learn the business of blogging – always free
If you’ve never been a blogger before, you may be intimidated when it comes to writing your first blog posts. Some people are natural writers and the words flow freely. Others need some inspiration or guidelines before they can produce good quality content.
No matter how you feel about your writing abilities, writing blog posts isn’t exactly the same thing as the freestyle writing you’re probably used to.
You may have already started writing, and that’s ok, but be sure to create a mind map for your blog before you continue writing. Otherwise you’ll be stuck with a lot of content that needs to be reworked later on.
The first step to producing your first pieces of blog content is to create a mind map so you know the types of content you need to create. You can use a piece of paper to do this or you can do it digitally using a text editing app on your computer or Google Docs.
A mind map is a diagram that organizes a larger concept and its related smaller ideas.
The first topic in the center of your mind map is the topic you chose.
If you decided to launch a beauty blog, you would put the word Beauty in the center of your mind map and circle it.
From there, you will decide on the topics within your niche that you want to write about. Each of these topics branches out from the central subject of your blog.
They will become your blog’s Categories, or where you’ll file posts to keep them organized on your website.
If your blog topic is broad enough, you will have at least 3 large Categories you’ll want to cover on your blog.
For the Beauty blog example, you might have the following Categories: Makeup, Skincare, Hair, Perfume
Then, within those Categories, you might have even smaller subtopics like oily skin, dry skin, mature skin, etc.
Finally, within those subtopics, you’ll have the ideas for articles you’d like to write.
What you just did was create something known as content clusters. Content or topic clusters are groups of posts that provide an in-depth understanding of a particular subject matter.
Be sure to read about how I organize blog post ideas after mind mapping.
What to Write About First
You probably already have a sense of what is a high priority on your list and what can wait to be published. My advice is to start working on your top priority posts first.
If you’re not sure, then I recommend you start by writing a dedicated post for each of your top-level Categories first and working your way down.
Each Category should have its own in-depth post, called a pillar post. Pillar posts, also called pillar content, are the longest, most detailed articles you will find on a blog. These types of articles can easily reach 2,000 words and beyond. They cover a topic so well that even a total beginner could understand it.
I recommend that you start by writing the pillar posts of your blog first, but if you feel too overwhelmed by writing several 2,000 word posts, then you can start off by writing one of the smaller posts and tackle the big ones later.
If you are not great at grammar, I highly recommend using the free tool Grammarly to correct your grammar in WordPress.
Anatomy of a Blog Post
Here is an example of a blog post and the information you’ll need to consider before adding your first post to WordPress:
URL: the complete link to the blog post
Slug: the keyword your article targets
Category: the site Category the post is filed under
Title: the user-facing Title of the post
Content: the body of the blog post
The URL is the full link of your blog post. It’s what you’ll share on social media and anywhere else to promote your blog.
The Slug is the end of the URL which describes the main idea of what the post is about. It’s recommended to keep your slug short and to the point.
The Category is the topic under which this post will be filed.
The Title is what readers see as they browse your site. You don’t have to worry about this right now, but every post can have two titles: one for the website readers, and one for Google to encourage a click-through. For now, just create a good title for your blog post.
The Content is the body of the post and all the information you share with your readers.
I like to do my blog post writing in Google Docs. It has a built-in spell checker and I can format my posts ahead of time for WordPress. When I’m ready to publish, I just copy/paste the content in.
How do you format your posts in Google Docs so that they can be transferred easily to WordPress?
This is what I do:
I typically have multiple drafts of partially written articles under one Category in my Google Doc document. I highlight the category in yellow so that I can easily find the different ones as I’m scrolling down.
I prefer to have everything in one document, but you could also create several Google Docs for each Category on your site to make things easier to find, especially if you are working on many pieces of content at once.
I also recommend formatting your articles directly in Google Docs with proper Headings. You can do this by clicking “Normal text” and then “Heading 2” etc. on the formatting toolbar within the program.
Headings are a great way to break-up your text and change topics within the article.
You can see the Headings in this article because they appear as much larger text. Always use Heading 2 first, and then Heading 3 within the text, 4, and so on…
That’s it! That’s a general overview of how to write your first blog posts.
Be sure to read how I structure my blog posts for both my readers and potential Google search traffic.
But, don’t worry too much about perfect formatting and organization at the beginning. The best thing to do is hit Publish as soon as you can. You can always go back and edit your older posts, make changes and update them to your current standards.
How many pieces of content do you need before launching a blog?
Most bloggers agree that having at least 10 pieces of content written for your blog is ideal. Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter. I would recommend launching with at least one post per category on your blog. Aim for a minimum of 500 words per post.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!