How To Write The Perfect Blog Post

Would you like more money in your pocket?   Have you ever wondered how to command more respect in your communication activities?   Heck, could you benefit by learning the secret to increased happiness and life fulfillment while blogging?

That’s right, a good blog post starts off strong and makes promises.   It capture’s the reader’s attention by either solving a problem, entertaining or teaching them something they didn’t already know.   It needs to suck the reader into heart of the blog post, but eventually it needs to deliver on content and quality.

But actually, a good blog post starts out long before the first sentence.   It begins with a catchy title that sums up the entire blog post in 8 words or less.   Yup, keep it short and use plenty of key words in the title driving search engines bat-crazy when they crawl or spider your site.   That gets you more readers.

In fact, the title might be the most important part of your blog post.   Some people scan many blogs and if the title doesn’t inspire…well, guess what?   You blog doesn’t get read on that particular day.

But now that you’re in the heart of your writing keep sentences short.   Keep ‘em conversational.   And notice how most of my paragraphs don’t string lots of words together to make a big block of text.   That’s a no-no in blog writing.   Lots of words strung together in big paragraphs makes the post look cumbersome.

That said, it’s okay to have a one sentence paragraph while blogging.

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Pictures work best if they grab the reader’s attention and say…what the heck? Yeah, this is a picture of my wife when she was 14 at a bubble blowing contest. By posting this I am likely in the proverbial “dog house.”

Now, on to pictures or graphics.   EVERY BLOG POST DESERVES A PICTURE!   Words are wonderful, but good pictures can tell stories even better.   Plus, they add nice color to your blog which pleases everyone’s eye during the reading experience.

And by all means don’t forget to add plenty of links, when necessary.   If you mention using The Associated Press Stylebook in your writing, give it some love by showing a link.   Speaking of that resource, it should be on the desk of every blogger and used often to enhance one’s professionalism.

So, how often should you blog?   Here there’s no right or wrong answer.   Blog ONLY when you have something important to say.   Don’t string a bunch of words together simply for the sake of making a blog post.   People will see through that and likely won’t give a second look.

I consider two or three posts per week a good target goal.   Yet, for some that same number of posts might occur each day.   Still, other bloggers only do so occasionally making their frequency maybe once per month.   The big thing is to stay consistent and regular as this is what builds readership.

Okay, so I’ve told you several rules to follow.   This next one is perhaps most important.   Keep your blog posts short and sweet.   Learn to edit out what doesn’t need to be there.   THIS boldfaced word happens to be my 500th word in this post which signals to me it’s time to wrap it up very soon.

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Be sure to show good action pictures such as this one with my stepson taking a snowball directly in the face. Again, I’m likely in trouble with him for posting this picture.

As a general rule, I try to ideally keep my posts between 300–500 words.   The absolute max is 700 words…and yes, it is on rare occasion I go over 700 words, but by keeping it short it shows respect for the reader and means you have to be disciplined.

Eventually every blog post needs to wrap it up.   Find a way to reward the reader for sticking it out to the end.   I like to somehow tie my endings in with my introductory paragraph.   Doing that sort of reinforces to the reader the reason they got sucked in to your posting in the first place.

If you made promises…then deliver!    If you were trying to entertain…end with a good joke or funny anecdote.   The perfect blog post doesn’t occur by the blogger transcribing every word that comes to mind.   There has to be some purposeful editing involved throughout the process.

Oh, and just so you know…I ended this blog post with my last word in this post at 700 words.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Blogger’s Note:  Tonight I am teaching a class on the fundamentals of blogging for my local community education.   The preceding blog post will be used as part of that class while at the same time hopefully benefiting the many others who will not be in attendance.

Eight Years Ago This Very Day…

I sat down at a long-since retired computer and began a journey.   I didn’t know what I was doing.   Heck, for that matter I still don’t know what I am doing.   All I knew was I was having fun doing it.

That’s right.   Today is an anniversary for my blog.   Count them…Eight! Long! Years!

Oh, has my life changed and so has this blog.   In the beginning I had no solidly established goals.   Truth is, during those first years I’m not sure very many other eyes happened upon this writing other than my own.   Blogging was in its infancy.   It received little to no respect.   Most people hardly understood what it was even about.   For that matter, the majority of Internet browsers had no appreciation for reading the occasional ramblings of some writer transforming thoughts into computer pixels on a personal weblog.

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This is how my web page looked back in 2004 when the journey began.

Let’s be honest, I started this blog writing for myself.   Those first months I used it as an escape to detail the type of topics that were on my mind at the moment.   Yes, it was a soapbox at times.   I certainly shared my opinions…got stuff off my chest, so to speak.   It was a way to release energy while at the same time attempting to share a love of the outdoors.

Folks have asked me what blogging was like when I started.   Oh, there were several blogs of national prominence sometimes making waves for breaking news…but the landscape was much different in the outdoors world.   Particularly with hunting and fishing bloggers.   As my memory recalls, there were no more than perhaps a dozen of us bloggers actively promoting the outdoors lifestyle via this up-and-coming form of communication.

Indeed, some of my early compatriots in outdoors blogging were, as memory serves me:

Now, likely there were other prominent ones I have unintentionally missed, but these are some of the pioneers in outdoors blogging.   I tip my hat to each of these guys as it appears they are all continuing to blog to this day, at least to some degree.  (If I missed you and you were blogging back in 2004, leave a comment below and tell us)

Yeah, a lot has changed in eight years.   Too much, in fact, to detail in this single blog post.   But I am so proud of what blogging has become.   It wasn’t long ago most of the professional writing associations were scoffing at bloggers–certainly not taking us serious as legitimate communicators.   Fast forward to today, most of these same organizations AND the same people in charge have become enlightened to the potential of blogging.   Now, these same professional organizations are looking for ways to embrace bloggers and bring them into their membership fold.   And I might say it’s about damn time!

When people used to ask me what outdoor publications I wrote for I would list them off.   They would subsequently nod their heads and say something like, “that’s cool.”   But do you think they ever went back and dug through some back-issues to read something I wrote?   Heck no!   If I also told them I blog…they would respond with something like, “okay,” seemingly not very impressed.

Not so today.   I no longer tell people that I once wrote for radio or provide a laundry list of what print publications I’ve been in.   It just doesn’t matter to most folks these days.   Instead, they want to know how they can read what you write from their computers, their portable tablets, heck…even their smart phones.   WOW!   Have things ever changed.   If you told me back in 2004 that not only would I still be blogging eight years later, but that I would be doing it sometimes from my phone and my readers would also be reading it in a like manner…I would have said “NO WAY!”

But, here I am on my eighth anniversary of this blog doing some reflection and introspection.   I’m excited!   It’s hard to imagine where this is all going for the future.   No longer do I write this blog merely for my own entertainment.   Nope!   Today, each post is constructed with an eye toward how can I teach or enlighten my readers with about 700 words or less.   Sometimes I achieve that goal…and other times, well, you’ll have to keep reading to find out.

In closing, a final tip-of-the-hat to all my loyal readers who have stuck with me over the years.   Here’s hoping we have several more good years to come.   Thanks for reading SPORTSMAN’S BLOG!

©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.