How To Write Your First Blog Post

Please note: This article is a tutorial for publishing your first post on WordPress. You should have completed the tutorial on how to start a blog and how to set up wordpress prior to reading this article. For any specific questions about posting blogs ask us at my free Facebook group.

For years people have asked me how they could make money by writing online. Almost everyone of them had hopes of being an aspiring writer. I’m going to let you in on a secret, the answer isn’t by posting awesome content.  You don’t need to be Stephen King to earn a living with your blog. I’m not saying you shouldn’t care about your posts. I’m just saying that there are other factors that are more important. You still need to have a basic grasp of the English language, your target market’s reading level, and what your post is trying to accomplish.

Publishing Your Post In WordPress

Before we get into what makes a blog post a success, let’s cover all the technical aspects of publishing your post. As we discussed earlier, there are two types of content we can post on WordPress; posts and pages. Posts, or articles, will make up 99% of your website. When you want to publish a new entry to your blog you use the Posts type.

When you want to publish a post you simply click the Add New button underneath Posts in the left hand menu. That should take you to the Add New Post screen.
I recommend you fill out just these four things for your first several posts. Ignore all the other options.

Title: Obviously, each blog post needs a title. You can always change it later, but once you hit publish your title will become the hyperlink for your post. Ex. You can change that as well, but we don’t need to get into that right now. Pay attention to the length of your title. The Yoast plugin, that you should have already read about, will help you with that. Keep it to 50-60 characters.

Category: This is found in the right hand sidebar. I highly recommend using categories on your site. Using some kind of  taxonomy on your website will help keep your visitors browsing. Currently, my posts use two categories; Income Report and Tutorial. I guarantee you I will add more in the future. I’ll go into this more under the Anatomy Of A Good Blog Post section found below.

Featured Image: Once again, this is found in the right hand sidebar. This image is the cover image of your post. You need to add an image here. Depending on your theme, the image might appear at the top of your blog post as well. If you are using the Voice theme, it will do exactly that.

Body: This is that big box under the title field. This is where the body of your post goes. Notice there’s a little word counter at the bottom of the box. Above the box you’ll find an Add Media button that allows you to add images and video to your posts. I recommend keeping the Visual tab selected so you can see how your article is going to look once it is published. A little side note, I rarely write my articles in this field. I usually compose my posts in Google Doc first, then copy paste it into WordPress. The formatting, including links, copies over as well.

Those four fields are the basics. The other thing I really want to point out are your publishing options. With WordPress you can schedule a post for a future time and date. Additionally, you can change the visibility of a post if you aren’t ready for your readers to view it yet. These settings can come in handy, but remember the default setting will immediately publish your post once you hit the Publish button. WordPress will automatically save your post in draft, but I don’t trust it as much as the autosave feature found in Google Docs.

Hopefully, that fills you in on the basics of publishing a post from the technical side of things. Let’s move on to the nuts and bolts of the actual post.

Anatomy Of  A Good Blog Post

At the beginning of this post, I brought up the point that content does not have to be written by a professional to become successful. With that being said, you should put your best effort into everything you write. As time marches on, you’ll notice your posts will become easier to write. Practice truly does make perfect. Let’s go over some things that increase the odds that a post will be a success.

  1. Give Your Post A Goal – Quality over quantity is the golden rule to blog posts. That doesn’t mean you need the perfect post, what’s more important is that every single post on your site needs to have a reason for being published. Why does the post exist? Is it part of a sales funnel? Does it elaborate more on a topic that your reader’s requested? Is it being used as a hook to get more eyes on your blog? Each post needs a well-defined goal. Don’t just write to write.

  2. Outline Your Article – Before you write that awesome idea you have for a post why not create an outline for it? Even if all you’re doing is scratching down a few notes on a notebook. Personally, I outline all my headers, aka sections, to keep me on task with my goal.

  3. No Shit, Sherlock – If there’s one type of blog post I hate reading it’s common sense fluff pieces. I’ll use a topic like tips to save money in 2018. Go read some of the posts. You’ll see the same boring tips. Want to save money? Turn the thermostat down/up. Cut the cord. Change your cell phone plan. Yawn, bored yet? Know your audience. Understand, what they know and don’t know. It’s okay to bring up a commonsense topic and offer a new strategy on how to solve a problem. If you have a list of 20 things and 30% of it is borderline common sense, but you offer some really fantastic insight on the remaining 70% of the post, then I’m happy. If you plan out your content strategy and give each post a goal and jot down an outline you’ll be more wary of falling into the commonsense trap.

  4. One Blog Post To Rule Them All – Following the common sense trap is repetitious blog posting. Each post you publish on your website should be unique to the rest of your content.  I’m going to help conquer this obstacle in a future post when I talk about developing a successful content strategy. However, for now make sure that each post on your blog covers a new topic, or takes a subject you covered previously and delves into it deeper. For example, I could publish a post about more tips on how to write a good post or how to continue writing effectively after your 30th post. Either way, those articles will not cover the same things in this blog post. Be cognitive of all your posts.

  5. Write With Passion – Seriously, believe in the words you are typing on the screen. This translates into confidence with your readers. They’ll not only believe you, but they’ll buy what you are selling. Your blog should be about something you are passionate about, don’t be afraid to share that passion in your posts. Make your readers feel like they are getting to know you when they read your words. Feel free to inject your lovable eccentric personality. Always remember to keep it positive!

  6. Keep It Conversational – Speaking of personality make sure your posts are conversational. Your posts should not read like a car manual. Have fun, but keep your posts on task and stick to that goal. Remember when I said to make outlines? Your readers want to be entertained even if they don’t realize it. Try to limit your metaphors and jokes, but be human. If you want to brand your blog, then these are the first ingredients.

  7. To Link Or Not To Link – There are several different schools of thought when it comes to adding links to your posts. My advice is to link when appropriate, but don’t over do it. There are two types of links; internal and external. Internal links are great for referring people to other related posts on your website. External links send your readers off your site to someplace else. That’s great if it’s an affiliate link and you can make money off of it. Otherwise, be conservative and only use external links when trying to show an example or further explain a topic. Don’t be afraid of them, just make sure they serve a purpose. I would highly advise against linking to your competitors.

  8. It’s Not How Long It Is – It’s hard to say what the perfect length is. In most cases, I aim for 1,000 to 1,500 words. Of course it depends on your website. My tutorial posts are longer, but I feel they need to be.  If you are review site then 1,000 words might be too long. Maybe adding more images makes more sense. You’ll just need to experiment and try different things. Don’t stress though. It’s not as big of a deal as you might think. Just remember not to ramble. Get your point across, keep it informative, and make it entertaining. If you are really pushing me for a number of words, then keep it between 800 to 3000. Product review sites might be able to get away with only 150, but they are the exception.

  9. Proofread – Proofreading has been my achilles’ heel since grade school. Spend a few minutes after you finish writing a post and re-read it. Don’t be afraid to rip it apart and rewrite whole paragraphs. More importantly, proofreading is an easy way to catch any typos that snuck in.

  10. We’ll Meet Again – A successful post is one that accomplishes its goal. If your post does just that, then it’s a win. However, blog posts are not written in concrete. You should always leave the door open to come back and touch it up some. Maybe add another internal link pointing to a newly added post. If a post doesn’t seem to be working try rewriting it. Post are living documents not archived manuscripts.

Different Types Of Posts

I just want to add in a short section on types of posts. Most of your posts should fall in one of these four categories. It’s okay if you get a hybrid of two types of posts in one. A list can be a review..

  • Question – This type of post refers more to the title being in the form of a question. I love questions as titles. When your whole post proposes and answers a question you’re setting your reader’s expectations before they even click on the article.
    Example: How long should a mother exclusively breastfeed?
  • How ToThis includes step by step or tutorial type posts. These posts are usually filled with images and/or videos.
    Example: How To Replace Broken Drywall On A Budget
  • ReviewSubjective type posts filled with your opinions. Whole websites are devoted to just this type of post.
    Example: Dr. Grip Gel pens are the best bang for your buck when it comes to writing utensils.
  • ListThe most popular type of written content on the web right now. People absolutely love lists. They’re generally easy to write and research. I recommend always listing the digit as the first word in the title.
    Example: 15 Must Read Thriller Books Published In 2017

There’s so much more I want to teach you about writing good content. However, I want you to write a few posts and get your feet wet. This post covers the basics of what you need to know. Here’s an assignment, apply these tips to you first blog post and share it over at my Dollar Efforts Facebook group.

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