When I first started out in blogging, I thought as long as I write good articles, people would automatically read my stuff. Although some part of that is true (thanks, mum!), in order for people to read your stuff, they have to be able to find it first.
If you’re new to blogging, you probably have a million and one article ideas racing through your head. You want to write about that awesome camping trip you took a few months back. You want to write about the newest pasta recipe you tried out or maybe you want to write about a few organizational hacks you’ve recently discovered.
While having heaps of article ideas is great if you want to write awesome articles which people will read, here are a few of my top blog writing tips.
Focus on Providing Value
Back in the day, I used to wake up and literally go… “hmm…what should I write about today?” While this is great for journal type blogging, if you don’t have a lot of time to invest in writing heaps of content, you need to be strategic when it comes to deciding what to write about.
For me, good content is when you provide VALUE to someone. If people find your article useful, they are more likely to keep coming back to your blog or to even recommend it to others.
For example, let’s say you want to talk about your weekend trip to Lake Tahoe with the family. While it would be entertaining to read about what you ate and what you did during the trip, this won’t be of any use to anyone aside from your friends and family.
Unless you have a loyal audience who follows your life, you’re better off angling your article as: “A Complete Guide to Camping in Lake Tahoe”. Listed below are a few sample snippets of information that you should include in order to provide value.
- Tell them how to get there
- Tell them what type of equipment they need to bring.
- Give them information on how much you spent
- Dish out any tips based on your personal experience
For me, great articles are those that are personable and informative at the same time. Remember, people follow blogs because they want an inside snippet into your life so giving them the best of both worlds is important.
When writing articles, you can add some personable snippets about yourself / your family but focus on providing the readers some value. There is always a way to find a middle ground between being informative, telling a story, and writing inspirational pieces.
Do Your Keyword Research
One of my biggest blogging regrets (deep, I know!) is not getting a keyword research tool from the very start. Why? Well, because I literally spent a year or so writing content with no idea if
a) people even searched for those keywords
b) If I even had a chance to rank for them in Google.
In a nutshell, if you want to consistently bring in traffic to the articles that you write, people have to be able to find it on Google. How will you bring in traffic if you write about things that people don’t even search for?
We personally use Mango KWfinder as we love its simplicity. When I am brainstorming for topic ideas, I quickly jump on this tool where I type different article ideas and decide on my final topic and angle based on the keyword difficulty and search volume.
Update: We recently switched to Key Search, mainly due to the price and have had lots of success with it. they have great starter plans and annual plans. If you want an additional discount, use the code KSDISCfor a 20% discount.
For example, one of the most common questions that we get as frequent travelers is what we bring with us in our bags. For this reason, I decided to create a what to pack for Thailand post. I did my keyword research and found that a good number of people search for this on Google and I had a good chance of ranking for this.
Every month, almost 4000 people read this article (which also has Amazon affiliate links which I consistently earn from). It’s an article which I wrote maybe 1 year ago yet is something that consistently brings in revenue!
Developing a solid content strategy based on doing proper keyword research is essential if you want to really monetize and make money from your blog. If I started doing this from day one, I would have saved myself tons of time and energy from writing content that no one reads. I also probably could have avoided having so many blog posts land in the notorious “blog graveyard”.
Related: Ultimate List of Blogging Resources
Write Catchy Headlines
In a world where there are thousands of other blogs and content creators, you need to stand out.
“But Anna, I’m an awesome writer with a unique edge…”
Well…so am I but until you get people to actually click your article and read what you write, you’re competing for their attention.
Whoever said don’t judge a book by its cover is partially lying because, in a world where people spend hours scrolling down their newsfeed, you have to get creative in order to get them to click your article.
Yes, click-bait articles work…however, I don’t recommend using it all the time. Instead, focus on creating catchy headlines that people will click. Take this article for example. If I named it “How to Write Blog Posts”, people (including yourself) might just breeze through it when you see it posted on your Facebook feed.
However, because I inserted an adjective and a result (How to Write Awesome Blog Articles That People Will Actually Read), you’re more likely going to click it.
I use a free headline analyzer tool which helps me construct awesome article titles. It also gives me a preview of what my article title will look like in the search results of Google.
So when you’re writing blog posts, get creative. Instead of writing Christmas Cookie Recipe…Title it “The Best Christmas Cookie Recipe…EVER!” or “The Christmas Cookie Recipe That Even Santa Can’t Resist”
For those that are non-technical, don’t panic. This only means that instead of having an article whose URL is www.adventureinyou.com/best-yummiest-christmas-cookies-recipe-ever, it should only be the keywords that you’re trying to rank for. Instead, your URL should be www.adventureinyou.com/christmas-cookie-recipe.
Great Headlines Formulas
In case you’re wondering, here are a few examples of great headline formulas that work great when writing titles.
- List: 21+ Ways To (Do Something) That Will ( Effect) ex. 10 Healthy Recipes That Will Get You Fit this Summer
- How to: How To Make A (Thing) To (Effect) ex. How to Travel Solo like a Boss and Stay Safe
- Controversy: What No One Tells You About (Topic) ex. What No One Tells You About Traveling Solo
- Numbers: 30 Simple Ways To (Do Something) That Will (Effect) ex. 30 Simple Ways to Save $500 in Two Months.
Remember, it’s SUPER important never to be misleading. Even if you have the catchiest blog title, you will immediately lose your reader’s trust if your topic isn’t related to your title. If you promise to show them something, make sure you deliver.
Write Easy to Read SEO Friendly Articles
When writing blog posts, it’s all about the user experience. Don’t make them scroll through unedited blurry images and long paragraphs. Instead, break it down. Have headings. Have subheadings. Create action points and use catchy images. Optimize your content for SEO. Listed below are a few ways on how you can incorporate this into your article writing.
Although it will take a while for Google to start ranking new blogs, it’s never too late to start incorporating these things! That way, you won’t have to change and go back to fix older articles later on.
Google LOVES it when you break your article down into easy to read headings. In your WordPress dashboard, you have a variety of different heading types. Your title should always be H1 (this is automatic in most themes) and use the succeeding headings as H2 with your subheadings as H3. If you have a second subheading, make that an H4.
This helps create an easy to understand format for your readers. Also, no matter how awesome Google is, it is still just a program who analyzes tons of blog posts and content every day.
By helping it “read your content” through headings or even through a table of content, it immediately shows what your article is about and why it should put you above other results.
Remember, you don’t have to be the world’s best photographer when it comes to blogging (unless you run a photography blog, of course). Nowadays, there are heaps of free stock images from sites like Pixabay, Unsplash, and Pexels which you can use without having to credit anyone.
Insider Tip: If you’re new to blogging, NEVER google an image, right click, save, and use it in your blog post. Lot’s of people get sued for copyright infringement this way. Instead, just browse through sites similar to the ones I listed above to help you find free, high-quality images.
When uploading images, you might notice a box which asks for a title and Alt Tag. Filling up these sections is very important as it helps tell people what the image is.
Nowadays, Google will more likely rank you higher in search results if you write complete comprehensive articles. The standard length for blog posts nowadays are around 800-1000 words (minimum). If you like writing epic pillar content similar to what I do, I could spend two days busting out a 2000 word article.
Please do not confuse length with substance. If you don’t have any more to add, don’t write fluff just to make your article longer. As with everything, quality over quantity.
Apart from producing SEO optimized content, you also need to consider adding proper Meta Descriptions and SEO titles. It is important to understand that Yoast only serves as a GUIDELINE and isn’t a direct basis on how Google ranks you. There is also no need to upgrade to Yoast Premium in our opinion.
Here are a couple of guidelines to remember:
SEO Title: In case you don’t know, you can have different titles for your article. One title in your heading, one SEO optimized title (ideally, with this one, you would like your main keywords to go first.) and lastly, you can have a different title for Social Media.
Slug: I mentioned this early on, but keep this clean and make sure that it has your exact keywords.
Meta Description: Google has recently extended the number of characters that you can write out so make sure you write a catchy, engaging article with a direct CTA. If you look at what I wrote below, I have the word click to read more which encourages readers to open and choose your article over the other search results.
Blog Post Checklist
In a nutshell, here’s a quick checklist of things you need to remember in order to write epic blog articles that readers will keep coming back to.
- Provide Value
- Do Your Keyword Research
- Write Catchy Titles
- Create Easy to Read Posts (include images, headings, subheadings, bullet points, etc.)
- SEO Optimize Your Posts