Many people underestimate the power a good plan and structure can have when it comes to blog posts. Aimlessly writing about topics that may, or may not, interest your audience could leave you with less traffic than you had hoped for. Luckily there are a few steps you can take to writing a successful blog post.
Plan the Post
Planning is an essential step in writing a blog post. Making sure you have everything structured will help you a great deal when it comes to writing the post.
One of the first things you want to do is make sure you’re aware of your target audience, who they are and what they would be interested in seeing in this particular post. Researching into who will be reading the post will ensure users find it informative and interesting, hopefully bringing them back to your website for future posts.
Once you’re aware of your target audience the next step would be to plan a topic to write on. When initially choosing your topic you don’t need to be too precise, knowing the topic you want to cover is a great start. Some people benefit from choosing their topic and thinking of a few areas around the subject they would like to write about. Giving yourself different options is great if you’re still at this point not entirely sure what you want to post or have a few different ideas floating around and want to see which would work best.
Eventually, when you’ve chosen your specific topic you’ll need to title it. Remember, you can always edit a title so if it isn’t exactly how you want it to be in the beginning, that’s not a problem. Your first title is a starting point for yourself, a general round up of what this post is about. For example, my first title for this post was ‘How to Write a Good Blog Post’. As you get deeper into the post and it’s more structured you can change the title accordingly.
An extra part of planning is the visual aspect of your blog post. Before you start writing make a short list of any graphics or images you want to use in your post. Even if you don’t have the specific post to hand, planning the placement and theme of the images could save you scrambling around for fitting visuals once you’ve finished.
Structuring the Post
When it comes to structuring your blog post you need to have a very clear idea of what you’re writing about, this is why you need to have a set topic first. As you already have your rough title, the first thing you’d want to do is set out an intro.
Your introduction paragraph is the first paragraph your visitors will read so you want to make it captivating and informative. In this paragraph, you should ensure you’re telling the reader what they are going to gain from reading this post, what they will learn. The more you draw them in the more likely they are to read your entire post.
After you have your intro done it’s a good idea to start planning your subheadings. Subheadings break your post down making it easier to read. People would rather ready 4-6 smaller broken up sections of writing than one long post. It also makes it easier for them to find a specific piece of information they’re looking for as they can search for it under the relevant subheading. Once you have these planned out, you can start writing the bulk of your post.
Lastly, your conclusion. Here you want to round up the post and sum up your key message. Your conclusion doesn’t have to be long but it should still be informative. You should include a CTA in your conclusion to encourage engagement with your posts. A call to action is when you ask the reader to do something, for example, ‘share this post if you found it useful’ or ‘comment if this post helped you out’. Encouraging the reader to take part in engagement is an important step to growing your blog.
It’s a proven fact that people prefer to read articles with something else to look at, not just writing. You could include diagrams, charts, images, graphics… Anything to make the post look a little more interesting. Your readers will appreciate the post more. Visitors are more likely to stay on the page and read the entire post if they aren’t just faced with 3000 words. Visual aspects break the post up, just like subheadings. Make it interesting.
Add your images or graphics in after you’re done writing. This way you can find the place they fit best. Refer back to your plan but if you need to change the placement of something you can do so.
Editing and Proofreading
You’re not done when you finish your conclusion. A crucial step in writing a blog post is your proofread. You wouldn’t want to write a top quality, informative post and publish it with spelling mistakes and errors. Leaving in mistakes can damage the quality of the post so reading through two to three times is imperative.
Check for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and any information in your post that may need tweaking. Here you may find parts of the post you’d like to remove and even space to add information in. When you’ve highlighted all the aspects that may need changing you can edit your post accordingly. One of the things you should look for is the flow in the post, make sure each section leads on from the other and it isn’t extremely choppy. Everything should be in your post for a reason. Remember to give it a final proofread to make sure everything makes sense and you didn’t miss anything.
Search engine optimisation is the name given to the action of trying to improve your websites ranking on search engines.
Search engines, like Google, rank pages based on relevant useful content that has been linked back to by other pages. Essentially, creating content that others find useful and interesting or something they learn from means people will want to share it with others. A lot of people do this by posting a link to the page on their website.
How to Incorporate SEO into your Posts
The most important thing is to write relevant, useful content that uses keywords used by people searching for information. Choosing your keywords is an important part of SEO. You need to make your page easy to find. When choosing your keywords think about what potential visitors would type into a search engine to find the information. You also want to make the blog post appealing to the reader.
Make sure your content is easy to share and easy to link to. You want people to be able to quickly and easily share your content. The easier it is for a visitor to do, the more likely they are going to do it. This is where share buttons are useful, many blogs have them at the bottom of posts. This makes sharing that specific page on to social media very easy and extremely quick. Including a CTA at the end of the post, like we talked about doing in your conclusion, reminds people they are able to share your content. Make sure you lead them to these share buttons or tell them exactly how they can do it.
When focusing on SEO it’s important to remember that the quality of your link backs is far more important than the quantity. Great websites won’t link to poor content and this is why it’s essential that you are focusing on making your posts the best that they can be.
As mentioned earlier, keywords are what enable people to find your post. They are the words and phrases people will use when searching on engines like Google. Keyword research is the best way you’ll find what words and phrases you should be using. Researching how people are looking for the information you have or the product you’re writing about. Looking at similar websites or posts that rank highly in search engines is beneficial as you can see what keywords and phrases they have used in their quality posts.
Developing a list of keywords to use throughout your posts and website should be one of your priorities when it comes to SEO. Keywords that are relevant to your content and what the reader is looking for are going to really help when trying to rank higher on search engines. You can use your editing stage to add in more keywords if you feel your post is lacking. It’s also a good idea to use a keyword in your post title.
Another large part of SEO is your page’s meta description. The meta description is the small excerpt below the page title that shows on a search engine. It should be a descriptive piece of text around 160 characters that lets the reader know what the post is about. If you look at quality pages that rank highly on search engines you’ll see that their meta descriptions often start with a verb such as learn, master and discover. Let the reader know they’re going to take something away from the post.
Keep going! Upping your rank on search engines won’t happen overnight. Be consistent with uploading content to your website and continue to make sure they are all of a steady quality. Creating posts using a structure and planning is something that will become more natural the more you do it. You should use a structure for every post you write. It ensures all your posts will be the same sort of quality which is imperative for ranking higher on search engines. Practice makes perfect and there is always room for improvement so take your time looking into ways you can write your posts and research into what you should include.