The content of your blog will be the bait that attracts your readers. It’s important to come up with a good blog content strategy for your new blog.
In this guide, I will cover what type of content you need to prepare when you are starting a blog, and the best practices you should follow.
Without great content, even the most well-designed, tightly-structured blogs will ultimately fail.
There are two sections of blog content that you should focus on pre-launch and post-launch content.
- Static pages – such as About, Contact, Services, etc.
- Sidebar content – content that appears on the sidebar of your blog.
- Blog category pages – description for each blog category page.
- SEO meta tags – content for the SEO title and description tags of each page.
- Blog posts – regular articles you are going to write.
- Cornerstone content – this will be the base of your blog.
How to Write Blog Content Step-by-Step
- Preparing content for your blog launch.
- Step#1: Content for static pages.
- Step #2: Blog sidebar content.
- Step #3: SEO meta tags content.
- Creating a content plan for your new blog.
- Step #1. Create a list of topics.
- Step #2. Select and prepare cornerstone content.
- Step #3. Pick and write 5-10 blog posts.
- Step #4. Create an editorial calendar and start posting.
- Step #5. Repeat Steps 2 through 4.
Preparing content for your blog launch
Before you start writing your day-to-day blog posts, you will want to make sure that the static pages and other parts of your blog, such as the sidebar and footer, are filled with suitable information. Let’s explore each of these content areas.
Step #1: Content for static pages
First, you will need to create static content pages for the following types of information.
The most traditional page on any blog is the About page. This page tells new visitors to your blog what it is about, who you are and why you have a blog about your particular topic. Depending on your niche and your style, the information you provide can be “all business” or personal and fun.
This page allows visitors of your blog to communicate with you at any time. It can be a simple page with your email address plus social network links, or you can use plugins like Contact Form 7 to have a simple contact form that visitors can use to communicate with you without leaving your website.
If you have created your blog to promote your business, you’ll want to make sure that there’s a page that details the goods and services that you sell. Alternatively, if you already have a website for your business, you can provide a link to it in your menu.
A blog is a low-cost, low-risk way to invite readers into your world and begin a conversation with your company. 68% of consumers are likely to spend time reading content produced by a company they are interested in.
To give yourself a little liability protection, you ought to consider a disclaimer or policy page.
For example, if you are writing a health blog, but you’re not a medical professional, you may want to create a disclaimer to say that you are not a physician or other healthcare provider and to recommend that readers see their doctors for medical information and evaluation.
You may also want to inform visitors to your website that you use analytics tracking, Google AdSense, affiliate marketing links and other types of content.
Be sure to visit the best blogs in your niche, preferably larger ones, to see what pages they provide links for in their primary navigation menu and footer. Chances are, your visitors will be looking for the same types of pages on your blog.
Blog category pages content
To begin with, you will have to choose categories for your new blog. Depending on your main topic, you can have different categories. For example, if you are starting a food blog, your categories could be recipes, desserts, breakfast, and more.
With categories set up, your blog site will have different pages for each category, such as yourblogname.com/category/name.
The next step is to create short text for each category page that is going to be available on your blog. The text can be anywhere between 50-150 words. You might wonder why you need this text. The answer is that it will help these pages to rank better in search engines and users can easily understand what type of content is included under this category.
Step #2: Blog sidebar content
Your sidebar is the smaller column to the left or right (depending on the theme you selected) of your blog’s main content. You can add the following content in sidebar widgets for your visitors to see. You don’t have to add all of the sections described below, but these are some common sidebar contents sections people have on their blogs.
Encourage visitors to your blog to subscribe via email or RSS. Email, of course, is best, especially if you would like to monetize your blog in the future. MailChimp is a great service to use as it is free for the first 2,000 subscribers.
- Almost 40% of websites have lackluster statements such as “Please contact us” or “We’d love to hear from you”. Also, nearly 38% of companies offer just an email address or a tiny contact form buried at the bottom of their website.
- 61% of people feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are more likely to buy from that company.
It’s helpful to include a simple sentence or two about you and your blog for new visitors who may not take the time to read your About page. Having your photo included in this blurb of text helps visitors to put a face to the blog, whether you are the owner and editor managing other writers, or the primary content author.
You can also display links to your social profiles so that people can follow you. You can use icons to represent each network or use official boxes, buttons, and badges from these networks. The latter helps you to build your social media audience by allowing people to connect with you without leaving your website.
A popular posts widget will help direct visitors to your top pieces of content. WordPress Popular Posts plugin will help you to create this easy, displaying posts based on comments and view count.
If you plan to add advertising banners to your blog, then add them from the start, so that regular visitors will not be surprised when you do start gaining advertisers. The banners you use until then can link to products for which you are an affiliate marketer or to products that you simply like.
Be sure to visit other blogs in your niche to see what they show on their sidebars.
List of blog categories and search bar
To help your readers find different blog posts and articles more easily, you can add a widget with a list of all of the categories on your blog. This will help people to navigate through your blog. You can also add a Search bar as an additional means for visitors to find what they are looking for.
Step #3: SEO meta tags content
A Meta tag is a code snippet that includes text outlining information about a particular page for the search engines. This content cannot be seen on the actual page but only inside the code. It’s critical to create proper meta tags for each page on your website so that search engines can understand what the page is all about.
When you create new pages or posts on your blog, it’s important to make sure that you include the following meta tags:
- Title tag: displays on the search engine result page and represents the page title for search engines. The optimal length of 50-60 characters.
- Meta description: information that summarizes the content of the web page and appears underneath the title. The optimal length is about 290 characters.
You don’t need to learn code or programming to implement meta tags on your blog. If you are using WordPress CMS, you can easily install one of the SEO plugins, such as Yoast SEO and use it to add necessary information to each page.
Creating a content plan for your new blog
To build and maintain a successful blog, you need to have a well-established content plan. It should include all of the details related to future blog posts, publishing schedules, audience development and much more. Without this concrete plan, it is impossible to maintain the popularity and consistent quality of your work.
Quality content, regular publishing, good design, and an established social media presence are ranked as the four highest factors determining the credibility of a blog.
Below we’ll show you the exact steps that you can take to create a plan for your blog content. Use this example as a template and adjust it according to your needs and capabilities
Step #1: Create a list of topics
Creating a list of topics might sound like a complicated process, but in reality, it’s not. We will show you how you can do it with a real-life example. Let’s say you are going to start a yoga blog.
The easiest way to build a list of topics is to come up with different points for your niche and mix them up. You can use this doc as an example.
Here is what we are talking about:
By using this approach and adopting different combinations, you can easily create hundreds of topics.
Next, you can start listing items that would be longer, in-depth pieces of content to write. This is also called cornerstone content (we will talk about this in the next step). These posts could be some guides or tutorials on your niche topic. This is why we keep mentioning that you should pick a niche within your passion because it will be easier to generate ideas.
In our case, here is the list we created for our yoga blog.
Now let’s fill out all of the columns in the master spreadsheet. Here is what each column indicates:
- Topics: In this column, you will list all your content ideas and topics.
- Depth: In this column you will identify the length for each specific topic – (1) shorter blog posts < 1,000 words, (2) medium articles 1,000-2,000 words, and (3) in-depth guides 2,000+ words. The length of your content will vary depending on the topic, but different studies show that longer content performs better and that the average blog post is about 1,050 words long.
- Keywords: In this column, you will include the main keywords you want to target with your content. You can read our guide on How To Do Keyword Research.
- Keywords (KW) volume. In this column include an average number of searches per month through search engines. For this example, we used SemRush tool since Google gives you only estimated traffic volume intervals.
- Category: In this column choose under which category you will post your content.
Now, you have prepared a list of topics and prioritized them by their importance and competitiveness. It’s time to move on to the next step.
Step #2: Select and prepare cornerstone content
Your three main guides will be your cornerstone content. This is the content that will be used as a foundation for your website, and shorter blog posts will be written around that core content.
If you are not sure how to come up with topics for your cornerstone content, here is what you can do:
- Use Google Keywords Planner tool to generate ideas: Just log in to your existing Google account or create a new one. Under the section “Find new keywords and get search volume data”, open the “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category” tab, enter the keyword “yoga” into the box, and press the “Get ideas” button. You will receive a list of keywords with their search volume.
- You can also use tools like SemRush and check what keywords competitors’ websites rank for to get ideas for topics. It’s a paid tool, but you can get a two-week free trial. Sign in to the tool, insert the URL of the competitor website that you like and hit the explore button. Next, select the “Top pages” section on the left-hand side and check the “Top keywords” column to get keyword ideas for your topics.
Now it’s time to create the content. You’ll read a lot about optimizing your content for search engines, and while that is important, if you don’t optimize your content for humans, then you’ll never gain the exposure that it takes to get links and rank well in search engines. If you write content that people love to read, then you will get traffic, social shares and links as your readership grows.
Step #3: Pick and write 5-10 blog posts
Now you can select blog posts that you are going to write and post on your blog. As we mentioned earlier, you will write your posts in support of your cornerstone content. In our case, if we create “A guide to different types of yoga” as a core piece, our series of blog posts can be the “What is [type] yoga?” series.
As you write and post your first 5-10 blog posts, keep the following important points in mind:
Writing blog posts
The blog post is an entry (article) that you write on a blog. It can include content in the form of text, photos, infographics, or videos. Make sure you always have an engaging introduction, quality content, and a solid conclusion.
Best writing practices
To become a successful blogger in any niche, you will want to follow these best practices.
Companies that published 16 or more blog posts per month got 4.5x the leads than companies that published 4 or fewer monthly posts
Good grammar and spelling
Make sure you write grammatically correct sentences. Poorly written content with grammatical and spelling errors will kill the trust of readers. It will also discourage them from visiting your website again or buying something from you. Here are some tools you can use to check your grammar.
Set your blogging goals
You’ll never know if you are getting the most out of blogging if you haven’t set goals for your blog. Is your goal to make money? Get a new job? Find people to connect with about a particular topic? Define your blogging goals and periodically ask yourself if your blog is helping you meet them. If not, ask yourself how you can improve your blog to meet the goals.
Commit to becoming an expert
No matter what your blogging goals are, if you strive to be an expert in your niche, the fulfillment of your goals is sure to follow. People who are known as experts in their niche tend to receive more recognition and income for their content. They also tend to have larger audiences and the option to turn their readers into customers by offering related products and services.
Engage with your audience
The best way to stay in tune with your readers is to engage with them. Some ways to do this include replying to comments, responding to queries from your contact form, joining in conversations with users on social networks, and visiting your readers’ blogs to see what they are interested in and join discussions. As you do this, you will build stronger relationships with your readers and learn more about what they want, something that can help inspire your future content.
Edit your work, or hire an editor
For many people, it’s hard to create content, then proofread and edit it. As a matter of fact, editing while you write can hinder your creative flow. Proofreading is not optional. A blog post full of misspelled words and typos reflects poorly on you. If you’re not able to do these tasks on your own, consider hiring a virtual assistant to do it for you. It is especially important if you’re not writing in your native language. Having a native speaker of the language used in your blog edit your work can boost your credibility. While blog content does not need to be perfect, it does need to be easy to read and consume.
Step #4: Create an editorial calendar and start posting
To help maintain your consistency, be sure to use some form of an editorial calendar. You can use Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, or even a simple spreadsheet. Use it to manage your ideas and plan your content themes for each month so that blogging is something that you focus on, not something you do in your spare time.
You don’t have to publish every day. Define the posting routine according to your schedule. For example, you can post your cornerstone content one day, post your first blog post the next day, and keep posting blog posts once a week.
Step #5: Repeat Steps 2 through 4
Now you can repeat the same process. If you have more blog posts that you can write related to the first piece of cornerstone content, you can keep writing to them. Or, you can create a new in-depth guide and start creating articles around it. This step is a personal choice, and you will have to decide what approach works best for you.
How to write the perfect headline
The headline, or title, of your blog post, has to capture the attention of potential readers. People may see it in their social media news feed or search results. Make sure that you include the main keyword phrase that people might use when searching for the topic you are covering.
- The most popular headline font sizes range from 20—36 pixels.
- 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, but only 2 out of 10 will proceed to read the rest of the post.
- 67% of people say black is the best choice for text to help them comprehend the content.
- The best headline length is 50 to 70 characters or 6 to 8 words long.
Three principles of viral headlines
The headline you use will play a critical role in getting more visits and social shares. Good headlines make people take action because they show one of the following:
- Social currency
- Practical value
Here are examples that prove the above points and meet one of the criteria.
The more something is used by the public or the more that influential people use something; the more likely it is that people will want to imitate it.
Examples of headlines:
- Why 1000’s of Bloggers Will Come to 2019 SMX Conference
- Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well
Highlight the benefit and promise personal gain if the person takes action.
Examples of headlines:
- Spend 10 Minutes a Day, and You’ll Have Incredible Abs in 2 Months
- How We Got 1,000+ Subscribers from a Single Blog Post in 24 Hours
People often take action when they need to protect themselves from a perceived threat.
Examples of headlines:
- Warning: Don’t Buy Another Ounce of Dog Food Until You Read This
- 50 Reasons Your Website Deserves to Be Penalized By Google
Here is a cheat sheet you can use that will help you to come up with headline ideas.
If you want your blog to thrive and grow, then creating quality content is the answer. Design a strong content strategy that will keep your blog posts oriented on your niche topics, and you will attract a loyal readership. Focus on quality over quantity, even if you have to sacrifice frequency. Your readers will appreciate you for it.