Blogging platform usage statistics
The next step is to figure out how and what content you need to create for your new blog. The content of your blog will be the bait that attracts your readers. In this guide, we will cover what content you need to write for your 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 blocks you need to worry about, pre-launch and post-launch contents:
Static pages: such as “About,” “Contact,” etc
Sidebar content: content that appears on the sidebar of your blog (if you are going to have one)
Blog category pages: content (around 100 words) for category pages on your blog (plus pick categories to divide your content)
SEO meta tags: content for the SEO title and description tags of each page (not seen on the actual page but you need to have it ready)
Blog posts: regular articles you are going to write
Cornerstone content: this will be the base of your blog
Before you start writing your day-to-day blog posts, you will want to make sure static pages and other parts of your blog, such as sidebar and footer, are filled with the suitable information. Let's explore each of these content areas.
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 the particular topic. Depending on your niche and your style, the information you provide can be “all business” or personal and fun.
Recommended reading: How to Write a Killer About Me Page For Your Blog
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 visitors can use to communicate with you without leaving your website.
Recommended reading: 12 of the Best Contact Us Pages on the Internet
If you created your blog to promote your business, you'd want to make sure there’s a page that details the goods and services you sell. Alternatively, if you already have a website for your business, you can provide a link to it in your menu.
Recommended reading: How to Create Product Pages that Produce the Results You Want
To give yourself a little liability protection, you ought to consider a disclaimers 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 recommend that readers see their doctors for their 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 other 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.
Your sidebar is the smaller column to the left or right (depending on the theme you selected) of your blog's main content. You will want to add the following content in sidebar widgets for your visitors.
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.
Recommended tool: 16 Practical Tips That Guarantee More Blog Subscribers
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 in this blurb of text helps visitors 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 people can follow you. You can use icons to represent each network or use official boxes, buttons, and badges from these networks. The latter help you 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 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 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 you simply like.
Be sure to visit other blogs in your niche to see what they show on the sidebar.
First things first, you will have to choose categories for your blog. If you are not sure how to do right, read the article below.
Recommended tool: How To Choose The Perfect Blog Categories
Next step is to create short text for each category page that you are going to have on your blog. The text could be anywhere between 50-150 words. You might think why? It will help these pages to rank better in search engines.
The 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 actual page but only inside the code. But it's critical to create proper meta tags for each page on your website so search engines can understand what the page is all about.
When you create new pages or posts on your blog you need to make sure you include the following meta tags:
Title tag — displays on search engine result page and represents the page title for search engines. Optimal length 50-60 characters. If you want to learn more about title tags, read this article.
Meta description — information that summarizes the content of the web page and appears underneath the title. Optimal length 160 characters. If you want to learn more about title tags, read this article.
You don't need to learn code or programming to implement meta tags on your blog. If you decided to go with WordPress CMS, you could easily install one of the SEO plugins, such as Yoast SEO and use it to add necessary information to each page.
To build and maintain a successful blog you need to have a well-established content plan. It should include all 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.
Recommended tool: The Beginner’s Guide to Blog Content Planning
Below we'll show you exact steps 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 the list of topics
Step 2. Pick and prepare cornerstone content
Step 3. Pick and write 5-10 blog posts
Step 4. Create editorial calendar and start posting
Step 5. Repeat Step 2 through 4
By this point, you already know what your blog is going to be about, and you picked a niche. If you don't, read the articles below.
Recommended reading: How to Choose a Niche for Your Blog (Step-by-Step Guide) and How to Choose What to Blog About (with Examples of Viral Headlines)
Creating list of topics might sound like a complicated process, but in reality, it's not. And 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 that list is to come up with different points for your nicheand 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 step, you can start listing items that would be longer, in-depth pieces of content. Also called cornerstone content (we will talk about it in the next step). These could be some guides or tutorials. That's why we keep mentioning that you should pick a niche within your passion. Thus it will be easier to generate ideas.
In our case, here is the list we got for our yoga blog.
Now let's fill out all the columns in the master spreadsheet. Here is what each column indicates:
1. Shorter blog posts < 1,000 words
2. Medium articles 1,000-2,000 words
3. In-depth guides 2,000+ words
Main keywords you want to target with your content.
Recommended reading: How To Do Keyword Research — The Beginners Guide to SEO
Keywords (KW) volume
An average number of searches per month through search engines. We used Ahrefs Keywords Explorer tool since Google gives you only estimated traffic volume intervals.
Recommended reading: KWFinder — Keyword research and analysis tool
Choose under which category you will post your content.
Here you have it, you prepared the list of topics and prioritized it by the importance and competitiveness. Now it's time to move to the next step.
How long is a typical blog post?
Your main guides (3) will be your cornerstone content. It's the content that will be used as a foundation for your website, and smaller blog posts will be written around that core.
If you are not sure how to come up with topics for the cornerstone content, here is what you can do:
Use Google Keywords Planner tool to get the ideas. Just log in to your Google account or create a new one if you don't have it. Under the section "Find new keywords and get search volume data." open "Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category" tab, enter the "yoga" keyword into the box and press "Get ideas" button. You will get the list of keywords with their search volume.
You can also use tools like Ahrefs Site Explorer and check what keywords competitors website rank for to get the idea for topics. It's a paid tool, but you can get two weeks free trial. Sign in to the tool, insert URL of the competitor website that you like and hit explore button. Next, select "Top pages" section on the left-hand side and check "Top keywords" column to get keywords ideas for your topics.
This exercise should help you find keywords that are popular, and you can come up with the items for your flagship content.
Now it's time to create the content. You'll read a lot about optimizing your content for search engines, and while that it 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.
Recommended reading: How to Create Cornerstone Content That Google Loves
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 will be the "What is [type] yoga?" series.
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.
To become a successful blogger in any niche, you will want to follow these best practices.
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.
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.
Recommended reading: How to Become an Authority Blogger in Your Niche
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.
Creating a regular schedule of posting on your blog helps your readers know when they can expect to hear from you again, whether it's daily, weekly, monthly or even quarterly. The key to maintaining consistency is to be realistic. Individual bloggers will find it difficult to create high-quality content on a daily basis. Start with weekly or bi-weekly posts and work your way up to daily posts, if that is your ultimate goal. Just don't sacrifice quantity for quality.
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.
Recommended reading: Best of The Best: Online Grammar and Punctuation Checker Tools 2017
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 you focus on, not something you do in your spare time.
You don't have to publish every day, pick the posting flow according to your schedule. For example, you can post your cornerstone content one day, post first blog post the next day, and keep posting blog posts once a week.
Recommended reading: How to Create an Editorial Calendar Using Google Calendar
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 them. Or you can create a new in-depth guide and start creating articles around it. This step is a more personal choice, and you will have to decide what approach would work for you.
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 you include the main keyword phrase that people could use when searching for the topic you are covering.
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:
Below are examples that prove the points and meet one of the criteria.
Ideas for optimizing your headlines to bring in loads of traffic
When you write a headline, pay attention to its tone and appearance
— Choose a strong typeface
— Size your headlines to stand out
The more public something or, the more influential people use something; the more likely people will imitate it.
Why 1000’s of Bloggers Will Come to SMX Conference on March 20th, 2018
Ernest Hemingway’s Top 5 Tips for Writing Well
Useful things to get attention. Highlight the benefit and promise to gain something if the person takes action.
Use color to grab attention
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
Length af a headline
People often take action when they need to protect themselves from some 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 the cheat sheet you can use that will help you to come up with headlines ideas.
If you want your blog to thrive and grow, then creating quality content is the answer. Focus on quality over quantity, even if you have to sacrifice frequency and consistency. Your readers will appreciate you for it.