Millions of blogs are written every day. But the good news is – 99% of them are terrible. Learn how to write an awesome blog post, step-by-step.
Congratulations, you’ve started a blog!
You’ve got the topic that you want to discuss with your soon to be audience, and you want to get your thoughts out on the page and start to share your point of view with the world.
But the nagging thought you continue to have is, “what if nobody reads this?
What if I put all of my time and effort into this, and nobody sees it?”
Writing a blog post is hard, but getting people to read it is even harder.
Most people can write a blog post about something they are interested in, they may even be able to get a small following, but most people do not know how to develop a broad audience.
In this post, you will get the Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide to create a blog post that will:
- Get first page Google Rankings
- Generate comments
- Generate social media shares
- Build a loyal audience
It may seem complicated, but in reality, all you have to worry about is following these simple steps to get started, and you will soon be engaging with a new audience that otherwise would never see your writing.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: How to Write a Blog Post: Planning
Planning Rule 1: Pick a Topic That Interests YOU
Before sitting down to write your high ranking blog post, the absolute first thing you need to do is think of a topic that you want to write about, and you need to make sure that the topic is something that interests YOU the writer!
One mistake many writers who are trying to build an audience make is that they write what they think their audience wants to read, not what they want to write.
So the first rule for writing any blog post is to choose a topic that you are interested in.
Finding a topic that you are passionate about is not always easy, but it will pay off for both you and your readers.
As a reader, you can feel the energy coming off the page when the writer is passionate about the topic. It becomes very transparent when the writer puts something together that they don’t care about, so pick something that you are interested in writing about!
Planning Rule 2: Do Your Research
Once you have your topic that you are passionate about, you have to make sure you do proper research on that topic before writing.
You don’t have to be an expert on any topic before you start writing your post, but you better become an expert on that topic by the time you are finished.
This level of research means going to sites OTHER than Wikipedia! Wikipedia can be a valuable source and a great jumping-off point, but each page’s accuracy is not regularly fact-checked.
Anything you do find on Wikipedia, be sure you are backing up with multiple other sources, which is also a great way to go deeper into your topic. Wikipedia is a brief synopsis about a topic, not a deep dive.
Researching your topic will allow you to write more authoritatively and confidently about your topic, which your readers will ultimately benefit from.
Let your curiosity guide your research about your topic; let it take you places to learn new things to pass on to your readers!
Planning Rule 3: Write an Outline for Your Post
Great posts don’t just come from thin air.
All great posts start with a great outline.
An outline does not need to go into extreme detail or even be lengthy. It should just provide a guide for you to reference as you are writing to make sure you are keeping yourself on track.
For example, when creating this post, I created the following outline for myself (SPOILERS!)
Again, I don’t go into great detail for each step or rule, but it allows me to remember what to say when I get to that portion in my post.
Planning Rule 4: Quick SEO Review (full one later)
This step is essential after you have selected your topic, you need to do a little research to make sure the post will rank.
SEO Planning rule 1: Select ONE keyword or phrase
The best practice is to be proactive in your SEO. An effective marketing strategy in your post begins with keyword research.
Before you begin writing your content, you need to select ONE keyword or phrase to focus on throughout your post.
An excellent place to start is the WMS browser extension, a plugin on google chrome that will give you related keywords and volume for your search.
This add-on is free and will give you a great starting point when selecting your keywords, providing you with related keywords that people also search for, and showing you the volume and CPC so you can figure out the value of each keyword.
You can also use another free tool, UberSuggest, that operates on a more in-depth level and allows you to see a bunch of SEO metrics that we will talk about in the next step.
As you can see, it may take a few tries before you find the correct keywords or phrases that you want to target.
It requires you to put in the legwork to find a keyword with volume and a relatively attainable SEO difficulty.
There are also paid keyword planning tools that you can use, such as
We also have tips to help you save money, see our blog post, “How to Optimize Your Website SEO for FREE [Actionable Tips]”
SEO Planning rule 2: Make sure there is volume and not crazy competitive
After you figure out which keyword or phrase you would like to focus on, you should do some research to see how competitive it is.
You want to find a keyword that people are searching for, but not everybody is writing about.
The first metric you have to look at is search volume. This is important because it tells you how many people are searching for your keyword.
When trying to figure out which search volume you should be targeting, you should first do a couple of searches on your industry’s topics to get a good baseline of what is high and what is low. After you learn that, you can figure out a good middle point to focus on.
Tip: If you are just starting, you should be focusing on keywords that have low competition and work on winning those over, then as your site grows you can focus on the highly competitive terms
Step 2: Craft a Great Headline That Readers Can’t Resist
One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make when creating a blog post is overlooking the headline.
The headline is arguably the most important thing on the page because if the headline does not draw the reader in, they will not even make it to your great content!
Headline Rule 1: Find what the most compelling articles are saying and make it better
The easiest way to write a great headline is to take inspiration from what has already been written.
If you want to attract readers, stick with what is proven to work. Turn to professional writers and prominent media outlets and work to mimic their style. They have years of research and testing to determine what works and what doesn’t.
This isn’t saying that you need to write your headline exactly how Buzzfeed would write a headline, you can use your voice and your own words (which are better anyway!)
Headline Rule 2: Make sure it’s interesting! (Are YOU interested?)
The best test for an interesting headline is straightforward, are you interested in the headline? If not, nobody else will be either.
Make sure you are putting your best foot forward and attracting your readers from the start.
Just think of your headline as your first impression, and you never get a second chance to make an excellent first impression.
Headline Rule 3: Leave them wanting more
This is a great rule in posting and a great rule in life. Like a conversation you are having in an elevator, you need to grab your reader’s attention, but you never want to be too long-winded.
You want to give away just enough in your headline to interest your reading and leave them wanting to keep reading.
You want your headline to raise questions, not answer them.
For example, if you are writing an article about paying off your credit cards, and you write the below-
“How to Pay Off Your Credit Cards by Starting with the Smallest Debt and Moving to the Largest Debt”
The reader doesn’t even need to continue. They know how to do that.
But, if instead, you write-
“How to Pay Off Your Credit Cards When you are Drowning in Debt.”
That attracts the reader to continue reading to see precisely how they can pay off their credit card debt.
Headline Rule 4: Trim the fat
Never be afraid to cut back on something you have written; always look to take out any extraneous words that aren’t adding to the headline.
It is very easy to overwhelm your readers early, and the easiest way to do that is by creating a headline that is too long or too wordy.
While you want headlines to be in your own words and be conversational, you don’t want to add too many words that you would use when you are having a conversation.
Try to avoid using adverbs as much as possible.
For example, which article would you rather read:
“How to pay off your debt.”
“How to finally pay off your ridiculously high, out of control, really bad debt.”
When writing a headline, the bottom line is that you want to be as exciting as possible, but also as simple as possible.
You want to give the reader just enough to keep reading, but not too much that they gather all of the information they assume they need only by reading the headline.
Step 3: Write an Introduction That Grabs and Seduces
After you’ve grabbed your reader’s attention with your fantastic headline, you need to keep their attention with your introduction. But how do you do that?
Too many bumps in the read early on and they will bail, you need to get them down the page, so they feel committed to finishing the article.
Introduction Rule 1. Open with a short sentence or question
Similar to how I started this section!
Asking a question is a proven method to pull readers in. Like using the pros to create your headline, use their research to keep your readers interested, just like they do.
[insert screenshot of the introduction of Hubspot article with the intro paragraph highlighted]
Introduction Rule 2: Don’t be afraid to edit and cut out content.
When writing an introduction, you need to be efficient, too many wasted words, and your reader can feel overwhelmed quickly.
If your introduction is 200 words, try to drop it to 100. This is a helpful practice to make sure you are deliberately and efficiently using each word.
Introduction Rule 3: Set the rhythm – establish tone and voice
Your introduction is where your voice needs to come across.
You want your readers to understand your voice and writing style early, so they know what to expect for the rest of the post.
Step 4: How to Write a Blog Post, The Content Part
You’ve got your topic, you’ve got your headline, and you’ve got your introduction -think of all of those as the appetizers, now you’ve got to get to your entree!
But, AGAIN, how do you keep your readers interested? (Catching the theme yet?)
Content Rule 1: Add subheadings and shorter paragraphs to break up the page
Big blocks of text are extremely intimidated. You want to break your writing up into subheadings and short paragraphs (think 2-3 lines each).
It’s proven that most readers will skim an article before actually diving in, so having the content be easy to navigate is critical. It is something that helps readers decide if they want to keep reading.
Keeping content blocks short is easier on the reader’s eyes and allows them to digest the content quickly and with relative ease.
Be sure to organize your thoughts into short paragraphs to make sure you are making it as easy as possible for your reader! (I hope I have made it easy on you, dear reader).
Content Rule 2: Images help your blog post flow more effectively and make great visual punchlines
Everybody loves a good picture, especially when it helps them understand a complex topic a little easier.
It’s proven that images often help people digest information easier than text, so adding images to any post can help your readers engage better with your content.
Also, similar to above, they are more visually appealing to the eye than a big block of text (even if you are breaking your writing out into small paragraphs).
Writing online is different from writing in print; readers are often looking for quick content that they can quickly soak in within a few minutes. Images help with your article’s overall flow and allow your readers to learn about your topic fast.
Images are not strictly pictures regarding your topic. You can use infographics, tables, graphs, and any other visual assets to help your reader understand your topic.
Content Rule 3: Images must make complex topics more easily understandable (i.e., no stock photos!)
Images should not just be thrown into a post to break up text and make your post look appealing. They need to help your reader, and they need to help you make a point.
This means NO STOCK PHOTOS! Original content is king, and stock photos are often used as a filler (and quite honestly pretty boring filler).
Consider each image a pitstop for your reader; it allows them to gather themselves and think about everything you have written so far.
Content Rule 4. Be ridiculously generous with the value and information you give
One mistake that a lot of bloggers make is holding back content from their readers because they want their reading to want more. They want their readers to subscribe and check back to get the remainder of the information they came for.
This is not a good strategy because if a reader feels like they are being held back on, they won’t want to sign up or want to pay for your product. After all, they have a bad initial impression.
You want to give your readers all of the information you have to help them understand your topic and help them reach a solution with your help.
Giving the readers a well thought out post will be what keeps them coming back!
Content Rule 5. Start and end strong
In the same way, you want your introduction and conclusion to captivate readers at the beginning and end of your post, and you want the beginning and end of your body to do the same.
You want all of your content to be great, but you want to emphasize the first and last topics or rules. The first will have them excited, and the last will leave them satisfied.
Content Rule 6: Get feedback early and often
The best advice any writer will give you is to get your work proofread early and as often.
A third party will spot logical mistakes you may have made, or any issues you may have with the flow that you may have missed.
When you are writing, everything can sound one way in your head but come across completely differently. Having somebody else read it will help you iron out any details and help you get your point across the way you intend.
I recommend using somebody you trust and know will give you honest and fair feedback.
Don’t take anything too personally, and make sure you lay out what you want feedback on before you send.
For example, if you know there are grammatical errors in your post, you can let them know you are aware of them, so they don’t need to spend too much time on grammar, just on the content.
Step 5: Close with a Motivational Bang
You can now see the finish line, and your post is taking shape! Let’s get this bad boy over the finish line!
Conclusion Rule 1. Summarize and inspire action!
Like the above, you need to create a summary of the topics you have covered in your post and give the reader something to feel good about! Inspire them to take action!
Show them how far they’ve come since they started the post and let them know that they should continue to think about the topic. You don’t want them to just read the post and forget about it, get out there and take action!
Let them know that they are now experts on the topic and can conquer it on their own!
As Steven Covey says, “to learn and not to do is really not to learn.”
Conclusion Rule 2. Avoid new information
A very common mistake many bloggers make is springing new topics or new information on their readers in the conclusion.
This would be like reading a book, and in the last ten pages, a new plot gets introduced, it’s overwhelming! You just want to know how it ends! You don’t want something new!
However, this rule does have an exception – if you want your reader to click through to another post about a similar topic that will help their understanding even further – don’t be afraid to tease that new post!
But every question the reader had about the page they are on should be answered by the time they finish your article.
Conclusion Rule 3: Include a CTA
After you have wrapped up your post, create a call to action for your readers!
Ask them to comment on the post or share it to social media, just give them something that makes them want to interact with the post.
When creating a call to action, make sure it is clear and direct, and make sure you are only giving one!
Step 6: The Editing Process
Your post is done! You’ve got all your content written out, and it’s ready to post.
Not so fast!
You first need to go back and edit to make sure it’s the best it can be.
Editing Rule 1: Cut out repetition
Sometimes when you are writing, you can be repetitive without even realizing it. You can overdo it when trying to get the point across, and you may end up repeating yourself throughout your post.
When editing a post, the first rule is to go back and make sure you aren’t over-emphasizing points that your reader may have understood three sentences ago.
Give your audience some credit. They don’t need to be hand-fed the same thing over and over!
Repetition is the ultimate flow killer and has your reading checking out quickly.
Editing Rule 2: Read your post aloud to check the flow
This is an old trick your middle school English teacher may have taught you, and it is still valuable today! See, you did learn something useful in middle school!
Like having a third party read your writing, it is helpful to read aloud to ensure your flow is as you intended. Sometimes when you write something, you write it in your voice in your head, but when you read it aloud, it sounds nothing like you!
Reading aloud helps you get into your reader’s head and allows you to hear your writing from a different perspective.
This is also a great way to catch typos and grammatical errors that your brain would completely overlook otherwise.
Editing Rule 3: Have someone else read your work (again)
AGAIN! Having somebody else proofread your work is the best way to get honest feedback and the best way to catch mistakes that you may have missed.
Your peer may catch something you missed initially or catch some issues with the flow you were reading a certain way, but somebody else may not.
Editing Rule 4: Keep sentences short and paragraphs shorter
This is also a great time to go back and review your text.
Any big blocks that need to be taken care of?
Make sure you are writing in short and concise paragraphs and make sure you are keeping your sentences short.
This is also a great way to make sure your flow is proper as well, if you see any big blocks of text or long run-on sentences, go back and edit them into smaller bite-size pieces.
Step 7: Optimize for SEO (i.e., The Fun Part!)
This is why you are here! You have your post written, and now you want to learn how to get your post to rank.
SEO Rule 1: Include keyword in the title, URL, and header tag
When creating your post using any CMS (WordPress, etc.), they will have a title field at the top of your post, make sure to include your keyword in your blog post title AND in your title tag.
This is important because Google places extra emphasis on words that show up in your title tag.
A recent study done by Brian Dean at Blacklinko discovered a correlation between keyword-rich titles and first-page google ranking.
Most sites like WordPress will create your post URL based on your title, but you should still check anyway, they allow you to easily edit to create a custom URL for your post.
Like your URL and title, make sure that your keyword is included in your header tag. Most of the time, this will be done automatically, but make sure you are checking as not to miss anything.
SEO Rule 2: Include similar words or topics in subtopic header tags
When writing your post, make sure to include synonyms to your keyword or similar phrases to your subheader tags.
This allows you to increase the chance of ranking for your top keyword and rank for the variations of that keyword as well.
You may have noticed this post has a lot of headers and subheaders – this is helpful for readers to identify what the subject is. Still, it is also helpful for Google (or other search engines) to understand the hierarchy of topics on the page.
SEO Rule 3: Add links (both internal and external)
Adding links to your post is one of the most overlooked SEO strategies, and it couldn’t be simpler.
When writing, just make sure you link back to some of your old posts (if you have them and when they make sense). Look to add 2-5 links to some old posts and also look to add new links back into those old posts and to your new content!
External links are important because they help google figure out your topic, and they also show Google that your post will have accurate information.
Reboot online ran a study titled, “STUDY – OUTGOING LINKS USED AS RANKING SIGNAL, “comparing ten sites that use out linking and ten sites that do not and proved that out linking improved ranking.
SEO Rule 4: Use a tool like Topic to check your SEO score
Using a tool like Topic is a great way to get an initial assessment of how you’ve done.
Topic is an AI writing assistant that will grade your content and explain how it will rank. Topic will help you grade your current post, but it will also round up other posts to see how you stack up.
SEO Rule 5: Don’t obsess over getting everything in. Value and quality are always good SEO.
Do not force your keywords into your post.
Writing about your topic naturally and only making minor adjustments is key to creating a good post.
Ensure that your flow is still as you intend, and don’t worry about including your keyword or phrase into every sentence or topic you cover.
Readers will always tell if you are forcing something on them, which would create a negative experience.
Quality of your writing and ensuring your voice is staying consistent throughout your post should be your foremost goal.
Do not keyword stuff!
Google actively looks for keyword stuffing and will take that into account when ranking your post.
Step 8: Promote your blog.
Now that your blog is posted and out there for the world to see, make sure everybody in your world can see it!
Promotion Rule 1: Share your post on social media and everywhere else you can!
The easiest way to promote your blog is to post to your already existing social media channels.
You likely already have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, so use those existing platforms and followers to get your post out there!
Using LinkedIn is another great way to promote your blog to like-minded individuals. The network that you have on there is likely tied to your industry and will be interested in what you have to say.
You can also use Linkedin to join similar groups if your topic is related to your professional field. It is also a great way to impress your employer, a prospective employer, current clients, and prospective clients!
Beyond your social media, make sure to share your post with other related blogs and topics!
The comment section is a great place to find some new readers. Make sure you are making constructive comments and providing feedback and not just shamelessly promoting your blog!
By doing this, you can create new relationships with other bloggers in your vertical as well, which can create new opportunities for backlinking and outbound linking in future articles.
Now It’s Your Turn!
After reading this post, you should not have a great understanding of how to write a great ranking blog post!
When you look to post, I know you will have all the tools to be successful in your writing. I hope this post has been a great jumping-off point for you, and I hope that it will become something you reference every time you look to post.
Most of all, I hope this post has helped you become a more confident writer. When creating a blog post, being confident in your work should be a huge priority. Readers can sense when you are interested in the topic you are writing about, and it helps your words jump off the page.
I wrote this ultimate guide because I do not want people to be discouraged about writing. After all, they have a hard time finding a new audience.
Your ideas are valuable, and they are worth sharing with the world. I hope this ultimate guide will help you get your ideas out there and help you build the audience you deserve.
Now it’s time for you to get out there and start writing!