How do you make a great blog? How do you write a killer post? What exactly is most important in gaining followers, building an audience, and driving traffic to your blog? Two words. Killer content.
I’ve been blogging for over a year and a half. In that time, I’ve had highs, lows, made mistakes, and learned a lot. Today, I’m going to share what I’ve learned in regard to blog posts. What I absolutely must include in every single post to make sure my blog content stays relevant to my readers, ranks high, and continues to build trust, drive traffic, and increase my realm of influence.
One of the first things I do when writing a blog is include tags. I’m utilizing SEO strategies. Search Engine Optimization rankings. This means, I use keywords in my tags, keywords in my post, and I make them long as opposed to short.
I’ve used this example a few times since I make a living working from home through blogging. But one of my more popular tags for my blogging posts is “Working from Home with Kids”. This is relevant to my blog, my posts, and more importantly, my readers. Prior to using this tag, I would use terms like “Blogging”, “Working”, or “Working From Home”. The latter is the best option of the three, but all of those terms are popular searches. That’s not a bad thing, but it does mean it’s going to be almost impossible for me to rank using those terms. Ranking is important in terms of Google because when someone searches “Blogging”, I’m not going to show up in the top searches. A small blog like mine? There’s just no way.
I actually have a Google Doc with nothing but popular SEO tags I use in it. Blogging is one of my main topics, so it’s included.
I divide the Google Doc by category right now, but with so many posts (I’m up to about 75 published, as of today) I may split that soon. With me using the same terms over and over, I need to make a few Google Docs based on search terms, for example blogging, so I can more easily find what I’m looking for.
My keywords aren’t just fun ones I created off the top of my head, by the way. There’s a logic behind the madness.
Early on in my blog journey, I had the pleasure of working with Joseph Studios. I had bi-weekly calls with the owner, Daniel, and these calls helped keep me on track and accountable. Not only that, but he would provide a to-do list for during each of these calls. Sometimes it would be something like, add images to your blog. Or, create more tags. And one of the things he suggested I do early on was to create long tail keywords (see the above).
When he first suggested that, I thought, okay, sure. At the time my blog was focused on essential oils (which I still love). So I started making creative tags like, “Lavender Makes Bath Time Lovely”, “Lavender Is Great In A Bath”, and “Lavender Smells Amazing”.
While I had done what he asked, making the keywords long instead of just saying, “Lavender”, what I didn’t realize at the time was that no one else in the world would be searching those items.
In order to make a great tag, it had to be both long and something other people would look up. For example, “Relaxing Lavender Bath”, “How to use Lavender oil”, or “Benefits of Lavender” are all better search terms. But how did I come up with that? Creativity? Brain power? Yes. But more important that my own opinion is the opinion of Google.
While Google Trends is the official Google guide, there’s also Google Keyword Planner, and some other awesome ones available. Ubersuggests is just one I suggest because I’ve actually used it. Although again, I normally just stick to Google.
Pinterest is great for so many reasons. One, if you’ve ever got writers block, just use that free time to browse pictures. No, not aimlessly, although it is a nice time waster. But Pinterest can be a great place for brainstorming.
Look at popular posts and searches on Pinterest. Be inspired by what others are writing about. Take it from one who has been there many times with writers block. There is no end to content on Pinterest. Use this resource.
Also. You need to post your blog links on Pinterest with amazing visuals.
Pinterest drives a lot of traffic to my blog every month. In fact, in checking this morning, traffic to my blog from Pinterest is up over 2,000% ! Wow, yes, wow! Pinterest can and will do the same for your blog if you just utilize it.
I personally create tons of Pin Worthy images with Canva to post on Pinterest to drive traffic as I wrote about in depth here. So if you want to learn how to use Canva to make Pin worthy images like I do, check out that post. (Again, here’s the link– and don’t forget to pin it for later).
Plus, Pinterest brings up another important item that should be abundant in every blog post.
Put pictures in your blog posts! This sounds simple because it is. And there are some good blogs out there lacking photos. But they’re getting fewer and fewer, and I’d wager they’ve been around for a while.
In order to stay competitive in today’s day and age, you need photos. Lots of them and of good quality.
I use stock image sites like ShutterStock, StockSnap, Pexels, AdobeStock, and Pixabay to name a few. Some of these sites offer free images, others you pay on a per use basis, or subscription. Choose the plan that works for you depending on your budget. But great photos are a must.
Also, in the picture descriptions when uploading to your blog, do not leave them title D3240 or anything similar. Put in descriptive keywords. This helps in searches. SEO remember? No one is looking up D3240. You want people to actually find your posts.
Add great pictures. Check
If you’re wanting to monetize your blog (honestly, isn’t that all of us?) then you need to remember to post affiliate links in your posts.
I personally work with only a few affiliates, but they’re ones I use often enough I feel good about recommending. Some bloggers work with anyone and everyone, but honestly, I’ve found success with just a few so it is possible.
Right now, with the holiday season upon us, a lot of my affiliate links go to Amazon, or Target, but with the New Year around the corner, I’m also doing more with the Living Well Planner by Ruth Soukup and the team at Elite Blog Academy.
I also work with others like Tailwind (for Pin scheduling), ShareASale, and SiteGround (for hosting). And as with my popular SEO terms, I have all those affiliate links at the ready for use in blog posts by putting them all in a Google Doc. Yes!
I feel I need to put this because it’s so easy to overlook this point. But if you include even one affiliate link in your post, you need to disclose this information to your readers.
A disclosure doesn’t have to be elaborate and no, it doesn’t have to be the absolute first thing a reader sees when visiting your page. But, it does need to be there. And it does need to be visible. Sticking an affiliate disclosure in the footer isn’t going to fly.
This is an example of what I put in my own disclosure statement: “This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on the link, I may receive a small compensation at no cost to you.”
A lot of bloggers also put a “read more here” statement so that anyone curious can read why we put that statement an
d what all it entails in depth. But the above sums it up in fewer words. Regardless of how you word it, again, make sure you put a disclosure statement in your post.
Next, is the meta description. Again, this is an often overlooked point that, if you’re looking to rank high in Google, you need to complete.
The meta description is a short, more or less 3 sentence blurb that tells what your blog post is about.
In order to make these descriptions most effective, be sure to include keywords in it. And, offer questions and a solution in it, as well.
What do I mean by questions and solutions, you may ask? Well, let me explain.
In the blogging community, we often refer to this as WIIFM. Or, What’s In It For Me?
Believe it or not, we’re all looking for something. An answer to our questions, a solution to our problems. It could be as simple as me looking for an all natural cleaner for my home. It could be I’m looking for my next favorite book on Audible. Or, I may be wanting to know a recommendation for organic tea.
Whatever the problem, or question, I more often than not go to the internet for answers. Which is where a meta description on a blog comes in handy.
Your blog post should provide some solution. So ask yourself what your reader may be looking for. Are they wanting to know how to start a blog? Wanting to know how to monetize a blog? Or in the case of this exact post, are they looking to create the PERFECT blog post?
Ask the question your reader would be asking, then provide the answer. In your post.
Heading 2 (H2)
H2? Why Heading 2? Why not H1, H3, or another? Honestly…
I don’t know. I just read somewhere that H2 was Google friendly. Google loves H2.
So I try and make use of that small snippet of information, because it doesn’t seem to be hurting. And I try and make my H2 words keywords.
I aim for about 1,000 words in my posts. This ensures that readers spend a nice amount of time on my site (and my posts). The more time they spend, the better I’ll rank in Google. This is because Google will read that I’m an expert on that topic.
Adding images helps lengthen the time readers spend, too.
When writing a blog posts, I try and break it up. I don’t write paragraphs on end with no breaks. No one wants that.
If I were to go to a blog and see nothing but pages and pages of words with no visuals and no breaks, I’d hit the brakes (pun intended).
I’d turn around and not even bother reading. So please, for the sake of your audience, include breaks. Use H2, add photos, and write in small bits.
I’ve given a lot of food for thought. Tons of tips that have worked for me. And in fact, I use this very checklist when writing every single one of my blog posts, no matter the topic. Which is why I need to mention one final important thing.
All of the above is great when writing a blog post. It’s valuable info and these small items, when done correctly, will add up and drive traffic to your blog. But, it all means very little if you’re missing one thing. And that one thing is:
Quality content. All the tips, tricks, premium themes and great photos in the world don’t matter if you’re lacking great content. Great content is what brings readers back for more. It’s what has them hanging on your every word, checking your blog for updates to see if you’ve written just a little more.
In short, quality content is what counts. Above all else.
SEO (tags, keywords): Include long keywords as opposed to short, one word tags.
Google Trends: Double check your keywords against Google search terms and use it to find alternative i.e. more ideas, too.
Pictures: Lots of quality photos. Create your own and upload them, pay for them, or find some great ones on free stock image sites. Use Canva (or another app) to personalize them. Add links to the pictures.
Quality content: Content is King, so says Ruth Soukup, author of How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul. Quality content has to be what drives everything else. Because the best marketing in the world will be for nothing if your content is boring, bland, or unoriginal.
**Note: FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: In order for me to maintain this website, some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. If you click on these links, I may receive a small compensation at no cost to you. Regardless, know that I only post affiliate links to items and services I believe may be of benefit to my readers.**