How to Write a Great First Blog Post with WordPress
You’ve got your WordPress blog all set up and you’re ready to go. But where do you start? You’ve probably got one post–the default “hello world” WordPress post. In this article you’ll get five ideas to start your first blog post and a quick tutorial on using the WordPress post editor to write, format, and publish articles on your blog.
What to Write About in Your First Blog Post
Before we get into the process, let’s acknowledge the difficulty. Finding topics to write about for your blog is tough. But you can make the process flow a lot easier with a few simple tricks and examples.
- Decide on a goal for your blog or website. This is about discovering your identity as a business or author and who your audience is.
- Find topics that align you and your audience. In other words, come up with topics that you and your audience are interested in.
- Plan a monthly content schedule and keep it up. To build a following or customer base, you’ll need to check back in frequently and make adjustments until you get the strategy just right.
Think about these tips and research your favorite blogs. You’ll start to see how each blog approaches it, and take away some ideas for your own blog. For example, one of our favorite content marketing resources is the CoSchedule blog.
Number one, CoSchedule has chosen a topic–content marketing. Here’s what their categories look like.
As you can see from their categories, CoSchedule has worked hard to identify common ground with their readers. They’ve developed resources for content marketing and social media that align with the products they sell, as well as their company culture.
And that identity drives the focus of their content plan. This blog post about social media marketing will resonate with CoSchedule’s customers and help drive traffic to their website because it provides real value to their audience.
So when you sit down to write your first blog post, think about giving something to your audience. Here is a list of blog post styles to launch your site with.
- Story Post: Simply put, tell your story. Many people start blogs or businesses when they want to make a drastic change. For example, if you sell all your possessions and live out of a van to save money and have more experiences. Explain why you’re doing it, what the challenges are, and above all get people hooked and waiting to read the next chapter.
- Comprehensive Guide: Craft a full-length guide to something you know well. For example, our guide to creating a web portfolio would work for the MOJO blog because we help people build websites.
- Series of How-To Articles: Keep a running list of ideas that would be useful for your audience, like gardening tips for the hottest days of summer. Pick some ideas that would work as a series and publish them over the course of a month. This will help establish a rhythm for your blog (just remember to stay consistent).
- Site Design: As an introduction to your site, you can chronicle your site design. Explain the process you went through, the products and services you used, and how you got from point A to point B. Most audiences find this type of content useful because they aspire to create their own blog or website. Plus you can earn money as a MOJO affiliate by simply reviewing and linking to MOJO products you used to build the site.
- List post: You can also kick off your content with a nice list post. For example “the best content strategy books of 2017” or “the 10 best mid-size sedans of all time.” This type of post works well, as long as it’s relevant to your site, and is an easy way to introduce readers to your knowledge.
How to Edit Posts in WordPress
If you’re familiar with Microsoft Word or Google Docs, you’ll be a natural with WordPress.
From the WordPress admin dashboard, choose posts and add new. This will take you to the post editor, where you will write, edit, format, and publish or schedule your first blog post.
The Difference Between the Visual and Text Editors
You can edit WordPress blog posts in two different ways. For one, you can use the visual editor, which is also known as a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. This method is very similar to using Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
From the visual editor tab, you can set headings, format text, create links, and add shortcode (text you add that triggers a built-in function included with a theme or plugin, so you don’t have to write any code). Anything you change will be reflected visually, unlike in the text editor.
For example, if you click the text tab, you’ll see that all the formatting you set in the visual editor is now translated into html.
You don’t have to know any html to write your post–that’s what the visual editor is for. But if you need to fiddle with something (or want to learn more) the text editor is there for you.
Previewing and Saving WordPress Posts
As you’re writing your post, adding images, and formatting, you can preview what your post will look like published.
Click preview from the publishing settings and a new tab will open in your browser with a fully rendered version of your post. That way, you can check for any formatting errors as you work.
Throughout the writing process, clicking preview again will refresh the preview tab (if you keep it open) with the updates.
Also, you should save your work as you go. Click save draft every so often to prevent losing your work.
How to Revert to a Previous Post Revision
You have the option to a previous version of your post, as long as you’ve saved your work along the way. Just click browse next to revisions, and you’ll be able to go back in time and revert to the version you need.
WordPress compares your different saved versions and will highlight the differences. (Similar to tracking changes in Word or Google Docs). Note: WordPress will only log revision history when you save your post draft.
Click restore this revision if you want to reinstate a past version of the post.
Scheduling and Publishing Your First Blog Post
One of the great features of the WordPress post editor is that you can schedule posts. That way, you can write your content in advance and set it to publish when you’re away from the laptop. This is especially convenient when you have a series of posts.
Click the edit button next to publish immediately to schedule your post. You can then set a date and time and click schedule. You can always come back and change the date and time if you need to.
One caution–if your timezone is not set correctly in your WordPress settings, your post will publish at the wrong time.
If you want to publish your post immediately, don’t change the date. Just click publish when you’re ready to go! After a post is published, you can still make changes. Just edit your post and hit update.
Those are the basics of writing and publishing posts in WordPress. Now it’s time to buckle down and write that first blog post and get started on the next one!