How To Write Good Blog Articles? [Template] Step-by-step plan & 14 writing tips!
What does a good and effective blog article look like? Here you will find a clear step-by-step plan with examples and tips about effective writing. Read further…
Who are these writing tips for? For anyone who wants their article to be read!
The tips on this page apply to all types of informative texts and articles. Do you want your readers to actually dive into your (blog) article? Then apply these tips. You will learn, among other things, how to make a good format, layout and paragraphs.
Maybe you have been commissioned to write an article or maybe you are writing for a magazine or writing a blog article for a blog. These tips are helpful in all cases.
Tip 1 – The title can be ‘funny’, but should at least give a hint about the content of the article
This tip ensures that the reader chooses your article to read, and not someone else’s article. There are two criteria that your title must meet:
Criterion 1: Don’t let the ‘humor’ be the only element of the title. The title should in any case give a hint about the content of the article. Are you writing an article explaining what cryo-therapy means? Then don’t let the title be:
“Are you going to bare your buttocks?”
This title is ‘catchy’ and ‘funny’, but the reader does not know what it is about. And that is a ‘mismatch’ for the reader. So add a hint about the content of the article:
‘The meaning of cyro-therapy (I went bare-butt!)‘
Criterion 2: Also add a piece to the title that is ‘catchy’, ‘teasend’ or ‘funny’. In the example above, that is “(I went bare-butt!)”. How do you do that? Here you learn to write catchy titles!
The first criterion remains the most important criterion. In America this statement has become known: nobody wants to read your shit. And it is true: people wants to read what they want to read. People do not want to read what you have to say.
So don’t want to write ‘smart’ or ‘literary’, thinking that crowds are eager to read your story. You may find your story or title very interesting, such as: “For the first time with the buttocks bare on stage.” While writing, I can already see you patting yourself on the back for your own wit, but that’s not necessarily what others find interesting.
What is then something that others find interesting? The Google search suggestions give the answer: ‘overcoming fear of public speaking tips’. So sacrifice your ‘nice’ conceived title with bare buttocks and make it: ‘6 surprising tips to overcome your fear of public speaking’.
In short, don’t be self-centered into thinking you’re ‘funny’ with your title. Feel free to do that, but also let us know what the article is about. Then your arrogance is forgiven and you also have a chance to be found on Google for ‘cyro-therapy meaning’ or ‘fear of speaking tips’. If you want new readers from Google, always apply this tip.
Tip 2 – Always keep ‘announcement’ & ‘summary’ in mind
In English this is said so beautifully:
Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em – The announcement
Then tell ’em – The contents
Then tell ’em what you’ve told’ em – The summary/conclusion
Important: This is similar to repeating, but it is not the same as repeating. You are not going to repeat the actual content. You are just continuously announcing and summarizing the content. This makes it all very clear.
A simplified example:
In this article you will learn what cyro-therapy is.
This was the full explanation of cyro-therapy. Good luck with losing weight!
That is clean, clear and to the point. So don’t take any unnecessary side paths. In this way you show that you can get and stay to the point – an essential skill in today’s fragmented world.
Tip 3 – This is how you write the introduction: how do you start an article?
How do you start an article? To answer that question, it is important to first be aware of what time we live in: a time when the attention span of readers is getting shorter and a time when your article is likely to be read on a screen / on the internet.
In high school you would have learned during Dutch lessons that an introduction can have two functions:
- Function 1: attract attention so that the reader wants to read the entire text.
You can achieve this, for example, by: telling a current affair, mentioning the importance for the reader or mentioning an example.
- Function 2: make the topic known: simply let the reader know what the text is about so that the topic is clear.
You can achieve this, for example, by: formulating the problem / the subject / the research question that the article is about and / or by announcing the structure of the text.
Which of the above two functions of an introduction would be most useful to you in this internet age? Obviously both functions, but which one is the most important? Perhaps the answer is surprising: function 2!
You would think feature 1, attracting attention, is becoming more and more important in the internet age, but the most important thing is to create order and clarity in the information wilderness that is all around us. If you can do that, then you automatically have the reader bound to you and automatically have the attention.
All information in the world is simply all around us and can be found directly via the internet. This is way too much information! It is up to you to put that information into a clear, digestible article that guides the reader through the information jungle. Do you write such a simple and clear introduction and article? Then this automatically attracts attention because the reader eventually finds order and simplicity.
How exactly do you do that? In the introduction, simply repeat the research question implied by the title. So the introduction does not answer yet, but announces the answer: ‘Tell’ em what you’re gonna tell ’em’ . The reader just needs to be reassured that the article does indeed match the title! This tells the reader: “I have come to the right place!”
Tip 4 – Take the reader by the hand by reassuring the reader’s subconscious
Don’t assume the reader understands your crazy brain twists. Take the reader by the hand by making the structure of the article almost (!) literally clear to the reader.
Make sure your reader never doubts…
- Whether he / she ended up on the correct article after clicking on the title to get there. That doubt arises when the introduction and second paragraph of the article do not seem to be about the same thing as what the title announced, or provide anything but an answer to the question implied by the title.
- Whether he / she will find an answer in a particular paragraph to the question or announcement that implies the parent subheading.
- Whether he / she is reading a paragraph that is about some background information, about a cause of the problem, offers an answer, expresses an opinion, or is a practical tip.
Let’s highlight one of these points here. Have you posted a subhead? Then start a paragraph immediately with the answer including a repetition of the question.
Why is vitamin D so important?
Getting vitamin D is important because our skin is a complicated organ. Our skin feeds on the components in this mineral.
Why is vitamin D so important?
Our skin is a complicated organ. It feeds on the components in the mineral.
Which of the above two examples is most reassuring to the reader’s subconscious? In the first example, there is no doubt that the reader is on the right path. In the second example, the reader subconsciously starts to doubt: ‘What am I reading now? Will there be an answer to the question? ‘
If you do it like example paragraph 2, it will be less easy for the reader to follow. Of course you don’t always have to do it according to example paragraph 1, but at least do it in places where confusion can easily arise so that the reader is reassured that you (the writer) are taking him by the hand.
Tip 5 – Translate your brain twists into clear text
Top entrepreneur Jason Fried once said, “Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking.” Write clear texts so that no one is confused by your brain twists.
Take a look at the bad example below, where the author has not taken into account translating his own brain twists into a clear paragraph.
In this article I am going to talk about how best to set your own boundaries (sentence 1) . How it comes to be that we keep preventing ourselves from doing what we really want (sentence 2). So we will look at what helps best with this to achieve this (sentence 3) .
A reader begins to read the first sentence and thinks the article is about setting your own boundaries. Clear. So far so good! The second sentence is suddenly about doing what you want so badly. For a simple man, that is suddenly something completely different (sentence 2: do what you want) than the announced topic (sentence 1: indicate boundaries).
If we could look into the author’s head, we could see that those two things are indeed connected: if you don’t do what you really want to do (sentence 2), then you are beyond your limits going (sentence 1).
But a simple reader cannot look into the author’s head and needs clarification to understand that these two separate things are connected. Sentence 3 is also unclear: what do the words ‘this’ and the second ‘this’ refer to? What do we need help with? To achieve what ? So we could rewrite this paragraph like this:
In this article I’m going to talk about how best to set your own boundaries (sentence 1) . When you go beyond your boundaries, you hold yourself back from doing what you really want to do ( sentence 2 ). How come we keep going beyond our borders and what is the solution (sentence 3)? Read along!
And if we look even more critically at this paragraph salts, which is an introduction, we would say that sentence 2 does not even belong in an introduction because sentence 2 already provides a substantive explanation. The introduction is precisely intended to merely announce the substantive explanation.
Tip 6 – Answer the main question immediately after the introduction, so in the second paragraph!
Immediately after the introduction, give the answer that the reader came up with. If you postpone it, the reader will think that the answer cannot be found in this article and the reader will leave the article. Or then the reader – slightly frustrated – would scroll anyway to find the answer.
So: quite quickly give what the reader came for. In the rest of the article, you can elaborate on the how and why.
Tip 7 – Explain everything simply (as if the reader is a child or a simple person)
Don’t assume that the reader knows the same thing you know. Explain all ideas and theories as if someone were hearing them for the first time. Jargon should have a footnote or a link to an article about the jargon in question.
Tip 8 – Write as if you are talking to a friend, but keep the professionalism of correct language
Write as if you were speaking. With a friend. In a pub. Look, all of a sudden there are already three short sentences in colloquial language without commas. If you followed the rules of business writing, those were already gigantic mistakes. If you write an article, you can! As long as your language and grammar are still okay.
And … Keep the following tip in mind …
Tip 9 – Regularly alternate sentences without commas with sentences with commas
Don’t write too many comma-less sentences in a row. That’s not handy. It does not read well for the reader. It feels a bit like staccato. That takes out the smoothness. Sentences with commas make the text smoother. That’s because they are usually longer. Things already go wrong in this paragraph. Do you see what i mean?
Tip 10 – Make paragraphs of up to five lines
Walls of text are so rare these days that they are almost not done! Hardly anyone will read them. Especially on the internet – are you reading along, blogger? – this rule applies urgently. So make your paragraphs a maximum of five lines, but preferably three lines.
Tip 11 – Use subheadings for maximum scannability
Subheadings, like the example above, make your text as scannable as possible. This is important because almost everyone nowadays scans an article first to determine whether the article should be read.
Preferably make as few ‘levels’ as possible with your subheadings. Just use one type of subhead. This means that your entire article – regardless of the title – only has two different font sizes: paragraph text (small font) and subheadings (large font). That way you keep it clean.
Tip 12 – Also use these resources to make your text more readable and scannable
You increase the readability and scannability of your article in the following way:
- Paragraphs of up to five lines
- Numbered subheadings: tip 1 …, tip 2 …, tip 3 …, cause 1 …, cause 2 …, cause 3 …
- Quotes in between (in special format)
- Bullet points and numbered lists
- Bold text for the important keywords in a particular paragraph and optional italics for technical emphasis
- Images (and videos for an online article)
- Self-drawn / formatted models and diagrams as images
Tip 13 – Keep your readers in the article as long as possible – or better: on your website
Do you know what the best articles are? Articles that are so complete and good that one does not have to go to another writer / website / source for information. So you’ve written the best possible article if your readers slam their computers or phones after they’re done, and don’t need to Google any further.
So … make your article as complete and clear as possible so that your article is that definitive article. One of the ways to achieve this – and thus to beat competitors – is to maximize the number of minutes readers spend on your article / website. You achieve that, for example, by doing the following things …
- Make the article long and complete. You achieve this, for example, by updating it regularly.
- Post video and audio embeds, such as podcast episodes.
- Place embeds from Powerpoint slideshows, for example via Slideshare.
- Post internal links so that readers keep browsing your website and don’t return unsaturated to Google for another search.
If you do all that and maximize the reading time, Google will love your article and rank it really high!
Tip 14 – Use the Writing Bible and the Writing Guide
Which writing rules should you keep and which ones should you throw overboard? How can you increase reading convenience? Both books are indispensable in that regard. The Writing Bible is more focused on writing stories and the Writing Guide is about writing in general. It is therefore used in government and business.
So … Let go of what you learned at school or in your education
In high school you learned to fill your introduction with current events or an example. You learned business writing on your college or university education. Those are all great things to do, but you also know how to let go of them.
For example, if you write for the internet, those things backfire. Then you want to make it clear and simple what your article is about, and then answer the question clearly. So use the tips in this article to be completely up to date, so that your article is actually read and appreciated.
Good luck practicing writing an article!