How To Create Better And Faster Blog Posts (Step-By-Step)

This is my own step-by-step process for creating online content.

I use it for creating most of my resources — including my online reports, paid products, manuals, and of course posts on TheJourneyOf.

Step 1: Start with a structure

If you want to create great content, it needs a great structure.

The two easiest (and best for online content) structures are:

– A list post

– A how-to post

Structure 1: A list post

In a list post, you list a number of items with some body content for each of them. Some examples:

4 Reasons Why Perseverance Is the Most Important Skill for Any Website Owner

Make Your Website Better with These 7 Improvements

You Need to Fix These 9 Bad Thought Patterns Now

The list post type is the most popular content type online.

And for good reason — it’s easily digestible. A reader instantly knows the structure to expect, which makes it easier to read (or skip as most readers do) the content.

A list post is also simple to write. I’ll get to how later.

Structure 2: A how-to post

A how-to post also follows a specific structure. The step-by-step structure that is well known to most.

How-to examples:

How To Build Your Own Traffic System

How to Get More Affiliates as a Nobody (And Mistakes to Avoid)

How to Create Your First Product Today (Proven Method)

Again, this structure allows for easier reading and writing. Win-win.

A reader can skim the subheadings, just like in a list post, and get the core message of the post.

Why make skimming easier?

At this point, you may be asking why we are creating content that people can easily digest and skim without reading the whole post?

Wouldn’t it be better to create content that requires the reader to slow down and consume everything? The more time a reader spends on our content, the better, right?

The answer: it depends on what you want to achieve with your content.

My goal is to bring value to my readers. I want them to learn something they can use in their own lives.

And if they don’t have the time or attention to read all of my words, that’s fine. I’ll make it easier for them to skip parts that do not interest them.

But I still want to give them value. I want it to be easy for my readers to get value from my writing.

Hence I want my content to be easily digestible — even skimmable.

If you are writing content with other goals in mind (novels, stories, books, etc.), then you may not want to approach your writing this way. But as this post is about online blogging, I assume your goal is to bring value to your readers quickly too.

Step 2: Brainstorm your list or steps

Both a list post and a how-to post consist of a number of items. The list post is an unordered (or ordered) list of items. The how-to post is an ordered list of steps.

Your first goal is to create these lists. Without any content in between.

Personally, I often do this away from my writing sessions. It’s often much easier to do up front when you are brainstorming blog post ideas instead of when you are sitting in front of your keyboard trying to write.

Just write down the topic of the blog post and then list whatever you can think of related to that topic.

Could be like this: (From 6 things I wish I understood better when I first started out online.)

1) Making money online is simple, but not easy

2) Understand the feedback delay

3) Build something valuable — something that takes time

4) You are not just building something, you are refining your skills

5) Believe that it is possible

6) Working a bit every day is better than working a lot today

Or like this: (From How To Build Your Own Traffic System.)

Step 1: Set your traffic strategy

Step 2: Split your strategy into small, actionable tasks

Step 3: Set a goal and create a traffic experiment

Step 4: Run your traffic system

Step 5: Measure and improve

These are the subheadings from the two posts. It’s also the items and steps that make up the structures of the posts. You can pretty much get the core message(s) of the posts just by looking at the items above.

And that’s the point.

But note that these items weren’t as well formed when I first started writing the posts. They most likely looked different but changed when I started writing.

That’s fine. Listing your items is just the very first draft outline. As you progress you’ll discover that you want to change something here and there.

That’s only natural. You are learning as you write — how to best communicate your message, what sequence of items makes the best sense, headlines to use etc.

Step 3: Fill out the body content

This is the part that most people refer to when they say they are writing.

It’s time to fill out the body content of each of your list items or how-to steps. Your structure is the post skeleton. Now it is time to add the meat.

The great part about having a post structure is that this part is now much easier than sitting down in front of a blank page to start writing.

You know what the overall message is — what the post is trying to communicate. You even have an idea of what you want to say with each subsection.

All of this makes writing much simpler and faster. Just take one section at a time and you’ll be done much quicker than if you started from scratch.

Step 4: Write the intro (and conclusion)

After you have written your post, you should add a short intro to it.

You don’t want to just throw people in the deep end by starting with Step 1 of a how-to guide as the first paragraph of your post — or a list item from your list post.

Your readers first need to know what the post is about.

And that’s what your intro should explain to them. It can also tease what they are going to learn from the post. A good intro is important if you want people to read your content. It is just after the headline in importance.

Following the AIDA model, your headline should grab attention. Next, you need to get your readers interested. Then comes desire and finally action. Your introduction should make your visitors interested. Your body content should bring them value. And if you are selling something, desire and action.

But what about the end of your post?

If you have a conclusion you can write it. Encouraging comments can also be a good ending if your post is open for discussion.

But what do you want your visitors to do now?

You need an action.

If you have a lead magnet or product related to the post, you could encourage them to take action on this.

If you don’t, here’s a technique I have adopted from WIRED: Go to the end of almost any WIRED article and you’ll see a subheading related to the article topic and then several bullet points linking to related articles:

I have used this little trick on many of my posts to get readers to engage with more of my content. Just add a section at the end of your article and list three related posts with some text on why these posts are relevant.

I know there are WordPress templates and plugins that can do something similar (related articles) on their own. But I still like the manual method better as you get to tailor the posts and the text towards the content you have just written.

The automatic method may be easier, but it will also be less effective.

Step 5: Add images and other graphics

A blog post without any images or other graphics is boring.

If you want to keep your readers interested, you need to add more than just text. Not just to make the blog more digestible, but also to better convey your message. Graphics can help you communicate your points if used correctly.

Luckily, there are some awesome communities and services that can help you find images and create graphics for your next blog post.

Here are some I use:

Unsplash — The best community for free images I know of. Photographers share their work here and you are free to use the images for whatever purpose you want. At the time of writing, Unsplash has more than 508.5k free photos.

Pexels — Another free photo platform with amazing photography. Smaller than Unsplash with 40k+ photos, but with some cool features. E.g., you can search for colors when finding photos using the color: yellow advanced search feature.

Canva — Create graphics to support your blog post in just minutes. Canva is a simple, but surprisingly powerful, app that can be used to create beautiful graphics for your blog posts.

(I created the list post and how-to post graphics for this blog post in roughly 15 minutes on Canva.)

Step 6: Edit and proofread

By now your draft is finished and it is time to edit and proofread it.

This can be a quite tedious process but it has to be done. Small mistakes will slip through, and that’s fine. This happens to everybody.

But you need to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your message. Your writing has to be clear and understandable. Otherwise, it may start to hurt your website.

Sadly, there’s no magic secret to this. Becoming a better writer takes time and learning.

However, there are some tools that can help you on your way:

Grammarly — A free writing assistant with a Google Chrome browser extension to show you corrections and suggestions inside your browser. This little app has saved me more times than I can count.

Yoast SEO — The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is much more than just a simple SEO tool. The plugin will give your post a readability score to indicate how easy your post is to read.

It will judge things like passive voice, Flesch–Kincaid readability test, long sentences and paragraphs, walls of text, etc.

The plugin will also suggest improvements to your post if you are failing some of the scores.

How to better proofread and edit your posts

Editing your post can be tricky — you don’t want to have your post filled with obvious mistakes, but you don’t want to overdo it either. And the worst thing you can do for your writing is being too critical during the actual writing process. That will surely hamper your creativity.

So how do you go about doing proper editing when you don’t have a professional proofreader by your side?

One trick that has helped me is splitting the writing process into stages. First I write the post. I may do this in one sitting, or I may take several days if it’s a longer piece.

Then I do the first editing and proofreading round, fixing major issues and adding graphics. Once that’s done, I usually let the post simmer for at least a couple of hours or a day.

And then I do the final proofreading, reading the post through from start to finish while reading it aloud to spot the smaller mistakes that may have slipped through.

Once that’s done I publish.

I still find mistakes in many of my old posts. And that bugs me. But fixing mistakes has diminishing returns. At some point, it is no longer worth it.

It’s just a blog post after all. A little ‘personal touch’ won’t hurt.

Step 7: Publish

To publish you hit the publish button and wait for the traffic to roll in. Right?

If that’s your idea of good publishing then I have some bad news for you: it takes more work than that.

However, with a well-crafted publishing process, it won’t take you long to improve the impact of your content. Here’s what happens right after I publish a piece of content on my blog:

1) I send a push notification.

Push notifications are those small popups that appear in your browser. They can also show notifications on phones.

I use a free service called OneSignal for this. It integrates with WordPress so the push notification happens automatically when I publish a new blog post.

2) I craft a newsletter broadcast to my list.

I have created a template just for this purpose. Here’s what it looks like:

Most of the time, I simply copy the introduction text from the post and use one of the images. Like this:

3) I add the post to my Buffer queue

I use Buffer to schedule my social media accounts.

After publishing a new blog post, I schedule a link to my Facebook page and several Tweets.

Here’s a quick tip I use to tweet several times about the same blog post without saying the same over and over: Use the headline and then subheadlines for the different tweets.

With a list post, you’ll have plenty of great tweets right there.

For a how-to post, I’ll scan the post and find quotes or important points that can provide value and stand on their own.

4) I schedule it as a story here on Medium

I’m a fan of Medium.

I read articles on the platform daily and I have also started publishing my stories there.

The idea is to distribute my content on platforms where people are already consuming similar material.

If you are a writer or blogger, Medium is a great place to be.

For some niches, a platform like Tumblr may fit better as a distribution platform. In my experience, it’s much more visual, appealing to bloggers with a lot of images, videos etc.

IMPORTANT: I recommend you do not immediately publish your content on these sites. If search engines don’t have time to crawl your new post first, they may not know where the content originally comes from and your own blog may be flagged with duplicate content. Instead, wait a bit or schedule the distribution to make sure your blog is the first place the content appears.

Conclusion

That’s it — how to write faster and better blog posts. If you follow this structure you’ll have a much easier time creating your posts, and they’ll also receive more views as people love how-to and list posts.

Give it a try and tell me your results.

Write

– Learn the 5 strategies that helped me write more than 52,878 words in 100 days.

– Who should you write for? Your best visitors or your worst? See how this question may 9X your revenue.

– Need energy to write? I do this every day to stay inspired.

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