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The backbone of your blog will be your content. Often, people get interested in becoming a blogger because they would like to write blog posts to share their thoughts for the world to read and to help others with a similar interest or problem.
Remember the 104 article project you did before you purchased your site hosting? Now is when we will use that.
If you haven’t already written out 104 articles, I’ll fill you in now. Otherwise, scroll down to the next heading.
The 104 article project is something I suggest all new bloggers do. It involves coming up with 104 potential article topics for your blog. These don’t have to be polished titles, more so just a few words stating what you may write about in a particular article.
To come up with 104 topics I like to just sit in a quiet room and think. If you get stumped, you can look at your competitors and see what they write about. It may help guide you in your list.
Why 104 articles?
Well, let’s say you write one article per week. 104 articles will give you content ideas for two years. That means you have plenty of content ideas to make your blog long term and sustainable.
Before you write any blog post it is best to come up with the keywords you will try to rank for. See, Google judges your blog based on how much value and authority you give.
To give Google the impression that you are an authority on a particular topic you need to use relevant keywords throughout your post. In other words, we need to make sure your post is perfect for search engine optimization (SEO) so that your post comes up in a Google search.
My favorite tool for this is called SEMRush. With SEMRush you can easily find the best keywords for your post topic.
SEMRush is a paid-for service that is basically my SEO library. However, they do provide a free seven-day trial.
If you are not ready to invest in SEMRush long term just yet, I suggest signing up for a seven-day trial (and remember to cancel in time) and use this trial time to discover the best keywords for your 104 articles.
Once you have determined your main keyword and sub keywords it is time to use them to write an amazing blog post.
I personally find that the best way to do this is by writing my posts in Google docs with the SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant.
To get SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant on Google Docs, just open a new document and click “Add-ons”.
Under “Add-ons” you will click a button that says, “Get Add-ons.”
Just search for SEMrush and click to add it.
After completing this process you will now be able to find SEMRush listed under “Add-ons” in your Google doc menu bar.
Now open the SEmrush Writing Assistant and you will be able to add the main keywords that you researched. There is no limit to the number of keywords you can add, but I tend to keep it to around two or three keywords.
SEMrush will then produce this cool little chart that makes for the perfect SEO guide.
The one feature that does not display is, “Originality.” Or, at least on mine, it does not get displayed. This is basically just saying if your content is copying other content on the internet.
Which, you don’t really need to worry about since you are creating this content into the world for the very first time. You visionary you!!
Personally, I suggest just writing your content as you usually would and then referring back to your writing assistant at the end and editing anything as necessary.
You want to write content from the heart and not as a direct play by play from what SEMrush says.
When it comes time to actually start writing my blog post I first like to break things down into subheadings. I use this as an outline to then write my engaging content.
So, your blog post title automatically has an H1 tag. This tells Google it is the main heading of your article.
In your actual post, you will use H2 and H3 headings. Maybe occasionally you will use H4, but probably not often.
Google docs makes this easy to do.
I suggest doing the same as me, create your H2 and H3 headings as an outline and then go from there.
Let me give you an example so you can get a better idea.
The 12 Best California Zoos for the Whole Family – H1 (my post title)
San Diego Zoo – H2
Best Exhibits at the Zoo – H3
Must Know for Visiting the Zoo – H3
Opening Hours – H4
Los Angeles Zoo – H2
So, you can then use your outline to then fill in all your excellent content.
When it comes to writing great blog content one of the most difficult things that really holds up bloggers is finding their voice. With blogging, you are sharing information but you are most likely also trying to present the person behind the text, aka YOU! By being yourself you will better be able to engage with your target audience.
But, how do you show YOU in your text?
To be honest, this is not something I can teach you. It is something that will just come naturally with time. I find that with any new blog I start my first posts are just not that great.
It takes time to figure out my voice within each new setting. And, that is ok!
The wonderful thing about having a blog is that you control the content. You can easily go back at any time and update your posts once you have found your voice.
A few tips though are:
– Be yourself. It is so easy to copy the style of another blogger, but your readers want you. If they wanted that other blogger they would go to their site instead.
– Throw in little anecdotes of your life. Your readers like to know who you are. Throw in tidbits about your cat, your old clunky car, etc. Obviously, these need to be relevant to what you are writing about, but these types of anecdotes will help grab your reader’s attention and make them better relate to you.
For example, in my Costa Rica blog I often mention the cultural differences between my German husband and my travel styles. I get so many emails from people saying they can completely relate to the cultural differences and find them super funny.
It’s a little thing, but it makes people feel connected.
– Be yourself, be genuine, but also don’t overdo it. There is such a thing as oversharing. It is a fine balance.
Your blog content should solve a problem for your audience. In the first paragraph, you should present this problem and use your main keyword.
From there, you will go on to provide advice to solve your reader’s problem.
It is best to end your post with a natural conclusion and call to action.
So, for example, let’s get back to The 12 Best California Zoos for the Whole Family.
The problem: Your readers want to find the best zoo to visit while in California with a family.
The solution: You provide information about 12 zoos throughout the state with all relevant information for your readers to be able to visit these zoos. I would maybe even provide a map so visitors who are not familiar with the state can see exactly where each zoo is located.
Since it is about families. You may also include info about renting strollers, places to eat for the family, money-saving hacks etc.
The call to action: Ask your readers to leave a comment if they have any questions or if they have any info about these zoos that may help fellow travelers. Tell them to sign up for your email list to get something for free. (Maybe a fun animal scavenger hunt sheet for kids or something).
Another thing I suggest doing in all blog posts is to have at least one way to make money.
We haven’t gotten into creating your perfect blog income yet, so don’t stress about this, but when we get to that point in your blogging journey I will teach you how to add a money-making option in each blog post.
Once you are happy with your blog post and SEMrush is happy with it as well, it is time to upload your post into your blog. To do this, copy your entire post and go into your WordPress Dashboard. From there, click “Add New Post”. You can then paste your entire article.
Sometimes the formatting can be a bit off, so just go through and make sure all the spacing looks correct.
From there, click “Preview” and click “In a new tab.” This will allow you to read your entire post and see it the way your readers will. I like to proofread my content this way to make sure everything actually reads correctly.
While reading your post, look for:
When you feel that you have written a great blog post that will answer all the questions from your readers, it is time to add your images.
Having relevant images in your blog posts makes them more engaging to readers. Images provide a little break between a lot of text and can be used to further convey the overall message of your blog post.
For example, in the post about zoos in California, I would insert an image of each zoo below the H2 heading of the zoo name.
Now, how do you actually find images? Maybe you have your own images to use with your blog posts, but sometimes you might not have relevant images. When this happens, I turn to royalty stock photos. This means images that you are able to use on your blog for free without providing credit to the creator.
It is really important that you do not just use random images you find online. This is illegal.
There are two sites I love for royalty-free images that don’t cost anything, Pixabay, and Pexels.
Pixabay has a really huge library, but they are pretty standard and used by a lot of bloggers. Pexels is not as well known and has a smaller library. However, a lot of their images are stunning.
You are free to use images on both sites without giving credit. You can also edit the images as needed.
I like to have my images look uniformed in a visually appealing way. For example, most popular Instagram accounts have images that all look as though they have been run through the same filter. I suggest doing the same with your blog. It adds to the overall brand vibe.
To do this, I use Adobe Lightroom. It is possible to download Lightroom for free on your phone. If you would like to edit images on your laptop you will need an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. I have used Adobe Creative Cloud for the past two years, and I don’t think I will ever get rid of my subscription. Between Lightroom and Photoshop, it is a must-have for bloggers.
Anyway, in Lightroom, you can divide your images into relevant albums, adjust the angle, and then edit the colors and feel of your images.
To edit the feel of my images I use premade presets. For all my images on this blog, I use a preset called Inner Peace that I created.
I have a collection of 10 amazing presets that I made which are perfect for all bloggers. You can use them with the free Lightroom on your phone if you don’t want to purchase Adobe Cloud.
After I am satisfied with how my images look, I then adjust the size to be optimal for a blog post.
This can easily be done in Canva.
If you don’t have Canva, it is a free tool that is perfect for graphic design for beginner bloggers. It is a must-have in my opinion for any blogger.
In Canva, you can create custom dimensions for your blog post images. All of my blog post images (including my cover photos) are 1200 x 628 pixels. You can then upload your image into Canva and easily pop it into your layout. Then just download it and upload all of your images on WordPress.
Before adding your images into your post make sure you edit the image name. This is used by Google to better index your image. It is also useful because if your image does not load for some reason, your readers will still know what the image is.
For example, back to the zoo, I might write “Entrance San Diego Zoo” for my image.
Now that you have your blog post written and your images inserted, it is almost time to publish your post. However, there are a few things you need to do before that happens. Let’s go through them!
1. Check your permalink. A permalink is the link your readers will click to get to your article. You want the permalink to relate to your post. Keep it short and to the point and cut out filler words.
So, for our zoo article titled “The 12 Best California Zoos for the Whole Family” I would make the permalink myurl.com/california-zoos-family
See how I leave out all the filler words? That is how it should be done.
2. Add Categories and tags. If you remember, back when we set up your blog, you chose categories for your site. Every blog post you publish should go into one of these categories.
With tags, put in all the keywords that your readers might search for on your site in order to find that particular article. For example, “zoo, California, kids, family, San Diego, Los Angeles” etc.
3. Add links throughout your post. It is so important to link to other pages on your site throughout your post. This is great for two reasons.
First, it indicates to Google that your site has authority. If one article is ranking well on Google and you are linking to/from it, this indicates that the second article should be evaluated for authority as well.
The other reason to link to relevant articles is that it keeps your readers on your site. This is great for you and also indicates to Google that you are a level of authority because your readers stick around.
So, in your zoo article you mention San Diego. Maybe you also have a great guide to visiting San Diego. This is the perfect opportunity to link to that.
4. Make sure your post can easily be shared on social media. This means, there should be social share buttons at least on the bottom of your post, or maybe sticky on the side of your post. I also like to add one or two Pinterest images and call to my readers to share my post on Pinterest if they would like.
There you go! Now you are ready to click that publish button and share your post with the world!
There are a few plugins that I find super helpful for creating the best posts possible. Here are my must-haves.
Yoast SEO – Yoast SEO is a free plugin that is 100% a must-have for all bloggers. It allows you to add your post meta descriptions (the text that will show up in a Google search result), checks your word count, and checks your overall post to make sure Google will be happy with it.
Yes, SEMrush does this as well. Personally, I find a mix of the two works best.
Just FYI Yoast likes you to use your keyword A LOT of times throughout your post. I have talked to my SEO specialist about this and she informed me that it is a bit much. You don’t need to insert your keyword as many times as Yoast says because it can make your post start to sound spammy.
Elementor Pro – I mentioned above that I use Elementor Pro as my blog page builder. Within Elementor Pro you can also design a standard layout for all your blog posts.
For example, maybe you would like a large image at the top of your article with your heading overlapping it. You can create this with Elementor Pro. Basically, whatever you want your layout to be is possible.
SEMrush – As I mentioned, I prefer to write my blog posts in Google docs with the SEMrush extender. However, if you would prefer to add the SEMrush plugin you can use the writing assistant feature while writing your blog posts in WordPress. I don’t do this because I find that the writing assistant is always in the way when writing on WordPress.
MaxButtons – A free plugin that allows you to create stylish buttons that can easily be inserted in your blog posts throughout your site. For example, on Airbnb, you can offer $30 off to new users. You can create a button with MaxButtons advertising this and use it throughout your site where relevant.
Easy Table of Contents – A plugin that takes all your H2, H3, and H4 headings and puts them into an easy to navigate table of contents. This is so helpful for your reader experience in longer posts.
It is easy to hit “publish” and stop working. However, this is actually when you should start working harder. See, so often bloggers think that their article is out there in the world so people will start coming. Well, if you build it they will come, does not typically work with blogging.
So, what can you do?
Now is the time to start sharing your post on relevant social media networks and with your email list.
Don’t just share your post once. Schedule it to be shared in the future as well.
A great way to get readers to your post is by reaching out to relevant companies mentioned in your post. So, with our zoo article I would look up the Marketing or Public Relations department of each zoo I wrote about and send them a short but polite email stating that you enjoyed there zoo and that you think it is the perfect place for the whole family so you wrote an article about it. Then just link your article.
You may never get a response, but in the best case scenario they will add a link to your post on their PR page. Now, maybe nobody ever reads that PR page and won’t necessarily come to your site to read the article. However, this zoo probably has a great ranking on Google. By having your blog link on their site Google starts to see you as a major authority.
If you get multiple links like this from multiple companies, you will be on track to rank super high on Google.
Also, I just want to say, I know that as a new blogger it can be intimidating to reach out to established companies. I get it! I have been there. But, I always try to remind myself that the worse they can do is not answer me or say, “no thanks”.
They also do not know me. I don’t need to be embarrassed.
I’m also a big believer in doing at least one thing every day that scares the hell out of me. This is the only way to make your dreams into a reality. I made sending these types of emails my one scary thing, and soon they weren’t scary anymore.
I also like to add my blog post to my calendar to check in on it every few months. I reread it, add any new relevant links throughout, reshare it on social media etc.
OK, that was so much info! I hope you got so much value out of it. You are now well on the right track to blogging success!
Next, we are going to go through how to grow your blog audience and get the right fans. It’s all about quality not quantity around here!
Join my FREE Handheld Blogging Course. It is by far the best way to get started with successfully blogging the right way within 30 days.