constant across multiple unique sources, popular keywords, etc.
After I’ve got my notes and a good idea of what I want to write, I make a plan. This plan comes in the form of a loose outline; I’ve got my introduction, my body, and a conclusion. If it makes sense I break the body section down into multiple parts, each with their own heading and content. This outline helps me to stay focused as I’m writing and keeps me from wandering off into Tangent-land and losing my readers along the way!
Then after everything is all written and transferred into WordPress it gets dressed up with headers (<h2> and below) and other goodies like lists and links to various inspirational or informative posts I found during my research phase.
Everyone likes to take care of business differently, and that’s okay! If we all did things exactly alike it would away take so much of the variety that makes the internet a goldmine of information and opinions. If you like to jump in with both feet and worry about the details later, all the more power to you; just start from this point and give some thought to the ways the structuring your blog posts can really help you and your readers have the best possible experience. You can always make structuring your posts the last thing you do before publishing if you like to get straight to the good stuff (writing) and worry about the details later.
Whatever works for you!
What I Mean When I Say ‘Structure’
When I say ‘structure’ I mean ‘organize the information inside your posts’; so “how to structure your blog posts” can also read as “how to organize your blog posts” if that helps you picture it more easily. Why didn’t I just say it that way to start with? I didn’t because it could have some people opening the post hoping to find tips on how to put their posts into categories, or put them in some other kind of order. By saying ‘structure’ instead of ‘organize’ or any other word I think it clears a lot of this confusion up.
And actually that’s what structuring your blog posts is all about: clearing up the confusion! Have you ever read something that starts off strong but then kind of tapers off into nothing, leaving you confused and unsatisfied? Me too… and the unfortunate part is some of these pieces of writing were my own, sometimes from years back and some from within the last 6 months. It really got me thinking about why a solid structure was so important.
Top bloggers weigh in on why blog structure is important:
- Anatomy of a blog post: How to get more traffic and social engagement from your content – by David Mercer
- Blogging Best Practices: Make a List and Check It Twice! – by bscartabello
4 Things You Can Do: Structure Made Simple
If you’re in a hurry and want to get the maximum value from this post, here is what you need to do to structure your blog posts:
- Clearly show that you have an introduction, body, and conclusion in your writing
- Break things down further with headings and sub-headings
- Use bullet and numbered lists where appropriate
- Show a logical progression of your topic from start to finish
See what I did there? The information that could have taken a paragraph to lay out is right there in all of its simplified glory for easy reading. That’s what makes bullet lists so powerful. This little section also has a subheading, letting people know what information they’re coming up on next. Headings and subheadings help people recognize key points and concepts in the post if they’re skimming through looking for certain things, or just busy people giving a post a quick look.
Video: Formatting Your Blog Posts For That -Pro- Look and Feel
Want to know more? Get tips from other bloggers on structuring your blog posts:
- Pimp Your Business Blog With Headlines, Structure, Formatting, Images And Research – by Niall Devitt
- How To Structure A Great Blog Post – by Stephanie
- How to Structure Your Posts (and Why You Need To) – by Ali Luke
- Content Structure: The 5 Parts of Engaging Blog Posts – by Kiesha Easley
- Structure your blog posts for better results and traffic – by Ben Tremblay
- Add structure to your blog posts with lists – by Bonnie Harris
For visual learners:
Of course this is just one example of how you can structure your blog posts!
Everybody Wins When You Structure Your Posts
You win because:
- More people will read your posts and understand them
- People spending more time on your posts’ pages (because they’re reading your posts) looks good to search engines
- The all-around SEO benefits that some from using basic formatting and structure tips (like the ones I just mentioned in the previous section)
Your readers win because:
- Posts are easier to read and process
- Better organization and structure helps everyone, but has added benefits for skimmers and speed readers
- More positive experiences because of reduced confusion (see first point)
And there you have it! There is no secret to great structure, and no mystery to getting things set up. The best thing you can do is write in whatever way makes you most comfortable and then make sure your works is nicely structured before you hit ‘Publish’ at the end of the day. For me, the best way to write is with a progression from idea to writing that includes making an outline before I get started.
What is your writing process? Do you structure your posts before you write, as you’re writing, or after you’re finished?
Or, if you don’t structure your posts, why not?
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