There are probably tens of thousands of articles about writing a great blog post. I’m going to show you, step by step, the HOW and WHY to BUILD a great blog post. Bookmark this page and refer to it every time you write an article, blog post, or anything you would like to see shared on social media, rank higher on search engines, and have high quality SEO. You will build amazing habits that enable you to take these steps – as part of your habit.
HOW TO BUILD A GREAT BLOG POST
From your WordPress dashboard, hover over “plus new,” and add a new post.
Identify a Focus Keyword Phrase
Just like you did when you created the 4 most important pages. Go to adwords.google.com, and do your research. Search for a high quality keyword phrase to make sure your visitors will not be surprised when they go to your page after searching that term. Then plug in that winning focus keyword phrase.
Next, Write the Title.
Like we talked about before, spend some time on this. Take the title you started with on your editorial calendar and tweak it if you need to. Again, you want a title that grabs a reader’s attention. If you saw the title as a post on Twitter, would you click on it? In fact, I would like to challenge you to write multiple titles for your post. Try them out on social media to see which gets the most clicks. If you later find that a different title is more “clickable,” come back and change your title.
Digital Eye Media gives some useful tips for writing great titles.
- Put your main keyword at the beginning of title, or as close to it as possible
- Keep your title simple and free of typos
- Create a catchy, clickable title
- Includes calls to action and value propositions
- Keep it to 65 characters or less
Recently, I got an email that said “Why I yell at my wife in the shower (true story).” Yeah, I opened it. The most important thing about surprising and irresistible titles and subjects like these is that the reader IS PLEASED BY WHAT THEY READ when then are sucked in. The title examples we’ve used today would suck me in and get me to click. And I’ll tell you what – the content was informative and made sense in relationship to the title.
As it turned out, he guy who yells at his wife in the shower gets ideas while he’s in the shower and shouts out to her and asks her to write the ideas down.
So, take your creative title and be sure to include your keyword phrase as close to the beginning of the headline as possible.
Insert the URL Slug or Permalink.
Again, use the keyword phrase at the beginning, separating each word with a hyphen. Ideally, your slug is an abbreviated version of the title. Do not use words like “how-to” or “the” or “a” in the slug. These are called “stop words,” and you need to keep them out of your URL as much as possible. I’ll include a link to the list of stop words in the transcript. Be sure to download it at the end of this session.
Write the Content
Use conversational language to write content based on what you know your ideal lead wants to know. Give them your best stuff.
To add value and credibility, include quotes and statistics from high-quality sources. External links and citing those sources also increases SEO and incredible value to the reader. One thing I like to do is use excerpts from my blog posts in social media posts. Using those quotes or other cited material is awesome, especially when I tag those sources. It increases visibility – especially when those sources mention the post!
Content should be a MINIMUM of 300 words. Many people don’t like reading long posts, and I know for myself, I’m a browser. I scan through a post, which speaks to the fact that your content should be thoughtfully broken into sections under well-thought-out subheadings. You’ll also want to include your keyword phrase in at least one subheading.
So, how long should a good post be? That is still up for debate. Although there is a good argument for shorter posts considering the extremely short attention span most adults have, there is some data out there to support the idea that longer posts are better.
SerpIQ did a study of search results rank, and found that posts over 2,000 words rank higher on search engines, although QuickSprout reports that there are more than 200 factors that influence how your content ranks in the SERPs or “Search Engine Results Pages”.
QuickSprout also provides data to back the fact that longer blog posts get more back links, or links from other relevant websites back to your site, preferably to pages and posts within your site. Back link acquisition is something that is probably the most important factor in SEO, the hardest to address when you’re first starting out, and something you can’t just go out and do – you have to build a site and do a variety things to get these cherished, relevant back links.
More valuable information QuickSprout shares regarding post length is shareability. Everyone wants readers to share posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media, and it is easier said than done.
Social media superstar Neil Patel said that “Once the word count exceeds 1,500 words, it’s in the golden share zone.”
His own research on Quick Sprout confirms this. All of his posts that are more than 1,500 words receive 68% more tweets and 22% more Facebook likes than the articles with fewer than 1,500 words.
Neil Patel also says that, “For all the talk about making posts ‘shareable,’ it turns out that the defining factor is content length.”
So…. it is safe to say that it is a good idea to write posts that are between 1,500 and 2,500 words.
But let’s not miss a glaring truth in all of this: Neil’s posts, at the lowest point when they are 0 to 399 words, get 207 Tweets, 66 Facebook shares, and 30 LinkedIn shares, which is a valuable reminder that great content is king.
Set the Featured Image
Grab an image that really makes you feel like you want a reader to feel when they see it on social media and on the blog post itself. The photo should relate to the post, share the story, and grab attention.
High quality images are best, but don’t select something cheesy and obviously stock and widely available.
Stock photos on iStock are high quality and they offer a huge variety for a fee. Free images are available through Creative Commons searches — I use search.creativecommons.org It is amazing if you can use your own images. But, if you have a hard time getting great photos that you can use, find fitting images online. Be sure to adhere to copyright laws.
Check the Meta Title
Your blog post title at the top of the page works for the Meta title. The meta title is what appears as the title on search results and social shares. It must be between 40 to 70 characters, and can be edited at the bottom of the page in the Yoast SEO section.
Write the Description
The meta description, or the description that shows up on search results and social shares, can be edited at the bottom of the page in the Yoast SEO section. It must be less than 156 characters. As always, include the focus keyword phrase, and write something that illustrates what the reader will see when she gets to the page.
Set the Twitter and Facebook Image and Text
Click the “sharing” symbol under the Yoast SEO section at the bottom of the page. You can create a custom Title, Description, and select a custom picture for Facebook and Twitter shares of this post. If left blank, the meta title and description and the featured image will be used when shared.
The advantage to customizing the image is that Facebook images with links are best shared as 1200 pixels wide by 628 high, and Twitter images should be 1024 pixels wide x 512 high. We talk more about image optimization in our upcoming lesson about optimizing images, but this gives you a good idea of how to size the images.
Your blog should have a few categories that break out the types of things your content will be themed around. Don’t use too many categories, so choose wisely. Using words that are frequently in keyword phrases is good, if they make sense. Once you write your blog post, select a category or create a new one if needed.
Set the Tags
Tags are a funny thing. Again, you don’t want to use too many, but they are easy clicks for the visitor to access topics that interest him. Select frequently used tags or create a new one. I suggest always viewing frequently used tags before creating new. When WordPress was new, I was guilty of creating a new tag that was almost exactly like other tags I had already created. Don’t get suckered into letting that happen to you.
Go through the Great Posts SEO Checklist
Take one final check at your Yoast SEO at the bottom of the page to make sure you have a “green light” for good SEO. Check the suggestions, even if you have a green light, and make any improvements that make sense.
Go to the Advanced Settings (the cog icon) and paste the web address for this post into the Canonical URL. This tells search engines that if they see the text from this post anywhere else, this is the original source.
Launch It! > Click “Save”
Once you save the post, click “view post” to make sure it looks how you want it to look, proofread it, and make any corrections, if needed.
FINALLY: HOW TO MONETIZE THIS POST
SO YOU CAN GET A RETURN ON THE TIME AND MONEY YOU’VE PUT INTO THIS THING!
You just saved your post, but you’re not done yet. Look at your post through fresh, new eyes. What is the next step for a lead who reads this post?
Consider the topic of your blog post. Think about the reader – who is reading this post and really getting value from it?
Once you have a clear vision of the person on the other side of this post and where she’s at, determine the logical next step for her to take.
For example, if you are a hair stylist and just posted the article, “5 Hairstyle Trends That You’ll Regret,” the beginning of the post might show 5 horrible hair styles, then a link to another post: “5 Hairstyles That Even Your Future Self Will Love.” Why? Because after reading a post about terrible hair styles, what does your reader want to see? Probably good hair styles. A good conversion goal for this page would be to end up on that next post.
From the article showing nice hairstyles, at the bottom of the page, you could have an opt-in opportunity: “Style Your Hair At Home Like You Just Walked Out of the Salon: Get Your FREE How-To Guide in Pictures!” The call to action could say, “Yes! Send It Now.”
These steps create what is called a “sales funnel,” or series of steps to guide visitors to the sale, which I talk about more in my “website conversion” webinar.
The biggest thing is that, once you start collecting those email addresses, you’ll begin nurturing those leads into clients, creating an income directly derived from your website.
There are other ways to monetize your website, such as using ads and sponsored links.
Next, let’s ….
Set Up Conversion Goal Analytics
Once you know what the goal is for the blog post – whether it is to sign up for a free download, watch one of your videos, or click on a related link, whatever that next step is, create a headline, subheading, and a call to action to guide the reader to take that action.
With that action in mind, set up a goal in Google Analytics.
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