How to Create a Blog Part 2 of 3

How to Create a Blog Part 2 of 3

Web Writing is an Art and a Science

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28823043COLIBRI isn’t pulling any punches: web writing involves a lot more than making like Hemingway and hanging out in cafés in Paris.

Poor little Hemingway would freak out if he had to do everything writers have to do today to make their work successful because, let’s face it, in his day great writing and heavy drinking were enough to add up to success.

Today, writers also have to mind their web presence through keyword research and analytics (see Web Writing for Beginners Part 1 of 3). As if that weren’t a full time job, they still have to be great writers.

How to Create a Blog Part and What Does it Take to be a Great Web Writer?

First, you need to establish a routine. You already have a great website and an editorial calendar, so now you have to:

  • Decide where you will write
  • When you will write and
  • What tools you will use

The COLIBRI Routine

COLIBRI starts at the beginning of her work week by taking a gander at her editorial calendar and putting the topic in her hopper (that’s her brain!) so she can let the ideas get flowing in advance. Call it prewriting.

Then she researches, either at the library, online or among books she has on hand (just so you know, COLIBRI is a book addict). If it seems like a good idea, COLIBRI talks to other people to get a new take on the topic.

COLIBRI then bangs out a rough draft on recycled paper with an old fashioned pen, curled up by her window, watching the real hummingbirds, with a pot full of green tea.

Then she does a quick web search to see if she left anything out or to follow up on ideas generated by writing the draft. Quick tip: Add any new ideas to your editorial calendar. You can refer to them when you’re feeling uncreative.

Then she types the whole mess into Pages, her favorite word processing tool.

After that, she copies her work into InboundWriter, a freeium tool that helps writers optimize for the web.

Then, she copies her optimized text into her CMS (WordPress) and HTMLifies it. Quick tip: “HTMLify” is not a word.

Does this sound like a lot of work? COLIBRI never promised writing would be easy.

The Most Important Thing

Be nice to humans. Reading off a screen is hard and people are in a hurry. You already worked out the part about understanding your audience and doing keyword research. So remember to choose topics and phrases that are valuable (solve problems, explain how or entertain) and easy to search.

Web Writing Tips

Say What You’re Going to Say, Then Say it, Then Say What You Said

Follow?

In your headline and introduction, make sure it’s clear what you’re going to talk about. Talk about it. Then recap. This method helps readers get your take home.

Cover One Main Idea

Don’t confuse your reader by mixing up a lot of different points. Choose a topic and stick to it. By choosing one topic, you will help your readers and the post will be easier to search because the keywords will be repeated. (But not too much. See below.)

Write Like You Talk

Sound human. Don’t use a lot of big words. Pretend you are having a conversation with someone. Writing is about communicating, not sounding smart.

Don’t Write for Search Engines

If you focus on search engines, for example, by writing the word search and searching for opportunities to use the word search the reader has to search for meaning.

I think you know what COLIBRI means when she says that makes your writing sound awkward ;-).

Make Your Web Writing Easy to Scan

This can be accomplished with:

  • Short paragraphs
  • Headlines
  • Subheadlines and
  • Bullets

The white space you create using these techniques makes your writing visually easy to read. Crowded writing is hard to read.

Make Your Headlines (and Titles) Pop

Better: How Editorial Calendars Make You a Better Writer

Worse: Using an Editorial Calendar can Make You a Better Writer

Best: How to Write an Editorial Calendar That Rocks

See the difference?

Quick tip: Use keywords in headlines and titles because they are weighted more heavily than other text for search engines. But remember: don’t force it!

Use Active Words

Go straight for the verbs and skip the filler.

  • Try: Call today for great savings
  • Skip: If you call us today we give you some great savings

Create Simple, Uncluttered Sentences

  • Avoid lots of commas and semicolons
  • Make your sentences short and punchy and
  • Rely on nouns and verbs

Don’t Break Hearts

If you say you are going to write about something, write about it.

If you link to another article, make sure the link works.

Quick tip: Speaking of links, it’s great to link to your own work.

Edit

In a perfect world, someone else will look at your work before you publish it. If you don’t have an editor, do this:

  • Read your work out loud
  • Rewrite
  • Give it a rest and
  • Rewrite

The COLIBRI guarantee: Your writing will improve as a result of this technique. Or your money back.

Steal Like an Artist (by Austin Kleon)

Besides being a great book, it’s a good idea.

Pay attention to great web writing. Keep a list of sites you love. Refer to the list to improve your own writing.

Now Let’s Talk About Picasso

COLIBRI isn’t a Picasso fan the way she is with Hemingway, but there is one thing about him she really admires. The young Picasso was not a rule breaker. He took time to master the art of drawing and painting. If you go to the Picasso museum in Paris, you can see his amazingly fine (and not very original) early drawings. After he learned the rules, he broke them. And the rest is history.

Next week, after you’ve done some writing, let’s do some promoting. And then we can break out the champagne!

Did COLIBRI forget anything? If you have questions let us know in the comments.

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