How to write your first blog post is the question that I get asked the most by other people who want to start a blog, bloggers who get a bit stuck sometimes and the small business owners who have a website for their business but aren’t quite sure where to start.
For every writer the process is different. Just start. It’s the best advice that I’ve ever heard, and the advice that I’ll always give.
Not sure where to begin? Just put a few words on paper or edit a few pics or ask your friends/audience if there are any questions they have. But, hopefully more helpfully, I can tell you how I begin to construct a travel or food blog post, however flawed that may be.
How to find ideas for blog posts
First, it begins with something interesting. Usually an unusual fact that I discovered in passing (the sewing machine museum), the story of a historical figure (literally any stately home), a beautiful vista (name the location), the taste of a dish that I adore…
I quite often have ideas for blog posts at the most random of times – so I open up a new draft blog post, sketch a title, chuck in the whispers of ideas and then wander off. Sometimes for years. I do have a rough content calendar that I keep in my Google calendar – this is to ensure that both commissioned posts, and posts about similar unrelated topics are spaced out neatly.
If you’re a small business and unsure where to begin, start with the needs of your customers; what are the most frequently asked questions, how can you demonstrate skill or show the readers (and the Google spiders) how the item you’re selling can be used in situ. If you wanted to get technical, researched commonly requested terms and the best keywords via a keyword searcher will be helpful for you to get some search engine value.
How to write your first blog post
Then, I just tell the story.
I adore the creation of blog posts when the muse hits – I very rarely know where the tale is going to go. Unless it’s a restaurant review which roughly seem to unfold; Intro paragraphs > Personal tale > Food (what we ate, what we loved) > Decor & vibe > Random link back to personal tale
More often than not with any blog posts, I end up using the second paragraph as the first, know that is something that helps me to start writing. I know it’s not going to be perfect, so I just rattle something off which will probably end up shuffled around or cut. I also find myself weaving the text based on the images. They help to structure the blog post for me – I cannot write without some kind of imagery. (Unless it’s something like this, or a how-to which I need to work out what images I’ll need for demonstrating.
My writing is very conversational – unless it’s at the other end and waxing poetical. I don’t usually break the 4th wall though (I’m chatting away but not directly addressing the reader.) And, occasionally I rip up the rule book and write an afternoon tea up as a Disney musical number.
I’ve found that my creative sweet spot is in the evenings, with a good playlist in the background. I so, so struggle to shuffle words in the daylight.
How to edit photos for a blog post
I have an obsolete piece of software that edits very basically – it’s all I like to do to photos – maybe a little cropping, a touch of white balance and tidying away errant crumbs, Many people use Photoshop or Lightroom, but I found they were too complicated for my mostly straight-out-of-camera shots. I also re-size the photos so they’re quicker to load, and I rename the files to keywords. Everyone does something different – I’d recommend you try a couple of different platforms and find the way that works for you.
Personally, I find a maximum of 10-12 photos are where I stop reading… so years ago I decided that if it’s more than that, I’ll split up the post into more.
How to edit a blog post
I’ve got to be totally honest, and say that I don’t. Once I’ve typed it out (sometimes trasferring it from an email dashed on a train, sometimes on the back of a burger bag) I do a quick read through, use something like Grammarly to check the spelling and then hit publish.
I have friends who labour over editing – but I just can’t do it. For me, posts are my personal experience, or helpful roundups of things that we loved. I find writing hotel reviews the hardest – and usually travel locations and meals or food the easiest because I can share the history of why I loved it.
Sometimes posts won’t flow, and I’ve just learned not to stress it. I’ve also learned that deadlines seem to get my creativity fired up. Who knows why… this is one of those posts. But, I don’t bin them – just leave them in your drafts. I had the idea for this post sketched out in my drafts for years, and for some reason this was the evening that the words worked.
That’s it. That’s been my process for more years than I care to admit, and I love it. You can’t beat the feeling when a blog post flows onto a screen.
I make a pin (or two), pop it onto social media and if it’s commissioned, send it to the person who requested it.
Hope that helps!
<< pin for later >>