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You’ve got a blog – here’s what you should be writing

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Setting up a brand new blog is the equivalent of sitting in front of a blank piece of paper and wondering what to write. You’ve got your domain sorted and chosen a design, and all that’s left to do is write your very first post. To help you get your blog off to a great start, here are some tried and tested blog post formats that readers enjoy engaging with.

Lists

Let’s start with a blogging staple: the classic list-based post. These are popular because they’re so easy to read, but there’s a bit more to them than just writing a word or two per line, as you would with a shopping or To Do list. List-based blog posts often take the form of a series of useful ideas, such as “10 ways to refresh your bedroom decor”. This format works well for facts, too such as “20 facts about the Great Wall of China”. Here’s an example of a list-based post we did earlier.

How to guides

These work particularly well on the web, as they produce titles that mirror what people search for; “how to make pancakes”, for example. This means they are almost certainly going to tap into relevant searches, so you’re producing content that you know people are actively looking for.

Try producing a series of How To guides on subjects relevant to your business and watch your traffic grow. For example, if you were a garage, you could put together a series of How To posts on basic car maintenance to prolong the life of your car.

A step-by-step format works well for this kind of post; a paragraph per step, with a numbered subheading to guide readers through the process. Don’t forget to illustrate each step with an image or diagram to make it even more useful. For example, a blog outlining the steps to starting a business, like this one, or on how to start a blog, like this one.

Reviews

Whether we’re buying a new camera or deciding on a restaurant for a big birthday, lots of us read online reviews of products we’re interested in buying, or services we’re interested in using. There are even whole blogs dedicated to reviewing the latest technology, such as Tech Reviews. Reading about other people’s experiences can help inform choices or reinforce decisions. Reviews are therefore a great way of sharing your expertise and providing useful content for your readers.

Writing reviews of products or services you’ve used can be a surprisingly good way to encourage engagement with your blog. You can generate traffic from people searching for reviews, and some readers may even use the comments section to ask questions or share their own experiences, increasing engagement. One thing to note, however: reviews are better suited to personal blogs, as a business clearly can’t provide an objective review of its own products.

Image-based posts

Posts that rely heavily on images work well because they’re so easy to read; people can scroll through them looking at the pictures without having to expend too much effort on reading the words. The great thing about image-based posts is that they have the ability to get a “wow” reaction from the reader – and these are the posts they’re most likely to share with their friends on social media. Every time your post gets shared, you grow your blog audience and engagement potential. This format is popular with style blogs, like in this example.

The images take centre stage in this kind of post, with text merely supporting them with interesting facts or an explanation of what’s in the image. For example, a post entitled “20 incredible images of Japan’s cherry blossom season” would primarily be about the stunning images, with captions that support them with fascinating facts about the Japanese love of cherry blossom and the customs surrounding it.

Opinions

Opinion pieces encourage debate, so they’re another kind of blog post that readers enjoy engaging with. Your blog is the perfect place to share your opinions on anything related to your industry, whether it’s your thoughts on how a new piece of legislation affects businesses like yours, or an analysis of a debate that’s been in the news. For example The Telegraph has a whole blog section dedicated to opinion pieces. These posts can be long and in-depth, so you can explore an idea with the attention it deserves. You’ll probably find a mixture of people agreeing and disagreeing with you, but that’s fine; getting a debate going is a sure-fire way to increase engagement with your blog.

These ideas are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to blogging; the only limit is your imagination. Different ages and interest groups are likely to favour some formats over others, so try experimenting with post formats and see which your audience engages with the most.

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A collection of articles written collaboratively by members of the UK Domain Team.

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