Don’t you hate it when you think you know what to do only to realize it was wrong?
That’s what happened to me with my very first blog.
Back then, I thought blogging was just all about writing articles and publishing them.
Sadly, as you probably already know, there’s a lot more to it than just that.
But, wouldn’t it be great if you could just have all the things you needed to do before and after you publish a blog post listed down one by one?
That way you could refer to it like a checklist. Doing so would eliminate that overhwhelming feeling of trying to remember everything that needs to be done.
That’s what this article is all about. I will take you step by step through all the essential things you need do for each of your blog posts.
Hopefully, it saves you a lot of time. And, more importantly, your post gets its best chance at being seen by as many readers as possible.
How to Write a Blog Post Your Audience Will Love
- Main Goal for this Section: Create an amazing article that helps your audience.
When it comes to creating content, that’s your main goal.
Remember, you’re not writing for yourself anymore. Instead, you’re writing for your audience. So, here are the things that will help you do that.
See If the Topic Aligns with Your Audience’s Interests
The very first step is to check whether the topic you’ve chosen for the article is something your readers are interested in.
This means it falls within your niche. And, it is something that resonates with your audience.
Just as importantly, try to choose a topic that:
- Is useful for your audience. This means it’s something they care about and can relate to.
- Helps them solve a problem they’ve been having.
- Is actionable. It offers them a solution that they can act on. This gives them the ability to take on whatever’s been bothering them.
See If There’s Actual Interest (Google Search or Pinterest Search)
Now, just because you think your readers are interested in a particular topic doesn’t necessarily mean that they actually are.
The only way to ensure this is either to survey them or to do keyword research.
That’s why keyword research is very important. It allows you to see if there’s actual interest on a topic without having to keep surveying your audience. Taking this extra step ensures that the next few hours you spend writing and promoting the article don’t go to waste.
Here, you have a few options on how you want to approach things. Which you decide to prioritize on will depend on where your main source of traffic will come from.
For most blogs and websites, Google is their main source of traffic.
That said, it’s a long-term play. This means that it takes time to grow your traffic from Google search. The reason being that Google ranks blog posts according to the authority they’ve built up.
Unfortunately, it takes months or even years to build that authority.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’m a big fan of Pinterest. That’s because Pinterest is a much easier source of traffic for new blogs.
Unlike Google, you don’t need months or years of SEO in order to rank on Pinterest. All it takes is optimizing your pins the right way. Doing so gives new bloggers a chance to get solid traffic soon after launching their blogs.
That said, Pinterest is somewhat similar to Google in that it uses a search engine to give its users the best possible results for their queries. But how it goes about things is different.
Here’s how to find keywords in Pinterest that will attract visitors to your blog.
Do Research and Create Your Blog Post’s Outline
Now that you have a topic that people are interested in reading, it’s time to plan your post.
The quickest way I’ve found to create a high-quality blog post is to start with an outline. Once you have the outline ready, you can begin researching the actual information that goes into each of the subtopics in the outline.
After you’ve finished creating your outline, it’s time to research the information that will fill out your content.
Write the Post
Once you have the outline and done the research, it’s time to start writing.
Before You Publish a Blog Post
- Main Goal for this Section: Make your article SEO- & Social-ready so that people will want to click on it and enjoy reading it. Getting all the steps done in this section puts you in a position for the next phase, what to do after you publish a blog post, which we discuss in the section below.
Congratulations! You’re done with the main content.
But, before you press the “Publish” button, there are a few more things you want to do first.
- You want to make your article as easy to read as possible, especially in mobile devices.
- Taking a few extra minutes to do on-page SEO helps your post rank higher in Google.
- You don’t want to have any spelling or grammar errors in your post.
- Adding opt-ins, links and a call to action increase reader engagement
Let’s get started.
Create an Enticing Headline
Your headline is by far the most important part of your article.
Then why did I spend the last hour or two writing the content?
Well, what’s in your article is likewise essential. But, before any reader can find their way to your article, they’ll want to have to click on the headline first.
So, if the title isn’t enticing enough, no one will click on it. As such, all the time you spend researching and writing doesn’t bear fruit.
More importantly, your title will often have to compete with other articles. Whether it’s in Google search, Pinterest or other social media platforms, your article’s title will only be one among many listed in a search or feed result.
As such, it has to convince the reader to “Choose me, instead of the others”.
Thus, it’s important for your title to have 2 critical components.
- The target keyword or phrase. This will allow it to show up on Google or Pinterest search results.
- Be engaging or persuasive enough to make someone click on it instead of the others on the search or feed results.
Break Up the Text into Smaller Chunks
Another important thing to consider about your blog post is its readability. There are a few factors to consider here:
Content Readability Score
On the one hand, there’s the readability score. This is the figure that tells you how easy or complex it is to read your article.
This is important because people have different reading levels. Given that the average adult reads between 7th and 9th grade levels, you don’t want to make your article overly complicated.
The easier it is to read the more people can comprehend it. Thus, they’ll be willing to spend time going through it along with your future articles.
A quick way to check your article’s readability is to use WebFX’s Readability Test Tool.
When you do, you’ll see something like the screen below.
Blog Post Formatting and Structure
Similarly, because the majority of your readers will likely be using mobile devices to access your blog, you want to format your article to make it easy to read.
This is why it’s important to break up your content into shorter paragraphs. Lots of white spaces increase readability.
In contrast, a huge wall of text with no white spaces makes a long article more intimidating to read.
Additionally, using H2 and H3 headings not only let you divide subtopics but including keywords in them can also boost your on-page SEO.
Do On-Page SEO
Speaking of On-Page SEO, make sure to optimize your article for it. This increases your chances for ranking on Google. The reason is that Google’s ranking algorithm factors in some of these components.
The easiest way to do this is with Yoast SEO, which is a free WordPress plugin.
If you don’t have it installed in your blog, you can do so in just a few seconds.
After that, you can follow the steps below to optimize your blog posts for SEO.
Create an SEO Title that Includes Your Main Keyword
Make Sure Your Blog Post’s URL Contains Your Keyword
Add a Meta Description
Optimize Your Images
I’ll talk about this in the next item where we focus on inserting images to your blog posts.
Doing this for every post lets Google know what your article’s target keyword is. And, by optimizing the blog post for it, it increases its chances of ranking higher for that specific keyword.
Besides breaking up the paragraphs to make your article more readable, another way to make it more appealing to readers is to include images.
Images can come in many forms. They can be high-quality photos, charts, infographics, memes, checklists and so on.
Placing beautiful images strategically throughout your blog posts reduces the monotony of seeing just text. It also adds color and contrast to make your article more visually appealing.
Interestingly, taking the extra time to insert images into your post helps a lot. According to Buzzsumo, content that had an image between every 75 to 100 words got double the number of shares compared to articles with fewer images.
But, it doesn’t stop there.
Be sure to optimize your images for SEO as well.
You can do so by:
- Inserting keywords in the “alt-text” tag
- Reduce the size of the image by compressing it. Doing so speeds up your page’s loading time.
Also, it’s ESSENTIAL to make sure that you use copyright-free stock photos as well. Otherwise, you may be in for a rude surprise later on down the road when the photo’s original owner comes calling.
Another option to images is video. You can do so by embedding YouTube videos into relevant parts of your articles.
Videos have a distinct advantage in that if someone watches the video, it increases the time they spend on that page. More importantly, the time spent on your site is one of the many factors that Google considers in its ranking algorithm.
I know. You’ve probably read your article over and over while writing your post.
Unfortunately, you should still proofread it at least one more time before publishing. If you have someone who can do this for you, even better. That’s because we tend to anticipate things we already know. This causes us to overlook some minor errors at times.
One effective way of flushing out these errors is to read your article out loud. This lets you become more aware of sentence structure and grammar compared to when you’re reading it in your head.
My favorite tool for proofreading is Grammarly.
It comes with a Free and Paid version.
The free version works very well for spellchecking and basic grammar. But, if you want to ensure that your sentences roll off the tongue, the paid version does a better job.
That said, if you’re starting out, the free version is all you really need. This will help you save money for the essentials.
Add a Featured Image
A featured image is an extra image you attach to a WordPress post. It is the image that comes out on your blog feed when your posts are shown in summary.
Taking the extra couple of minutes to add a featured image to each and every post makes your blog look more professional. It also prevents your blog feed from becoming all text, which isn’t visually appealing.
Insert Links to References and Resources You’ve Cited in Your Article
If you’ve cited any references include a link in your post pointing to that article. This allows your readers to follow that link if they want to learn more about whatever was discussed in that section.
Interestingly, while it may feel like you’re passing “SEO link juice” to other sites by adding external links, they actually help your SEO.
According to Search Engine Journal, outbound links help your SEO. That’s because Google likes it when you guide your readers to reputable sources. That said, it’s important to choose high quality, authoritative sites to link to.
Add Affiliate Links
Since we’re on the topic of linking, you’ll also want to insert affiliate links when they’re relevant.
This allows you to earn commissions on products or services that visitors to your blog may purchase.
Just make sure not to go overboard. Nobody likes to read an article that’s loaded with affiliate links.
Also, when recommending affiliate products, do choose only those that you’d use yourself. Suggesting poor quality products can come back to bite you later on because your readers may start questioning your credibility. Or, at the very least might start believing that you’re just trying to make money off of them.
You never want to get to that point.
Finally, don’t forget to add a disclaimer informing your readers that you’ve included affiliate links in your blog post.
Link from the Post to Your Older Posts
In addition to inserting external links, don’t forget to add internal links.
Internal linking is good SEO practice because it allows “link juice” to flow from one page to another in your website.
Just as importantly, it improves your reader’s experience because it lets them follow a link to another page that can further explain some ideas or provide more information about specific topics.
As a bonus, when they do click on these links, they’ll read more of your blog posts and stay on your site longer.
Encourage Discussion by Asking Questions
One of the best ways to increase audience engagement is to ask questions at the end of the post. Doing so lets you interact more with your audience when they leave comments.
And, while it may make you spend more time reading and replying to comments, you’ll get to know your readers better. In doing so, you’ll be able to help them solve their problems better.
Create a Content Upgrade
Content upgrades are additional free content that your visitors can access in exchange for their email address.
Essentially, it’s bonus content you’re giving them in order to help grow your email list.
In a way, content upgrades are like your core lead magnet or freebies. But, they’re not general to your site. Instead, they’re specific to a particular post.
Create a Call to Action
A call to action (CTA) is something you say to encourage your reader to act. Often, it’s located at the end of a blog post. But, that’s not necessarily always the case.
One example of a call to action is encouraging your readers to leave comments as I mentioned above. To do so, you can ask questions like, “What about you? How would you approach this situation?”
But, CTAs aren’t limited just asking questions in order to get more comments. They can be anything.
You can encourage your readers to share the post if they found it useful. Or, you can ask them to sign up for your email list/newsletter.
The key to calls-to-action is to limit them. Often, you’ll see one CTA, at most two.
You don’t want to “ask” too much from readers or overwhelm them with requests.
After You Publish a Blog Post
- Main Goal for this Section: To get your newly published blog post out there. The steps below will help your newly published article garner more attention so that all the hard work you put into creating the article will be well worth it.
Finally, you’ve published the post.
But, your work isn’t done yet.
You’ve probably heard something along the lines that blogging is 20% content and 80% promotion. Well, now you’re getting to the 80% part of the game.
Just like your headline, promoting very important. In fact, it is more important than creating the content itself.
That’s because no one will even get to see your headline unless you promote your post enough to get it out there.
Here we go.
Reread Your Post. Yes, Again.
Before anything else, read the final product one last time.
This gives you a chance to correct errors, make modifications or add last-minute details to it before marketing it to your fans and everyone else on the web.
Insert Links to the Newly Published Post on Older Posts
After you’ve published the post, you’ll now be able to add links from your older posts to this new one.
It serves the same purpose as it did when you added internal links from the current article to your older posts.
The only difference is, WordPress won’t let you link to content that hasn’t been published. So, you have to insert the links after you’ve published the new article.
Pin Post On Pinterest
Now, it’s time to start promoting.
One of the first things I like doing is posting the pin I created on Pinterest. This will allow other Pinterest users who search for your article’s main keyword to find it.
If you’re starting out, try making a few different images. This will allow you to test and see which ones work and which don’t.
Here are some tips:
- Create 3-4 different images for each new blog post
- Test 4-5 different titles per post
This will allow you to test many images and headlines without having to write so many articles. In doing so, you’ll have more data to analyze. This information lets you understand which kinds of images and headlines your readers prefer.
When doing this kind of testing, make sure to only change one component at a time. While this means creating a lot more pins, it makes it easier to track each of the components you’re testing.
This speeds up your learning curve so you can figure out what kinds of pins and titles people like to click on.
As you get better, you can reduce the number of pins you create per post.
Schedule the Pins
After you’ve pinned the image manually, it’s time to start scheduling your pins.
You’ll want to get Tailwind for this.
The app allows you to schedule all your pins at specific times. This saves you the time and effort of having to pin them manually throughout the day, each and every day.
That said, don’t be completely dependent on automated pinning. Pinterest wants you to keep pinning manually as well. Tailwind just reduces the workload significantly.
Post on The Rest of Social Media
After you’ve scheduled your posts on Pinterest, it’s time to schedule your new post on your other social media channels.
I specifically kept Pinterest separate because as a beginner, it will likely be your main source of traffic, at least initially. So, placing a priority on it is key.
After that, you can post on Facebook and Twitter as well to increase your new blog post’s visibility.
Notify Your Email Subscribers
Once you’ve built up a good-sized email list, this promotional strategy becomes more potent.
It isn’t too effective when your list is still small. So, you may want to hold off until later.
But, doing so lets your loyal readers know that there’s a new post available on your blog. This helps them stay updated because some of them don’t check your blog every day.
Thus, notifying them ensures that they’re aware of the new article.
Ask a Blogger Friend to Share It
This is why it pays off to build relationships with other bloggers.
In addition to promoting the post on social media, you can also ask a few blogger friends to share the article with their audience.
Ideally, you want to choose bloggers who are in the same niche as you are. This will allow you to tap into their audience.
And, when the time comes, do make sure to return the favor.
Leave Comment on Other Blogs
Leaving comments on other blogs is a great way to get your brand out there. It’s a subtle way of introducing yourself to other bloggers, including influencers.
It’s definitely much less intimidating than sending them a cold email to introduce yourself.
By leaving useful and relevant comments on other blogs in your niche, some readers from those blogs, including the blog’s owner, may find their way to your new post.
Don’t forget to leave your name and website as well, so they can click on the link if they find your comment interesting.
But, most important of all, make sure that the comments you’re leaving offer value.
Respond to Comments
Once your readers have responded to your call to leave comments, it’s your job to reply to them.
I know some bloggers who don’t really care whether they get comments or not. Similarly, others also don’t bother to reply to comments simply because it’s time-consuming.
But, if you want to increase audience engagement, do so.
Growing your blog’s comments can somewhat be a form of social proof. It lets new visitors know that there are a lot of people reading your blog. And, these readers are invested enough to spend time to leave comments and ask questions.
Try checking out the biggest bloggers in your niche. Odds are their posts have lots of comments to which they reply to.
Comment on a Commenter’s Blog
One way to take your engagement level a step further is to comment on a commenter’s blog. This is a great way to meet new bloggers and initiate a relationship with them.
If you’re just starting out, commenting on other blogs that are at a similar stage where you are allow you to get acquainted with someone who’s experiencing the same things. This makes your situation relatable allowing you to form a bond with one another.
In doing so, it gives you an opportunity to help one another when you have setbacks. It also allows you to share what you’ve learned so you can grow together.
Crafting a GOOD blog post isn’t just about sitting down and writing whatever you feel like that day.
Instead, it takes careful planning and research.
In addition to that, there are a few other “blogging stuff” you need to take care of before and after your press the “Publish” button.
By following all the steps above, you’ll be sure that your blog content has all the necessary ingredients needed to succeed.
Which aspect of content creation do you have the most difficulty with? Let me know in the comment below.