Are you struggling to write your first blog post? Do you fear putting your heart out into the world for others to read?
I’ve been there too.
Maybe you checked out my last post on Starting Your Blog Side Hustle and you are now ready to create your first post. I don’t know how fast you write or if you will get lost in the research black hole but my attempt with this post is to help you create your first blog post in an hour or less.
I will take you behind the scenes of WordPress but also offer tips on researching the topic for your post quickly along with tips on how to make your first post readable and professional.
If it takes you longer than an hour that is completely ok. But what I don’t want for you is to be so afraid of putting your first post out into the world that you get into a perfectionistic fear loop and never actually do it. Let’s be real, putting your words and heart out into the world for others to see can be scary. But if you learn early on to create a process for yourself to focus on, you can create higher quality content faster and with less trepidation.
I want to help you a bit with the technical side of your first blog post but mostly to keep you from getting stuck.
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”Zig Ziglar
Zig said it. If you let fear hold you back, you will never learn and grow and improve. I remember how scary it feels. But, you can read tutorials and watch videos til the cows come home as we say in North Carolina but the best learning often happens when you are in motion adjusting and getting better as you go.
So follow along and work to get your first post out into the world in an afternoon. Be brave my friend. You will get better and it will get easier. You should have seen the hot mess I was when I started years ago.
Before we dive into the WordPress dashboard you need a topic for your post.
Note: I use WordPress.org but WordPress.com may be a better fit for you if you are just getting started. It is a hosted alternative for easy use without coding and plugin installation, updates, etc. I’m an affiliate of WordPress.com to help out my beginner bloggers, but I’m sharing because I want you to be informed and make the best decision for you and your business. You can check out this article -> Difference between WordPress.com and .org via BlueHost to better understand the difference but be sure to come back to this post 😉
If you do not have WordPress yet and you want to go with WordPress.com, you can get all set up here through my link here to support me and help me continue to provide all this free content for you. You can get started for free to explore the platform. I just got my husband set up on it and it works great.
This is when you will decide what to write about. Think about what would be a great first blog post to introduce your audience to what your blog is all about. What value can you offer right away?
Pro Tip: Being your first post, finding a topic may seem challenging. But as you start to blog regularly you get more and more ideas and see inspiration all around you. When that happens WRITE IT DOWN. Write down your ideas so you always have something to blog about when you sit down and dive into the dashboard.
Struggling to write your very first blog post? You have to get started to succeed. Here are the tips and encouragement to make it happen!Click To Tweet
Once you have a main overreaching topic in mind, there are a few ways you can go about your research and save time:
Look for questions around your topic.
You can check inside of forums and on social media to see what others are asking about your topic. This is a fast way to know what angles you can write about in a way that is going to help readers. Remember, you don’t have to be a Top Expert. You can research your topic and create helpful answers for your readers just like you would help a friend.
Do your keyword research.
Keywords are how search engines like Google know what your blog post is all about. Now keyword research can get really deep and is not the main focus of this post.
Just know there are tools to help you with SEO for your first blog post. One I like to use is Neil Patel’s UberSuggest which can help with keyword research and also topic ideas and more around your site. You can sign in with your Google account and it is free.
If you want to go deeper into this Moz has a post for you How to Use Keywords in Your Blogging Strategy Moz also has some classes on SkillShare around Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that can help your blog so be sure to grab your 2 free months of SkillShare Premium and check those out.
Once you have your topic for your first blog post you need to login to your WordPress dashboard and we will get started on your post. Your dashboard could look slightly different but should have the same elements.
Write Your Post
In the Dashboard, you will see a Posts option to the left you can click with a pin icon. Or you can click the prompt Write Your First Blog Post under Next Steps.
Once your post space opens, write your first sentence.
I know this blank space for your first blog post can be a bit intimidating. But remember, it’s just a start.
With your first sentence, you want to draw the reader in. This could be with a quote, statistic, story, etc. Connect somehow. An easy and capturing way to start is to ask a question like I did at the beginning of this post.
BloggingWizard gives more great tips on writing an captivating intros here.
If you can fit it in smoothly, you will also want to incorporate your keyword into this first paragraph. We will come back to the Title for your post later.
Pro Tip: Make sure you are clicking the Save Draft as you go so you do not lose your work!
Another Pro Tip: See that green circle with an arrow in my screenshots? That is my Grammarly Google Chrome extension at work. It checks my spelling and grammar as I write my blog post in WordPress so I can edit as I go. It is great to have a checker like this as we are often thinking so fast that we miss mistakes.
Make It Digestible
As you write, you will want to make sure your content is easy to read.
I actually have a whole SkillShare class around this topic How To Create Engaging and Digestible Blog Content that has examples. But here let’s talk a few basics. There is so much content online that people get overwhelmed.
If your blog post is all run together and hard to read, viewers will very likely click away. Especially visitors from mobile devices who are trying to read on small screens. You want to break your content up and use visual elements and headings to keep people engaged who are just skimming through.
To better format your posts for readability, you can use:
- Bullet points (see what I did there)
- Hooks and Cliffhangers
- White space (leave breathing room)
- and Headings
Your Title is your main heading but you will want to add more headings throughout your post to break up texts and help skimmers find the sections they are looking for.
If using the block editor in WordPress, you can click up at the top for your drop-down box to add a heading.
Or click the plus symbol within the box to add a block and select Heading.
Think about your headings as smaller topics within your bigger topic. It is kind of like those outlines we used to have to complete in high school. You are taking your readers down through your post with easy to read, logical sections.
When you add a heading, you can also change the size. I have used H3 headings for my main sections in this post and then H4 for smaller points.
When using images, make sure you are allowed to use them and that proper credit is given. I like Unsplash.com for free stock photos. They do not require credit but I still give credit most of the time as it is a way to support and appreciate the photographer.
Unsplash makes it easy to give credit with a pop up when you download a photo.
Write Like You Talk
Once you have your headings just write your content under each of those subtopics, adding bullet points, quotes, images, and/or videos where it makes sense using the same plus symbol for each block needed.
And write as you talk. You do not need to try to sound like someone you are not or some guru. People connect better with blogs online that are written like they are to help a friend.
It is ok to break some rules if it makes your content more relatable, readable, and engaging. Sometimes I put a two to three word sentence right in the middle of my content surrounded by white space.
Add a CTA
What action do you want your reader to take? Add a clear call to action at the end of your post. Do you want them to signup for your email list, follow you on social media, stay tuned to the blog for your next post? You do not have to do this for every post but it is a good idea to keep readers engaged in the community you are building. Stick to one thing that you want them to do at the end of your post. If you give too many options readers often do nothing.
Do a quick edit.
Once you have your content written with headings and visual elements to make it easy to read, you will want to read it out loud to see if any edits are needed and grammar check. It is still easy to miss something and notice errors after publishing but a quick read through can greatly cut down on mistakes and make your content more polished.
Add an Engaging and Clickable Title
You can do your headline research and write the title of your post before you start writing, but you will likely get better results after. You now have your post written so it is easier to write a catchy title. Some title options that work well are “How-To” and number titles. Also giving a specific benefit. All of which I have used in the title for this post.
You can use a headline analyzer tool to help you score your headline. I like this one, it’s free: ShareThrough and also the one by CoSchedule. What headlines work best for you can depend on your industry. This is something you can continue to study and improve on as you learn and grow. It is a good practice to write multiple headlines for each post to find the one that really works.
CoSchedule had a great post on this here: 55 Easy Ways To Write A Headline That Will Reach Your Readers
Now let’s optimize a bit before you publish…
Search Engine Optimization
I highly recommend a plugin like Yoast SEO or Rank Math SEO. I am using Rank Math. These plugins can help you optimize each post for the search engines quickly.
You can see here in this empty post that my ranking for SEO is not very good. You want to get as close to 100 as you can without compromising the human readability of your post. I shoot to have each post at least in the green.
The plugin will tell you what you need to add to increase the score. And can help with keyword research also. I was able to get my score up to 90 for this post in seconds.
Seeing Green for Go is very satisfying.
You will want to optimize the images in your post also.
To do that you can click on the image within your post then choose block from the right dropdown. Here you can add an “alt text” to describe your image and can include a relevant keyword.
Moz has an article to help with “Alt Text” too if you want to go deeper. SEO is a whole lot to learn all its own. For now, I suggest to just stick with the help of an SEO plugin to get your score in the green and learn more about SEO as you go. Please don’t feel overwhelmed and get stuck here.
Internal and External Links
It is also good practice to have an internal and external link. Internal links are links to your same website. This could be linking to another blog post but since this is your first, you could also link to another page on your website like your about page.
In this post, I linked to a previous blog post. But I could also link to a page, like here is our Resources Page if you need more tools to help you write your first blog post.
External links are links that go out to another page or blog post on the web. You want this to be of good quality and add to the value of your blog post. This helps your SEO and we are all supporting one another. I’ve linked to CoSchedule, Moz, and more in this post to better support you and increase the value of this post.
It is a good idea to have these links open in a new tab so readers can jump right back to your blog post. Here is an example from a link below. Just click the link and click the slider to Open in New Tab.
We want to keep this short and sweet. Small progress is so much better than no progress.
Before you publish, you will also want to check the document section of the menu on the right.
Here is where you will decide on important things like making sure your post will be visible to the public and if you want to publish immediately or set another time and date. As you scroll down you will also want to choose a category for your post, add relevant tags, and set your featured image.
Yoast has more information on tags and categories here.
Create Your Post Graphics
Your featured image, social media graphics, and pins for Pinterest. I use and love Canva Pro for creating my blog graphics. Make sure you add them to your post to make your post easy to share.
I also have a SkillShare class on DIY Personal Branding where I cover using Canva to create graphics if you need help with that. Great for your first blog post and beyond.
Pro Tip: I mentioned this in the Starting Your Blog Side Hustle post but I will mention again here because I cannot stress enough how important your legal pages are. I recently bought templates from a lawyer that is also a blogger and I cannot even tell you how easy they were to implement and how much better they made me feel. The free templates and plugins I had tried to use did not even come close to covering all the things like the professional, lawyer approved ones. Take the stress out and grab yours here. Get the legal right before you publish your first blog post.
Take a Breath and Hit Publish
Congratulations my friend!
Keep learning and blogging. I’m cheering you on!
If there is something you need help with to create your first blog post that I did not cover, please let me know in the comments so I can add it.
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