Coming up with a stand-out recipe is only half the battle; the majority of food blogs heavily feature lengthy blog posts too. But it can be difficult to get your head around all the formatting and options when you only want to write a quick recipe. Here’s how to write your first blog post.
Page or Post?
Before you even write a word, you need to be sure that it’s actually a post you want. There is a distinction made between pages and posts; a page tends to have what we call “evergreen” content. That means that it is timeless and always relevant. So it’s usual to format your “about me” and “contact” information as pages.
If, however, you want to post a chatty article (like this one) or a new recipe with a great story above, then a post is indeed the right place for it. Posts are saved by date on your blog and also can be divided up into categories and tags – all of which enables your reader to find information quicker.
Pin me for later!
How to write your First Blog Post
First of all, are you going to write about your day-to-day life? Your adventures travelling the world? Kitchen trials and errors?
There are also some bloggers who choose to focus solely on the recipes with very little preamble – perfect for the readers who always skip straight to the recipe anyway. Personally, I believe that the prose you write should as least have some tangible connection with the recipe below it. Although, I can’t argue with the popularity of the bloggers who start with “today I took my dog for a walk” and then seamlessly segue into “and then we had this pork roast”. It doesn’t work for me but, if we were all the same, the world would be a very dull place.
Other kinds of content
If you would prefer to stay away from the diary-style format of blogging then perhaps you might consider posting more food articles such as:
“where to eat out in X”
“we tried this frozen-food service; here’s what happened” or even
“how to start a food blog”!
There is also a career to be made in writing sponsored posts (e.g. a company sends you a free sample of an ingredient that you use in a recipe or they pay you to try their product) and there’s a whole article here on how to make money with a food blog.
Task #1: decide what kind of format would best suit your writing.
So, what do I do next?
Assuming you use WordPress, and it is a post you want, go to the dashboard of your site and click on Posts >> Add New. You’ll pull up a screen that looks like this:
Write your text in the main box, making sure to divide it often with a number of subheadings (for search engines to index). If you want to create a heading, place the cursor on the text you want to alter and then click on the down arrow next to the word “paragraph”. Select H1 (heading 1), H2 ( heading 2) or so on, and your text will be changed. You will need to “preview” the post to see the whole effect. When you hit “enter” and move to a new line, the text will revert to “paragraph ” style.
Search engines prioritise headings by number when they crawl your site – H1 then H2 then H3 etc. – so make sure to give your most important information the lower H-numbers.
Whatever heading you choose, make sure you are consistent throughout the post and, indeed, your site. You can read more about customising your fonts here.
I have the different headings customised on this site so that I can pull up different styles of text at will:
H1: caps, heavy text – for main page titles;
H2: smaller, regular text – for site navigation, like in categories;
H3 caps, regular text – main headings in posts;
H4 small, pink text – text highlights/sub-headings;
H5: small caps for CTA;
H6: SMALL CAPS, REGULAR;
Paragraph: small, regular text (Montserrat);
Links: RED – to make them stand out and be obviously clickable.
Task #2: write your article/post/recipe in the large text box, taking care to insert some subheadings.
The Visual Editor
The options in the Visual Editor work much like a standard Word document – you can change the paragraph justification, italicise, go bold or underline like always.
The speech marks can be selected to put an entire passage in a featured quotation and make it stand out:
like this one here!
You can also change the colour of your text or
add a picture, if you want to 🙂
Don’t forget to ” Save Draft” as you go along or you might be in for a nasty surprise.
Clever old WordPress also lets you revert back to a previous saved draft if you discover you don’t like a change you’ve made.
Task #3: use the visual editor to help break up the text into more manageable, readable chunks.
When you get the hang of writing posts, you’ll want to think about SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). While that is covered in another article here, it’s a good start for SEO to think about blog-post titles that coincide with terms searched for on Google, Bing, Yahoo and so on.
The post you are reading now is called “How to Write your First Blog Post” and I’ll bet that many of you found it by typing those exact words into a search engine.
Try to think about what problems you audience has and how you can solve them.
Popular post titles include phrases like “how to”, “the ultimate” and “top ten”. They speak directly to the audience and create a little intrigue. People click on them because they want to know what those “ultimate things” are.
Another way to spark your reader’s interest is to speak from experience. Posts like “How I grew my Instagram following tenfold overnight” and “How I made £1000 my first month blogging” offer a voice of authority. Readers want to steal those tricks and apply them to their own blogs. Find out how to get your readers to trust you.
If you want to be really clever, Google has an official tool that will help you work out the best titles for your posts based on the keywords that people search for. It’s not free, but it does guarantee you’re starting off on the best foot (get it here). Or you can use the free programme Keywords Everywhere for Chrome and Firefox.
You can then use your findings as your Yoast keywords too.
Task #4: choose a title for your work that you think people might search for.
How to add Links
Throughout this site you will see little bits of text that are green, not black. Those are clickable links and they allow the reader to follow up on some point being discussed in the text by referring them to another webpage either within this site (internally) or on another site (externally). They are extremely useful, not just for your Yoast rating but also to fill in the gaps of knowledge that your article can’t provide.
Related: How to use Yoast
To add a link to your text you simply highlight the text by holding down the mouse and dragging across it, and then click the “link” symbol on the visual editor.
It looks like this:
If you are directing readers to another recipe or article on your site, then you will be able to select from a drop-down list of your published articles. In terms of your Yoast rating, the more of your own posts you can link to, the better. It’s also better for you too, as it keeps readers on your site for longer.
If you have to link away to another page, make sure you tick the little box that says “open in new window”. You’ll need to click on the little cog that pops up when you add the link to find that option.
Task #5: add internal and external links wherever appropriate.
Once you have written your article/blog post, you need to select which categories and tags it comes under and where it will fall in the menu. Remember, the more you can link to a post the better.
Then, proofread a few times, hit “publish” on your post and celebrate your first adventure in the blogging world!
Task #6: choose which categories your post falls under and then proofread and publish your work.
Drop a link to one blog post or recipe below and let’s check each other’s out!