Paul’s top ten blog tips

Top Ten Blog Tips
This is a guest-post from the dashing Paul Hassing. What he don’t know about blogging, ain’t worth knowing, so I asked him to share his toppest tips…

Kate asked for my realio trulio top ten blogging tips. As I’ve got hundreds of the buggers, I had to ponder, cull, winnow and sift to pick the real gems. Here are the results, for your utility and pleasure. :-)

1. Topic

Choose a topic you know and love. Not only will you have more fun, you’ll almost never get writer’s block. The more of yourself you put in your posts, the more readers will reward you in kind.

2. Structure

My proven, thrice-tested, quick-and-easy blog post recipe is:

  • Topic.
  • True story.
  • Broader context.
  • Further reading.
  • Conclusions.
  • Questions.
  • Comments.
  • Debate.
  • Fun!

When you work to this structure, even the most complex issues become manageable.

3.   Wisdom

Collectively, readers know infinitely more than you. So be humble and learn from them. If a reader writes a comment that’s longer and more authoritative than your post, rejoice in the honour. Never ever ever underestimate your audience.

4.   Comment

For every 100 readers, only one will speak. Entice just one more person to play and you double your discussion. A commenter debate can expand your post 5-50 times. More important than the words is the wisdom they contain. To kill trolls and encourage shy readers, insist that all comments are polite. Clever and relevant are optional.

5.   Response

Answer every polite comment swiftly, personally, comprehensively and gratefully. Don’t berate readers for going ‘off topic’. Tangential debates can eclipse ‘ordinary’ ones – to the delight of all.

6.   Link

External links to further reading show you value readers’ brains, not eyeballs. They’ll reward you by returning. Note: most readers prefer external links in separate screens. So don’t ‘boot’ people from the post they’re reading. Also, use italics for emphasis. If you underline words (like I used to) readers may think they’re clickable links.

7.   Aim

The more you woo search engines, the less human your words become. Put readers first, second and third!

8.   Tone

In all my years of blogging, the most powerful word I’ve found is ‘you’. Better yet, it doesn’t wear out with use.

9.   Concision

Tired eyes and tiny attention spans demand pithy content. Keep your words, sentences and paragraphs short. If a sentence is too complicated, riddle it with bullets. If a story’s too long, do a trilogy. Many readers enjoy serialisation and suspense.

10.   Momentum

Readers go where readers are. If you can beat inertia, momentum is sublime. In other words, keep at it!

Your turn!

Well, what do you think? Yes, no, maybe, all of the above or other [define]?

I’d love to know …

I believe frank feedback is the shortest, surest path to excellence. So please give it to me with both barrels!


PaulHassingPaul Hassing, Founder & Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire

Paul has written, edited, proofed and produced print, radio, online, outdoor and business copy for well over 1200 organisations of every size and sector.

He is extremely versatile, having handled everything from websites, recruitment ads, case studies, annual reports and newsletters to catalogues, media releases, user guides and even cookbooks. He works fast, knows what he’s doing and seldom needs to do anything twice.

Paul holds Bachelor of Business and Master of Arts degrees and has ten years human resources experience – including two as Personnel Manager. His work has been awarded three times and his articles have appeared in over 20 magazines worldwide.

In writing numerous blogs for himself and his clients, Paul has moderated hundreds of articles and thousands of comments. One of his pieces features in Seth Godin’s Purple Cow.

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  • Paul Hassing

    Dear Kate, Many thanks for your kind Twitter shout-out and the honour of appearing in this esteemed forum. It’s great to be here and I really hope your readers get something from this post. And if they don’t, I sincerely hope they take me to task! Best regards, P. :)

    • Kate Toon

      Thank you muchly for sharing your precious gems of cleverness. I really like point 3. Even when i set myself up as an authority on a subject matter (which I occasionally have to do to prove I’m worth paying for) I still invite others to comment and debate and tell me if they think I’ve got it right. I learn a LOT from my readers.

      • Paul Hassing

        You’re very welcome, Kate. Given you’re rather a wiz at this caper, I’m delighted you have the wisdom and humility to never stop learning. :)

  • Belinda Weaver

    Great post Paul (of course!)

    Your first point really does belong at the top of the list. I have found the topics that I am most passionate about (or at least have a healthy interest in) are not only easier to write but they get the best response from readers. I think that’s because my interest and passion shines through.

    I would also suggest that bloggers get a bit brazen now and then and step out of the safe zone. Have an opinion, even if the world might disagree. Disagreement makes for great debate!

    • Paul Hassing

      So nice to see you, Belinda! Your recent tour de force on brochure comparison really made me realise how passionate you are about your topic. So it’s great to get a hard datum on that assertion. I agree that safe is actually risky these days. Though risky can scare the crap out of you as you hit PUBLISH. Still, at least you know you’re alive. Thanks so much for joining us today. P. :)

      • Paul Hassing

        Ah, I just realised I can link to Belinda’s piece from this ancillary comment. Check it out; it’s a beaut! :)

        • Belinda Weaver

          Aw thanks Paul!

          • Paul Hassing

            Great content demands distribution. :)

  • Susan Oakes

    Great tips Paul and your formula certainly works for you as seen by the amount of discussions that occurred on another blog. One thing I would add is not to forget internal links so they can stay and engage on your blog for longer.

    • Paul Hassing

      Thank you, Susan. That’s a ripper point you raise. As I build new blogs, I enjoy having an ever-growing selection of posts to cross reference. Done correctly, this can lead readers on a fun journey of discovery. I’m very glad you brought this up. Kind regards, P. :)

    • Kate Toon

      Yep internal links are so important to lead the user to more content, did you check out mine at the bottom?? Thanks for commenting Susan.

  • Leah Klugt

    I have really missed your posts Paul! If anyone can write the above post it’s you – you have always inspired me in my writing, and now I’m inspired even more to create a community on my blog with storytelling at its heart and soul.

    • Paul Hassing

      Hi, Leah! It’s wonderful to see your face among our familiar friends. You were such an ace contributor in our previous forum. I can’t wait to see what you do with yours. Best regards, P. :)

    • Kate Toon

      Salut Leah, I know, I dragged him out of semi retirement and now he’s taken over my blog. Help!!

      • Paul Hassing

        Sooon, my pets … Patience …

      • Paul Hassing

        Sorry about that, Kate. And thanks for your lovely comment, Leah! I only just spotted it, so I apologise for the very late reply. Your words warm my heart and I exhort you to follow your quest. From what I’ve seen, you have all the fixings of a true tribal leader. Kind regards and thanks again, P. :)

  • Desolie Page

    I love that you practise what you preach.
    That’s all!

    • Paul Hassing

      That’s quite enough for me, Desolie. Thank you for the great compliment! :)

    • Kate Toon

      I love that you comment, thanks Desolie!

  • Stephen Hamilton

    Good tips, all of them. The facilitation of useful discussion and debate in the comments is something I have always enjoyed.

    • Paul Hassing

      Onya, Stephen! It sure is fun when a post is dwarfed by the debate/s it triggers. Thank you very much for dropping by. :)

    • Kate Toon

      I agree Stephen, I used to be afraid of the debate, worried that if people second guessed me, I wouldn’t look like an ‘expert’ but now I realised it’s one of the most important parts of blogging

  • Cheryl C. Cigan

    Value. The key to why you are so successful with all of your blogging endeavors is because you provide value. Every word value as reflected by your list of just ten [gasp] surely you could have held out for more???? Like maybe 100 or so!

    As always, a continued honor to fine and read your blog posts. I never leave your words without a few tasty morsels to share with my own circle.

    • Paul Hassing

      Hello Cheryl! Man, this is like putting the band back together! :) It was indeed very tough to get down to ten. But Kate’s brief was sacrosanct. Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing from across the waves. :)

      • Kate Toon

        Okay, this is getting silly. This blog is going OFF How popular are you Paul?? I feel all insecure and unpopular now!!

        • Paul Hassing

          Well, you did say ‘guest’ post. I figured it’d be fine to invite my closest friends. ;)

        • Cheryl C. Cigan

          Oh Kate, not to worry. The real beauty to Paul’s blogging is his articulated ability to impart “slap yourself on the forehead” wisdom of “sure, I knew that” with his uncanny skills of being ever so endearingly human through it all. So glad I found your blog. Now I have two more reasons to keep practicing. You guys really raise the bar high for the rest of us. Continued success.

          • Paul Hassing

            As gracious as ever, Cheryl. :)

      • Cheryl C. Cigan

        Please always leave word of which wharf district you’ve docked your vessel so the big waves can find you :)

        And the band played on…

        • Paul Hassing

          Nice one, Cheryl. I’m also piloting Ovid’s supertrawler back across the Pacific. I’m bound to catch something eventually … :)

    • Kate Toon

      Thanks so much for sharing your comment Cheryl. Yes I was tough on him. Less is more and all that :-P

  • Paul Hassing

    A Twitter comment from Anna Butler @the_copy_chick : ‘I particularly like tip #5, Paul :)’ Cheers, Anna; I’m always eager to hear what you think. :)

    • Anna Butler

      Thank you Paul – and likewise. You’re a veritable font of knowledge and you share so generously. You must have some impressive brownie points with the Karma Fairy ;)

      • Paul Hassing

        Hee hee! Thanks, Anna. I do have some dealings with Faeries, so perhaps the word’s getting around! ;)

        • Anna Butler

          Oh.. wonderful stuff, Paul :) I hope there is a part 2 buried in there somewhere!!

          • Paul Hassing

            So glad you dig, Anna! I totally want to work that treatment up into a novella. But I fear it might be too violent. Then again, the way the world’s going, it could be right on the button! Thinking … :)

          • Anna Butler

            Maybe not a bed time story for the kids, but it’s a fun twist on the usual fantasy stuff for grown ups. Looking forward to reading through some of those other stories too…. hmmm… do I *really* need to get that client project finished today..?

          • Paul Hassing

            A beaut analysis, Anna! Now you’ve REALLY got me thinking! :)

  • Winston Marsh

    Onyer Paul, its good to have you back on air! Thank you for introducing me to Kate too.

    • Paul Hassing

      You honour us, Winston. You’ve been such a support during all my ups and downs, it’s most heartening to see you here. :)

    • Kate Toon

      Glad to have you onboard Winston!

  • Belinda Weaver

    If I can come back into the discussion (look, here’s my wrist band) I wanted to add something to #3.

    Your wise and learned commenters offer you a great opportunity to find quality guest bloggers. When someone does share a new angle or more information, or goes off-topic in an awesome way invite them to share their knowledge with your readers!

    • Paul Hassing

      Sorry, Madam; we require a shirt with collar for Two-up Tuesdays.

      • Paul Hassing

        That said, your comment has sufficient merit to warrant entry to the Members’ Section. Go on then; in you go. :)

        • Belinda Weaver


  • globalcopywrite

    Okay Paul, I’m in a little bit of nirvana here – one of my favourite bloggers guest posting on another one of my favourite blogs. (Go Paul! Go Kate!)

    You’ve put together a great list (no surprise there) but I think you forgot one thing. Every blog should have a call to action. In my opinion, it needs to be obvious, even shameless. If you talk to Brian Massey, the Conversion Scientist, he says you should be shameless.

    Why? Because we’re all blogging for a reason. We want our readers to *do* something. Maybe it’s contact us, maybe it’s follow a link, maybe it’s leave a comment. Very few of us are in it for the pure love of blogging. So that would be my addition – make sure you’re asking your readers to do something to help you out.

    • Belinda Weaver

      Excellent addition Sarah!

    • Paul Hassing

      That’s a damn good point, Sarah. I’m guilty as charged. I’m a terrible converter. And the only time my ebook sold in significant quantities was when YOU were promoting it! Your addition is a ripper. And it’s SO nice to see you again. I hear you’ll be firing up your own blog again soon. Please keep us posted won’t you? :) PS. Buy my ebook. Again. (As if anyone’s actually recruiting any more!)

  • Tash Hughes

    Not sure there’s much left to say (yes I have read all those wonderful comments!) except to agree it is a great list Paul, and written with enough passion to make it interesting and beyond the same-old we read elsewhere.

    I love that you put readers first, second and third – it shows, too.

    • Paul Hassing

      Your generosity of spirit makes me feel like I’m first, second and first, Tash! I don’t know how you manage to track down everything I do, but your unstinting support across all my channels is one of the things that keeps me going. Thank you, yet again! :)

  • Malcolm Owens

    Hi Paul a super post on blogging and one that is timely for me.

    Your insights are brilliant and offer clarity from confusion! Glad to see you back blogging.


    • Paul Hassing

      So kind of you to take time from your break to drop by, Malcolm. I greatly look forward to seeing YOUR next offering! :)

    • admin

      Hi Malcolm and welcome to my blog, glad you loved Paul’s post, keep reading there are some other gems on here! Thanks for commenting.

  • Adam Finlay

    Great advice, Paul! I’m an infrequent blogger, but this is full of golden advice, which I’ll use from time to time for sure. Thanks.

    • Paul Hassing

      Hi, Ad! As you’re a gun editor from whom I’ve taken dozens of tips over the years, I’m delighted to return (at least part of) the favour. :)

    • admin

      Thanks for commenting Adam!

  • Joanna Maxwell

    Finally tracked you down! Great tips, and from someone who’s high on my top five blogger list. A real gem.

    • Paul Hassing

      You’re very kind, Joanna. Lucky the feeling’s mutual! Thank you for visiting. :)

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  • Samaria Creek Morgan Farm

    Wow Paul,
    No,… awesommer than ever.

    You inspired me to blogging way back
    when my dream of breeding and raising perfect horses and teaching people what
    they could learn from them was just a dream.

    Now my dream is bigger and better than I imagined it could be.

    I’m rarely in the office and don’t make time to write.

    Your cheeky email inviting me to read this post inspired me to put off playing
    horses; just for five minutes I thought …piquing curiosity is a tool you use to great advantage :-).

    Point three is excellent; I’ve gained valuable insights from teenagers and

    Congratulations Paul, your writing is a gift to humanity…I’m proud to call
    you my friend.


    • Kate Toon

      Hi Judy, I’m afraid your comment go stuck in my comment tube. But here it is now. I’ll be sure to ask Paul to get back to you. Thanks for visiting my blog!

    • Paul Hassing

      Ah, HERE she is! I’ve been putting so many burrs under your saddle, I thought that beautiful stallion of yours would collapse under the weight! It’s truly great to see you back , Jude. If I had gorgeous horsies at the gate (especially from your herd) I’m pretty sure my comment wrangling would suffer dreadfully. So thank you for stepping out of the sun to see us. And rest assured the pride well and truly goes both ways! Love, P. :)

  • Kate Toon

    Hi Carol, your comment has magically materialised. Thanks for your feedback. I to struggle with internet trolls, I can’t brush them off with a ‘I don’t care smile’! And yes agree blogging is about people. A lot of the blogs on this site ‘give away’ the tricks of the trade, but I think that by sharing what little know how I have, it will come back to me tenfold.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and I’m sure Paul will be back to give you a verbal hug soon.


    • Paul Hassing

      Dear Carol, I’m SO pleased your comment finally turned up. Especially as you tried several times to make it. It sure was worth the wait! Your extraordinarily generous validation of my approach has got me thinking about cancelling tomorrow’s counselling session. It sounds like I’m so on the right tram it’s no longer funny. Your words always add value to my forums. Now your topping up my very soul. For that I’m extremely grateful. Best regards, P. :)

  • Stephen Glanville

    Hi Folks,

    Though my cyberspace rebirth has me yet foetal, what great fortune my guidance is from such bluddy fine people.

    Though late my arrival upon this fine page, to tread all your missives is worth every stage.

    Soon I may catch-up and contemporize, until then your fine trail I hold very high prize.

    You just keep getting better good sir, and I do appreciate it. And it is no surprise to me that you would find yourself in such great company as the marvellous Kate Toon. :-)

    I’ll keep going with what may appear to be random comments along my merry way toward the cyber-present…

    It reminds me of an old comic I saw many years ago – 2 guys sitting in front of a TV that has ‘PRESENT’ written across the screen. I chap turns to the other and says “How much more of the present do we have to watch before the future comes on?” :-)

    I’ll keep reading and learning and see you in the present.

    Many thanks

    Stephen G :-)

    • Kate Toon

      Thank you for your marvelously poetic response and your support on Twitter. Glad we’ve found each other and hope you stick around… the future is nearly here!!

      Best wishes,

  • marty preston

    I have never tried the debate tactic I think I will test this to seee if it works.Thanks

Who is Kate Toon?

Hi, I'm an award-winning SEO copywriter and SEO consultant with over 18 years’ experience. I've worked with big brands such as Westpac, the RTA, Curash and Kmart and helped countless small businesses to produce great content.



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