There are many things that go into running a blog online, but at the heart of it you need to be writing quality blog posts. That is what will ultimately bring in traffic to your site and allow you to monetize via; advertising, affiliate marketing, product sales, etc.
There are many bloggers, especially new bloggers, that find it difficult writing quality blog posts on a regular basis. I plan on changing that opinion by putting together this 9 step guide for you to follow. This is kind of like a blogging blueprint that you can follow to help you create quality content for your own site. I use this exact method myself for all my posts and know that many other top bloggers use a very similar approach.
Let’s get started!
1. Thinking Up A Post Idea
This is without doubt the hardest part of the whole process. It’s all well and good learning about how to structure out your posts, but you need a decent idea to write about in the first place.
One of the best things you can do is to carry around something to jot down ideas on when inspiration hits you. I always have a pad of paper and a pen next to me when I’m working so that I can scribble down things when I think of them. This can be when I am surfing the web reading other posts, when I’m working on something else that I think could make a good topic, when chatting to clients, reading emails, answering comments, etc.
If you want to be a bit more modern, a note taking app such as Evernote, Google Keep or OneNote is a good thing to have on your phone. That way, whenever inspiration hits you, you can make a note of it for future use. I make use of Evernote quite a bit when I am out as I always seem to think of something when I least expect it, be it when shopping at the supermarket or out and about with friends.
Making a note of ideas when you get them is a good habit to get into, but what do you do if you just haven’t got any ideas?
Mind maps are a great way to organize your thoughts and help you think about different areas to write about. Try to imagine your whole website as one giant jigsaw with each of your posts a piece of that puzzle. Doing this can help you to take a step back and see which areas you can add more too. By looking at the content that you already have, you can begin to see areas that you can expand upon.
Another thing you can do is read – a lot! Now, I don’t just mean read content from other sites in your niche (though you should be doing that already), but read content from a whole host of different subjects, such as;
…and so on.
By broadening your horizons, not only will you gain new ideas, but you will also help to improve your writing style. I personally like watching a lot of movies, so I try to read different film reviews after seeing something. There are a couple of film reviewers that I really enjoy reading as they do it very well. Whilst I myself don’t write film reviews, I try to use some of the same writing techniques that they use in my own posts.
OK, so you have your post idea, now you need to turn that into an actual article. One of the worst things you can do is stare at a blank Word document hoping that it will just appear. That blank white page can cause you to seize up no matter how good your idea is, so it’s important to get something down – anything really.
A good way to start is by splitting it up into sections. So, for example, let’s say you wanted to write a tutorial post on ‘How To Do X’. List all the different stages (1, 2, 3…) that people would need to work through to achieve that. Doing this helps you to structure out your post as you now have clear sections that you can write about.
I did this for this exact post. I had the idea of writing about ‘Writing Quality Blog Posts’ and began by listing all the different sections that would go into it (Idea, Post, Intro, Title, etc.), which made up my subheadings. Instantly I knew how the overall bulk of the post would pan out, so the task of writing was made much easier.
Breaking a post down into smaller sections can, not only help you to write it out, but it also encourages people to continue reading. A great big block of text can be off-putting, so breaking it up can help people find what they are looking for.
Once you have the main bulk of your post, you need to add an introduction. This is VITALLY IMPORTANT as your introduction determines whether people will end up reading your post or not.
Not only will your introduction appear at the start of your post, but it will appear as an excerpt on your blog page. This alone helps people decide whether to click onto your article in the first place, so it needs to be up to scratch.
Your actual introduction doesn’t need to be that long (one or two paragraphs at the most), but it does need to do one thing – not give the game away. I always try to imagine it like a movie trailer – you need to give a brief outline of what the post is about without actually spoiling it by revealing everything straight away.
4. Call To Action
Whilst not quite as important as your introduction, the end of your post is still key. You ideally want them to stay on your site and not just click away to another, and in order to do that you need to give them a gentle nudge in the right direction.
This “nudge” is called a ‘Call To Action’, which is where you are essentially telling your readers to do something. Now this could be many different things, for example;
…and if you liked this post, check out our other post [LINK] that you might find useful.
…and remember to sign up to our newsletter [LINK] for more information.
…we want to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.
…if you liked this post then please feel free to share it on [Facebook/Twitter/G+].
You can word it however you like, but the aim is to get people to actively do one of these things. I personally tend to go with the ‘related link’ and ‘please comment’ option as this helps keep people on the site for longer, but encouraging them to share your post or signup to your email list is equally useful.
5. Add Multimedia Content
So, at this point you should have a lengthy blog post written out with both an introduction and call to action added. The vast majority of people would now just add a title and hit publish, but we are only half way through our list. You see there is a lot more that goes into writing quality blog posts.
Your post is hopefully great at this point, but it is still essentially text. Whilst we have helped split that up by adding subtitles and breaking it up into easy to read paragraphs, we can still do more. You need to realize that the vast majority of people online have short attention spans, so you need to make your post a little bit more interesting. One of the best ways to do this is by adding multimedia content.
Images, especially, are a great way to brighten up a post, which leads me to the next step in our blueprint…
6. Add A Featured Image
Each and every one of your blog posts MUST have a featured image!
For the exact same reasons that we add an introduction to our post, the featured image helps to draw reader’s attention and encourage them to click onto the post from your blog page.
What many people forget is that your featured image also appears when you share your link on social media. Again this helps to draw people’s attention and can be the difference between them clicking or not on your post.
There isn’t really any secret to picking a good featured image. Try to look for an image online that somehow reflects what your post is about. This could be a great looking image, a metaphorical image or simply your post title displayed in an interesting way. A lot depends on what your article is about, but really it just needs to be something that stands out.
7. Add Links
The next thing that you need to do is go back over your post and add links where appropriate. This includes both internal (links to your other posts) and external links (links to other people’s posts on other sites).
Internal links are useful to allow people to navigate around to other areas of your blog and find your other content. This is particularly helpful when you can link to other related posts that you have written that explain something in more detail.
External links may seem counterintuitive (why would you include links to other people’s posts?), but there is a good reason for that. It all has to do with SEO. You see search engines look at your blog posts to try and work out what it is about so that they can rank it properly when people search for that subject. One thing they look at is what other sites that posts links too.
Search engines value posts that link to other relevant high quality content as it shows that you value your readers. They actively rank sites that do this regularly higher than sites that never link out, so it is always worth adding some external links.
8. Remember SEO
We just talked about the SEO benefits of including some external links within your post, but that is not the only thing you can do.
Keyword optimization is something that you should try and do with all your posts before publishing them. This involves researching keywords and keyphrases that are related to your post that people are actively using to search for things in the search engines.
For example, if I wrote a post explaining how to build your own PC, keyphrases such as; build your own PC tutorial, how to build a PC, how to build a computer, etc. would all be relevant.
These are the types of keywords and long tail keyphrases that you should be using throughout your post. If need be, go back over your article and look at how you can include these phrases naturally within your writing so that search engines can determine what your content is about. This process is commonly referred to as on-page SEO and you can use a plugin called WordPress SEO to help you.
Last but not least we need to add a title. I left this until last as it’s arguably THE most important part of the whole process.
Your title needs to;
Convey what your post is about,
Be eye catching,
Include your main keyword/keyphrase,
Not too long,
Including all of these is certainly no easy task, but with practice it is possible. It’s important to try and tick all of these boxes as your title will be the one that people; read, click onto, see on social media sites, share with their friends, link to within their own posts, etc.
Writing Quality Blog Posts Made Easy
If you have followed this guide, you will now have a post that is worthy of publishing on your site. You have made sure to break up your post into manageable chunks, made it visually appealing by adding images and video, optimised it for search engines and included links to your other relevant pages. Simply double check your post for any errors and then hit publish!
Like I said at the beginning of this post, this is the method that I use and I know many other bloggers use (though maybe not necessarily in this order). Get into the habit of constructing your posts in this way and I can guarantee that they will reach more people.
How do you go about writing quality blog posts? Do you have any other steps that you take before publishing? If so, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
Matt Smith is a professional blogger and the founder of Online Income Teacher, a site that teaches you all about setting up a website and running it online. When not creating new posts and tutorials for his sites, Matt loves watching the latest sport and cooking up some tasty food.
You can follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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