Writing is a practice. Just as athletes must practice to get better at their sport and musicians must practice to get better at their instrument, we writers must practice to get better at our craft. That’s why I love blogging. I consider blogging the writer’s practice field.

Here are seven ways you can write better blog posts and begin to improve your writing overall.

Write a compelling headline. Your headline should capture your reader’s attention and make a promise that your post will keep. Your reader should know exactly what she’s going to get out of reading this post after reading the headline. Using words like “Why” and “How” can help intrigue your reader and for list posts try using a number in your headline. The title of this post is an example: “7 Steps to a Better Blog Post.”

S.O.F.T. If you ramble when you write, keep this acronym in mind: Say One Freaking* Thing! (*The “F” was edited for the pearl-clutching crowd). I can’t take credit for making this up. I heard it years ago at a blogging conference and I’ve kept it in mind ever since. Decide on the overall point you’re trying to make with your post. Everything you include in the post should support that point. Of course, your overall point may change once you start writing. And if that happens, revise your work with your new focus in mind.

Make an outline. I’m sure your high school English teacher often urged you to write an outline before writing your papers. You should have listened to her. In fact, you still should. After you determine the “one freaking thing” you want to convey with your post, write an outline. Decide on your introduction (which should be an interesting anecdote), sub-points (try to have at least 3), conclusion and call to action.  

Omit weak words. Once you’ve written the first draft of your post, it’s now time to make it even better. Edit your post deleting any words or phrases that don’t add to your piece such as “I think,” “It’s funny,” “It seems to me,” and most adverbs.

Use the Hemingway app. If you’re not sure which words to eliminate and which to keep, the Hemingway App can help. The app points out lengthy, hard-to-read sentences, adverbs, weak phrases, and passive voice.  

Use the Grammarly app. As the name suggests, Grammarly will check your work for Grammar mistakes and more.

Read your work aloud. In a perfect world, you would get a friend with top-notch grammar skills to read each of your posts before you publish them. But in the real world, that’s probably not going to happen. The next best thing you can do is read your work aloud. When you do this it will be much easier to catch mistakes and you’ll know if your words are flowing as they should.

What tips do you have for writing better blog posts?