Updated: Jan 24
Starting a blog can be a daunting prospect, and writing your first blog post can be equally terrifying. But taking the first step towards blogging success is vital.
Blogging is a useful way for businesses and individuals to showcase their expertise online in an educational and informative format. Getting started is the hard part, in my opinion, but once you make it past the first post it gets much easier.
So, how do you go about writing your first blog post?
I compiled a list of seven tips for writing your first blog post. This list is for people who want to start blogging but haven't yet written their first post. I'll talk a little bit about what a blog post is before launching into the following tips:
What is a Blog Post?
Put simply, a blog post is a piece of long-form content written on a blog. Blog posts are expository pieces of writing that are designed to educate and inform the reader on a given topic. The blog itself is a compilation of these posts around a given theme, such as:
Food and drink
Blogs are useful ways to showcase your expertise in a given area and can grow a large following. Popular blogs usually have lots of content in their niche in a variety of formats. These can be quite intimidating to first-time bloggers - how do you build up to something so immense?
The reality is you have to start somewhere, and blogging starts with your first post. But how do you start writing one? This was the question I had when I set out to start blogging online, so I compiled a list of tips I wish I knew when writing my first post.
7 Tips On Writing Your First Blog Post
1. Plan ahead of time
The last thing you want is to create a deadline and leave it to the last day before deciding to sit down and write. That's never a good idea.
Blog posts take time. You need to take into account:
Editing and proofreading
You need to plan ahead of time how you are going to write your first blog post and any post afterwards. The first post, in particular, will take more time - my very first article on Medium took me about two weeks to write. Now researching and writing a blog post takes me a few days out of the week.
Once you set up your writing routine, this should become much easier and will take less time. But to start with, you need to make sure you plan to accommodate your writing.
2. The first draft is nearly always bad
Don't expect perfection on the first try. This applies to any piece of writing, not just blog posts. Your first draft is a mind dump - you are putting all your thoughts onto the page in an incoherent way, which is exactly what is needed.
So, don't be disheartened if the first draft of a blog post seems messy or a jumble of mixed-up sentences. That's when you launch into your second draft, and then the editing process. It's your chance to improve and clean up your writing.
There might be occasions when you write a first draft which works well the first time around and only needs a little editing to polish it up. When that happens, it's brilliant! But it's okay if subsequent blog posts drafts don't match up to that outstanding post.
3. Write an engaging headline
When creating a blog post title, you need to think about:
The problem your target audience has
How your post helps them overcome the problem
First and foremost, you should write your headline (and blog post) with your target audience in mind. It helps to come up with a question they might have, such as "what is an investment?" or "how do you write a blog post?". Then, you can create your post and headline to answer the question.
Top tip: for more headline ideas, head to the "People also asked" section in Google search.
As an example, for this post, I asked myself, what if people have never written a blog post before? From there, I work out some solutions or tips to answer the question, which I highlight as a number in the headline.
So, here are a few final tips on writing your headline:
Answer a question your target audience may have
Use numbers if you have multiple points to cover
Use emotive and powerful language (this triggers an emotional response in the reader)
Keep the headline between twelve and fifteen words
To learn more about writing blog post headings, take a look at this infographic by HubSpot.
4. Take time to edit and proofread
This might seem obvious, but you wouldn't believe how exhausting writing can be. After staring at the same piece of content over and over, you get to a point where you just want to publish the thing and be done. It's a tempting feeling - I know because I've been there.
But any piece of writing - whether it's a 100,000-word book or an 800-word blog post - needs to be edited. With editing, I always recommend that taking a break from your writing is the best thing you can do. Once the draft is complete, take a step back and do something else for a few hours, maybe even a day.
When you get back to your content, you will be looking at it through a fresh pair of eyes and as an editor of your work. This also applies to proofreading. Again, once the editing is done, take another break and come back later to proofread.
5. Use tools to your advantage
You wouldn't build a treehouse with no tools but your bare hands - so why should writing a blog post be the same.
There are several useful kinds of tools out there to help you with your writing. In another blog post, I talked about five different kinds of tools needed to kickstart a blog (which you can read below). Three of those five are important for the writing process:
Spelling and grammar checking software
Keyword research tools
Content calendars are vital for planning your content (which I also talk about below). You need to efficiently plan your content to make sure that:
You don't run out of blog post ideas
You know exactly what you are writing each week/month
Similarly, spell-checking tools are a useful way to make sure your writing is smooth and error-free. Note that it isn't cheating. These tools are another pair of eyes on your writing, sort of like hiring an editor. They catch errors when they happen and make corrections and suggestions as you write.
(But no spell-checking software is a substitute for proper proofreading. Not every error will be caught by a spell-checker, which is why it's vital you proofread before publishing something.)
To read more about the tools needed to help you kickstart a blog, check out my blog post below.
6. Manage your expectations
So, you're writing your first blog post and it's going well. You're thinking, this is the best piece of writing I've ever done and everyone is going to want to read this. You spend hours on it, fine-tuning, editing, proofreading, and finally, you publish it. You sit back and wait for the views, likes, comments, and shares to come pouring in ...
But nothing happens. You maybe get a single view. You're disappointed. What is the point of writing a blog if no one is going to read it? So you cast it aside and stop writing.
This is a common story, and it applies to anything we try. We try something, perhaps a business venture, we fall at one of the first hurdles, and then give up because it didn't go perfectly the first time around.
Your first blog post will most likely not be a success. It's rare for someone to write or create a piece of content and have it go viral from the get-go. But you have to start somewhere. It's no good giving up on the first try just because it wasn't the hit you thought it was going to be.
So, manage your expectations. Time, patience, and a lot of content lead to a successful blog, and it all starts with the first post.
7. Create a consistent posting schedule for the future
Finally, when starting to write blog posts, you need to create a consistent posting schedule. Why? Because consistency in your writing schedule leads to better writing and better results.
Starting a blog is an exciting and nerve-wracking process. You're launching into unknown territory, and even with a mountain of research behind you, it's still a mystery as to how and if it will work.
The important thing to remember is to not burn out creatively. What I mean is, don't get too excited and set a schedule of posting a piece of content once a day in the beginning. This won't work because:
You're not a professional blogger with years of experience (yet)
You'll run out of ideas very quickly
You'll start producing content for the sake of it
My advice is to start slow. Some people choose to post once a month in the beginning. I chose once every two weeks, and after a few months of getting comfortable writing content, I upped it to once a week. Remember, you can always increase the consistency of your content, but avoid decreasing it unless necessary.
The best way to create a consistent schedule is to use a content calendar. I use an Excel spreadsheet for mine, where I log the months, weeks, and dates of each piece of content, including headings and keywords. I also use the calendar to plan my email campaigns and social posts, so it's all in one place.
It's up to you how you do it, but just remember to be consistent when posting content online. Commit to it, and it will pay off for you.
Over to You
So, those were seven tips for getting started with your first blog post. They were:
Plan ahead of time
Understand the first draft is usually messy
Write an engaging headline
Take time to proofread and edit
Use tools to your advantage
Manage your expectations
Create a consistent posting schedule
These tips were based on my experience when I started creating blog posts and what I learned from them. The key takeaway is to take the step and get writing. The more quality content you produce consistently, the easier it will become.