Frankly Blogging 102: Writing to Engage Your Readers

You’ve done it. You’ve finally made your blog. You’ve picked a name. You’ve filled out your information. You’ve followed every step in Frankly Blogging 101: Creating Your First Successful Blog.

Now you can write whatever you want, right? Wrong!

You need to start planning what you will post, how you’ll post it, and how it will interact with your blog’s potential audience. Only when these things come together will you be able to make that terrific blog that earns you plenty of visitors and a sufficient amount of passive income each day.

Let’s take a look at everything you ever needed to know to write amazing blog posts.

Step One: Starting With an Idea

The first logical step that I pursue when I begin crafting a new blog post is to start with an idea. I’ll start with something broad, then slowly define where I want to go.

For example, consider this post. I’m creating a definitive how-to series on blogging that will slowly expand into something more. When I finish it, and I use that term incredibly loosely, I’ll begin writing small posts that offer tips for blogging alongside some answers to questions I receive.

This enables me to make helpful content that my readers will find useful for some time to come. This is a win-win situation for both myself, the blogger, and you, the reader.

Step Two: Introductions

I don’t just jump into a post. I sit around and let the idea I want to pursue ferment like fine wine.

This post, for example, started a few weeks ago. I’ve been thinking about it for days, though I haven’t done so actively. I’ve thought about how I want to start it out, how I want to format it, and how I want to logically proceed through it with you.

These things all need to be nailed down before I can write my introduction, as they help me decide how to introduce the topic to you in a way that compels you to read more.

When you finish your introduction, perform the following quick checks:

  • Does it grab your attention from the first sentence?
  • What does it say that your post is about?
  • Does it state what your reader will get from reading your post?
  • How “Above the Fold” is it?
  • Would you keep reading?

If you can’t answer these questions, then keep rewriting your introduction until it’s compelling. It’s the part of your post that helps you really get your foot in the door, so making it superb is something you need to do.

Step Three: Start Writing

You’ve put everything together. Your proverbial ducks are now in the neatest of lackadaisical rows.

What do you do now?

Easy! You start writing.

Start with your most important logical point first, then progress until you reach the end.

Take this post as an example of that. I introduced a problem, which is the difficulty in writing a compelling blog post. I then began to list step by step how to conquer blog posts until you’re able to write something compelling.

I follow this same process in every blog post I make. I write an introduction, which I can use as a prompt, then I began to logically answer the problem or address the situation. Your posts need to have a similar composition if you want to connect with readers whom have problems.

When you’re writing, ensure that you take the time to make your content scannable. You want to make it easy for readers to skim through your content to acquire a quick overview of what your content is about before reading every nitty gritty detail.

One thing I would suggest is to take a look at these proven formulas for successful content. They’re the kind of things that your readers will love to read.

Step Five: The Conclusion and Your Title

I know that it doesn’t make much sense at first, but I wait until I’ve finished my blog posts before I go back to write a conclusion and a title.

I write the conclusion last, as it allows me to reiterate any important points I may have merely touched upon in my writing. This part is logical. It’s tying the bow that wraps up the creative process in a neat way that allows my readers to know exactly what they’re taking away from my posts.

The title is similar. I find it significantly easier to create an engaging blog title when I wait until the end, as I know both what my post is about and what should make others read it.

Step Four: Enriching Your Content

You’ve written an astounding post, but you’re nowhere near done yet. Now you need to go over your posts to minor out any flaws and to enrich your content.

When I revise my content, the first thing I do is to look for grammatical or spelling errors. While I try to do this in the process of writing, sometimes my posts can take several hours to compose. This leaves them prone to the occasional error.

The next step is to re-read your content for the proper flow. You want your readers to be able to take small bites of your content at a pace that they can set.

The last step is to enrich your content. You need to add images, format your post and make things amazing. Consider this step the part where you put the cherry on top of the whipped cream.

What’s Next to Making Your Blog Successful?

In this post, we’ve covered a good chunk of what you need to know to write amazing blog posts. You’re going to want to practice doing this over and over again, until you’re able to make masterful posts that your readers naturally want to read.

Remember that a good blog starts with amazing content.

The next step in my Blogging Series will teach you how to promote your blog. We’re going to look at social media, bookmarking, guest blogs and a number of promotional vehicles that you absolutely must use if you plan to create a successful blog.

What content writing tips do you have for other bloggers? What challenges have you encountered when creating blog posts of your own?

Share, discuss and ask questions below. You’ll help other readers facing similar problems while finding answers that will help make your blogs even better.

 

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Frankly Blogging 101: Your Guide to Starting Your First Successful Blog for 2016

Creating a bustling enterprise from scratch is one of the most common dreams alive. You, me and every person within whom the entreprenurial spirit’s flame burns inside wants to create this something from nothing.

Blogging is hands down the best way to do that.

The problem is that starting your own blog from scratch is more than just a simple challenge. It’s a momentous task, – I would know from personal experience.

That’s why I’ve decided to start a brand new section to my blog with a comprehensive guide to blogging. I’ll try to maintain some sense of order and cohesion by grouping every tip, trick and strategy I know about blogging into this series of post.

This post is Frankly Blogging 101: A Guide to Blogging in 2015. You’re going to learn about setting up your first blog, explore your options for setting it up, and discover how to erect the foundation of building a strong blog that people actually want to read.

 

1. What Kind of Blog do You Want?

There’s two major types of blogs: the kind you host and the kind that someone else hosts for you. The choice between the two is something that you’ll want to make before you even start dreaming about what kind of blog you want to run.

Self-Hosted Blogs

Self-hosted blogs utilize things like WordPress, b2evolution and Ghost. You’re given complete freedom in the type of plugins and themes you install on these platforms and how you use them, but you’re responsible for hosting, backing up your content and ensuring that your blogs stay updated.

If you plan to run a blog in conjunction with a business website or as your primary means of income (at a later date), then you should likely choose this option.

If you don’t yet have hosting, then I highly recommend that you go with HostGator. They regularly have deals, such as $1 for the first month’s hosting, that are extremely advantageous to the thrifty business or individual. They also have an amazing support system that has yet to fail me, even when I’ve had to contact them for technical questions.

Hosted Blogs

WordPress.com and Blogger are two examples of hosted blogging platforms. What you can use on these platforms and even what you say must fall within the policies dictated by the hosts, but this is the option you will want to go with if you don’t have the time or expertise to run your own blog.

Do keep in mind that you will pay down the road if your blog ever becomes a successful hit. Domains, extreme storage and custom themes tend to cost a pretty penny, which means that it’s definitely worth learning how to manage your own blog now rather than having someone else do it for you later.

A Quick Cost Comparison: Self-Hosted Versus Hosted

Self-hosted blogs are incredibly cheap to run int he beginning. You can pay around $5 to $10 for a top-level domain and $5 to $10 per month for the actual hosting. You don’t (and probably shouldn’t) pay any more than that until your blog becomes a bustling hit.

Hosted blogs require quite a bit more. While are free to begin with, they’re also minimal versions of what you could have. Domains can cost $20 to $30 per year in addition to the actual cost of a domain, extra storage can cost $10 to $50 and “premium” themes can cost $50 to $200 or more.

My recommendation is to go with a self-hosted blog. Again, HostGator is my recommendation for hosting.

2. What Do You Want to Blog About?

Once you have the logistics out of the way, the next step is to decide what you want to write about. This is the one step that can change over time, but you should generally try to stick with the topics you choose.

Here’s what you don’t want to do when you’re choosing a blog topic:

  • Don’t pick a subject because it seems profitable or just because other people are writing about it.
  • Avoid topics that you intensely care about, but few other people are interested in reading about. The rights of marsupials in kitchens, for example, is something that you should probably avoid.
  • Don’t choose something that seems boring to you. You’ll burn yourself out quickly and your blog readers will see right through your posts.
  • Refrain from jumping around multiple topics. Related ideas are fine on occasion, but big shifts are generally bad ideas.

Pick Your Topic

For your first blog, you want to choose something that you enjoy writing about. You want to choose something that you can create a unique viewpoint on. You want to pick a topic that other people will love to read about.

Take my blog as an example. I love entrepreneurship. I enjoy business. Internet marketing is my thing. I find social media and such fascinating. I love helping others.

So, I made Frankly Making Money. I wanted to offer a unique and trustworthy viewpoint that few other Internet marketers wanted to reveal.

It’s as simple as choosing something you love to write about. You’ll never go wrong when you do that.

What Happens If You Can’t Come Up With a Topic?

There’s going to be times when you can’t come up with an idea that generates traffic. You may flounder about while trying to reach the perfect theme for your blog.

That’s okay.

If you’re in that stage, then you might just keep trying things until they work. Some of the best blogs on the Internet were originally personal blogs filled with poetry and feelings about politics that slowly grew into realizations about life and business.

When you pick an idea, just make sure to stick with it. Give it three months before you jump to a new idea.

If you find yourself lacking enthusiasm or visitors at the end of those three months, then try something new. You’ll eventually hit your mark.

3. How Do You Set Up Your First Successful Blog?

When you start your first blog, here are the five things you need to address before you begin writing your first post:

  1. Your Blog’s Name – This may be linked to your blog’s address, so you should definitely come up with something.
  2. Keywords – These can change over time, but you should have some keywords to describe your blog. You’ll want these when you craft your first few posts and decide upon things like your blog’s motto.
  3. An About Page – Every blog needs an “About” page. You can write about your blog, your company or yourself. This allows readers to connect with you.
  4. Privacy Policies – While creating this is beyond the scope of this post, you will need a privacy policy. You can use Google to find some templates that will suffice.
  5. Affiliate Disclosures – The FTC now requires websites to have affiliate disclosures where appropriate. If you don’t plan to monetize your blog, then you won’t need to worry about this.

4. Your First Post

Now that you have everything else in order, it’s time to finally craft your first post. It doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking, and I honestly don’t think it should be. It should be something to let people know what to expect from your blog.

“Hello, World!” posts are ideal for this. You can brainstorm topics while working on your blogging persona.

If you have keywords, make sure to use one or two of them here. Don’t focus on keyword stuffing, but do use them where they’re appropriate.

What Comes Next

In Blogging 102, we’ll cover how to begin working on your first few posts. We’ll also briefly touch upon a few tools that you might want to use while trying to build your blog from the ground up in the year 2015 and onward.

Interested in learning more about blogging? Take a look at my Learn About Blogging page!

A Little Update

Hello everyone! I know it’s been quite some time, but I’ve had my attention scattered across numerous projects. I’m finally at a point where I can start writing about each of them, so let me know what you want to read about next on my blog.

Do Amazon minisites interest you? Blogging in general? Mobile monetization? Something else? Let me know int he comments below!

Aside from that, I’ve also been hard at work drafting new content for the Learn About Blogging part of my website. I’m going to create numerous pieces of content and an exhaustive list of all the tools you need to be a successful blogger. My goal is to make this list as useful to the individual blogger, such as myself, as it it to big businesses.

Stay tuned for more!

Crafting the PERFECT Blog Posting Plan for 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve started Frankly Making Money. I’ve actually learned a lot in the process, especially when it comes to the interactions I’ve had with you, my dear readers.

One of the most important things I’ve learned pertains to creating a blogging schedule. I feel I touched upon this in my post about Running Your Blog With Just 12 Hours a Week, but now I really want to explore the topic of creating a comprehensive blogging agenda for 2015.

I’m going to explain what my plan is, and how you can create your own successful blogging plan without too much effort.

 

1. Commit to a Frequency

Consistency is something that’s required for blogs. You need to (try to) post at a set frequency, that way your readers know to keep coming back to you for updates.

Crafting the Perfect Blogging Plan

Crafting the Perfect Blogging Plan

If you’re hosting your own blog, you might want to very carefully consider a few things to decide upon what frequency you should blog.

A business that focuses on something like plumbing may only need four or five blog posts a month to cover seasonal issues and some rudimentary explanations about topics like drains and sewer replacement.

A blog run by a business in a fast-paced field like information technology may want to post 4-5 blog posts a day. This will enable them to keep up with the latest changes in technology while drawing in more readers from search engines as they become an authority source.

Ultimately, it only matters that you pick a blogging frequency that fits your blog and that you stick to it.

 

2. Dedicate Time to Researching

Research is something that I feel a lot of articles pertaining to blog planning in 2015 fail to address correctly. They only skim over it and say that you should be accurate on the information you provide your readers, but I feel like this is inadequate.

You should always dedicate time to research, as this allows you to include the most updated information available about your given blog topic.

In doing so, you’ll be doing an amazing service to your readers by providing them with information that may be hard to find elsewhere. Do this enough, and your blog may even get picked up by sources like Google News, which could be an amazing boost in both traffic and readership for your blog.

 

3. Pick Your Topics

Knowing what to talk about has been key to drive traffic to my blog. It’s not just about picking topics that I’ve found relate to the main theme of my blog, but those that reinforce other posts I’ve written and current events that are related to those topics.

For example, I recently covered the Google Panda 4.0 Update. This coincided with the previous SEO-related posts I’ve written about, which made it possible for me to interlink them within the post.

Inspirational Quotes About Proving Yourself

I’ve done similar with my posts about Facebook marketing and everything else.

You should try to replicate this.

For example, say you have a blog about something like vacuum cleaners. You could expand what you talk about in your blog to posts about keeping your home clean, reducing the dust in your house and even the benefits of having an efficient vacuum cleaner.

Knowing what topics to write about comes down to knowing what your audience wants to read the most. If you’re just developing a following, then it should be topics that bring the type of readers you want to have in to you.

 

4. Take Some Time to Beautify Your Posts

Blogging isn’t just about getting information out there, – it’s about ensuring that your readers stay hooked on your every word.Marketing that Stops Working Puts You in Trouble

A wall of text will likely leave them confused and uninterested in what you have to say. That’s why it’s important to take the time to beautify your posts with images, infographics, videos and everything else that you can find.

Having the right multimedia to support your posts should be a part of your planning process.

 

5. Craft Intriguing Headlines

While it’s a relatively minor nuance compared to having amazing content, creating the right title will draw in the right audience.

This is especially true when it comes to publishing your blog on social networks, social bookmarking sites or even just things like the WordPress.com Reader. Your title will be the thing that gives your readers a thousand words about your post before they even take the time to read it.

If you’re struggling with headlines, then I recommend that you take a look over at my two-part post about them. Start with Blog Titles: Part One.

 

6. Take the Time to Respond to Your Community

The amount of research and effort you put into your posts should be the hallmark of just how important quality posts are, but you’re still missing one very important part of the blog equation: your readers.

You-Need-Certain-Qualities-to-Make-Your-Own-Business-SuccessfulIt’s important to schedule some time into your blog planning to respond to your readers and to foster a sense of community. This is the only way to create a readership that will repeatedly come back to your blog to enjoy the things that you have to say.

In your planning, you should check at least once or twice a week, if not daily, for new comments to your posts. You want to take the time to address any questions and concerns your readers have about your information while responding to any compliments that you might receive.

 

Building the Perfect Blog Posting Agenda for 2015

I’ve laid out all the steps that I take when I work on this blog in an attempt to help you do better with your own. My advice applies to personal blogs and business blogs, so make sure to take it all to heart

Is there something else special that you do when you create your blog plans? Let me hear about them in the comments!

The Secret to Amazing Headlines Without Having to Think – Blog Titles: Part Two

In my previous post about How to Write Headlines and Blog Titles, I tried to address the big problems that I see with titles and what elements go together to make an exciting title that keeps your readers hooked on your post.

Secrets-of-Writing-Amazing-Headlines-that-Will-Entice-People-to-Read-Your-Blog

Now, we’re going to go over how to step-by-step craft the best titles you’ve ever seen. I’m going to even add n a special no-brainer, fill-in-the-blank bonus section at the end of this post, so stay tuned if you wanted to learn the secrets of amazing post titles!

How do You Start Writing Amazing Headlines?

As you likely already know, the secret to bringing new visitors to your blog through search engines and things like the WordPress Reader is to write amazing headlines the force readers to inquire within.

The process of learning how to craft amazing headlines and titles is a long and arduous one, but I’ve tried to condense it into a few tips that will help you expedite that journey. Just be careful when you use these tips, as you don’t want to write headlines that will force what audience you do have already to abandon you.

1. Write Multiple Headlines

You know how people say that you’re unlikely to do something on the first try? Headlines and blog post titles are a lot like that.

Seldom will you ever see an amazing title that someone created on the first try.

To get on your way with writing titles that will excite, panic and motivate readers to read your posts, you should try to write multiple titles for every piece of content you create. Brainstorm and think of different titles that address the points I’ve already discussed about headlines.

2. Dissect Headlines

There’s no better way to get familiarized with amazing headlines than to seek them out and pick them apart so that you can see how they work.

Ask yourself the following questions when you’re dissecting titles:

  • What grabs me about this?
  • What words make me want to read this?
  • Does it have a lead-in?
  • What makes this headline better than other similar headlines?

Looking for a source of headlines to study from? Then take a look at one of humanity’s oldest pieces of print: newspapers!

Newspapers are a great place to start dissecting headlines. You’ll notice that the main headline of a newspaper is always phrased in such a way that you almost have to pick it up and read the full story. Take note of how they do this.

3. Start With Something That Already Works

I know that everyone, myself included, wants to be able to write their own headlines without relying on other people, but you have to paint by numbers before you can paint like Picasso.

What I mean by this is that you should start by using something that already works. Use headline templates, fill in the blanks and see how effective they are.

When you come across posts that give you these templates (just like this one does), bookmark them! You’ll need them for later.

BONUS: My Lost List of Headline Templates and Examples

It’s hard to come up with original post titles all the time, especially when you’re just beginning to write amazing headlines. It’s going to take some serious time to be able to build a title that makes your readers chase your posts for more.

So, how can you start writing amazing titles today? Easy! Use the templates I’ve included below.

1. “X Top/Best/Most Popular”

People love lists. They’re easy to digest, you can start and stop whenever you need, and the information typically tends to be provided in a format that anyone can understand.

That’s why these work. Your readers will know what they’re getting as soon as they see the headline.

Some Headline Templates:

  • X Top Reasons Why ________
  • X Best _______ (Great for Product Reviews)
  • X Most Popular _____ Among ______
  • X Things You Wouldn’t believe ______ Does
  • X Tips to ________ (For example, 10 Tips to Make You Famous Overnight)

2. “How To”

You know what kind of title naturally draws people because it hints that their curiosity will be answered? “How To” headlines!

You know exactly where the post is going as soon as you read the headline. This leaves people interested in learning more to click it while other people will pass it up.

It’s one of the most beautiful ways to address your post!

Some Headline Templates:

  • How to ___________
  • How to __________ and __________ (Do this, do that)
  • How to __________ Even When __________ (How to do something even when people believe that they can’t do it)
  • How to ___________ in __________ (How to do something in less time)
  • How to ___________ without __________
  • How to Become __________

3. “You Can Do This Too!”

You Can Be a Millionaire Too! It works great to grab people’s attention, right?

Some Headline Templates

  • If ________ Then _________ (If you can do something basic, then you can do something amazing.)
  • Why ________ Always _________ (Why Dedicated People Always Get Rich)
  • _________ Like __________ (How to Become Famous Like Your Favorite Celebrity)
  • The _________ Guide to _________ (The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Amazing Headlines Without Any Effort)
  • __________ Without __________ (Becoming Famous Without Having to Invest a Fortune)

4. Warning Headlines!

Nothing works like an attention-getter than big red letters warning of impending danger! You can see this at work in tabloids, some major media and other scandalous prints.

The key to making these headlines work is to make it “Us Against Them”. Pick the group of people you want to identify with and then pick another group whom tends to take advantage of them.

Some Headline Templates:

  • X Mistakes ________ Want You to Make and How to Avoid Them
  • X Lies That ________ Want You to Believe So That You Will _______
  • The Secret _________ Don’t Want you to Know About ________
  • The ________ Scam
  • What ________ Doesn’t Want you to Know [About ________]
  • Lies ________ Want You to believe [About ________]

5. Easy Street

The Internet is full of people whom want instant gratification. Why not give it to them?

The best way to tell people that you plan to give them short, simple and easy ways to achieve their dreams is to do so with lists, templates and guides. Let’s take a look at some titles that help compliment this.

Some Headline Templates:

  • X Ways to _____
  • X Tips To Make You _____
  • The _______ Guide to ________
  • Learn How to ______ (Step by Step, Without Thinking, Etc.)
  • _____ing Without Having to ______
  • X Ways to _____ While Avoiding ______

What Great Headlines Can You Come Up With?

It doesn’t matter if you have to fill in the blanks! Practice posting the very best of your best headlines and blog titles below. You can comment with anything.

Post your practice headlines and titles below. Don’t be afraid to critique or offer suggestions to other people!

Learn How to Write Headlines and Titles That Will Keep Visitors Glued to Your Blog for New Posts – Blog Titles: Part One

One of the most crucial parts of running this blog is reading other people’s blogs. I use them as a way of creating backlinks, generating traffic, and, most importantly, creating relationships with other readers and blog owners.

Secrets-of-Writing-Amazing-Headlines-that-Will-Entice-People-to-Read-Your-Blog

The one thing I’ve noticed, and I’ve seen this even in my own posts, is that posts tend to have boring titles. They’re simple and to the point, but they tend to make people whom see them say, “So what?”

Let me clarify what I mean.

Which one of the following two examples make you really want to read it?

15 Reasons You Want More Customers

15 Persuasive Reasons Your Small Business Needs Social Media to Bring New Customers to Your Doorstep and 5 Secrets That Will Allow You to Utilize Social Media Marketing Successfully

The answer should be that the second headline is far more enticing. It’s due to a few things, which I’ll describe at length in part one of this two-part post about titles.

What Makes an Explosive Headline?

In my Frank opinion, an amazing headline is able to answer the following questions before a reader even begins reading the rest of an article. Those questions are:

An Example of Explosive Headlines That Readers Have to Read

An Example of Explosive Headlines That Readers Have to Read

  1. What is this blog or article about?
  2. Who should read this post?
  3. What will I (the reader) obtain from investing my time and effort into reading it?

If your headline falls flat at any point, you’ll receive less exposure than you should. Not only will visitors just glance at your posts if they’re using something like an RSS feed, but they’ll tend to ignore them altogether when your post pops up in a search engine like Google.

These three questions are vital if you want anyone to be click on your post and read it all the way through.

Learn How You Can Create Effective Titles for Your Blog With These Tricks

Remember when I said I’d be dividing this blog post into two parts? This one is just a short prelude post that addresses the problem and gives you an insight into what successful blog titles have.

In part two of this post, here’s what I’m going to go over:

  • How to Create Amazing Headlines and Titles for Your Blog
  • Researching New and Effective Ways to Create Titles
  • Addressing the Right Audience
  • The Trick Behind Dissecting Other Titles

What do you think makes for an amazing blog title? Are there certain words that you think make your post go a step further? What blog titles are irresistible for you to read?