Writing blog posts can be great fun. But for some of you, blogging can be quite a challenge as well. What should you write about? What do you do if you’re out of inspiration? How do you get engagement on your blog posts? And how do you market and monetize your blog? This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know about blogging.
If you have a website of any kind, you need to blog, at least occasionally. Blogging is the best thing you can do for SEO and it’s a valuable marketing tool. Plus of course, it can be great fun!
Blogging for SEO
Adding content on a regular basis should be a part of every sustainable SEO strategy. It allows you to rank for new keywords and to keep ranking for those you’re already being found for. If you blog regularly, Google will see your site as active, alive and relevant – and that will definitely help your overall rankings.
Blogging as a marketing tool
A blog is a great marketing tool for every website. You can use it to tell your readers about your brand, your products and perhaps even about yourself. Maintaining a blog also allows your readers to get to know your brand and your products better.
Setting up a new blog
If you’re just starting a new blog, it pays to do some prep before you start. Take some time to think about your niche and to do some proper keyword research. And don’t forget to structure your blog in a smart way. If you give some thought to how you want to set up your blog before you start writing, it will save you a lot of work later on.
What should you blog about?
You can’t blog without ideas, and you’ll need lots of them to maintain a successful blog. But where do you look for inspiration?
You’ll have to decide which terms you want to be found for before you start writing your content. To decide that, you need to get inside people’s heads and find out which words they use while searching for your type of business. When you write, you’ll use these exact terms in your content to make sure you start ranking for them. Keyword research is the first step in SEO copywriting and an essential part of any successful SEO strategy.
If you’ve done your keyword research properly, you’ll end up with a long list of keywords to write content about. A keyword is not yet a topic though. As well as a keyword you’ll need an angle or a specific story around a keyword in order to write a decent blog post.
Where do you get inspiration for your posts?
Current events, your own work, and comments from your readers are just some ways you can get inspiration for new blog posts. Reading a lot is also a good idea for finding inspiration. Read magazines, newspapers, and other blogs. Hot tip: keep a list of ideas for new blog posts on your mobile phone. Inspiration strikes when you least expect it.
How to write a high-quality blog post
Writing requires some skills – it’s more difficult for some people than for others. We’ll give you some tips to make writing easier for you later on, but first we’ll discuss two important aspects of high-quality blog posts: originality and readability.
Your blog posts should always be fresh, new and original. Each one should be sufficiently different from all the other blog posts and articles about the same topic already on the web, and it should be something that people will want to read.
After you’ve written a post with original content, you should make sure your article is easy to read. Readability is vital for your audience. If your text is well structured and clearly written, people will understand your message, but readability is also crucial for SEO. Not only do people read your text, but Google does too. If your post is easy to read, with a clear structure with subheadings and logical paragraphs, chances are it’ll rank higher in the search engines too.
Practical tips on how to write awesome blog posts
Think before you write
Before you begin, take a little time to think about what you want to write. Who is your audience and what do you want to tell them? What do you want them to know/understand/do after they have read your blog post? Which topics do you want to cover in your blog post and in what order? Answering these questions before you write will help you to write better articles.
Write clear paragraphs
We advise that you always start each paragraph with the most important sentence, then explain or elaborate on it. That way, a reader will be able to grasp the most relevant content from your article, just by reading the first sentence of each of your paragraphs. Don’t make your paragraphs too long; 7 or 8 sentences is quite long enough. Think about the order of your paragraphs and remember they should follow each other logically.
Get help and ask for feedback
Our Yoast SEO plugin helps you to write readable posts. For example, our readability analysis checks whether you’re using too many long sentences and whether you’re using enough transition words. This can be a great help in writing readable blog posts.
As well as using a writing tool like our readability analysis, you should always make sure that someone proofreads your blog post. A fresh pair of eyes will at least help correct typos and you’ll know whether someone else can understand everything you want to say in your article.
Optimize blog posts for search engines
After you’ve written a blog post that’s both original and readable, you should make sure your content is optimized for search engines. You should maximize the likelihood that Google will pick up your content. It’s important that you take this final step after you’ve written your post, though. SEO should never compromise either the originality of your idea or the readability of your text.
Yoast SEO can help you tweak your text. The red and orange bullets will indicate which aspects of your findability need attention. For example, the plugin might suggest using your focus keyword a little more often, perhaps by putting it in the first paragraph or in one of the headings. Yoast SEO will help you to optimize your snippet preview as well. In short: don’t just set the plugin and then forget about it, but use it to your advantage!
Blog engagement is an important factor for SEO. If your audience leaves comments on your blog (and you respond to these comments), Google will see that your blog is very much alive and active. And of course, mentions on social media will also help with your blog’s ranking. If people share your post on social media, or talk about it online, that will definitely lead to more traffic.
Replying to comments is an essential aspect of blog engagement and answering questions and providing appropriate responses in a discussion can take a lot of time. Handling positive feedback and answering questions is relatively easy, while negative feedback can be more challenging. Read our post about how to handle comments for more information and practical tips.
Marketing your blog
If you’re writing posts for your blog, you need an audience. Nobody wants to perform to an empty room! Ranking well in search engines through flawless SEO will, of course, help. But there is always more you can do.
Social media and newsletters
Social media is an important marketing instrument for your blog. You definitely need to set up a Facebook page and create a Twitter account. If you’re focusing on a young audience, you’ll need Instagram and Snapchat as well.
Also, consider starting a newsletter. Collect subscribers who want to stay informed and email them regularly.
Monetizing your blog
If your audience is growing due to great SEO and marketing strategies, this doesn’t necessarily mean that profit (if you’re making money with your blog) from your blog will also grow. For many bloggers, making money is not the primary goal. Still, you can make money from a blog. Advertising, affiliate marketing, and writing promoted posts are the most common strategies for making money with a blog. But you could also use the blog to sell your own stuff.
Maintaining a blog
Starting a blog is easier than maintaining a blog. It can be a lot of work to write blog posts on a regular basis. You don’t have to blog every day, but you should decide on a frequency and stick to it so your audience will know what to expect from you. Blogging does require some discipline.
As your blog starts to grow, you’ll probably face new SEO problems. How do you keep coming up with new content and keep your old content up to date? How do you manage different authors? What do you do when traffic to your blog is decreasing? And how will you keep the structure of your blog in shape?
Site structure of a growing blog
While your blog is growing, it’s important to regularly analyze the structure of your blog. Organize your categories, subcategories and tags well. As your blog is growing, the structure will change and evolve. As long as you stay on top of that, your structure will remain SEO-friendly!
Content planning for a growing blog
As your blog gets bigger and attracts a larger audience, content writing becomes content planning and content managing. On larger blogs, a team of authors usually works together. Blogs are written by individual authors, but these authors still have to coordinate. Otherwise, a post with the exact same topic could appear twice. Or, authors could use a totally different style and tone of voice.
Blogging is great. It can boost your rankings in Google, especially when you combine it with an in-depth keyword research strategy, and is also an important and effective marketing tool. Use our tips to get started and to maintain your blog effectively. Happy blogging!
Interested in blogging? Follow the adventures of our colleague and blogger Caroline, she regularly writes about her struggles and successes as a blogger.