Over the past few weeks, many of my readers asked me the same question: Angie, can you explain to me how to write a killer blog post? How do you do it? Where to start? What to write about?
As much as I would love to explain this to all of you in a short DM or email, there’s a lot more to it. Unfortunately, it can’t be explained in a quick message. However, I’d love to share all my writing tips with you! I want you to be able to write awesome blog posts too! That’s why I decided to dedicate a complete blog post to this topic.
This way you can always find your way back to this blog post. And I only have to refer to this post from now on whenever someone asks me the same question again! 🙂 I’d say it’s a win-win!
In this post, I will share the writing process with you that I use to write all of my blog posts. You’ll learn how to write a complete blog post from scratch and what you should pay attention to when writing your blog posts. Hopefully, this post will help you to write killer blog posts that rank well on Google and convert like crazy!
You know, you really don’t need to be an excellent writer to write a great blog post! I’m definitely not the best writer out there. Especially not in English (it’s not my native language). But I do have a passion for blogging, and that’s why my blogs have been so successful. This means, if I can do it, you can surely do it too!
Let’s start at the beginning!Disclaimer: Deze post bevat affiliatelinks. Dit betekent dat ik een kleine commissie kan verdienen wanneer jij een aankoop doet aan de hand van één van de links op mijn blog. Geen zorgen, hier betaal jij niks extra’s voor. Dus win-win voor iedereen! 🙂 Ik link alleen naar producten waar ik 100% achter sta en geloof dat jij er ook echt iets aan hebt. Dank je wel!
1. Choose the topic for your blog
Start by deciding on the topic you want to write about. Lack inspiration? Go to Answer the Public, enter a topic in the search bar and you’ll receive numerous topic suggestions related to your search query. All the suggestions are actual topics people are searching for and seeking answers to!
Another method to choose your blog topic is by analyzing the autosuggestions Google presents when you enter search terms related to your topic. Every autosuggestion = a frequently searched term!
Or on Pinterest:
Already have a topic in mind that you want to write a post about? Go for it! The blog posts I wrote spontaneously receive the most traffic on my website. Sometimes not over-analyzing and researching works best!
2. What problem do you want to solve?
Suppose you’d end up on this blog post as one of your readers, what questions would you expect to be answered after reading this post? What problem are you solving? What will your reader gain from reading it? Write down all these questions and make sure to answer these questions in your post.
As a matter of fact, it is always wise to add a question/answer structure to your blog posts. That way you’re sure you’re answering all the questions. Plus, you might even get a Featured Snippet in Google’s search results. A Featured Snippet is that small portion of text that you often see at the top of search results that directly answers a question without having to click on the link first.
To do this the right way you should use one of your questions as a header. Write down the answer to the question in the paragraph that follows in 40 – 60 words. Make sure that both the question and the answer are well formulated. Check on Google if this exact same question appears pops up as an autosuggestion as well. Once your post starts to rank, chances are Google will rank this paragraph as a Featured Snippet at the top of the search results. #Goals!
Also interesting to read: Why you should start blogging for your business
You now know what topic you are going to cover for this blog post. You also know which questions you want to answer in your post. Time to do some research! What do you already know about this topic? Check if your knowledge is (still) accurate. Start looking for new information about this topic you didn’t know yet. Do your research online, in books, or in the library. Whatever feels best for you!
Have a look at the search results to see which similar blog posts are ranking in the top 10 and find out which information is missing in these posts. Try to make your blog post stand out compared to the ones ranking at the top. If you want your post to rank above these posts, you need to be sure that your post really deserves that number 1 spot!
By this, I really don’t mean that you should start copying your competitor’s posts. On the contrary! Use your own voice, your own opinion, your own words. Create content that is 100% yours! Copycats suck! Get inspired, but don’t copy. Huge, huge difference!
And if you do use information from other posts or books, remember to include the source in your post as well.
4. Keyword Research
Your outline is ready, you have clear what you’re going to write about, and you’ve gathered all the required information. Time for your keyword research! There are various tools you can use for your research, but I prefer Keysearch.
As a beginning blogger, I’d recommend opting for search terms that are less competitive. It’s easier to rank for these types of keywords in the search results. When your blog grows bigger, you can try to target the bigger keywords as well, but as a beginner, less competitive keywords are perfectly fine to start with.
You can filter the results of your keyword tool for keywords with a lower amount of monthly searches. Look for long-tail keywords, and check which websites are ranking in the top 10 for these keywords. If the top 10 is filled with huge competitors, don’t even try to rank for this particular keyword and look further for a keyword with smaller competitors in the top 10 of the search results. Found your focus keyword? Write it down, and use it throughout your content while writing your blog post.
5. Outlines of your post
For me, it always helps to start by defining the outlines of my posts. What will be the structure of my post? What headers and sub-headers should be included? From there you only have to add content to the paragraphs. And believe me, this part is a piece of cake when the outlines of your post are already standing!
I always love to write my posts in Google Docs. It saves all your changes automatically to your Cloud and you can create titles, headings, and paragraphs. From there all you need to do is copy-paste it to WordPress or website builder!
You can also choose to write your posts in WordPress itself, but for me writing in Google Docs is much easier to work with.
Start with a catchy title
Come up with a catchy title that immediately sparks interest. How-to posts, comparison posts (… VS … ), and top lists (the 10 best … ) get lots of traffic! Incorporating a number in the title also works wonders! People also love step-by-step guides. A title like for example “How to write a killer blog post in 10 steps” is a perfect title. Keep your title between 50-50 characters. Longer titles will be cut off in the search results… 🙁 results, so the rest of your title will be cut off… 🙁
Headers and subheaders
Create all your headers and subheaders in advance before writing the rest of the post. Why? It ensures that you don’t skip any important topics and it’ll help you stay to the point. Take another look at the questions you wrote down earlier. Can you leverage these questions as header or subheaders?
Creating headers and sub-headers in advance gives peace of mind and ensures that you work in a structured manner.
Write the content of the post
Time to start writing! You can now start filling in the content for each (sub)header with all the knowledge you have gained from the research you did earlier. Try to write like you talk. As a blogger, you don’t have to be a master of literature. Just write a readable blog that is easy and pleasant to read, and most importantly, be yourself!
Tip: Use the active voice. It makes your text a lot easier to read and follow!
What is the ideal length of a blog post?
Long, in-depth, blog posts do better in search results. On the other hand, quality over quantity applies here as well. Don’t stuff your article with unnecessary information for the sake of reaching a minimum word count. However, if you do have enough to write about, use it! Keep in mind that 500 words is the minimum word count for a blog post, 700 words = great, and if you really want to score a minimum word count of 2,500 – 3,000 words will do the trick!
ALWAYS start your post with a proper introduction. This is your prime time! Get your reader excited about reading the full post. Use this moment to your advantage! Your readers will click away if this part of your post isn’t compelling enough.
Make sure to answer the following questions in your intro:
- Why are you writing this post?
- What do you want to achieve with it?
- What information can your readers expect to read in this post?
Start writing the content for the paragraphs. Don’t make them too long, and make sure the text is scannable. You can do this by highlighting important words and phrases. Make them bold or italic. This way your readers can quickly scan the text and decide on which parts they want to read.
Also, make sure that your content is readable. It’s okay to include a longer sentence here and there, but overall, use short clear sentences. Re-read the longer sentences a couple of times to make sure they are understandable.
Tip: use bullet points for enumerations. This instantly creates a break in the text, which makes your text seem less boring and easier to read.
6. Summary + call to action
Summarize your post in a short paragraph and use a call to action to keep your audience engaged.
- Ask your readers to share the post on social media
- Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter
- Offer a freebie
End your post with a question that’ll encourage your readers to respond in the comments. Comments are extremely important for SEO, so try to get your reader excited about interacting with you in every post.
7. Proofreading + spelling and grammar check
Check the text for spelling and grammar errors and thoroughly read the full article. If you’re looking for a great spelling and grammar checker, Grammarly is what you need! This is by far the best spelling and grammar checker. I really can’t live without Grammarly anymore, and it’s free! For extra features, you can get the paid version, which, I promise, is totally worth the investment! This tool is really a lifesaver for many bloggers around the globe!
What else to check for:
- Is the text easy to read?
- Did you use simple words?
- And short sentences?
- Is everything really relevant to the article? Get rid of the fluff!
- Have you fully answered the key questions you wrote down at the beginning of your writing process?
8. Add images
Set up a featured image (this is the image that appears at the top of your post) and alternate the text with some images in between. If it’s a tutorial, you can support your article with some example images.
In case you don’t have images of your own that you can use, and if you’re not a good photographer either; don’t worry! This can be easily solved with the use of stock photos. Stock photos are professional images (free or paid) that you can use on your blog or social media.
Want to learn more about the purpose of stock photos and how to use them? Read my article about stock photos here!
Don’t forget to give your images a proper description in the alt tags and to include your keywords here!
Do you use Pinterest to promote your blog posts? Create a few pinnable images in advance that you can link to the post. I recommend using the Tasty Pins plugin if you’re an avid Pinterest user for several reasons:
- It prevents images from being pinned that aren’t optimized for Pinterest
- It hides Pinnable images so you don’t need to overload your content with Pinterest images
- Pins that are pinned directly from your website will be counted as repins instead of fresh pins, which is better for your results on Pinterest
If you want to learn more about the Tasty Pins plugin, please read my honest review about this awesome plugin!
And if you want to learn a few Pinterest marketing hacks, please read this post too!
Other multi media
The more different types of multimedia you use for your posts, the better! Do you vlog? Please, add your video content to your blog posts as well! Good at creating superb infographics? Add them to your posts and make them shareable! Love to write inspiring quotes? Share them! This will make your posts so much more interesting to read!
Also read: 7 Things I wish I knew before I started blogging
To check how well your post is optimized for SEO (search engine optimization), you can install the Yoast plugin. This plugin is free and it shows you:
- If you have used your focus keyword frequently enough, in the right places
- If the text is readable
- Suggestions for other SEO improvements to help you rank better in the search results
Link a few times to other websites that are an authoritative source within your niche.
Uhh, okay, but aren’t they my competitors?
That’s right! But in doing so, you also show Google that you know your niche and that you’re not scared to direct your readers to other great websites if they need more information. After all, you’re here to help your visitors in the first place. Sharing is caring and Google likes that. 😉 So don’t be afraid to link to other websites. Just make sure you only link to quality websites that you fully support.
Link to a few of your older posts too! Interlinking is also an important SEO factor and it helps Google to understand how your website is structured and which posts are connected to each other. This really improves the quality of your website. Plus, it’s an easy way to bring old content back to the attention of your readers!
Also read: How to start blogging in English as a non native speaker
Are you promoting products in this post that have an affiliate program you’re a member of? Then don’t forget to add your affiliate links. Be sure to mark them as sponsored in WordPress. That way Google knows they are not organic and that you can make money out of them if a visitor clicks on one of these links. The option to mark a link as sponsored automatically appears when you create a link in the WordPress editor or when you click on the link in the editor.
Also, don’t forget to add your affiliate disclaimer so your readers know you may earn money from the links in this post. This is mandatory according to the FTC Guidelines. If you want to learn more about the legal aspects of blogging, I also highly recommend The Self Guru. Here Amira gives you all the information you need when it comes to the legal side of blogging and why it’s so important to do this correctly from the start.
Thank you so much for reading this post! This is my complete writing process for each post that I write, and I hope it will make it easier for you to write your own quality blog posts as well! To make it even more easier for you, I created a downloadable checklist for you that you can keep next to you while writing all your future blog posts!
I also wrote a post about all of the things you need to do to your blog posts before you publish. In this post, I share some of the same information as you read here, but I also go into a bit more detail about the technical side of publishing a new blog post!
Go check it out for more free blogging tips!
What does your writing process look like? Did I miss anything? Feel free to share it in the comments below!
Did you enjoy this post? Please share it with your blogging friends on social media! :))
Angie is a blogger and creative entrepreneur from the Netherlands who is currently residing as a digital nomad in Serbia together with her husband and 2-year old daughter Ana Milena. She is the creator of She Can Blog and works as a Pinterest manager for several Dutch companies.