Doesn’t it seem like everybody has a blog these days? The rise and quick progress of technology has made it possible for people from all walks of life to write about pretty much anything. From travel to food, fitness, and finance – no topic is off limits. According to Statistica.com, there are well over 350 million sites on Tumblr and millions more on other platforms.
In order to be successful in this highly competitive environment, you need a solid blogging checklist.
You always want your content to stand out and be on top of the search engines. If your posts are to reach thousands or even millions, they have to be informative, provide value, and be well-structured. But how do you do that? It’s actually easier than you think.
We’re about to dive into the details and strategies of building a successful blog post that will receive attention, drive traffic to your site, and get you the likes and shares you want.
Know Your Audience
Before even beginning to write your post, you need to know who you’re talking to. Although content creation can be a deeply personal experience at times, the goal is for people to read it, right? Otherwise, why is it on the Internet?
Understanding who you’re writing to helps guide each of your posts. It will help you decide which topics are interesting to your readers and are of value to them. For instance, if you’re a vegan blogger, your target audiences are people trying to go on a vegan diet.
Ask yourself these questions before beginning to write each of your posts:
First, what are some of the challenges new vegans face?
Second, what topics are not spoken much about but deserve more attention?
Third, what is of your personal experience related to dieting and food that you feel may be interesting to share?
You can tailor these questions to whatever niche you’re writing about, and the answers will help you decide on what is of interest to your reader. Since creating blog posts costs both time and money, you want to make sure that you get this step right to reap the fruits of your labor.
Have In-Depth Knowledge or Experience about the Topic
No one can write a travel blog about backpacking through Asia like someone who’s actually backpacked through Asia before. No one can write a personal finance blog about getting out of debt like someone who’s actually managed to get out of debt.
There is nothing that beats firsthand knowledge and experience. Sure, you have the Internet at your disposal and can certainly research the topics, but the trouble about not having personal knowledge or experience is that you’ll be relying on recycling all the information that is already out there.
Yes, there are creators out there who repeat information. Many do just fine. But we know that you want to do more than “just fine.” Readers don’t share or like posts that are “just fine.”
If you’ve backpacked through Asia, you can describe the ambiance; the laughter shared with new friends, the music, and the interesting food you came across. If you made your way out of debt, you could describe the lessons learned and your new perspective on money.
Having personal experience on the topic will help give your content a unique point of view. It will give your reader something special to remember you by. It will also give them much more than what a simple google search on the topic will give them.
Remember that readers are bombarded with all sorts of content on a daily basis. It is your job to make sure that your content is unique. Drawing from personal experiences will help achieve that.
Do Keyword Research
No matter how well you write, if it doesn’t rank high on Google, chances are, no one will read it. Doing keyword research is, therefore, an essential step in creating a successful blog post.
Successful keyword research can be broken down to the following steps:
First, list topics related to your site. Those would be topics that you want to rank high for. For instance, if you’re a pet food blogger, words or phrases such as “pet food,” “pet nutrition,” “healthy pet food,” or “cooking for pets,” might be some of the topics you’ll write about.
Second, list keywords for those topics. The next step is to find out what your audience wants. What are they hopping onto Google to research about? What phrases are they typing in and searching for?
If we take this pet food blogger example, your audience may search for phrases such as: “safe and healthy pet foods,” “healthy treats for your dog/cat/etc.,” “top-ranked dog/cat/etc. food.”
Third, list related search terms from Google. If you’re a little stuck on your keywords, listing the related search terms that pop up on the bottom of your Google search will help you add more relevant keywords.
This will also help you see what other popular topics your target audience is searching for.
Once you have a good number of keywords in your niche, it is important to know which to use and which is the main focus keyword. Information is nothing if you don’t know how to use it, right?
Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google Trends are some of the tools you can use to check the search volumes of the keywords you’re considering. These tools will help you see which keywords or phrases are popular and you can then use this as the basis of your SEO strategy.
Come up with a Great Title and Title Tag that Get Attention
For your work to compete with the millions of other posts out there in your niche, your title needs to command attention. You need to entice your potential audience and make them want to click and read.
Your headline is what will ultimately drive traffic to your site. Great headlines can increase traffic by as much as 500%. This just highlights how important a killer headline is.
So how do you come up with an amazing title?
The Five Steps
First, identify the subject matter. It’s essential to give your reader an idea of what the article is about. You also want to make sure that you draw the right reader to your post – your ideal target audience.
Second, evoke emotion. All humans have emotions. This is our very essence as living beings. Having a title that evokes emotion will, therefore, help you connect with your audience.
Third, keep it short. While keeping it short, make sure that you clearly state what the reader will get from reading your post.
Fourth, optimize for search. You can optimize for search by including the popular keywords that you’ve identified while doing your keyword research.
Some examples of excellent titles, using the above steps are:
Idea – Traveling abroad tips
Title – 15 Insanely Useful Tips No One Will Tell You About Traveling Abroad
Idea – Freelance writing mistakes for beginners
Title – 25 Freelance Writing Mistakes Every Beginner Makes (And How To Avoid Them)
Once you’ve considered all these above steps, you’re on your way to getting an excellent title that will instantly hook and draw your ideal audience in.
Write a Good Meta Description
The meta description is what shows up below the post in google search results. Writing a good one that reflects what the post is actually about is critical to getting good click-throughs and click-through rates by searchers on Google.
Understand Blog Post Formatting
Luckily for you, this step is pretty easy. Blog post formatting is all about making your post as easy to read as possible. Use the steps below as your guide.
First, an introduction that hooks your reader. A well-written introduction encourages your reader to scroll down and continue reading your post. Your introduction needs to introduce the topic of the post, and also highlight why it’s relevant to your reader.
Second, pay attention to subheadings. Subheadings are one of the best ways to be great at blogging. They help not only to guide your reader through your blog post but also break up the main points and ideas that you cover.
Third, use short paragraphs. If you follow a number of well-established bloggers, you will notice that most of their blogs have one thing in common – short paragraphs. Short paragraphs, sometimes even one sentence paragraphs, help your reader digest the article without feeling overwhelmed by all the information.
Write Your Post
Using all the steps that we’ve mentioned, it is now time to write your blog post. Always keep the first point on this list in mind – your target audience. This will help to dictate your tone and how detailed your content needs to be.
Another point to always consider when writing your post is what the goal of your post is. What do you want your reader to remember when they’re finished reading it? It is always important that your reader learns something new or takes away something from your post otherwise, what’s the point of reading it?
Whatever you end up writing about, make sure to have a great Meta Description. Think of it as a short resume of what the post is about. It should be catchy and entice readers to click on your blog.
Use Internal and External Links
Links are another part of a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy for your site. Internal links, or inbound links, are hyperlinks that you insert into your post and they help guide your reader to another one of your own pages.
Internal links help your reader stay longer on your site and the more they read relevant or interesting information on your site, the more likely they are to follow, share, or like your blog.
External links, or outbound links, direct your reader to another website. They are also important for your SEO strategy. This may confuse you. Why should you direct people to another website? Well, external links help improve your site’s credibility. When you have external links, you should always link to reputable sites and pages that are popular.
The other site that you’re linking to is also able to see that you’ve linked to their post, and this at times, encourages them to link back to your site on another post of theirs.
The more external links you can receive from reputable sites, the more credible Google will view your site. This will help you rank higher.
Add Interesting Images and a Featured Image
This step on our list is important to help your reader get through your blog post. Unfortunately, good writing alone is just not enough to get your post the attention it deserves.
It makes perfect sense; your reader is bombarded with tons of information every day, the best way to help hook them is by adding pictures to your blog post.
Since blog posts are a visual medium, images should definitely not be an afterthought.
From Ordinary to Exciting
Think of images as a supporting tool that helps take your post from ordinary to exciting. Having relevant and exciting images also helps you attract more visitors.
Mastering this important step of including images in your post will help your content get the recognition you want.
Add a Call To Action
Your CTA (Call To Action) is basically what you want to achieve through your blog post. Do you want your readers to share the post on social media? Do you want them to subscribe or follow your blog? Do you want to engage with your readers in the comments section?
Whatever it is that you want your blog post to achieve should be clearly articulated in your CTA.
Finally, Post and Share
So you’ve written your amazing blog post, and now all you need to do is share it. Social sharing is a crucial element of marketing your content, but before you start, you first need to know and understand which platforms are most relevant. In other words, where can you find your target market?
For instance, most Facebook users in the US fall in the 25 to 34 year age group. Let’s also consider the fact that Facebook has over 2 billion monthly active users. When it comes to Pinterest, 45% of women online have Pinterest accounts. Use these platforms to get inspired for blog post ideas.
Doing thorough research on the social media platforms that your target market are on will help you decide on which platforms to share your content on so that you can reach them.
Measure Your Traffic
Monitoring things like bounce rate, time on the page and how deep into the article people get can give you a good idea for different ways to update and improve your article over time.
Blogging is fun. It allows you to share with the world your knowledge, experience, thoughts, and feelings about any topic. But of course, you don’t want your site to be lost in the millions of other sites out there. In order to separate yourself and be at the top of the search engines, use the checklist tips listed above. Use a catchy title; take care of the on-page optimization; research writing ideas, and have an engaging meta description.
Can you think of any other useful tips for successful content? Share your thoughts in the comments section.