You have just started your website. You're enthusiastic, waiting for the world or at least your target audience to find you.
Have you heard people say: "Content is king"?
Sure you have.
So now you should be writing tons of useful blog posts. Inevitably, you feel devastated.
But don't worry, it's not so difficult.
Follow this list and you'll write kickass blog posts that your followers and also Google will love. (You can download the checklist at the end of this blog post.)
So what should you do after finding the topic you want to write about?
1. Come up with a powerful headline
The first thing your reader will notice is the headline (the title) of your post. This is what they will see when searching in Google, browsing their Pinterest feed or checking the latest blog posts in your sidebar.
It's essential to write a magical headline, as it makes sure people read your post.
Do little tweaks: add an odd number. Include words and expressions like "tips", "ideas", "lessons", and "how to".
Be specific. Raise attention. (Go and see the headlines Upworthy uses.)
Make sure you offer a solution for one of the problems of your target audience.
You don't need to come up with the headline right at the beginning of writing - you can do the content first and then create something effective later.
2. Use your keywords
Keywords, yes. SEO (= Search Engine Optimization, or feeding the Google monster) is important to a certain level.
Keywords are the words or expressions visitors type into Google when they search for answers.
It's useful to have the keyword(s) in your title and content (especially in the first paragraph and headings).
However, don't overuse them and don't stuff your post with these.
Take into consideration that you're writing to real people and not robots (I hope you did your homework with The Creative Fempreneur's Website Strategy Workbook and you know exactly who you are writing to).
3. Write a compelling introduction
You've made sure to catch your reader's attention with the title.
Sad news: a strong title doesn't always ensure reading the whole post. You must make the reader go on with an introduction that's catchy.
Write a memorable story, raise a controversial topic, ask a question or drop in shocking statistics.
Make the reader scroll down.
4. See to the length of the post
Nowadays the minimum is 300 words.
The maximum? Good question.
Some say, don't write more than 500 because people don't have time and nobody will read it.
Come on, this can't be true. And it isn't, as it seems.
If you write about something that makes sense and it's relevant to your readers, you can write thousands of words in a blog post.
It's useful because visitors will spend more time on your site (and Google will love you for it too).
Write shorter and longer posts and test the result.
(This is almost 500 words so far. I hope you'll read on, will you?)
5. Make the text easily readable
Break the text into smaller parts, so that readers can easily scan it.
Use headings and lists.
Hit enter after almost every sentence instead of writing lengthy paragraphs.
Use the Hemingway App to check the readability of your blog post.
6. Write with the reader in your mind
When writing, imagine your ideal reader and write to them.
Use your own voice, write in your own style. Be unique.
Love your readers.
7. Link to trustworthy sources and older blog posts
Link to a few external sources that provide a valuable addition to your post. These can be statistics, studies, researches, other articles etc.
Don't worry, Google will like these too.
Set your links to open on a new tab in the browser, so your reader won't jump suddenly to somebody else's page.
If the topic allows, set up a link or two to your older blog posts too.
Internal linking can be advantageous for two reasons: it helps search engines establish your site architecture and helps your readers find more topics they can be more interested so they spend more time on your site.
8. Use photos
A picture is worth a thousand words - according to the good ol' saying. And it's not accidentally true.
If you can, use photos, illustrations or infographics to support your idea. You can easily raise the reader's attention with them and they can drive you a lot of traffic from Pinterest or other social media sites. (You can prepare different versions for different social media.)
Use your own professional photos, browse among free photos (there are millions of them), or buy good stock photos. You can even use mockups.
Make sure your photos load quickly: optimize them before uploading to your site.
Use captions if you need them and don't forget to fill in the "alt" text. (The "alt" - alternative - text tells the reader what the image is about if the images can't be loaded in the browser for some reason.) It's recommended for SEO reasons too.
9. Don't forget the CTA
CTA = Call to Action. Don't be shy and tell the visitor what to do on your page. You're giving value so tell them how they can get it.
Use instructions, and remember to emphasize them with buttons or highlight them with a different color.
Ask your readers to spread the word on Twitter with a Tweet This quote and create a beautiful blog post cover for Pinterest.
10. Be committed to your promise
If your title says "49+ Resources All Food Bloggers Should Use", then write about these and not something different.
Don't tell me it's obvious, ha!
Make sure your reader gets what she expects to read about. If she's disappointed because the content has nothing to do with her expectations, she won't come back.
If she gets what you promised, she will click on your link happily again knowing she'll get value.
11. Have an epic closing
It's worth asking one or two questions the reader can react to or use a CTA.
12. Don't forget the related data
If you have a WordPress blog, don't forget to fill in important SEO data fields like title and meta description. If you're using the Yoast SEO plugin, you can set a keyword so that the software can check your SEO score.
Add tags and select the categories for the blog post.
13. Read through what you've written
It's best to do it some time later (like a few hours or even a night).
With a fresh eye you can spot typos, irrelevant words and unnatural sentences more easily.
In WordPress, use the preview function for this.
Alternatively, you can ask somebody to do editing for you or use the Grammarly app.
+1 Don't forget to share
Share the link of the post on your social media sites and in your newsletter to get traffic.
Ready for some writing?
Download the free interactive checklist - no opt-in, just click on the link and save. (You can check the boxes on your computer or print the sheet, if you prefer that. If you laminate the paper, you can re-use it with a white board marker.)
Any thoughts? Share it in a comment!