i) Start with a hook - build your song around a hook line, usually your title line. Most good songwriters say this should come first. For instance, say you have a line "Like He loves me." That's your hook. Build a good melody that's pleasant to the ear and makes people want to sing it. Surround it with a chorus that sings easily with a catchy tune, then surround that with verses that keep pointing to the hook. Make your hook grasping and memorable then use your chorus time to prop it up and drive it home.
ii) Focus - follow your theme through with a logical progression. If the theme begins to surf around you've lost their interest. Many times people write songs that end up being 3 songs in one, and bring in way to many characters or themes, etc. Make sure you keep your focus. When the listener has finished listening to your song, they should know exactly what you're point is, and not have to wonder who's talking now, and what are you saying, etc.
iii) Identifiable theme - write songs that people say "yea I feel that way" or "I never thought of it like that, but I like that" or yea, that's me" etc. Write songs people can relate too. Songs that touch us, are songs that we want to sing along with. I think it's imperative in our writing that we don't write songs that the listener say "gee, that must of been some experience for you, I wish I could relate. We need to have the song relate to the listener, so that they can sing along, so that they know where we're coming from.
iv) Connectability - They can connect with the song. A song is a song, when someone walks away and says "yea, me too." What's going on in your mind right now? What's going on in people's minds who are hurting and looking for answers? What's going on in regular Joe's mind right now, and how can you speak to him through a song?
v) Solid Structure - songwriting is not poetry, but must have a poetic sense: A song is a 3 minute story. A beginning, middle and end. Make it rhyme, and stick to your scheme. A song is a set of lyrics set to music. Rhyming is found throughout today’s as well as yesterday’s music. Do a little search and you’ll find that the vast majority of popular songs rhyme. Rhyming gives songs a "poetic" feeling. Once you set a listener up with a rhyme, they then look for it to rhyme that same way the next time. For instance: Let’s say you start a verse off and rhyme the 2nd and 4th line. This is very typical of a 4 line verse. It’s good to have a verse end with a rhyme. The next verse should not have the 2nd and 4th line rhyme, or the 1st and 3rd. You’ve started a rhyme scheme of the 2nd and 4th line rhyming. You can’t change it now. Near rhymes can also be used. Near rhymes, will rhyme a part of the word, and sometimes not even all that closely. Eg. Pam Tillis's song "Don't tell me what to do” We tried and we tried but its over. Guess I didn't fit the image in your mind. Now you tell me to find another lover. Oh baby, aren't you gettin' outta line. Notice that mind/line is a near rhyme. If the song stayed with perfect rhymes, they'd have to use kind/find/behind etc. But here the "d" was dropped and the "in" near rhyme of "line" was used. Remember, don't OVER RHYME and make sure your songs have solid structure. (verses match, etc.)