I’m still improving the structure and organization of my blogs with every opportunity I get to create a new one. I recently looked back on some of my earliest work to see how different it is from the content I’m creating today. My writing style and organization has changed a lot over 5+ years, and I believe it’s imperative that we’re always improving, so today I’m going to share a few of the best ways to organize blogs.
Start With a Personal Anecdote and Clear Statement of Purpose
Your opening paragraph (like mine above) is your opportunity to connect to your readers and share what the rest of the blog is going to be about. It is my opinion that readers will connect more with content that expresses an honest story from your life or opinion on the topic at hand. Talking about your experience is far more powerful than a bland opening sentence like, “When you’re writing blogs, it’s important to have good organization.”
You can start like this, but your readers already know this. That’s actually probably why they’ve clicked onto your article in the first place. Giving them bland content that adds little to no value is a poor way to start a blog and a good way to get them to click away before they’ve read past that opening paragraph.
Outline The Blog
Before you launch into writing the meat of your next blog, I recommend outlining the subheadings first. For me, this technique has been immensely helpful because I tend to be a bit of a tangential writer. I can get off on a side topic for several paragraphs and this can actually take away from the overall impact of the blog.
Creating subheadings before writing the meat of a blog will keep you focused and on task. It’ll also help to make sure you cover the important subtopics of your blog in a clear, sensible order. This will help you avoid losing the reader when he or she gets confused about where things are going.
Create Easy-to-Read Paragraphs
Just as I’ve been doing in this post, I recommend keeping the paragraphs of a blog down to between 3 and 5 lines. This will, of course, look different depending on the platform you’re using to create content, but in today’s social media-driven world, readers are accustomed to consuming information in small, bite-sized chunks.
If readers land on your blog and see this overwhelming chunk of text with no separations or subheadings, they are more likely to turn away. This is akin to asking someone to climb straight up the vertical height of the Empire State Building rather than using the perfectly good set of stairs (or elevator for that matter!).
Bring It Home Conclusively
You don’t want to leave your readers hanging at the conclusion of your blog. You have to offer valuable insights throughout and, when things are wrapping up, be sure to touch up on the value that you provided in the blog. Sometimes, readers will skip over sections looking for the important takeaways in the conclusion. Here, we can reach back to some of our early teachings on essay writing.
It’s always helpful to wrap up your blog with a clear statement of the information you provided. For example, this is how I would conclude this blog:
As a blogger, proper organization is going to help you attract and retain readers. Starting with a personal anecdote and clear statement of purpose, outlining your blog before writing the “meat”, creating easy-to-digest paragraphs, and bringing things home conclusively while posing a question for readers to ponder will all help you create blogs that are more effective and more appealing to readers.
Pose a Question for Readers to Answer
When is the last time you took a more critical look at the structure of the blogs you casually peruse on the Internet? Next time you’re reading about the best fiction books of 2018 or tips to improve your speed reading technique, consider how the blogger has structured their work. Does this structure make things easy to read for you? If so, why? And if not, what would you change to make things easier to digest?
The benefit of reading online is that you’re also improving your writing technique at the same time. Many great writers (Hunter S. Thompson, for example) began their careers by handwriting (sometimes many times over) the works of writers that came before them. While this sounds tedious, it can actually be a great way to digest a new book and put yourself into the shoes of one of your favorite writers at the same time.
How were they feeling when they created this opening chapter? What led them to create a character in the manner they did? Why would they choose to structure a book around a very unstable situation? These are just a few examples of the insights you might find when using this technique, and if you’re interested, check out this article about some of The Odd Habits and Curious Customs of Famous Writers.
How Do You Organize Your Blogs?
If you’re a blogger or freelance writer, I’d love to hear some of your techniques for organizing your work. I’m always looking for new ways to improve my craft and I also love to connect with others creating an income online and seeking a location-independent lifestyle.
Please leave a comment below if you are inspired, perplexed, saddened, or angered by any of the ideas presented above. I welcome any and all comments and will do my best to respond as soon as possible.
I’d also encourage you to share this with others if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do! The point of social media, after all, is to be SOCIAL! I don’t need followers or likes, but I’d like to contribute to a real conversation about how we continue to improve as a society and as individuals.
Organize It Up!