Writing a blog post seems pretty straight-forward, doesn’t it?
Pick a topic, write a few words and publish. On to the next…
Yeah, that’s one way but it won’t drive you to success.
There are several fundamental steps to take before and after you publish a blog post to make it worthwhile.
#1 Rethink your chosen topic
Before you start writing your post, stop and ask yourself, is this really a good fit for my target audience? What are my readers going to gain? Will they return and read future articles?
It’s so easy to look past your audience and write what you want to write but more often than not, this doesn’t always work.
You’ve got to write for your target audience in order to drive them to your site and keep them coming back for more.
#2 Check formatting & structure
No one enjoys reading paragraphs and paragraphs of text, do they?
The majority of your readers will quickly scan the page when they arrive at your site so it’s important you have formatted your text to ensure they go on to read your article properly.
How do I format my text?
- Include H1/2/3 tags as headings.
- Break up your paragraphs so they’re easier to read.
- Use bullet points when necessary.
- Use bold, italics and underline where appropriate.
- Add visuals (images, videos and GiFs) to make it more appealing.
Some writers worry about creating lengthy blog posts as they don’t think users will read them but as long as they are formatted correctly and the author can keep you engaged then the longevity doesn’t matter.
#3 Link to sources and past articles
Internal and external linking are both important in order to improve your SEO.
Think of some older posts that are relevant to your new one and add links to these posts and vice versa. For example, 11 Great Ways To Finish Off Your Blog Posts is perfect for this one as it’s something you should do before publishing.
Also, don’t be shy when it comes to external links. If you want to share something great that’s relevant to your blog post, go ahead! It will, in turn, drive people to your site.
#4 Add eye-catching visuals
Visuals make reading a blog post more appealing, particularly when it helps the reader understand the subject better, e.g. a statistical graph or infographic.
If you’re trying to optimise for specific keywords in your article, it’s useful to use those keywords as tags when naming your images (aka alt tags). This will also increase the traffic to your site as users can find your images and article URL when using search engine images.
#5 Optimise for search engines
Optimising for search engines is important as this is how you will receive the majority of the traffic to your site.
Carry out some keyword research using Google AdWords Keyword Planner or SEMrush’s Keyword Magic Tool to find high volume search queries related to your article and use them throughout. This way you are increasing your chance of ranking for these search terms and boosting your website traffic.
#6 Proofread, proofread, proofread…
This is something you should do without thinking but if you’re working to a tight deadline, it’s easy just to scan the page and click publish, isn’t it?
However, this really isn’t the best approach. Pass your work on to one of your colleagues to proofread or you can use an editing tool to ensure complete accuracy, e.g. Grammarly.
Grammarly is a free automated editing tool you can use to ensure your writing is free of any spelling or grammatical errors. Add as an extension on Google Chrome and you’re good to go. No more silly mistakes!
#7 Add a conclusion and CTA
Don’t end your blog abruptly. Write a conclusion or a quick recap to summarise your main points to the reader and finalise with a call-to-action. What do you want to gain from this post? Do you want your audience to leave a comment? Do you want them to share or respond to you on social media? Whatever you want, ask your audience or leave a clear statement to encourage action.
#8 Rethink your title
It’s easy to come up with a quick title before you start writing but before you click publish, ask yourself, are users really searching for that phrase? Carry out a quick keyword research to find out the most popular keywords and questions related to your topic. A little change in title can work wonders in receiving the traffic you want.
#9 Research… again
How annoying is it when you think you’ve covered everything and then you read a similar blog with an important point you could have mentioned?
So before you click publish, carry out a quick google search and ensure you have exhausted all possible points in your article. There might be a new finding or latest news item on the topic which could make your article stand out from the rest.
#10 Add a meta description
Meta descriptions provide concise summaries of what your landing page is about. You can add 1-2 sentences (Description 1 and 2) and these will show on search engines depending on what device the user is using. E.g. A mobile device may only show description 1 due to the size of the screen.
Adding a meta description helps users get a feel for what your article is about and encourages a click-through as ads are presented better than those without.
So your post is live, now what?
You aren’t done just yet. The next 3 steps are essential in maximising the impact of your blog posts.
#11 Respond to comments
Responding to your readers’ comments is effective in building relationships and networking with people in your industry. Don’t just say “thanks!” when someone compliments your work. Discuss their points and/or ask a question to keep the conversation going. This keeps them coming back for more.
#12 Share on social media
Share your posts across your social media channels with relevant hashtags and a call-to-action. Have you seen a tweet related to your article? Tweet the person with a link to your post. They will more likely to read and respond than come across it on their feed.
Are you part of a Facebook or LinkedIn group specialising in the subject area you’ve written about? Post it there too. These users have joined the group to read more about X, Y and Z so it’s a perfect opportunity to receive more traffic to your blog.
#13 Repost regularly
Sharing your posts on social media once won’t cut it. Not all your followers are going to see what you shared at 10:10 on a Wednesday morning. You’ve got to repost regularly to get your blogs seen.
Automate your posts using a social media scheduling tool such as Sprout Social, Buffer or Hootsuite. This way you can schedule a variety of your blogs in a timely manner, ensuring the majority of your followers will see them on their timeline or news feed.
A useful tip… Create different tweets and status’ so your posts don’t look automated and more people click-through.
Have you covered all these steps? Are you now ready to publish?! Have we helped in boosting the traffic to your site? Send us a tweet, @wearegecko!