I write for a living, but I also enjoy helping people learn how to write well. If you’ve been out of school for some time, you may sit down at your laptop with every intention of composing an amazing blog that will inform and inspire your clients or patients. You may even have a great plan: start with an idea, compose an article outline, and flesh out the post with gusto and grace. 


But your phone dings, and you giggle at the meme a pal posted on Facebook. You start scrolling… and scrolling… and scrolling… and soon you’re lost. Or you receive an email, and you begin composing a response. If you don’t have the “gumption” to write, as my grandpa would have said, you may have a hard time starting and a harder time completing your blog post. 


Some people sincerely enjoy writing. I’ve explained my desire to write like this. If I had no paper or ink, I’d compose prose in the dirt, knowing it would blow away with the wind. The joy, for me, is in the writing. I could go on and on, but for your sake, I’ll return to the point. You can write a blog.


In this post, you’ll learn:

  • The three classifications of article outlines
  • The method I use to outline articles and blogs
  • An excellent resource to improve your writing skills
  • How to contact me for article writing, editing, and SEO services

Three Classifications of Article Outlines

Just as an architect begins with a drawing of the structure she’ll build, a writer should start a project with a content plan. The best way to organize your content plan is to create an outline and work on it as you’re brainstorming. Then before you write, erase anything off-topic and shift things that are in the wrong place.


There are three main classifications of article outlines. You can use an alphanumeric, full sentence, or decimal outline. These types of outlines are great if you’re composing a research article. You probably implemented one or more of these when writing college papers. 


An alphanumeric outline for a blog generally needs no more than three levels of information per idea. Here’s an example of how I’d outline two paragraphs about planting flowers using an alphanumeric outline. The hierarchy of information is denoted by first Roman numerals, then capital letters, then Arabic numerals, and lastly, lowercase letters. 


  1. Planting flowers
    1. Know your zone
      1. Dallas-Fort Worth is in zone 8
        1. What is important about knowing your zone
    2. Know your soil
      1. How to identify the type of soil in your yard
        1. Common types of soil in zone 8
      2. How to enrich poor soil
      3. Characteristics of fertile soil


In short, the decimal outline is similar to the alphanumeric article outline. Hierarchy is denoted by numbers, like this:


1.0 Planting flowers

1.1 Know your zone

1.1.1 Dallas-Fort Worth is in zone 8

2.0 Know your soil

2.1 How to identify the type of soil in your yard


The third article outline classification is the full-sentence outline, and it’s my go-to outline for all writing projects. It forces me to use full sentences instead of only ideas. A full-sentence outline will easily transition into paragraphs that construct an actual article with a beginning, middle, and end.

My Method for Outlining Articles and Blogs

Though I like the full-sentence article outline best, I have revised it to create a method that best suits me. I tend to write headlines about the ideas I want to explain in my article. Next, I add a full sentence beneath the heading. This is the first paragraph’s main idea. I write the second paragraph’s topic sentence, and so on, then I go back and pull up my research resources and fill in the supporting sentences.


Sometimes I rearrange the sentences, paragraphs, or even the headings before I build out the article. After writing, I go back and edit, rearrange, and tweak the composition even more.

The coolest benefit of a full-sentence outline is that when you remove the numbers and letters in the outline, you’re left with excellent paragraph structure.


The simplest way to structure a sentence is: subject, then predicate. Remember, the subject is the noun and the predicate is the verb. As you add additional details, nouns, and verbs to a simple sentence, it becomes more complex. 


The simplest way to structure a paragraph for optimal readability is:

  • Topic sentence reveals the purpose of the paragraph
  • Supporting sentences add details
  • Secondary supporting sentences add more details
  • When a new idea is introduced, create a new paragraph
  • For online writing, try to keep sentences to no more than 20-25 words
  • Keep paragraphs no longer than 5 sentences; fewer is better
  • Add secondary titles (H2s) above groups of paragraphs under the same topic, as I’ve done in the blog you’re reading now


I’ve provided an example from last week’s blog below. Can you see how the topic sentence is followed by supporting information? I could go backward and re-create a full-sentence outline by deconstructing the sentences in these paragraphs, in order.



Like most businesses, it boils down to profits. Google makes a ridiculous amount of money by selling advertising. You’ve probably noticed the first and last few entries marked “Ad” on a Google results page. 

Google also must keep its searchers, like you and me, clicking on the search engine results listings. Searchers do not want to click on five different entries and find the same result.

Resources to Improve Your Writing Skills

If getting started is not your biggest struggle, building an article outline may not be helpful. I encourage even my professional copywriters to read and work on the activities offered at no cost by Purdue University. The Online Writing Lab, or OWL, provides a wealth of educational content to help anyone improve her writing and editing skills. Visit www.owl.purdue.edu

Professional Blog and Article Writing, SEO, or Editing Services

If writing just isn’t your bag, building an article outline may be about as fun as a root canal. You may rather be poked by a million pencils than have to complete a blog post.

Call Identiwrite Creative for help. Our professional writers compose content for both print articles and online publications, including blogs. The online content we write is optimized for search to help your website rank higher for relevant terms and phrases.

We can also edit blog posts you start or use ideas you submit to create your posts. Everything we write is custom, so we can write on any topic.

There’s no cost for discussing your website, blog, SEO plan, or writing project, so call Riese Duty at 972-679-6885 or email [email protected]

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