They weren’t completely off the mark. Most blogs do fail. But that’s because most people don’t understand how blogging really works. They spend way too much time and effort trying to make things look pretty, and ignore the most important thing that makes or breaks a blog: writing the damn blog posts! And believe me, it takes a lot of effort to write a good blog post, let alone a great one!
This is sad because as a blogger, writing amazing and ultra-valuable blog posts is what determines whether you can get repeat readers who choose to become your followers, subscribers, and eventually, buyers.
Basically, you want to convert a random reader into a fan who will subscribe to your email list, come back to read more from you, remember your name, recommend your blog to friends and family members, buy from you, and more. That takes work!
So, in this hyper-meta blog post, I’ll teach you exactly how to write the kind of blog posts that have helped me build a 10,000-plus-subscriber email list and a six-figure blog in under four years, as a side-blogger no less, so you too can do what I’ve done.
In this post:
A Few Words About AI For Bloggers
When I wrote the first version of this blog post some four years ago, we didn’t have ChatGPT or a gazillion other AI writing assistants. Then, a couple of years ago, we started seeing platforms like Jasper, WriteSonic, Copy AI, and more. Heck, I was so impressed, that I even wrote an in-depth review/tutorial about one of these AI writing tools!
Little did I know that soon after AI will come for us all in some of the worst ways possible!
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against technology or even AI. Platforms such as ChatGPT, BARD, and others can be immensely useful to writers in many ways. It can assist with your research, and it can help you construct better sentences and paragraphs, but what it cannot do yet is write like you! Sure, you can train it to mimic your voice and tone, but it doesn’t have your experience, nor does it have your ability to grow in the ways that only you can.
Basically, you are the only one who has your experiences, after all.
And, from what I have learned about blogging, your audience sticks with you for you. Because content isn’t rare or unique—they’re everywhere. But there’s only one of you! And the tool you use to stand apart and connect with your readers is your words!
So, if you choose to use AI to make your writing better, by all means, go ahead. But make sure that:
- The final blog post sounds like you wrote it, and not a set of codes.
- The information within comes from you and other reliable sources.
- The information is accurate.
- The post relates to your readers and addresses their pain points as completely as possible, without losing the human touch.
That said, yes, I do recognize the power of AI, and in fact, I will outline a few ways you can use AI to grow your blog that doesn’t involve having it write the entire post for you.
Make Sure You’re Starting Your Blog Right
Before you start writing blog posts, I wanted to touch base with you on proper blog setup. After all, if you do not have a strong base, your journey forward won’t be easy.
If you’ve been around, I may sound like a broken record, but I still want to say this for those who’re new here.
If you’re a serious blogger who treats blogging as a legit business and not just a hobby, if you want to someday make a sizable income from your blog, then you should have a self-hosted WordPress blog—it is by far the most powerful blogging platform with unlimited potential for scale.
To start your WordPress (self-hosted) blog:
- You’ll need a domain name (I got mine from NameCheap).
- You’ll need to sign up for a hosting service (I use SiteGround for this blog).
- Then you’ll need to set up WordPress on SiteGround.
- Once your setup is complete, choose a good and reputable theme for your blog that can scale with your growing needs. I personally use and recommend Astra. I also use the Elementor Pro page builder on this site. (Elementor Pro is totally optional; Astra, especially Astra Pro, is more than capable of handling your needs. Elementor is great for those of you who want a more custom look and feel.)
The 3 Most Important Types of Blog Posts to Write as a Content Marketer
Before I give you the ultimate guide to writing a blog post, I need to clarify what kind of blog posts you’ll learn to write: the content kind.
Basically, if you write op-eds, essays, or thought pieces, then this isn’t necessarily the guide for you.
This ultimate guide to writing blog posts is for content marketers who want to not just share ideas, but give value to readers with the expectation of selling something. It may be that you want to sell a product for which you’re an affiliate marketer. Maybe you want to sell your own service or products. Or, perhaps, you want to sell your ideas in which case your readers will be moved to follow you, sign up for your email list, bookmark your blog, share comments, etc.
Essentially, the goal of each blog post you’ll write following this ultimate guide will have to be for your readers to take some kind of action.
And, for content marketers, this comes down to writing the following three types of blog posts:
- A comprehensive how-to guide (such as this one)
- A list post
- A review post
You’ll see that for the most part, a how-to guide and a list post have a very similar structure (essentially, a how-to guide—which is a list of steps for accomplishing a task—turns into a variant of a list post.) In this post, I’ll focus mostly on writing list (and how-to) posts.
A quick note about review posts
The review post is very specific to bloggers who are primarily affiliate marketers and the reviews vary in terms of their scope and goals.
I will NOT be focusing on the review post structure in this blog post.
But as a general rule of thumb, reviews should be honest, based on your personal experience and/or research, and should include the following: An introduction sharing what the product is and why you’re qualified to review the product, how the product works, its pros and cons, how it compares with similar products in the market, and if possible, additional user reviews (may be collected from social media, review sites, etc.)
3 Crucial Tasks Before You Start Writing a Blog Post
I want you to do three things before you sit down to start writing a blog post. These three steps are vital to writing the kind of blog posts your readers want to read and engage with, as well as for them to start seeing you as an authority and fall in love with your content.
1| Choose the Right Topics for Your Blog Posts
Your blogging success starts with writing about the right things.
Want people to click on your links, spend time on your blog, subscribe to your email list, pay you money, and buy from you?
Well, then you’ve got to give them what they want.
That’s not to say that you cannot write about the things that you want to write about. You sure can! But you also need to make sure that you’re taking care of your audience’s needs and not just focusing on yourself. Your blog is about you AND your readers after all. If you cannot answer the questions they’re asking, then they won’t bother sticking around.
That’s why, figuring out what your audience wants is so crucial.
Easier said than done, I know.
How the hell does one figure out what their audience wants?
Well, there are ways!
- Draw from your own experience. When I started this blog where I write about blogging, content marketing, and online income, I focused on the topics I personally struggled with. Since I was a newbie myself at the time, these topics resonated with my audience who themselves were new to blogging and online content business.
- Spy on your competitors. Chances are that people are already writing about what you want to blog about. One of the best ways to know what your audience wants from you is to look at what another blogger who’s slightly ahead of you writes about. Since their audience is the same as your audience, you can gain insight and blog post ideas from them. Use platforms like Semrush or Ubersuggest to find out the popular blog posts of a competitor’s website.
- Use Google Keyword Planner. Some people use that tool to find keywords, but I use it to find ideas for blog posts. All you have to do is give Google Keyword Planner a seed keyword (the main topic such as “vegan recipe,” “online income,” “fiction writing,” etc.) and see the many relevant keywords it spits at you. Get your ideas from there. In the image below, I searched for “beginner vegan meals,” and Keyword Planner spit out a lot of potentially amazing topic ideas.
- Use Google search. This is by far the most underrated way of searching for topics. Simply search for the seed keyword (or more elaborate long-tail keywords such as “beginner-friendly vegan recipes,” “5 easy ways to make money online,” “how to write believable characters,” etc.) and see what comes up. Scroll to the “People also ask” section of the search results and you’ll see questions are often asked by real users on Google. You can get ideas from those questions as well.
- Use Quora and/or Reddit. Remember how I said to be a successful blogger you need to give your readers what they want? Well, Quora is where people go to ask questions. Search for your topic(s) and you’ll come across related questions people have asked. That’s a goldmine! That’s how you know what your audience’s pain points are. Similarly, Reddit is another platform where actual conversations surrounding a topic can help you write blog posts people will actually want to read.
- Use AI. This is one area where an AI tool can be useful. A free tool like ChatGPT or Bard can give you long lists of blog post ideas. For example, earlier today I asked Bard to give me 20 blog post ideas for a vegan lifestyle website, and it gave me just that!
Now, all of the above methods are great for when you don’t know what to write about. Maybe you’re new to blogging, or perhaps it’s a bad day and you’re drawing a blank, but it’s the day when you must hit the publish button. There are times, however, when you’ll just know what to write. That comes with experience, but also with specific needs.
For example, let’s say that you’re a podcast editor and you want to sell your services with your blog post. Then an ideal topic may be the benefits of hiring a podcast editor, or a list of things a podcast editor does for a client.
In any case, whatever topic you choose to write about, it must be something your audience will benefit from, and, ideally, it is also a topic you’ll benefit from writing.
2| Do Ann Handley’s “Goal – So-what” Exercise
I love Ann Handley’s book Everybody Writes. I leave it on my desk so I can pick it up and glean writing and marketing-related wisdom from it at will. This book is, by far, the best thing ever for all bloggers and content marketers. Buy it, read it, and like me, leave it on your desk. You can thank me for it later.
The entire book is full of pure gold, but for the sake of our current exercise, there’s one thing I’ll ask you to do every time you sit down to write a blog post. Ann Handley calls it the “Goal – So-what” exercise.
Basically, every blog post has a “goal” and a “so-what.”
Here’s how it works:
The goal: What does your blog post help accomplish?
First, must define a goal for your blog post.
What does the blog post do? — Until you can answer that, you shouldn’t even be able to write the blog post.
For example: The goal of this blog post is to convince my readers to take the time and write the best blog post ever.
So what: Why should your readers care?
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of bloggers make, myself included, is that they get bogged down by features (the things you care about), and completely disregard what truly matters: what your readers care about.
Here’s a clear distinction with an example. The goal of this blog post is to teach my readers how to write a blog post. I know the title has to be captivating. I know that the post will need to be well-researched. I know that the post should be optimized for search engines. But why should my readers care?
The purpose of the “so-what” part of this exercise is to frame the features (the things you care about) to create a narrative that serves your readers.
Here’s an example:
– Here’s the goal of this blog post: After reading this blog post, you’ll learn how to write a killer blog post yourself. So what?
– If you can write a killer blog post, you’ll impress your readers. So what?
– When readers are impressed, they will want to stick around. They’ll likely bookmark your blog to come back to later, and they might even sign up for your email list! So what?
– Don’t you want to grow your audience and your email list? You can do that by writing killer blog posts! So what?
– Well, once you have an audience and an email list, you’ll be able to sell something to your audience and subscribers… like an online course, a digital product, or a coaching session, perhaps? So what?
– I mean… c’mon dude, isn’t that the entire point of starting a blog? To have an audience and make money by selling something? So what?
– For real? If you’re not building an audience and selling something, why the hell do you care about writing blog posts??? Get out of here!!!
And there you have it—the “Goal – So-what” exercise courtesy of Ann Handley (and yes, that’s what I actually wrote in my blogging notebook before I started writing this post.) Basically, keep asking “so-what” until you’ve exhausted yourself. Once you have, you’ll know exactly what your blog post should be about, and exactly what you’ll need to convince your readers of.
The key is to keep this exercise in mind as you plan and write your blog post. Ask yourself over and over, is what you’re writing doing what it needs to do to convince your readers of the above pointers?
Only after this exercise will you be ready for what comes next—actually writing the post.
3| Research Your Blog Post Topic
The next step, after you’ve decided on a topic and figured out exactly what your blog post should be about following the “Goal – So-what” exercise, is to research the topic.
Maybe you already know a lot about the topic and you feel confident, but I still want you to take this step seriously.
ALWAYS see what others are writing about. Even if you know a lot, you may find a pointer here and there that you could add to your post.
Also, the goal is to stand out from the crowd. So, to ensure that you do, you have to know what others are saying. A crucial part of writing a killer blog post is that you have to do a better job than anyone else out there. After all, that’s one of the ways you get repeat readers who bookmark your blog, sign up for your email list, follow you on social, and eventually buy from you.
So, after you’ve decided on a topic, open up a browser, search for the topic, do your due diligence, and research the heck out of the topic!
For example, if you’ve decided to write on “How to monetize a podcast,” search that on Google.
The search result page, also referred to as SERP which is short for Search Engine Result Page, will show you all the top-performing pages. I want you to check out the first five to ten or so posts on the SERP.
Now, easy there. I’m not asking you to read through each and every word. Just go over the main points. I can guarantee that most of these posts are either some kind of how-to guide or list-type articles. So, you’ll have a decent idea of what the authors are talking about if you read through the headers and sub-headers for each of these posts.
Make note of the following things:
- The post/page title or headline: Can you write a better title? (I love CoSchedule Headline Studio for crafting better headlines.)
- The main talking points: Can you add more value to this list?
- Post length (you can use the Word Counter Plus Chrome extension for this): Can your post be longer? Be careful here. Do not make a post longer for the sake of making it long; do so only when you have something valuable to say.
Now, you’re ready to tackle writing the post.
The 9 Steps for Writing a Blog Post
To be specific, we started the process of writing a killer blog post way back when we decided on a topic. Let’s just say that everything we’ve done until now has been the prep work. Now that that’s done and we have a general idea of what the post will be and what we’ll need to accomplish, we can start the actual writing.
I’ll explain in detail what each of these parts does, but it is useful to start by creating an outline of the blog post first.
Step 1: Start with an outline
After the “Goal – So-what” exercise and your research into the topic, you’re ready to create an outline for the blog post.
There’s no way to teach the methods of outlining. Each blog post will have a different outline based on what the topic is, what kind of blog post it is (list, how-to, review, etc.), the desired outcome of the blog post, etc. Sometimes I find myself writing just the main talking points—like the main headers and subheaders, and other times I also jot down notes next to the talking points if I want to remember specific things during the writing process.
We all have our unique methods for outlining. You just have to find what works for you. Personally, I like to keep things simple.
In any case, having something like a checklist of all of your talking points will be useful when you start to write. I’ve found that an outline significantly speeds up my thinking (and thereby my writing) process.
The image above is an example of a blog post outline I made for my post on Google’s Generative Search Experience. It’s a good example of a simple outline, as long as you can understand my handwriting, that is.
One last thing I’d like to point out is this: Do not be married to your outline. Often I find myself tweaking things as I write, adding to or taking things away from the initial outline. So, stay open to making changes if they’ll make your blog post better. The outline is a rough structure, nothing more. After all, you’re the only one who gets to see or use it!
Step 2: Write a clear and effective blog post title
A brilliant post title isn’t sneaky, it’s not a clickbait (without substance), it’s not a paragraph, and it’s definitely not cryptic.
A good blog post title clearly communicates what the reader will get out of the post. It’s clear, concise, to the point. Remember, in most cases, potential readers click on a blog post after seeing the title. The title creates the first impression. Whether a potential reader clicks or not depends on this title. I’d argue that your post title is by far one of the most important pieces of your entire blog post.
A good blog post title needs to promise your audience the answer to their problem. The blog post, in turn, is a solution to a certain problem.
When crafting a title, think about the question you’re answering. For example, this blog post is my answer to the question, “How do you write a blog post?” I took that question, jazzed it up a little with a couple of fancy words, and… voilà!
Check out these tips for writing a great title:
Keep the title 10-15 words long.
Consider the following starting phrases:
- How to ___ (Example: How to Make, How to Get, How to Create, etc.)
- 15 (ways) ___ (Example: 15 Things That, 15 Ways to, 15 Reasons Why, 15 Things You, etc.) Of course, 15 is just an arbitrary number.
- This is ___ (Example: This is How to, This is Why You Need to, etc.)
You can add a modifier in between. For example:
- How to Easily Make ___
- 15 Simple Things ___
- 15 Amazingly Simple Ways to ___
Numbers and parentheses are great in titles. For example:
- How to Legitimately Make $5,000 Every Month From Home (With Examples)
Use title case:
(The next section is a modified version from apastyle.apa.org)
In title case, capitalize the following words in a title or heading:
- the first word of the title or heading, even if it is a minor word such as “The” or “A”
- the first word after a colon, em dash, or end punctuation in a heading
- major words, including the second part of hyphenated major words (e.g., “Self-Report,” not “Self-report”)
- words of four letters or more (e.g., “With,” “Between,” “From”)
Lowercase only minor words that are three letters or fewer in a title or
- short conjunctions (e.g., “and,” “as,” “but,” “for,” “if,” “nor,” “or,” “so,” “yet”)
- articles (“a,” “an,” “the”)
- short prepositions (e.g., “as,” “at,” “by,” “for,” “in,” “of,” “off,” “on,” “per,”
“to,” “up,” “via”)
You can also use this Title Case Converter to easily write a proper title.
Step 3: Write an introduction that hooks the readers
Good writing, of course, starts with the intro.
Most online readers have a short attention span. Bore them and you’ve lost them.
In my experience, a good introduction does these three things as quickly as possible:
- It introduces the topic of the blog post.
- It clarifies what the reader will be able to do/accomplish/learn from the post.
- It establishes why the reader should trust this author/blogger (basically, establish the blogger’s authority.)
Trust me, you can do all three pretty quickly. Take the introduction to this blog post, for example. In fact, I did all three things with just one paragraph:
I’ve mentioned the topic (how to write a blog post), I’ve established my authority (I’m a six-figure blogger with a substantial email list of 1ok+ subscribers), and I’ve clarified what the reader should expect to do (write the kind of blog posts that will help them be a blogger such as myself.)
Here’s another example from this blog: How I Make $4,642 Monthly Selling an Evergreen Online Course (A Case Study)
If you find the idea of the occasional mega course launch migraine-inducing, allow me to show you how I sell my online course year-round with minimal effort and make a pretty decent income from it too!
And here’s another one from Hubspot: The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Podcast (Checklist)
Want to launch your own podcast (or a podcast for your company) but don’t know where to start? I’ve got you – starting a podcast is simpler than it seems.
I was an avid podcast listener for years before deciding to start my own show in 2018. I took my podcast from idea to launch in 10 days with no audio experience — and if I can do it, you can too. In fact, starting a podcast is easier than ever as the medium has increased in popularity and profitability.
Podcasting is a fast-growing medium with 62% of people aged 12 and over listening. Having a podcast is a great way to get in front of your audience to build connections, and grow your business.
Can you spot the three essential parts of an introduction in these two examples?[A quick note on authority: It is great when the blogger uses their own experience to establish authority. But another popular method for establishing authority is with data, depending on your post topic. For example, in the example from Hubspot, the author is using their experience as a podcaster to establish their knowledge of the matter, but they’re also using data in the third paragraph to show that they’ve done their research. The data also acts as a way to add value to the topic itself.]
Step 4: Write the body
The body is the meat of your blog post. Whether you’re writing a how-to guide or a list post, the body is where you’ll give the real value.
This part depends on the topic and your goals, but consider the following:
- Break up your content into sections. Use headers and subheaders to accomplish this task. WordPress has built-in heading tags (H1 through H6), use them!
- Try and hit more points than your competitors. But only if they’re applicable. Do not just add filler content to make it seem like you have more to say. Readers aren’t stupid. They’ll see right through you and will abandon you faster than you can blink!
- Use plenty of visuals where applicable. People are often visual learners. Images (and videos too) not only help us understand things better, but they also provide us a much-needed break from walls of text.
- Use definitions. If you’re using a term that is not common knowledge, write a short definition to introduce the term to your readers before you write about it. Definitions are also great for SEO; they offer opportunities for getting a featured snippet on Google’s search result page.
- Use lists. Search engines love lists! Incorporate lists when it makes sense and when it will be useful to your readers. Lists also present the opportunity to show up as a featured snippet on Google’s search result page.
- Use references and links. If you have another blog post that will help with the current blog post, link it (known as an internal link). Even if you do not have supporting material, but someone else does, link to that (also called an external link). I usually aim for a couple of internal links and a couple of external links on all of my blog posts.
- Use short paragraphs. But also try to vary the lengths of the paragraphs to avoid monotony.
- Minimize jargon and esoteric ramblings. Keep things simple.
- Minimize adverbs, qualifiers, and passive sentences as much as possible.
- When writing numbers, spell them out from numbers 0 – 9 (three, not 3.) Any number over 9 should be spelled out (17, not seventeen.)
- Italicize the names of books and websites.
- Keep things conversational. Add contractions (it’s, instead of it is) and reduce grammar expletives.
- Add visual breaks. Headers and subheads typically add visual breaks. If you have a long stretch of text within a header or subheader, consider breaking up long paragraphs into shorter paragraphs.
- Switching up the type of content also adds visual breaks. For example, consider using a mix of paragraphs and lists, switching up numbered and bulleted lists, etc.
- Make sure that the body follows a structure and form that helps your readers understand and grasp the content fully. This is especially true for how-to posts where you’re teaching your readers the steps to accomplish something.
I’ve mentioned featured snippets above, and if you wish to learn more about them, then check out this blog post about what featured snippets are and how to optimize your content for featured snippets:
To maximize organic, free traffic from Google, optimize your blog posts for featured snippets. Learn about featured snippets in this post.
Step 5: Add an FAQ section (optional)
Sometimes you’ll come across questions and sub-topics during your research that deserve attention, but do not have enough meat in them to have their own section or subsection.
I like to use a section titled “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) for these topics. There you can address all those offshoot points that have shorter, 2-5 sentence, answers or explanations.
This is not a requirement but an optional section only if and when they add value to your readers.
Step 6: Conclude your post with a call to action
I like to keep my conclusions short. Some bloggers like to add a brief summary of the main points in their conclusion. Others (such as myself) usually end with a quick note on the topic.
What you do depends on your personal style.
However, I will ask you to do one thing in your conclusion: Add a call to action (CTA). Ask your readers to do something. You can ask them to leave a comment, sign up for your email list, or buy something. But get them to do at least something before you let them go (basically, ask them to engage with your content.)
Step 7: Optimize your blog post for search engines (SEO)
No blog post is finished until you’ve optimized it for search engines. I’ll share some of the main points below, but if you want a more in-depth understanding of how to optimize your blog post for search engines, read the complete SEO guide for bloggers below:
SEO techniques for beginner bloggers that will drive traffic to your blog, increase visitors, and improve domain authority over time.
My SEO strategy is actually pretty simple, and I’ll outline exactly what I do myself. Fair caution: I do not give myself a headache worrying about keyword research. Heh. And yet, I have managed to rank multiple blog posts among the top five spots on Google’s search result page for tons of keywords!
By simply doing these:
Place the seed keywords throughout your blog post
There are two keywords you might hear often:
Long-tail keywords: These are often phrases with three or more words. They used to be the rage back in the day, but I find them increasingly more irrelevant as search engines become smarter. Honestly, I don’t even feel the need to talk about them too much. On the other hand, the second type of keyword still remains extremely important. They are:
Seed keywords: These are the main topic of your blog post. It may be one or two words or even multiple words (a long-tail keyword can also be a seed keyword.) For example, for this blog post, my seed keyword is: “write a blog post.” The seed keyword can have variations too, such as, “writing a blog post,” “blog post writing,” “blog writing,” etc. Search engines are smart enough to pick up on the context.
Now, here’s what’s really important when it comes to seed keywords:
- Make sure a version of the seed keyword is in your blog title.
- Make sure a version of the seed keyword is in your blog’s URL slug (it’s the extension to the blog post’s URL after the forward-slash; you can edit that on WordPress using the Yoast SEO options.
- Use the seed keywords in at least a couple of headers or subheaders.
- Use the seed keyword or variations throughout the blog post (ideally about 1-2% of the total word count.) This is known as “keyword density.”
And that’s about it. Trust me, that’s really all you need!
Optimize the content for featured snippets
When applicable, write definitions to help your readers understand terminologies and concepts, and also incorporate lists and tables to better structure your body sections.
The great thing about definitions, lists, and tables is that they can be picked up by Google to be shown as featured snippets: snippets of your post that Google shows at the top of the search result page, resulting in more organic traffic. There are a few different types of featured snippets such as a short paragraph that defines a term or a concept, a list of items or steps, a table, etc.
You can learn more about optimizing content for featured snippets in the following blog post:
To maximize organic, free traffic from Google, optimize your blog posts for featured snippets. Learn about featured snippets in this post.
Add meta title and description
When you search for something on Google, it shows you the title of your post and a small description of what the post is about.
Here’s what Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) looks like when you search for something.
Notice a few things in the image above:
- Google shows the title and a short description.
- When the title and/or the description are too long, Google shortens it automatically.
- The meta descriptions you see above do not resemble the actual introduction of the post, which means one of two things: the blogger is using a custom meta description, or Google is pulling something it feels is more relevant.
You have limited space so you should be more mindful of how these things are displayed on Google. After all, a lot of your future readers will find you on Google. Do all you can to give them a reason to click on your post and not somebody else’s.
You can use the Yoast SEO plugin to add a custom SEO title and meta description for your blog post. Even if Google doesn’t display the meta description in its SERP, that text still provides an important context for search engines.
Keep your custom title and meta description length in the green range (the title often need not be different from your original title, but the description will more than likely be unique. If your post title is too long, use the Yoast title field to add a custom, shorter title).
Make sure to add internal and external links
I’ve mentioned this already, but it’s worth mentioning again: Add links to your blog post. Not for the sake of adding links, but to add actual value. A good rule of thumb is to add at least two internal links (links that point to content in your website to other posts or pages) and at least one or two external links that will be beneficial to your readers.
Add alt text to all images
Whenever you add an image, it should have an alt text that accurately describes what the image is. It is important for accessibility and also for SEO.
In WordPress, when you insert an image in a page or post, on the right panel, under the “Block” tab, you’ll see a field for “Alternative text,” commonly referred to as the Alt tag. Describe what the image is in that field.
Optional: Add FAQ Schema Markup
This is optional, and maybe a slightly advanced step for some of you. but I wanted to share it in case you’re ready to take on a bit more 🙂
According to Neil Patel,
Schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users.
Now, don’t get scared. I won’t make you add codes here. I just wanted to share what schema markups are. Basically, they give search engines like Google additional information about your posts, which in turn makes your content richer in Google’s eyes (ie. algorithm).
They will, in time, help you get on Google’s radar because Google will see that your content is richer than some others. Because, good news! Most ordinary bloggers do not utilize these methods. So, if you make a habit of incorporating some of these tactics, in time, you’ll start to rank higher on Google, provided you’re spending enough time crafting valuable, well-written content.
So, in this case, we will not add codes ourselves, but we will use a plugin to add a very specific type of schema markup. The FAQ schema markup, or Frequently Asked Questions.
Remember our Frequently Asked Questions section which is optional? Well, you can use the FAQ schema markup for that section.
You can add plain text FAQ on your posts, but a better way to do this is with rich data. As WordPress users, you can use a plugin to add a rich FAQ section. Yoast SEO, for example, will let you create FAQ structured content with just a few clicks and zero coding.
Here’s what a FAQ schema markup added blog post may look like on Google when you start ranking:
Step 8: Edit your blog post
This is something I struggle with a lot. Editing.
First of all, it’s boring.
Second, it takes literally FOREVER to edit a long-form blog post.
But still, it needs to be done.
For the most part, when editing your post, make sure that you’ve done everything I’ve said above so far.
Additionally, here’s a list of things you can check for when editing your post:
- Get rid of adverbs from your prose. They are the enemy of all writers, especially bloggers.
- Get rid of grammar expletives and restructure sentences without them whenever possible. Grammar expletives are sentences that start with here, there, or it, and are followed by a verb to be. Such sentences end up using unnecessary words and make your word count higher while adding zero value.
- Rewrite passive sentences and make them active instead. They’re just as bad as adverbs.
- See if you can switch out verb-to-be’s or use stronger verbs. For example, instead of writing “I have been blogging“, you can say “I blog“. Also, instead of writing “I went to Tokyo last year“, you can write “I traveled to Tokyo last year.” In the first example, you got rid of a verb-to-be. In the second example, you used a stronger verb. Much better!
- Separate longer paragraphs into shorter ones. Try not to have more than 4/5 sentences or 4/5 lines in one paragraph.
- Add variation to paragraph lengths. Try not to have the same length for all paragraphs. Remember, one of your goals is to make sure your readers aren’t bored. Adding variations on paragraph lengths will help with that.
- Make sure to break up your content into headers and subheaders.
- Check if you can add definitions and lists to your blog post (not unnecessarily; but within the content you already have.)
- Make sure you have seed keywords in your title, post URL slug, in a couple of headers and subheaders, in the introduction, in the conclusion, and throughout the post.
- Make sure to optimize your images. Large image files can slow down your page speed. I recommend creating smaller JPG files (you can use Canva to do it) or better yet, using Photoshop to convert all your images into .webp files.
- Make sure all of your images have alt tags.
- Always add a featured image for all your blog posts.
- Add at least one email list opt-in form in your post.
Note: I like using Grammarly to edit some of the common errors such as spelling, punctuation, etc.
I once live-recorded editing a client’s blog post; you can watch the video here:
Step 9: Offer a Content Upgrade (Optional)
Some blog posts can benefit from content upgrades — these are “extra” content that you offer your readers in exchange for signing up to your email list.
It’s a great strategy to grow your email list too! Content upgrades do not have to be lavish. Some popular content upgrades are checklists, videos, workshops, templates, case studies, eBooks (or chapters from an eBook), etc.
I sell Canva templates for workbooks, worksheets, checklists, eBooks, etc. on my Canva template shop in case you’re not design-savvy yourself. You can use my templates to customize and create beautiful lead magnets and content upgrades.
A Handy Checklist of Things You Should Do After Publishing Your Blog Post
Once your blog post is published, do the following:
- Add your blog post URL to Google Search Console for indexing. Go to Search Console’s URL Inspection tab, add your blog post URL at the top search bar, and then ask it to index your page. You must have submitted your blog’s sitemap to Google Search Console for this to work.
- Create a few Pinterest Pin graphics for your new blog post and manually pin them over the next few days. Or, you can use TailWind to schedule your Pins.
- Send a newsletter informing your existing subscribers that you have a new blog post up on your website.
- Optionally, if you’re on social media, you may want to say something about your new post on those outlets as well, including sharing a link to the post.
- Additionally, make sure to revisit your blog periodically (every few months) and see if anything needs updating. For certain popular blog posts that drive the most traffic to your blog, you will want to make it a habit of updating the post with new and more relevant and valuable information every six months.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should my blog post be?
As long as it needs to be. I do not mention a specific word count for a reason. Adding fluff to make your post long for the sake of making it long will drive your readers away. On the other hand, not giving sufficient value will also keep you from building an audience. So, a better question is, does your blog post have all the information your readers need? Give value. If you can do that in 500 words, great. If it takes you five thousand? So be it.
If a blog post is really long, should I break it up in parts?
It depends. I do not recommend breaking up a post on the same topic into multiple parts just because it is long. But some posts may benefit from dividing up into different topics and then having a separate blog post for each topic. Again, it depends on what you are writing. I personally do not see a problem in longer posts.
Why have you not said more about keyword research?
Because this is not 2010. Keywords are important, sure, but keyword stuffing is not. If you write a really good blog post on a certain topic, you will have automatically taken care of the necessary 1-2% keyword density for your seed keywords, I guarantee it. You will have done it without being all try-hard. Just pay attention to the few placements I have already mentioned: title, slug, a few headers/subheaders, the intro and the conclusion. The rest will happen naturally.
That ends my guide to writing amazing blog posts that drive traffic to your blog and convert first-time readers into long-term fans, subscribers, and buyers.
It’s a lot, but if blogging is your business, it’s only fair that you put enough effort into writing these blog posts, right?
If you have questions, feel free to share them in the comments section. And also…
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