Writing quality content is what you need to get people interested in you, read your content, and end up visiting your website. Forget about SEO, keywords, and all that stuff and focus on what really matters: your content.
Don’t get me wrong, it all matters. But why waste resources on setting up an entire acquisition infrastructure, if your visitors run away when they experiment the pain of reading your articles? You can’t afford this, so my recommendation is to first focus on having quality content for your audience and then fight the war to get that audience to know you and reach your website. If you have the first thing, the second’s going to be a lot easier to do, believe me.
Basic Advice for Your Texts to Make the Leap in Quality You Need
I don’t consider myself a great writer, but I do think I know the least you have to take into account so that your readers don’t abandon you at the first minute. Here are a few recommendations you should follow, if you don’t already.
Prepare a List of Interesting Topics
We have repeated this many times, but it is the pure reality. Writing is complicated, it requires a considerable effort. If you need to think about what you’re going to write, the task will be so complicated that you’ll end up leaving it aside.
Therefore, the first condition for being able to focus on writing quality content is to have a list of ideas on which to build content. A good introduction on this topic is Ruth’s post about the idea-generation process—don’t miss it!
Also, if you are a regular reader of the Internet, this should cost you practically nothing. Every time you read something and are inspired to write about it, write it down somehow. Create a draft in your WordPress with the information, include the page you’re reading in your browser’s bookmarks, or even write the topic in a notebook.
Choose the process that best suits your way of working and get started. That’s the most important thing. Almost without realizing it, you’ll have a list of posts larger than you can imagine. Now just pick one and get started ?
Write the Skeleton of Your Post
Divide and conquer! Facing the blank sheet can be a very tough challenge. Structuring your content into sections and creating a skeleton with the parts into which you are going to divide your text will help. From here, you can focus on just one section at a time, simplifying the process and helping you not to lose the detail of what you want to explain.
There are people who find it even better to detail the ideas within each section with a small set of words. This way, when they start writing that section, they make sure nothing important is left behind.
In my case, I like to start by writing down the headings that I’m going to use to divide the content. Once I have them, I sometimes use some key words within each section to help me not to forget key points that I want to highlight in the text.
Having this skeleton helps me both to organize the text (remember an organized text will always have better quality) and to get an idea of what I have already written and what remains to be done. This makes it easier for me to write long posts like this without getting lost.
Focus on Writing and Just Writing
It sounds silly, but it’s not. While I was writing this post, I received countless interruptions: Twitter notifications, responses to customer tickets that need to be answered, messages from my colleagues via chat… It’s not easy to fight against interruptions and focus on writing. But you have to do it. If you get too much distracted, the final quality will be affected. And this means that the quality of the text is not going to be as expected, since you will have lost the thread on a few occasions and you won’t structure the ideas well. The worst thing about it is that you won’t realize it.
Therefore, it’s very important that you set yourself in a calm environment. Or at least as interruption-free as you can. You might even want to use WordPress’s distraction-free writing mode for this.
Choose a Good Title
We have said this before, but I say it again: the title of an article should be the most attractive part of it, since the title is the first thing your visitors see. Therefore, you should give it the importance it deserves and spend a few minutes thinking about how you can improve it to make it much more attractive, trying to avoid clickbaits.
If you don’t know how to craft a beautiful title, don’t miss my previous post 10 tricks to write better titles. I’m sure you’ll find the ideas you need to improve the quality of your titles.
Make Your Text Easy to Read
One of the main features for a quality text is that it’s easy to read. For this to happen, you should follow these recommendations:
- Use lists in your text whenever you need them instead of listing things within a paragraph. Lists make it easier to read sequences of elements or enumerations. Avoid using paragraphs for these situations.
- Includes images to accompany the text and give the reader a visual support. In this other article about images in WordPress I explain how to use them.
- Whenever possible, use short paragraphs and simple sentences. On the web, the easier the narrative is to follow, the better. This is why we avoid complex constructions. Simple and straightforward works best.
- Tell a story if you can. Follow a storyline from the beginning to the end of the text. This makes the reader more comfortable and arouses interest. Achieving this is not easy, but it is the most effective thing today.
- Show examples of what you’re talking about—your content will be easier to understand.
- Don’t explain many different or new concepts at the same time in one text. Simplify!
If you follow these guidelines, your content will get better and better.
Don’t Leave Anything Behind
The worst thing that can happen to your content is that it’s incomplete. Make sure you don’t miss any of the following:
- Categories and tags. Mark your content with one or more categories and tags to make content easier to find.
- Featured image. Select a cover image for your content—you’ll improve its visual aspect and it’ll look better when shared on social media (remember social networks show a preview of your content).
- Excerpt. Make an attractive summary of your entry and include it in the excerpt WordPress provides.
- Internal and external links. Include references to other posts, from your own site and from other webs.
- Additional meta-information. If you use plugins that require additional information about your post (for instance, SEO or social media plugins), make sure you fill in that information too. I know it’s more work, but the more effort you put, the better the results you’ll get.
Luckily, there are WordPress plugins that help you leave nothing behind when you write a post. One of them is ours, Nelio Content, which includes a quality analysis that helps you identify any aspects of your post that should be addressed:
Read Twice (Or More)
If you write a post and don’t read it back once you’re done, you’ll be missing a lot of typos and weird sentences that you could have easily fixed. I know double-checking your work takes a lot of time, but publishing content without reading it before-hand will probably result in a low-quality post. Don’t do it under any circumstances. Re-read and review your content at least once.
Have Someone Check The Text For You
No writer, no matter how good they are, publishes their texts without first going through a thorough review process. None of them! If you aspire to become a quality content writer, do the same. Even if you’ve re-read your post, it’s very likely that you’ve left some things to fix that are all right for you, but that another pair of eyes will find it improvable. Look for that pair of eyes, that extra help.
Get someone else to review your text and accept his criticisms. They will help you get better content. This way you’ll fix unconnected ideas, phrases that you understand but others don’t, or even spelling and grammar mistakes that you may have missed. Having a reviewer for your content guarantees your content will be better.
Don’t Get Obsessed
There are days when you just ran out of inspiration.You sit down to write a new post but it simply doesn’t happen. You write a couple of sentences and they’re rubbish. You give it a second chance and the result is the same. Don’t worry—we’ve all been there. Just remember it’s not worth wasting time to get frustrated.
In lockdown situations, just do something else and leave the post for another time. Do an activity to distract you and cool your brain. Don’t worry or obsess, it’s a normal thing that happens to all of us (and it will continue to happen). When you see you’re ready, try again. It’s amazing how a tiny rest can help turn the situation around. Just try it and let me know!
How We Do It Here at Nelio
In order to write two weekly posts with a minimum of quality, we at Nelio follow all these tips along with Nelio Content for WordPress. In summary, these are the steps we follow to make sure our posts look great:
- Every month or every two months we fill in Nelio Content‘s editorial calendar with ideas for writing and we assign an author to each idea.
- When it’s time to write a post, we start by preparing its structure.
- We save a time slot in our schedule to focus on writing. Depending on the complexity of the post, it may take a few hours or a whole morning.
- We try to use titles that attract attention but don’t fall into the clickbait category.
- We are becoming more and more conscious and use simpler and easier-to-read sentences.
- We mark the relevant phrases to share them as social messages and thus prepare the promotion of the post into social networks.
- With the quality control of Nelio Content we make sure all relevant meta information is set: tags and categories, featured images, excerpt, SEO, and so on.
- Once we have everything ready, we re-read the post and make the necessary changes.
- When the author is happy with their post, another person in the team reviews it in depth, fixing any typos and mistakes missed in step 8.
Now it’s your turn! Put all these tips into practice from now on and tell me how it worked for you. Are you more efficient writing content? Has the final quality of your content improved? Have you checked to see if your visitors noticed it? I’d be happy to hear your views on that. You have the comment box waiting for you below. You know what you have to do.?