The process of blog writing can seem daunting with all the tips and tricks and step-by-step guides out there to get the blog written and noticed. It is true that there are very intricate and necessary factors involved in writing, editing, and fine-tuning blog posts. Don’t let that overwhelm you. If you follow these 15 tips to create a successful blog post and use these recommendations for best blog writing practices, you’re sure to create a hit!
Here are the top 15 most important points to consider when writing your blog posts:
1. Blog Title
When constructing your blog title and <h1> heading tag, the best way to start is by doing keyword phrase research. You want to focus on the target market and your competitors before writing the title of your blog post. One specific way to do this is to look at Google search results. You can also use a service like SEM Rush. This site offers an in-depth analysis of your keyword phrases, giving you great ways to be competitive in your market.
You should use your competition to your advantage. Research what they are doing and use it as inspiration for your post. You can do this by using a similar keyword phrase to rank against other high ranking blog posts. Once you’ve picked the keyword phrase, be sure it is placed not only in the title but throughout the blog post in specific places. This may include the alt tags of your images and within the first 200 words of your copy.
Don’t forget to also be creative and make your headline stand out. Online headline generator tools are great for finding attention-grabbing titles. When you need a boost, Inbound Now has a generator that is fabulous. You can follow that up by analyzing the title you’ve chosen with the ShareThrough engagement tester.
2. Blog Date
It’s always a good practice to put the published date on the blog post. Depending on the type and content of your article, you may want to show your readers that this information is recent and relevant.
Blogs may also be promoted as evergreen content, meaning that it has the potential to be timeless, and in which case does not need a date. This type of blog usually requires additional time and resources. This content will need continual updating and editing to keep it current and usable. Many times, these are case studies, in-depth research articles or timeless issues for your industry (e.g. “How to Guides,” “Best of,” etc.)
The very beginning of your blog should not only grab the reader’s attention, but it also needs to include the keyword phrase that you are trying to rank with. This is one of the most important places to strategically put the keyword phrase.
Another good practice is to make this keyword or keyword phrase stand out to your reader by making it bold.
You should also use the introduction to outline what the post will be about, and potentially include a table of contents. Not every blog needs a table of contents, but they are helpful for longer articles.
Make sure that you know your audience too. Before you get to the body of the article it is wise to decide if this will be a conversation piece or something factual. Get ready to cite sources and use real-world data if necessary.
4. Body Copy
The body of your copy is where you finally get to the meat and potatoes of the blog. Here is where your expertise can shine. While this content might be very easy to write, there are plenty of things to consider while writing this part.
Each subheading (<h2> tags and <h3> tags) in the body copy needs to be relevant to your keyword or keyword phrase. Details about best subheading practices can be found on the Yoast website. Use your subheadings intelligently to break up the sections of content.
Another point to consider is the font size. You shouldn’t have to change this each time you write a new blog, but it is best to keep it between 14 and 16 pixels. Pay extra attention to the optimal line length. You may also find the Golden Ratio Typography Calculator useful. This site will help you discover the best font size for your blog.
The body of your copy needs to be easy to read. Many people like to scan read articles these days, so be sure to use these styles throughout your copy:
- Bold words
- Capital Letters for Emphasis
- Underline for links
Use the following format for lists:
- Use bullet points for unordered lists
- Use numbers or letters for ordered lists
Avoid the following:
- Long or run-on sentences
- More than 4 sentences in a paragraph
Plagiarism is always a hot topic and, should, of course, be avoided at all times. Completely copying another blog or any content is absolutely inappropriate. You can easily check your work on QueText to verify it is plagiarism free. There are even more free plagiarism detecting suggestions on eLearning Industry.
5. Images & Videos
A great way to maintain your audience throughout your blog post is to use images and videos. Blogging.com has written an informative article about Images in Your Blog Posts: Best Practices which discusses why you should use images, how many images you should use, and image placement ideas.
You should always use a featured image in your post. Many people struggle with using stock images because they can be pricey. Fear not, there are plenty of free stock image sites:
TIP: WhoIsHostingThis.com has published a comprehensive list of websites for Free Stock Photos.
When placing images, you ideally want one for every 350+ words. Make sure the copy wraps around the image (aligned left or right) or have the image sit above the section and stretch across the content area. You should always use ALT tags in each image.
WordPress image optimization plugins are also a good idea to use here, in order to compress (or reduce) the image size for faster page loading time. A WordPress plugin like ShortPixel or Smush Image Compression and Optimization will do the trick.
Videos can also be a magical tool for your blog post. They really help lower the bounce rate and keep readers engaged. The longer a reader stays engaged on your page, the better.
Links are very important for improving the user experience (UX). Always include both internal and external content for reference, but placement is key here. You want to be careful not to send the reader to an external link quickly by placing an outbound link in your introduction. Also, you want to use an internal link for your call to action (CTA) button to promote yourself and other pages of your website.
Be sure to avoid “click here” links and instead, use the keyword phrase or name of the page or post you are linking to. Long URLs also look tacky in a post. Additional information about properly using links can be found on Moz.com. This site is a great community of search engine optimization (SEO) gurus. They break down every concept of SEO and make it as simple as possible.
Just like the research paper you did back in high school, a blog post should have a nice wrap-up section. The conclusion should reiterate the introduction and promote the main idea of the blog post.
Also, consider asking a question at the end of your conclusion. This will encourage your readers to comment. You want to maintain good interaction with your readers, and this a great way to do that.
8. Call to Action (CTA)
Another great interaction to include at the end of the blog post is a call to action or CTA. Keep your CTA on topic with the post itself. For service-based websites, include a phone number, and to generate more leads, include a form.
Keep your form short and to the point. It should, at a minimum, contain:
- Company name
- E-mail address
- Phone number
- Best time to contact
As stated above, getting your reader to interact is huge and the comment section is the primary place to do it. The comment section can allow the reader to ask questions or hopefully leave words of positivity. A great comment section will allow for threads.
Just be sure to not give away too much free advice that it turns into consulting. When this happens, ask the reader to contact you directly for further help.
11. Related Posts
Included at the bottom of the blog post should be 2, 4 or 6 other related blogs or articles. Each one should include an image, post title, and date.
WordPress plugins for related posts are also a great solution if your theme doesn’t already have this feature. Check these plugins out:
Let’s face it, tags can be tricky and can affect your ranking if not used properly. However, tags are popular on microblogs like Tumblr and Twitter because they are not hierarchical and can micro-categorize data. WPBeginner has a reference article for properly using tags in a WordPress website.
If you decide to use tags but don’t want them indexed by the search engines, the tag archives should be set up as:
no index, follow
Ultimately you may decide that tags are not the right choice for your blog.
Going beyond the blog content itself, you want to make sure all other sections of the page are cohesive. A sidebar can be very important when trying to keep your readers engaged. Here are some recommendations for the sidebar:
- Blog search field
- Recent blog posts
- Popular blog posts
- Categories list for blog posts
- Monthly archives list for blog posts
- Social feeds widget (like Facebook and Twitter)
- Tag widget
- And many more!
14. Newsletter Subscribe Form
When you write pertinent and interesting material why not get your audience to subscribe to your newsletter. You want your blog to ask them to subscribe.
An appropriate request needs to be simple in order to be effective. Just ask for a name and e-mail address. Make sure the newsletter subscription plugin integrates into your 3rd party email marketing software (e.g. AWeber, MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.) Using an email marketing software is the best way to keep in contact with your audience. Without a software system, you will be extremely limited in your ability to communicate with your readers.
Like most things in WordPress, there’s a plugin for that. Here are some options for a newsletter subscription plugin:
When asking for a reader to subscribe, you should set trigger events. This can be things like being idle for 60 seconds, scrolling down to 40% of the blog post, and exiting the page.
15. SEO: Page Title & Meta Description
Writing a blog post can be time-consuming, technical, and it will be a futile effort if you don’t get found in search engine results. Using the WordPress Yoast SEO plugin will definitely give you an edge. Yoast is the number one WordPress SEO plugin because it gives invaluable tools to write the best content for maximum search engine results.
Be sure that the SEO Page Title and Meta Description includes the same keyword phrase you are attempting to rank for.
Don’t forget to look at what your competition is doing in the Google search results! Lastly and most importantly, don’t skip this step!
There are many components to write a successful blog post. The important thing to remember is that mastering all of these tips will come with time and practice, and someday might become second nature. There are a lot of choices to make but fortunately, there are a lot of tools and plugins to make all of these suggestions much easier. Once you get the hang of this and begin using the right WordPress plugins, your blog will become a well-oiled machine.
How do you think your current blog posts read when compared to these tips? Let us know in the comments below.
For help designing your blog call 602-633-4758 or contact Golden Oak Web Design.