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Ideas For Writing Blog Posts

Business blogging for beginners: How to write a blog post

Last time, we covered the questions to ask yourself when you’re getting started with business blogging.

 

Now it’s time to learn how to write a great business blog that will inspire your readers, build a loyal following and convert leads.

 

How to write an engaging blog

 

It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in – any subject can be written about in an informative and interesting way when you know what your target audience is looking for.

 

While you should always tailor your style to suit your readers, here are some general blogging tips that will make your website more approachable:

 

Use ‘you’ and ‘we’

 

Your blog is a conversation between you and your readers.

 

You can make this conversation more personal and compelling by ditching the third-person ‘they’ and ‘our customers’ and instead using the gender neutral ‘you’ to refer to your readers and ‘we’ to refer to your business (or ‘I’ if your readers know who you are).

 

Get active

 

Write in the active voice as much as possible, rather than passive.

 

You might have to brush up on your grammar for this one, but think about the difference between “download the form here” (active) and “the form can be downloaded here” (passive) – which one speaks to your readers?

 

Be assertive

 

You want to establish yourself as an authority in your field, so make sure you present yourself that way.

 

If you know something works, don’t sit on the fence and say it “can” work. Don’t ask your readers if they have a problem – find out what they need to know and provide the solution.

 

Don’t sell

 

Your blog posts shouldn’t be sales pitches. Their purpose is to inform your customers and guide them to the next step.

 

However compelling your writing is, urging readers to “order now” on the strength of a single blog post can have the opposite effect intended and damage the trust you want to build.

 

Don’t forget SEO

 

The reader experience should always be your top priority when you write your business blog, but that doesn’t mean ignoring the fundamentals of good web writing.

 

Writing for good SEO (search engine optimisation) using targeted keywords improves your ranking on Google and other search engines to help you reach a bigger audience.

 

How to structure your blog

 

Writing for the web is very different from all other forms of writing. Online readers tend to have shorter attention spans and a wealth of options at their fingertips, so you need to make sure you’re making the right impression instantly.

 

Title

 

Everyone will see your headline, but you want to make sure they’re interested enough to keep reading.

 

The best titles are short and to the point, ideally under 10 words. A study of 150,000 titles by Outbrain found that titles of eight words achieved a 21% higher click-through-rate than average.

 

If your blog post is answering a question, put the question in the title to start the conversation.

 

Since you will probably be promoting your blog posts on social media, think about what types of tweets you find the most eye-catching.

 

Intro

 

Write a brief sentence expanding on your title and explaining what your readers can expect.

 

You may choose to sum up the post by introducing both the problem and the solution, which encourages interested readers to find out more.

 

Sub-headings

 

No-one wants to read a wall of words. You should already be organising your blog post to deliver information in a sequence, so make sure these steps are clearly marked out with headings.

 

As well as being easier on the eye, sub-headings help your readers to find what they’re looking for more easily. They’re also great for SEO, as long as you use the proper tags (such as H2 and H3).

 

Sentences

 

The main body of your blog posts should be broken into manageable paragraphs, ideally no longer than a couple of sentences or a few lines on the screen (like we’ve done in this post).

 

Your sentences should be written in plain language and avoid unnecessary filler words. Only use jargon or complicated terminology if you are sure your readers will understand it.

 

In terms of typography and colour schemes, it’s best to keep things simple. A sans serif font in black text on a white background is the easiest to read, white on black a little less so, and coloured text should be avoided or used sparingly (and never in the same colour as your links).

 

Text should be aligned to the left of the screen, not centred.

 

Lists and tables

 

If you are discussing three or more items, arranging these in a list or table makes them easier to read and scan.

 

Bulleted lists should be kept under 10 items, while numbered lists should only be used if the items are arranged in a logical sequence, such as a set of instructions or a ranking.

 

Images

 

At least one image should always be included in your blog posts to make them more eye-catching. Sometimes these images will be obvious, such as when you’re discussing a specific product, but other times they can be carefully chosen to set the right mood.

 

Make sure you are not using images covered by someone else’s copyright, and don’t make your images so large that they crowd the screen or are too small to see clearly.

 

Including a thumbnail image alongside your blog post increases click-through rates by 27%, according to Outbrain research.

 

Links

 

Links are essential for guiding your reader to their next destination, but they need to be used sparingly.

 

You should always include at least one link towards the bottom of your blog in your call-to-action (CTA).

 

Other links can provide more information or show your sources for certain statements, but these can also distract the reader’s attention and prevent them from reading further.

 

Top three blogging tips

 

Now you know how to write a great blog post, here are some ideas to start you off or if you need inspiration:

 

1. Write a list

 

Lists are easy to write and popular with readers, even if they’re only looking to skim. Not every post you write should be in a list form, but they can be a great exercise from time to time.

 

Your title should make it clear that the post is a list. As a further tip, people are more attracted to odd numbers: Outbrain’s research found that titles containing an odd number led to 20% more click-throughs than even numbers.

 

2. How-to guides

 

Knowledge is power, and one of the best ways to answer your readers’ questions is with a step-by-step guide.

 

According to Google Keyword Planner, the phrase “how to” is searched for 414,000,000 times every month.

 

3. Write a series

 

If you’re covering a topic in greater detail – Business Blogging for Beginners, for example – you won’t be able to fit everything you want to say into a single blog post, unless you want to make that post extremely long and off-putting.

 

Just like chapters in a book, each of your blog posts should concentrate on a key area of the topic and inform your readers where they can find out more.

 

So on that note, come back next time to learn how to share your business blog with the world.

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