How to write a great technical blog post
Five steps to get from idea to polished result
I’ve been working in the open source community for almost 5 years now, building and promoting developer tools including Meteor and Apollo. In that time, I’ve found that blogging is one of the most effective ways to spread ideas.
A blog post doesn’t take as long to prepare as a video or conference talk, but is easy to consume and can reach a ton of people. I’ve also personally gotten a ton of benefit out of writing: it has helped me organize my thoughts, teach people about technologies I love, and get my name out there.
Since publishing my first blog post ever in 2014, I’ve ended up writing 68 posts so far here on Medium, some with over 50k views and 1000 fans, and edited many posts for my friends and coworkers. Over that time, I’ve picked up a few strategies for taking a post from concept to publication.
Find a good topic and commit to it
The simplest strategy is to write about what you know. If you spent many hours learning about something, and you think you could explain it in just a few minutes, you’re going to provide a lot of value to your readers.
Another idea is to write about an area you think is lacking content. For example, right now there aren’t a lot of posts about how to apply to technical conferences, so content about that could fill a gap in the community.
Having said all that, at the end of the day, it’s hard to predict what topics will make a great post and which ones won’t, and often it’s the execution that makes or breaks a post, not a brilliant topic. My main suggestion would be to try writing about several different things and see what works.
How to Write an About Me Page for Your Blog in 6 Easy Steps
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What is an About Me page?
Chances are, an About Me page isn’t exactly what you think it is. It’s not just that one page sitting far off in the corner of your blog where you’re expected to gloat about your achievements and spill every detail of your life story. Like my own right here, an About page can be so much more.
In its best form, an About Me page is essentially a page on your blog that tells the story about why your blog exists—from the perspective of why your readers should care.
That means introducing yourself and telling your story in a way that shows your readers the exact ways in which they’ll benefit from following along with your blog. Getting this right is absolutely crucial, as people rarely visit a blog solely because they’re interested in you (ouch!). The vast majority of people on the Internet are most interested in what they can learn from you. And that’s why your About Me page must be written from the perspective of showing your readers why they should care about your blog.
Why is having an About Me page so important?
Without understanding the true value and importance of having a great About Me page, many a bloggers simply treat it as an afterthought. The resulting page, is a few paragraphs slapped together about their work experience and a couple pictures with their favorite pet—or even worse, some don’t bother to write an About Me page at all.
So why should you spend time writing an About Me page for your blog? Well, aside from the fact that 52% of website visitors report regularly visiting a brand’s About page, I’ll give you 3 more good reasons why.
1. An About Me Page Connects You to Your Readers
One of the biggest reasons you should spend time writing a great About Me page, is that it’s the perfect opportunity to establish a meaningful connection with your readers (on an emotional level). Crafted well, an About Me page will resonate deeply with your target audience, making your content that much more relatable to them.
2. An About Me Page Sells Your Brand
Another reason your About Me page is so important, is that it’s one of the best opportunities you have to sell your brand. Keep in mind though, that people don’t like brands that push themselves too aggressively. Instead, most people say they’d rather partner with brands that share the same values. And this is exactly where your About Me page comes in—it helps you sell your brand by showing your target readers that you share the same values (and goals). Plus, if the name of your blog doesn’t immediately communicate what the subject matter of your content is (like my blog’s name, ryrob), then your about page serves as a priceless opportunity to explain why you choose that name—and connect your site’s name to the greater purpose it serves.
3. An About Me Page Builds Trust and Authority
One of the most important assets you can ever acquire (online and offline) is trust. Your About Me page can significantly help earn the trust and respect of your readers. If written well, your About Me page will prove to your readers that they can trust you as a reputable source of information and advice.
Beyond just establishing trust, highlighting your authority within your blog’s niche is another key role that an About Me page can serve, aiding greatly in your ability to build a strong following. An effective About Me page can position you as an expert in your field, which will become increasingly essential to the success of your blog business plan over time.
Now that you understand what an About Me page can do for your blog (and why it matters so much), let’s dive into how to write an About Me page for your own blog. And since we’ll be using my own about page as a case study example throughout this guide, you can click right here to see it and follow along.
Ready to Start Your Blog (the Right Way)?
1. Clearly Communicate Your Value Proposition
The very first thing you need to clarify before you write an About Me page for your blog, is what your value proposition is. Put simply, a value proposition is a statement that conveys what you have to offer your readers. In other words, answer the question, what does your audience stand to gain by following your blog?
As you can see in the screenshot above, the one-sentence value proposition I lead with on my About Me page is: “I teach 500,000+ monthly readers how to start a blog and grow a profitable side business.”
After many years of experience in my niche, I’ve been able to sharpen my big promise down to just one line for readers to decide whether or not that resonates with them. To most of the readers that find my blog by searching for blogging tips and related advice, this promise really hits the nail on the head.
Now, it’s your turn. If you haven’t already crafted a value proposition statement that highlights the top-level takeaways you want readers to gain from your blog, give it a try right now.
Remember, your value proposition is a statement that (1) explains exactly what makes your blog different from others in your space and (2) tells readers what they’ll get from your site. Once you’ve worked that message out, be sure your About Me page leads with your clear value proposition—so that readers will immediately know if your content will be right for them.
How often should I blog?
Whenever you have something to say is always the best answer. I aim for at least twice a week but usually end up doing quite a bit more. Under promise and over deliver is my motto – even if it’s between me, myself and I.
The more you write the easier and better it will become. Worryingly I’ve seen a few resolution lists for this year where bloggers have said they want to ‘up their blogging output’, but I just think this is a dangerous goal. Set your aims too high and then travel blogging just becomes another pressure to live by, and for most people pressure is a fun killer, which ruins the whole point of travel blogging.
My writing style
I tend to write everything I want to and then fit it together. I just keep going until it’s all out and then go back and edit. Often I’ll write it on my phone when the inspiration hits then just use my laptop to edit as when I sit at my laptop I get to distracted.
I like to write into Google Sheets and then I’ll upload to WordPress and edit. It takes me AGES to write a blog post now. With all the research, writing, picture research, look at SEO and formatting, it’s at least a day.
Ideal length of a travel blog post
I like to write over 2000 words per article when I’m blogging about travel. Not all posts on my travel blog will be that long, but that’s the goal. In reading other travel blogs I think it’s hard to get your points and personality across in any less.
How to write a travel blog post
- Decide on a cool idea that you’re passionate to spend time writing.
- Write it, thinking in sections though. The best travel blog posts are divided by headers to make it easier for the reader.
- Think of a good headline that will draw the reader in and make them want to read more.
- Think in 500-1000 words. I know I said I do 2000, but I think that can be quite overwhelming if you’re still learning how to write travel blogs.
- If your idea is too big, then break it down into easier sections and write a few blog posts instead. You can always craft them back together again when you’ve finished, like my backpackers guide to Vietnam.
- Use photos to bring the post to life. If you know how to use Photoshop or Lightroom them brighten and edit for the best result. If not, don’t worry about it.
- Make sure you have a few H1s and H2s in there to help us readers, read the post.
- Proof read.
- Share! Social media is really important for travel bloggers. It might feel scary at first, to share your travel blog. I mean, I kept mine secret for at least a year. But the sooner you share the sooner you’ll get readers. And at the start your friends will help you to get word out there. Then they’ll get jealous of you travelling, but that’s future yous problem.
- Write whenever the feeling hits you – even if that’s in the ‘notes’ section of your phone.
- Keep practising – you don’t have to publish everything you write.
- Read other travel blogs analytically as well as for fun.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
- Write about what you want.
- Use Pinterest to see what’s popular and for inspirational titles
- Sign up to bloglovin (follow me) for a whole resource of inspiration. Make a note of the titles you actually click on.
- Keep a spreadsheet, or similar, of all the titles you want to write. Use when necessary.
- Keep a folder in your bookmarks of articles that have inspired you.
- Offer to write for others to create your own incentives.
On that last point I remember way back when and I pitched to Flight Centre. I got a commission for three articles. At the time it was this financial incentive and the idea that they thought I’d be able to do it that got me going. I was so proud to see my work up on their blog and it just inspired me to write more.
Making money from writing a travel blog
Not to dance before you can walk, but I just want to tell you about one of the biggest influences on my successful travel blogging life: Nomadic Matt. He’s the world’s number one travel blogger and it’s actually thanks to his first book that I learned how to make money from travel blogging.
Obviously this 20-part Travel Blogger High course I’ve written is free for you to look through on my blog, but if you want to take your travel blogging to the next level, then his course is the one I’d recommend.
More travel blog examples
Travel blog example 1: ‘Things to Do’ listicle
Fun things to do in a destination. There’s a bit of snobbery around listicles in travel blogging, but personally I think they’re a really important and useful example of a travel blog.
Travel blog example 2: a trip itinerary
Trip itineraries are so important, and often the backbone of any good travel blog. A tried and tested step by step trip itinerary is worth so much for people trying to plan a trip to the destinations you’re writing about.
Travel blog example 3: a real insight
Only you can experience a destination in the way you do – that’s why the real insights into destinations are one of the ways you can stand out from the travel blogging crowd. If you feel like you’ve had a really unique experience, or want to share exactly what you thought of a place, then these honest insights can make for a great travel blog.
Travel blog example 4: personal stories
Ooo you can’t beat a personal story on a travel blog. The trouble is, you either need to really enjoy writing it, or not care if people read it or not. These personal stories are very hard to rank in Google, but they’re good to help your readers get to know you.
Travel blog example 5: helpful guides
How to blog about travel in a pandemic
On the plus side for new travel bloggers though, there’s now a whole new world to discover – when it opens again. Would be travellers will be desperate to know what it’s like to visit destinations again, post COVID. Old travel information, from old timers like me, can be eclipsed by new guides to a post COVID world.