Writing a blog post can be a daunting task if you haven’t worked with WordPress before.
WordPress does have a bit of a learning curve but never fear – once you’ve published your first post, it’ll become second nature.
In this article, we’ll walk you through creating your first blog post, using simple, non-techie language, so easy my 84 yr. old mother can do it.
Your First Blog Post – Beginner’s Step-by-Step Instructions
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The importance of starting with an outline
- Creating irresistible headlines
- How to apply categories
- How to Add images to your blog post
- How to Edit your blog post
- How to get your blog post ready to publish with a checklist
What’s a Post?
For those not familiar – a Post is a blog article that, when you have multiple articles on your site, will show your most recently published article at the top of your blog’s page – listed in reverse chronological order.
Your published post will usually come with a Date, Categories, Comments, and Author link directly under the title of your article, which will give your reader some basic information.
This is the norm, but there are some themes that you’ll be able to disable some of these features if you choose.
If your blog theme has these elements, they will show you when and by whom the article was created, the categories the article is listed under, and how many comments the article has received, as indicated by the blue arrows below.
Writing Your First Blog Post
When it’s time to write your articles, you’re going to need to decide where you’ll be most comfortable writing your Blog Post drafts.
Many bloggers will use Word or Google Docs.
For me, I write all of my content within WordPress, this way I can type directly into the Edit box, then click on the ‘Preview‘ button to see how it looks on the Internet with all the formatting, etc., without it actually being live for the public to read.
If you do decide to use Word or Google Docs, which is a great place to write your document, hold off using Bold, Headers, Bullet Lists, etc. Let me explain why…
Your WordPress theme comes with its own Formatting, meaning that if you transfer a Word document or Google Docs, etc., the formatting will transfer with it, which won’t look correct for your published article.
Highlight and copy your content from Word or Google Docs, then paste your content under the ‘Text‘ tab which is next to the Visual tab (screenshot below).
Once it’s pasted into your Edit box, switch it back to the ‘Visual‘ tab and format your information with your Headers, Bolding, Bullet points, etc.
This is one of the main reasons I use the WordPress Edit box to write all my content, so I don’t have to format twice.
Adding a New Post
In order to create a post, simply hover over the Post link from the left side menu bar, then click on the ‘Add New‘ link from the dropdown menu.
You’ll then be taken to your Add New Post, Edit box, where you can add your content.
I am OLD School, so I like what I’ve been using for years, which is the Classic Editor shown below.
You have a choice:
- You can learn more about the new block editor by clicking on the following link for a Block Editor Tutorial, Or…
- You can install the Classic Editor plugin, which will return your Edit box to the original look of the Edit box from the past, which is the one I prefer
If you like the Classic Layout, grab the plugin to make it happen. Click on ‘Plugins‘ > ‘Add New‘ then type in Classic Editor in the Search Box.
Below is the Classic Layout – simple, easy to use, and easy to learn
The use of this Post Edit box is pretty self-explanatory and simple to use once you get the hang of it.
The Basics of the WordPress Posts Edit box – as indicated by the blue arrows:
- Add Title – this is the title of your post – make it 60 characters or less for search engines
- Edit box indicated by the cursor – this is where you’ll, of course, add your content
- Add Media button – this is where you’ll add images to your post
- Add Form button – when you have a form created – you’ll click on this button to add it
- Save Draft button – this is where you’ll save your work in draft form to work on it later
- Preview button – click this button to look at your post on the Internet (it’s not live)
- Publish button – once you’re satisfied with your post, click this button to make it live
The other tab, ‘Text‘ is much less, user-friendly for creating a post, you would need to be familiar with basic HTML coding.
Start with a Blog Post Outline
One of the best methods for starting a new blog post is to create a blog post outline.
Having a blog post outline would essentially be a step-by-step map of your blog post.
To do this:
- Figure out the headline you’d like to use and write it in the box where it says, ‘Add Title‘
- Think about what you’d like to say – figuring out what the topic of your blog post is all about
- Write down any Headings and Subheadings to break up your content into different subjects (creating a storyline for the skimmers).
Once you’re done, look over the outline to see if it tells a story, using your Headings and Subheadings.
Is everything on topic? Does anything need to be rearranged?
Example: If you happen to have a number in your Title, similar to ‘7 Writing Tactics That Will Engage Your Audience,’ do you actually have 7 subjects (subheadings) in your draft?
In this example, ‘Writing Tactics‘ would be my main keyword phrase of choice. You’ll want to make sure to include your keyword phrase in at least one of the Header tags?
Keyword Phrase: Just like a keyword is a single word used as a search query, a keyword phrase is two or more words typed as a search query.
Search engine users find what they are looking for by searching for specific keywords or keyword phrases and choosing the most relevant result.
Generating Irresistible Headlines
Your headline represents a culmination of the finest, most attention-grabbing, interest-arousing statements you can muster.
Your Headline MUST:
- Stop prospects in their tracks – grab their attention and trigger an emotional reaction that leads them to click on your link
- Be benefit-oriented – make complete sense immediately, and hint at a special something to soon follow
- Give what your content is about – Give a brief statement, using your keyword phrase, what your content will be all about
- Be no more than 60 characters – Google and other search engines restrict the length to roughly 60 characters
If the person is not curious or convinced with what you have to offer with your written headline – he will leave.
NOTE: If you make a promise with your headline, make sure you over-deliver with your content.
And, Do Not lie or mislead with your headline just to get them to click on your link
Here’s a Headline Tester that won’t cost you a penny to use: CoSchedule Headline Analyzer, (will open a new tab).
Adding Your Post to a Category
At this point, you should have an idea of the Category that your article belongs in.
- For a New Category – click on the blue hyperlink, ‘Add New Category,’ in the red oval. This will open a new box below the link to add your Category name – as indicated by the blue arrow. Once you’ve added a name, click on the ‘Add New Category‘ button.
If your blog post fits within 2 categories, that is perfectly fine.
Just be sure to Tick the category circle with your mouse (as shown next to the category, ‘Blogging Basics‘), in the image below.
Whichever category has the circle filled in will be considered the primary category for your blog post.
If everything is good to go, it’s time to move to the drafting phase of your article.
But before you do, it’s time to save your work. Click on the ‘Save Draft’ button, as indicated by the blue arrow in the image below.
NOTE: Periodically, save your draft as you go so you don’t lose any of your work.
Using Helpful Links within Your Content for Additional Information
Adding internal and external links that go to helpful resources will give your reader a choice to absorb more information.
- Internal Links: Send them to articles on your site (like I’ve done with my links)
- External Links: Send them to articles on other blogger’s sites (which I’ve done frequently)
One practice, which is search engine optimization friendly, and will keep your readers on your site longer, is to include internal links to more of your content.
See the screenshot below for an example.
The top link is an external link to another site for a Headline tool. The bottom link is an internal link that goes to an article on my blog that will give additional information about Headlines.
In order to add a link to your post, highlight the wording you’d like to use for your link, then click on the link symbol (as shown in the screenshot below), which will create a pop-up window to add your link.
Linking to Outside Sources
If you have additional information on someone else’s website you’d like to share and you want to link to them, be sure it’s a site you can trust.
NOTE: In order to stay in Google’s good graces, make sure the site you send your reader to is a trusted site, not an unreliable or spam site. Just be careful who you link to.
When you do link to an external site or your own, be sure to use what’s called ‘Anchor Text‘. Instead of having the link visible, like this example, https://joesgreenwidgets.com/widgets/458he3k, have your link look similar to the following:
Visit Joe’s Green Widgets for more information.
Of course, WordPress will make creating links like this easy for you to do.
The Screen Options and Help Menu
If at any time you need help, whether you are creating a Post or a Page, you can click on the Help or Screen Options tab, as shown in the screenshot.
Example: If you’re on your Edit New Post page, and there are some boxes missing from the right-hand side, for example, the Featured Image box – here’s the solution.
In the upper right-hand corner of your page, you’ll see 2 tabs sticking down, Screen Options and the Help tab – as indicated by the blue arrows.
The Screen Options Tab
If you hover your mouse over the ‘Screen Options‘ tab and click on it, the tab will move down and expose a bunch of checkboxes for adding Elements to your page. See the image below.
The blue arrow in the image indicates the check mark that was needed for the hypothetical Featured Box that was missing. All that was needed was to be check marked using the mouse, that’s it – NO ‘Save’ button to click on.
Once you are done adding or removing boxes, click on the ‘Screen Options‘ tab once again to move it back up.
The Help Menu Tab
If at any time you need help with a certain page, you can click on the ‘Help‘ tab, which will give a dropdown of information for that particular page.
From the dropdown menu, you can choose more information from the left-hand side, indicated by the arrow, about the subjects covered on that page.
If you need more information, you can click on any of the links shown in the upper right-hand corner.
When you’re done, click on the ‘Help‘ tab to close it.
Drafting Your Post – Introduction/Main Points/Conclusion
A general outline consists of 3 sections: an Introduction, the Main Points, and the Conclusion.
Whatever Title you add to your post will be the first thing a reader will see on your page, it’s the first impression.
However, your title may have gotten their attention, now it’s up to the Introduction to do its job and draw the reader in deeper.
Creating a Masterful Introduction to Keep the Reader Engaged
To create an introduction, write 1 to 2 sentences to convince your reader why they need to continue reading.
You’ll need to create intrigue that draws the reader in and keeps them engaged, so much so that they’ll want to dive deeper into your article to see what happens next.
- Start with an opening question
- Open with a startling revelation
- Empathize with your reader
If your introduction is weak, it will discourage your reader from continuing on any further.
You could have an amazing blog post, but if the Intro doesn’t do its job, they may never find out how incredible your article actually is.
Main Points for Your Post
After a compelling blog introduction, it’s time to work on the main points.
Now – for each of your sections (Heading & Subheadings), you’ll want to write down the points that your reader needs to know.
For now, consider this a rough draft, so focus on getting your ideas onto the screen to go back and edit later.
When you have your main points complete, it’s time to wrap up your blog post with a conclusion.
The conclusion is a brief way of tying all your content together. This is also where you’ll add your call to action.
A Call to Action: is a piece of content intended to induce a viewer, reader, or listener to perform a specific act, typically taking the form of an instruction or directive (e.g. buy now or click here ).
What is it that you want your reader to do after reading your post?
Do you want to have your reader:
- Add a comment?
- Share it on social media with their friends?
- Sign up for your Email newsletter?
- Check out a product?
Think about your article, then choose 1 Call-to-Action to include at the end of your post. Make your best attempt to limit it to only 1, so it makes it easy for your reader to know what to do next.
Preview Your Masterpiece
OK, the word “masterpiece” may not be quite accurate at this time, but if you’d like to preview your work at any time, all you need to do is click on the ‘Preview‘ button, as shown below.
Adding Images to Your Masterpiece
You’ll want to be sure that use high-quality images within your content.
Images will help you break up your content and make it more likable and sharable.
You’ll always want an image towards the top of your posts to give an idea what your content is about.
Many bloggers like to use images to help break up their content subjects. They’ll also use images that show information (like a screenshot of their Google Analytics), or tell a story.
When you’re ready to begin adding images to your article, place your cursor and click your mouse where you want the image to appear, within your article.
While your cursor is blinking, click on the ‘Add Media‘ button at the upper left side of your Edit box, as shown in the image below.
This will create a Popup window for you to find your image within your computer to add.
NOTE: Be sure to not have images larger than 1200 pixels in width (I never go larger than 1000px width). Also, be sure to compress them for the Web.
Having large images will slow down your site.
Edit Your Post
Once you have your rough draft complete, save your work by clicking on the ‘Save Draft‘ button once again, then stand up, walk away, and take a break.
It’s time to clear your head and recharge.
When some time has passed, and you’re ready to edit your article – read your post out loud.
This way, the chances are greater at catching the errors that you’d normally miss simply by reading with your eyes.
Be sure to look for:
- Fluff – As you read out loud, get rid of the extra, unnecessary words.
- Areas that don’t make any sense – Do you need to clarify any of the points you made?
- Repetition – You don’t need to repeat yourself over and over
- Errors – Watch for grammatical and spelling errors
- Organization – Does your article flow like it should?
Once you’ve made all your changes, guess what time it is?
It’s time to read it out loud again.
You won’t believe how many times I’ve caught myself with additional grammatical errors, misspellings, or areas that don’t make any sense after my original corrections.
It’s happened on multiple occasions. Even after reading my article out loud for the 3rd or 4th time.
High-quality content is the only way to go.
Continue reading it out loud until it sounds like it’s something you can be proud of to publish.
If you haven’t finished your article and you want to save it for later, simply click on the ‘Save Draft‘ button.
Your article will not be live on the Internet just yet. If you like what you see, then and only then will you click on the ‘Publish‘ button.
Clicking on Publish will make it live on the Internet for the World to see, and of course, you can always modify and update your article any time you choose.
How to Publish Your Blog Post
Is it Ready to Go Live?
In order for your blog post to be seen by the public (I know, scary right?), you must click the ‘publish‘ button within your WordPress blog’s dashboard.
NOTE: If your rough draft is already within your WordPress Posts Edit box, you can skip the following 3 steps.
Here’s Your Checklist Before You Publish Your Masterpiece:
- Log into your WordPress account (if you aren’t already there)
- In your WordPress dashboard, under ‘Posts‘ (left side), click on ‘Add New‘
- On the ‘Add New Post‘ page, if you used Word or Google Docs, copy and paste your draft into the edit box – add your Title in the box, Add Title
Once you’ve pasted your content, Preview it. If it doesn’t look right, it’s probably because you forgot to switch over to the ‘Text‘ tab of your Edit box before pasting the content, so the formatting transferred from Word or Google Docs.
Click your ‘Text‘ tab, Paste your content, then Preview it.
After you paste your information within your Edit box, you can click the ‘Visual‘ tab, then start to format your content with Headers, Bullet points, Bolding, etc.
Before You Publish Your Blog Post [Checklist]
Below, you will find a list of things that many bloggers overlook. Although you can update your blog post at any time, it’s always good to have a list to check off before you publish your article.
- Have you added your post to your chosen Category? Is Uncategorized unchecked?
- Have you added your Featured Image within your post (right-hand side box)
- Have you checked your Spelling? Do you see any Red squiggly lines under any wording?
- Are your Sub-Headings formatted with h2, h3 or h4 heading tags, instead of in Bold?
- Are your Sub-Headings telling a story when you’re skimming the article?
- When in the ‘Preview‘ mode, have you checked for proper sentence structure and formatting?
- When in the ‘Preview‘ mode, have you checked ALL your links to make sure none are broken?
- Have you added all the images that will help your post tell a story, and get your point across?
- Have you done a FINAL Preview to ensure all your images and formatting are correct?
– If you’re ready to make your post Live for the world to see, click on the ‘Publish‘ button on the right-hand side.
– If you want to publish at a later date/time, click on the ‘Edit‘ link next to the ‘Publish Immediately‘ words and set your date and time, then click ‘Schedule.’
Additional Strategies to Help with Your Writing
Coming Up with Blog Post Ideas
Whether you know what topics you want to write about or whether you are still on the fence, one way is to follow the data and do some market research before you dive in headfirst.
You can also visit my 11 genius ways to come up with endless blog post ideas, which have ideas I bet you haven’t even thought of.
Below are a few methods to research ideas – using keywords.
You can use BuzzSumo.com, which is an online tool, to help you find popular posts that have gone viral on social media.
All you need to do is to type in a keyword phrase like Content Marketing into the search box, and BuzzSumo will spit out similar articles that perform the best.
Another great online tool is Ubersuggest. This is a tool created by the genius mind of Neil Patel.
Similar to BuzzSumo, type in keywords related to what you are searching for, and his online App will spit out all sorts of information, including popular content others have written.
Developing a Content Strategy
It’s vitally important to have a Content Strategy. If there is one thing that matters above all else for keeping your readers engaged and coming back for more is – CONSISTENCY!
Posting every other week consistently is better than publishing 2 or 3 articles a week for 1 month straight, then posting nothing for the next couple of months.
If your life is a crazy mess, consider that. If you are a working parent supporting 3 kids, take that into consideration when creating your content schedule.
Just don’t set yourself up for failure to the point of wanting to quit before you even gain momentum. You will want to choose what works for you and your lifestyle and is realistic.
Put your thoughts into a content publishing schedule, known as a content calendar.
You can create a content calendar, adding dates for when you will post certain articles. This will help you stay organized and consistent, keeping you on track for the articles you plan to publish on your blog.
You can plan one month at a time, two months ahead, or whatever works for you.
To create this publishing schedule, you can use an actual calendar, an app on your phone, or even an excel spreadsheet.
You can always increase the number of articles that you write in a single month once you’ve proven to yourself that whatever you’ve chosen can fit into your current lifestyle.
Want additional help? Check out 5 tips for writing the perfect blog post.
This post will help you dig deeper to create blog posts that are both informative and persuasive, encouraging your readers to take the desired action.