Want to start blogging or add a blog to your website but not sure where to start? Don’t worry because in this guide I give you my process for creating blog posts that not only rank in search engines but also have good engagement.
Step 1: The Subject
The first step is to choose what your post is going to be about and one of the most important things I have learnt is:
- Don’t write about myself such as How I Do xyz or I like do xyz, because: a) No one will type that into search engines and b) no one really cares how I do it
Instead you want to find subjects that people are looking for and the majority of blogs/blog posts that have high levels of traffic are either answering a question or teaching them how to do something.
All you have to do is look at the rest of the EcommerceGold website to see that all of my posts fall into these two categories.
Step 2: Keyword Research
Now you have decided that what you want to write about, you need to find out if:
- Are people actually searching for this
- How much competition is there
- What alternative keywords can I use
This encompasses points 1 and 3 above and there are many different tools out there that you can use, both free and paid but when you are just getting started, Google’s alphabet soup as it is affectionately known is a great free tool.
It is also very easy to do as you just go to Google .com or .co.uk (if you are focusing on the UK) and start typing your initial post name ideas into the search bar and see what Google autosuggests.
As you can see in the image above, I started typing out the title of this post and Google suggests some alternative queries that people have searched for recently.
Not only does this show me that people are searching for this topic but also gives me information on more specific titles I could go for, such as UK or an example blog post, which may be easier to rank for than the more general search term.
Another great source of information within Google searches is the related searches at the bottom of the page as this can give you more search terms and keywords that you can add in to your post.
You want to do this for all of the potential blog post titles that you are thinking of using and this will give you a good selection of keywords and phrases that you can include in your blog post.
Also take a look at the titles of the posts that appear on page one in your search, are they using that specific title or something slightly different? If titles aren’t all the same, then there may be an opportunity there for you to rank your post.
You can also use the alternative titles that others are using and do some search analysis around these terms as well.
But what about competition?
For pretty much any search term, you are going to face competition but you can increase your chances of ranking higher by focusing on search terms with easier competition.
For example, this search term of this article: How to Write a Blog Post is extremely competitive and puts it head to head with some of the biggest names in the industry, meaning it is going to be a challenge to get it to rank on page 1.
But changing it to How to Write a Blog Post UK, provides less established competition and increases the chance of the post making it onto page 1.
The next step in analysing your competition is to take a look at the posts that they have created and ask yourself:
- Is the content any good?
- Does the content really answer the question?
- Can I produce a much better quality post?
If the answer to the first two is its ok or no and you know that you can write a much better post, then it is definitely a post that is worth considering. This can also sometimes be the case with some of the big names in your chosen niche as they have a half decent post that ranks well but if you can produce a really top quality piece of content, then you can out rank them.
Step 3: Plan out the Content
Now you know what the post is going to be about and have a list of keywords that you want to include, you need to plan out your content, so that:
- It makes sense
- It has a logical flow
- It answers the question
Now obviously, you need to plan what you are going to write but there are a couple of other elements you want to think about before you start bashing the keys!
From your keyword research, you probably have a good idea as to what the title of your post is going to be but you want to keep it short and to the point by briefly explaining what the post is about as more people are likely to click on the post from search engines.
When thinking about your title, you also want to consider your URL and try and match the two up as close as possible. Many platforms will auto populate the URL but in some cases, you may want to edit this to remove unnecessary words.
For example, this post includes the words beginner’s guide in the title but the URL is just ecommerce-gold.com/how-to-write-a-blog-post/.
This is where headers come into play and a way to think about how to use these are:
- H1 – This is the main header tag and is used for your post title and the page should only contain 1 of these.
- H2 – These should be used for the main sections of your page, for example on this post, all of the Steps use the H2 tag.
- H3 – These should be used for sub-sections, such as the Header Tags above. This helps break up your content so that it is easier to read.
- H4 – These are ideal for sub-sub-sections and as with the H3 header tags, they can help break your content up into smaller, more easily consumable chunks.
There are also H5 and H6 tags which follow on from the H4 tags. Now you don’t need to over do these header tags, just use them where it makes sense, for example moving from one section to another. These header tags also help search engines understand a little better what the content is about.
A good practise is to fill out all of your header tags before you start writing your post as you will then have an outline for your post. This makes it easier to write a post, rather than just having a blank screen in front of you.
Using images in blog posts can be very beneficial as they provide visual stimulus for the reader as a long post of just text is pretty boring to look at!
Using images correctly throughout your post can really help keep people engaged and depending on the type of post, they can also help the content.
For example, if you are producing a How to Post, showing images of the different steps can help the reader understand your content and as they say, a picture can be worth a thousand words.
I also highly recommend that you use original images if possible, a stock image here and there is ok but using too many of these stock, generic images doesn’t really add any value to your blog post.
You have already looked at a couple of these in this post! Layout elements are different ways of displaying your content and one of my favourite ones is using bullets points or numbered points and it makes it easy for the reader to digest that content, rather than it being in a normal paragraph likes this.
Other popular elements include tables and quotes but there are many different ones to choose from and they do vary depending on the platform, page builder and plugins/apps that you are using.
As with images, these can help to break up your content and provide a different visual stimulus for the reader and when done properly, can help the reader process and digest the information you are providing in a much easier way.
Step 4: Writing the Content
Bet you never thought you would get to this point!
If you lay out your blog post well before starting write, it becomes so much easier to write! And you can also produce content much quicker as you aren’t trying to do everything at once.
But there are two main traps that new bloggers fall into:
Writing Blocks of Text
I did this when I started and would write 10, 15 or 20+ line blocks of text but you want to stop that before you start! Instead use short, punchy sentences that are no longer than 4/5 lines.
This not only makes it easier to read but it also looks good on mobile devices, a 15 line long paragraph looks like an essay on a phone. Some bloggers even go as far as using just using one sentence per paragraph but I personally feel that is a bit too far (even though I do it myself occasionally!).
Using smaller paragraphs also makes it easier for you as the writer to go through and proof read the article after you have written it.
Going Off Topic
Lots of bloggers do this as they want to add word count to their posts but this is counter productive as you are wasting time writing irrelevant content that most people aren’t going to read.
Instead, keep the post on topic and make sure that it answers the question that your post set out to do.
If in this post, I started talking about web hosting, themes, page builders or plugins that are awesome for WordPress bloggers, I would have lots of people click off because they came to this post to learn how to create a blog post.
Keep the post on topic and don’t worry about the word count, it is much better to produce a high quality piece of content that is between 600 – 1000 words, than a 1500 word post that waffles on about stuff that doesn’t help the reader.
This is a bonus point but think of your blog post like any book, it needs a beginning, middle and end. Your title/intro paragraph is the start, then main content is the middle and having a conclusion gives it an end.
Lots of bloggers don’t give a conclusion and lots of visitors to blogs will actually go to the conclusion before they even look at the content. So spend a little time creating a conclusion and give a short summary of what you have covered in the post.
Step 5: Proof Read/Editing
Once you have finished writing your content, you want to save the draft and then walk away from the post. Proof reading after writing often leads to mistakes being over looked.
It is much better to come back a day or so later and proof read the post with fresh eyes and you may also want to do some tweaking to the layout of the post so that the formatting is better.
It is also advisable to proof read the post a couple of times as mistakes can slip through the first read through.
So there it is, my full guide to writing a blog post. Everything that I talk about in this post is the process that I follow for all of the blog posts that I write, not only for this site but for others I have as well.
I hope you found this guide helpful and it has given you some useful hints and tips so that you can go and start writing excellent blog posts for your website.