How do you write a great blog post? Do you wish you had a blog template to guide you in this writing process? One that gets your blog clicks, is shared on social media, and grows your online audience with readers who will not only benefit from the content you're sharing, but also keep coming back to learn more?
There are thousands of marketing tips and formatting tricks you can use to grow your blog and get more readers, but the reality is that unless you're writing great content, no one is going to want to read your blog, no matter how many creative ways you market it.
Here's the hard truth: the single best way to accomplish your writing goals with a blog is to write better blog posts.
So how do you write better blog posts? In this guide, we're going to talk about what it really takes to write a great piece of content. I'll share the three best blog post templates, templates that we have personally tested here on The Write Practice to generate millions of reads. (Yes! Millions!)
Then, we'll give you a step-by-step process for writing blog posts so that you can start improving your blog and helping your target readers today.
Table of Contents
How I Discovered These Blog Post Templates
As a creative writer, it took me about seven years to find my own style of blogging. I tried everything, including:
- Deeply introspective journal-style posts
- Travel blog posts about the trips I took around the world
- How-to posts
- Thought leader interviews
- Resource roundups
- And more
I've written blog posts to sell products as a marketer, to teach, as a creative writer to share my art—but most of all, I've written blogs to connect with people all over the world.
Even better, in experimenting with all of these different styles, I've found my own style. It's worked. As of the end of 2020, my writing has been read by about 30 million people, received over 100,000 comments, and been shared on social media hundreds of thousands of times.
Now, every time I start writing a new blog post, I already have a template and structure in mind. One I know will accomplish my blogging goals before writing it.
This allows me to work much faster and avoid writer's block.
More importantly, it also helps me make sure I'm writing something that will connect with my readers, because the biggest mistake I made when I started writing—the biggest mistake I see most writers making—was that I cared more about connecting with myself than my reader.
The opposite of my blogging intent!
Great Blog Posts Begin With the Reader, Not the Writer
Blogging is not about you, Writer.
The first thing I do when I'm editing a blog post is look for the word “you” in the intro. If it's not there, and if the word “I” is there instead, I know there's a problem. I'm going to have to rewrite it.
Why? Because good blog content is not about you.
Blogging is about your reader.
If you want to explore your thoughts and feelings, that's great. Write a journal. You can even publish your journal online. That's totally fine. Just don't expect anyone to want to read it.
If you want to grow a blog, you have to start with the reader and what they want, the problems they're experiencing.
It's not about you. It's about your reader. And if it's not written for them, they're going to notice this immediately.
So if you're ever out of post ideas, just ask yourself, why are my readers struggling? Or better, go straight to your readers, write a new blog post, and ask them, “Hey, what problems are holding your goals up right now? How can I help you solve those problems over the next few months?”
Not sure what this questioning would look like? Here's an example of a post I recently wrote doing this. I got dozens of new topic ideas, just from this one step.
It's a step you absolutely can't skip.
What About SEO? Is This Important to Know When Using a Blog Post Template?
All but one of these blog post templates are designed with search engine optimization in mind, and in my own writing, they have generated millions of searches.
As an example, one of my most popular articles of all time is about how to write a story. It perfectly follows the “Problem Solved” template, which I'll share below. Since it was first published in 2013, it has been read over 1.8 million times.
Here's a screenshot that shows its growth in readers over time.
All that's to say, these templates work, both from a connection standpoint and an SEO perspective.
At the same time, one thing the writers I coach often ask me is, “Should you really change how you write based on what Google thinks?” My answer is probably yes. Here's why:
That means that SEO can be an amazing resource to better understand our readers.
Should you pander to SEO? Keyword stuffing will help you hit every possible search term—but it might ruin your writing along the way by making it incoherent to readers. Should you stuff in keywords anyway?
Of course not!
But you can take cues from keyword research and organize your content in a way that both readers and search engines will understand. Which is great for the reader and you!
Thus, as I talk about each of these templates, I'll share how I think about them from an SEO perspective, and how they can work in your overall SEO strategy, if you have one.
Download the Free Blog Post Template Worksheet
Make the most out of these blog post templates with a free blog post template worksheet that will help you create a blog post outline for each of these templates.
The “Problem Solved” Blog Post Template
I developed this blog post template out of the three-act story structure:
- In the first act, present a problem for your character.
- In the second act, make that problem worse.
- In the third act, solve the problem.
In the same way, great nonfiction blog posts present a problem that your reader is experiencing, empathizes with that problem, and then solves the problem.
The difference between a blog post and a fictional story is that when you write a blog post, your character is your reader, and the story you're telling is how they can solve their own, unique problems.
The key to this template is making sure you lead with the problem. Most people want to start with the solution, but until you show your reader that you understand their problem, they won't give you their attention.
Have you ever had a friend who tried to solve your problem before listening to you and empathizing for your situation by showing they personally understand it? Because of this, did you immediately feel like they didn't fully grasp your problem despite their determined problem-solving-suggesstions?
It's disappointing—if not frustrating—isn't it?
Starting off a blog with the solution instead of an understanding of the problem fits the same concept.
From an SEO perspective, the downloadable template is extremely effective because so many people are searching for solutions to their problems. They type questions like, “How do I deal with my family?” and “How do I lose my holiday weight?” and hope they can find the perfect answer.
If you can show that you understand searchers' problems and have the best solution to that problem, then Google and other search engines will be much more likely to deliver your content to searchers because your content will have a far more thorough grasp of their situation.
Which means your blog will actually help readers when they read it.
Which also means that time they spent reading your blog was worth their time and attention!
The ideal length of this blog post template is 2,000 to 2,500 words. You want to write the definitive guide on this topic, and that means you must be thorough. You want your blog to be the ultimate gathering of research that is specific to solving that reader's focused problem.
How does this template work? Let's begin with the post title and then talk about the five elements. All of these are important for your blog's success.
Post Title: Focus on the Problem
In this template, post titles should always reflect the problem you're solving. Sometimes you may be able to allude to the solution as well, but this is a problem first approach.
Titles for this template might include terms like “How to,” “10 Steps,” “3 Secrets,” “5 Tips,” or “The Ultimate Guide to ____.”
Whatever your title, make sure the problem is stated.
1. Identify the Problem
The first step to write a better blog post is to write your lead. Also known as lede for journalism geeks, this term describes the first paragraph, the hook of your story where your job is to grab the attention of the reader,
How do you hook your reader? Identify a problem that your reader desperately wants solved.
Is your blog about helping people condense all their waste into a single mason jar each year? Is their problem related to finding ways to reduce their waste? Talk about this.
Cover all the scenarios that are probably holding them back. (Another way to describe a lead is your premise.)
Length: one to three paragraphs.
2. Make the Problem Personal
Remember what “act two” was above (make the problem worse)? The next step is to make the problem personal, either by making the problem seem even worse or by telling your unique story in relation to the problem.
Making the problem personal is the key.
When you've personally experienced the same problem your readers are currently suffering, you have a unique experience and perspective about the problem itself and therefore have undergone your own trials and successes when attempting (and eventually accomplishing ways) to overcome it.
Have you ever heard the old saying that you can tell the same story but differently?
This is what you're doing by making your blog-problem-solving personal.
Telling the same problem that others have experienced and maybe even blogged about before—but making it different. You're bringing your fresh take on how to solve it because, yes, you've been there, too.
How do you fit into this problem? What is your personal connection to this problem?
As Robert Frost said:
“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.”
Don’t just give us information, but summon the emotion to tell your story in a way that makes your audience care, connect, and want to take action.
This will help you create a sense of trust and identify with the reader, talking about what makes their problem so annoying.
The blog becomes genuine because you are sincere about their problem. Because you've suffered in a similar way, it's clear that you personally want them to overcome it.
You become a concerned and considerate friend.
Length: two or five paragraphs.
3. Tell a Solution Story
Now that you’ve talked about the problem and made the problem personal, talk about how the solution to that problem was discovered.
Note: You're not giving the solution to your problem yet, just talking about how one person, maybe you, discovered the solution.
This is a great place to use case studies, customer testimonials, or your own story about how you discovered the solution to the problem.
Length: three to five paragraphs.
4. Solve the Problem in a Step-By-Step Guide
At last! This is where you finally explain the solution to your reader's problem.
Most people start their post here, with the solution. However, that's a huge mistake.
Skipping to the solution before you've fully explained the problem is like skipping to the climax in a novel without all the plot points that came before it. If you do, you might find that your article comes out flat.
So make sure that you don't get into the solution, the core points of your post, until you're halfway through the article.
Length: as long as you want, but minimum of three paragraphs, depending on your post length. (Remember that the ideal length of a blog is 2,000 to 2,500 words.)
5. Call to Action (CTA) — Preferably Placed in Your Conclusion
It's not enough to tell people how to solve their problem. You have to tell them to go do it, showing them each of their next steps.
Teach them how to put their problem solving into action now. Today.
Encourage them to seize the present.
Give them the practical steps that they can undertake after reading your blog's content.
This might also be where you tell them to purchase your product, to become an email subscriber, or download a free resource.
Another word for this final piece of the template is a “conclusion,” and it always surprises me how many people skip it.
However, it's the single best place to connect the dots and show how your solution actually solves your readers' problem.
Assimilating your call to action with your conclusion is a smart way to tie up your blog with purposes.
Length: one to three paragraphs.
But You're Not Quite Done
What makes blogging different than print newspapers or magazines? Blogging is interactive.
That's why a blog post is never finished until you've added a question to stimulate discussion. Scan to the end of a few blog posts from top bloggers and you'll find that they always include a question to their readers.
Give it a try!
Think of one insightful question that will move readers to reflection, and also hopefully engagement in a communal reflection with other readers in the comments.
Length: one or two sentences.
A Note About Subheadings
No one likes to read a giant block of text, so each of these sections should be separated by subheadings to break up the article and make it easier to read.
Not sure how to use headings and subheadings? Check out our formatting tips for writers here.
Examples of the “Problem Solved” Blog Post Template
All of these posts follow the template above, connect with the reader, and rank well in search engines.
- How to Title a Book: Making Titles that Sell from Kindlepreneur
- Most Common Writing Mistakes: Misused Speaker Tags and Action Beats by K.M. Weiland
- How to Find (and Keep) a Mentor from Jeff Goins
- Six Ways to Create Romantic Tension by DIY MFA
- How to Self-Publish an Audiobook on Audible by Tim Grahl
The Encyclopedic Blog Post Template
Wikipedia is the thirteenth largest website in the world, in major part, because it gets so much traffic from the top site in the world, Google.
And by writing encyclopedic blog content in your field of expertise, you can build your authority in a topic, gain readers, and help thousands of people.
It makes sense, right? When you don't know the definition of a concept or what happened in an obscure civil war battle that someone is talking about, what do you do? You google it! And then, you likely click on the Wikipedia page hovering at the top of the page, just like millions of others.
And by thoroughly defining these topics within your expertise, you can capture some of that readership.
From an SEO perspective, writing encyclopedic content, especially in a deep niche that Wikipedia hasn't covered yet, is one of the best ways to gain search traffic.
For example, in early 2020, I published a deeply researched article on Freytag's Pyramid, delving into the origin of plot diagram, how it has been taught, and how it has been misunderstood.
I read over a dozen articles and a full book to research the concept, and it took me two full weeks to write, but when it was finally published, it was a huge success. It was read 89,237 times in its first year.
Now it's the second post (behind Wikipedia) if you google “Freytag's Pyramid.” Check out the screenshot of how it grew in search traffic. Not bad, right?
This post follows this type of blog post template.
The key to this template is information pacing. You want to get to the definition of the topic quickly, but not so quickly that the reader will quickly click away when they get their answer, and then draw the reader deeper into the content (and your calls to action) through the rest of the post.
How do you do that? Let's dive into the template.
Post Title: Focus on the Key Topic
Post titles using this template highlight the topic, usually at the very beginning, often followed by a colon and then a short description of the contents of the article.
Example titles might look like, “The Battle of Gettysburg: 4 Reasons the Union Won the War,” with the topic at the beginning.
Sometimes writers will even use this template to compare and contrast two related topics, like our post “Pantsers and Plotters: Pros and Cons of Story Structure.”
Whatever your topic, make sure it's stated clearly in the title, usually right at the beginning.
1. Introduce the Topic Through the Reader's Intent
As we mentioned, the key to this template is pacing. Personally, I try not to give the definition away right away, but instead lead into it, and into the readers motivations for reading the post, first.
Because even as you're trying to be encylopedic, your blog is not an encyclopedia. You still want to connect with the reader and show your unique voice. Or else what differentiates you from Wikipedia.
Start by leading into the topic through the reader's own intent. Ask yourself, why would someone look for information on this topic, what problem are they trying to solve, what is their unique context.
Then, just write out those questions, problems, and contexts, and in the last paragraph of this section, talk about how you will answer those questions, solve those problems, and provide that context in your article.
Length: one to three paragraphs.
2. Define the Topic
Now that you've introduced the topic, you're ready to define it.
As concisely and definitively as you can, share the definition for that topic.
Here's an example from my Freytag's Pyramid post:
What is Freytag’s Pyramid?
Freytag’s Pyramid is a dramatic structural framework developed by Gustav Freytag, a German author of the mid-19th century. He theorized that effective stories could be broken into two halves, the play and counterplay, with the climax in the middle.
These two halves create a pyramid or triangle shape containing five dramatic elements: introduction, rising movement, climax, falling movement, and denouement or catastrophe.
The goal is to define your topic well enough that Google can pull it as a featured snippet in the first spot for that Google search. This means your definition must be both short and extremely clear.
Length: one to two paragraphs (no more!).
3. Provide Context on That Topic
Now that you've defined the topic, provide more context. After all, a short definition isn't enough to understand that topic.
So now you have the chance to show off your knowledge, drawing the reader deeper into everything you've learned about that topic.
You might explore:
- The history of the topic
- Where the topic fits within a broader field
- How readers might use that term in their own work or life
- Reviews of the effectiveness of the topic or specific approaches/products within the topics field (for example, does Freytag's Pyramid actually work?)
As long as you use subheadings (and, perhaps, table of contexts) appropriately, you can go into as much detail as you want. The ideal length for encyclopedic posts is approximately 2,400 words, and this is where you can give the most detail.
Length: five or more paragraphs.
4. Provide Specific Examples for That Topic
Once you've fully defined and explored the context of the topic, give one or two case studies or examples.
Most people don't learn well through abstract ideas. They learn best through examples and stories.
Do you have a memorable story about pitching your historical fiction novel at a writer's conference, and now you're writing an encyclopedic post about how to pitch your novel to agents?
Perfect. Share a bit about that experience here.
Take your concept and apply it to one or more examples, studying how the topic can be applied to your particular example. Even better, use visuals like charts, screenshots, handouts, or infographics.
For my Five Act Structure article, I realized that to truly get a sense of how the five act structure worked in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, I needed to create an annotated copy of the entire play.
So I did, marking up the tragedy in a Google Doc to show the beginning and end of each act and giving notes on how Shakespeare used them.
You don't need to create a 25,000-word document as a case study, but this is a great place to provide value to your reader.
It also gives them a visual representation to retain in addition to written information, which makes the blog more than an entertaining read for a handful of minutes. It becomes memorable. It motivates action.
Length: five or more paragraphs.
5. Give Step-by-Step Advice on How to Use That Topic Well (optional)
If it makes sense for your topic, a final way to go deeper is to borrow from the “problem solved” template and give a step-by-step solution to the problem that your reader is facing as it relates to the topic.
Alternatively, you can share more resources from your blog or other websites to better understand the topic.
If you have them, internal links are encouraged!
Length: five or more paragraphs.
6. Conclude by Restating the Reader's Intent
Writing a conclusion is one of the biggest missed opportunities. This is your chance to cement what you've covered with your reader and end on a high note.
Restate the reader's intent for reading your article, and talk about how you answered those questions, solved those problems, and gave context.
This is also your chance to give a final call to action, where you tell them to purchase your product, to become an email subscriber, or download a free resource.
Length: two to five paragraphs.
7. End With a Question
As we talked about in the “problem solved” template, blogging is a conversational medium.
Add a final question to invite discussion on the topic in the comments.
Length: one to three sentences.
The Conversation Starter Blog Post Template
There are many reasons to write blog posts: to grow your audience, get more customers, and test ideas. But one of the best reasons is to lead a conversation.
Our third template is designed to start a conversation that leads to a large number of comments.
From an SEO perspective this isn't very useful, but from an engagement perspective, this is great, and it's one of the best ways to connect emotionally with your audience.
The key to this template is to keep the focus on the conversation topic while also sharing your own perspective. But if you push too hard on your own perspective, you'll drown out the other voices.
Instead, be vulnerable, sharing your perspective from a place of openness, and then invite others into the conversation.
Last, keep blog posts like these short, no more than 500 words, ideally around 300 words.
Here's how the template works:
Post Title: Focus on the Conversation Topic
Of all the templates, the title is least important in this one.
It can be short, like the subject of an email you might send to a friend, or long, like a deep question you might ask someone over coffee.
The key is to make sure people know what we're going to be talking about so they can join the conversation after reading the blog.
1. Introduce the Conversation
The flow of this template is like a conversation you might have with a friend.
You might lead with a question, like, “What do you think about the state of the battle against climate change?”
This can be done in just a sentence or two.
2. Share Your Perspective, Ideally With a Story
Then you might share your point of view, such as, “I think we're doing okay, but not nearly as good as we could be, and here are a few reasons why.”
Even better, you might tell a story about an experience you had related to that topic.
3. End With a Follow-Up Question
But you don't want to go on and on, so you ask a follow-up question. “What do you think?”
Keep it simple. The real magic will happen in the comments.
This blog template is created to spark lengthy discussions—even if the longevity for such engagement might be temporary.
It's about consistently connecting with your community, which is equally important as providing substantial, informative “how to” or encyclopedic content.
How Do You Learn to Write Great Blog Posts?
I've found that these three blog post templates explored in this post work best in most situations, but that doesn't mean you should abandon exploring your own.
It took me a long time to discover templates that worked for me. Along the way I experimented with several different templates, some of which worked and which I still use (like my writing prompt template), and others that I've abandoned.
You need to find your perfect templates, too, and the only way you can do that is through practice (we're fond of that around here).
So don't take my word for it. Go try out these templates and others and figure out what works best for you. (And don't forget to have fun while you do it!)
Download the Free Blog Post Templates
Ready to write? Download the free blog post templates and use them to craft your own brilliant blog posts.
A good writing process starts with readers. What is a problem your readers are experiencing right now? How could you help them solve it? Let me know in the comments.
Write a blog post using these five steps. First, pick a problem that you know how to solve, and then write a blog post sharing the solution. If you post it on your blog, share the link in the comments section for the community to see how you did!
And as always, don't forget to have fun! Happy writing!