How to Write a Good Blog Post

I have started at least four different posts. I’ve been convinced each time that, “This will be the one that takes off, this will be the right one for today.” Instead of taking flight, each post has jumped off the picnic table and crashed to the ground.

Probably, it would be smart to stop trying and to watch cat videos instead.

Everyone says that novels are supposed to write themselves, without the author even trying (that’s definitely not true). What is true is that when you write a novel, you develop characters and throw them into sticky situations to see how they react. Unfortunately, when you write a blog post, you can’t just slap a sentence up there and see what happens. If you want to write a good post, there’s a six-step sequence you should follow.

How to Write a Good Blog Post

The Idea. Most good ideas start out as snippets of thought. The Idea can go one of two places to grow: the brain, or the mouth. If you’re an internal processor, you’ll think through the idea and decide what to do with it. External processors will take The Idea to a forum, where the group can mull it over and point out finer qualities and unnecessary points. If you can stomach it, both processes are very helpful in developing The Idea.

The Write. After thinking through The Idea, it’s important to write it out. Get it all on paper, from beginning to end. Don’t leave anything out, and don’t trouble over how to say it. Think of The Write like cleaning the fridge: dive in, pull every single thing out of there, and slap it all on the counter.

The First Edit. Unfortunately, many people stop at The Write—but wait! When you’re cleaning your fridge out, you don’t just leave all your food on the counter! You look through it, realize you have four bottles of open soy sauce (three of which expired before 2015), and throw them in the trash! This is your opportunity to look at your words on paper (or screen, probably), see what’s working and what’s not, and get rid of the excess.

The Second Edit. Often, The First Edit refines The Idea and eliminates smaller errors of thought, while The Second Edit purges whatever smaller misdemeanors are still lurking in the neighborhood. You may be tempted to skip The Second Edit, but don’t. It might save you from something really embarrassing, such as a run-on sentence or a misplaced modifier.

The Proof. If you’re posting on a traditional platform, there should be an option to preview your content before it goes live. It is always best to read your content the final time in its complete form—it will help you spot things you missed in the drafts. So hit preview, then slowly and carefully, comb the words, sentences, and paragraphs for any errors. Catch them before you post it so you can avoid any really bad publicity from misspelling dog or house.

The Post. Once you’ve triple-checked and are sure your content is error-free, post that article with pride. Sit back as it goes viral and you become an overnight sensation.