HOW TO BLOG: 15 OF THE MOST ESSENTIAL THINGS YOUR POST NEEDS
If there’s one question every blogger wants to know the answer to, it’s this: how do I create a successful blog post?
One of our worst nightmares is the fear that nobody sees our content. So when it comes to learning how to blog, it’s important to put the time and effort in to making sure each of your blog posts is the best it can be.
Blog posts don’t naturally become successful. But you can give your content a really great chance of standing out by crafting it in a way to get noticed. So if you want to know the essential things you need to include in each of your blog posts, keep on reading.
I’ll be breaking the process down into two sections - essential things to include before you hit publish and after you publish a post. Learning how to blog in the most successful way possible has never been easier.
Plus, I’ve created a free weekly post planner for you, which includes each of these steps so you can download it and use it for every single blog post you create.
HOW TO BLOG: BEFORE YOU HIT PUBLISH
#1 | WRITE A SHAREABLE HEADLINE
Your headline determines whether or not someone is going to read the rest of your content. So when it comes to knowing how to blog, it’s crucial that you know how to write an effective headline too.
Your blog post title should:
Include your chosen keyword
Be a List, How To or Question
Include a mixture of words
Be the right length
Have positive connotations
You want to tell your reader what your content is all about, without giving too much away. It’s all about arousing your reader’s curiosity so they want to click through to your blog post to find out more.
For a full guide on how to write headlines, be sure to read: How To Write Amazing Headlines To Get More Clicks And Shares.
#2 | INCLUDE SECTIONS AND SUBHEADINGS
What’s the first thing you do when you land on a blog post? Think about it. Most readers quickly scan the piece of content to see if it’s interesting to them and if it contains the information they’re looking for.
If your blog post is a single wall of centralised text, not only will it make it difficult for someone to read, it’s also not the best tactic for how to blog successfully.
Instead, you can include sections and subheadings to divide your content up into easily digestible chunks. Plus, it also makes your blog post easier to navigate.
You can also include:
All of these things will add interest and organisation to your posts, which will make it much more attractive to your reader. Include your focus keyword in your subheadings and you’re definitely stepping up your blogging game.
#3 | ADD A PINNABLE IMAGE
Your main blog post image works in two ways - like your headline, it’s another way of attracting readers to your content, and it’s also very powerful when it comes to social sharing.
I usually upload two main blog post images. One is just my normal image, which you can find at the top of each blog post. The second I include at the bottom of each blog post or somewhere within the post itself. This has an overlay with text on, which is perfect for sharing on Pinterest.
To create a pinnable image on Canva, follow these steps:
Log into your account and click the Pinterest Graphic template
Go to Elements > Grids and add the first, single grid
- Upload your image and drag it so it slots into the graphic
- Go to Elements > Shapes and click the white square
Change the colour to white, set the transparency to 80% and reposition
- Add your headline to the grid in your fonts and colours
Download, save and upload to your blog post
#4 | ADD ALT TEXT TO YOUR BLOG POST IMAGES
When I first started blogging, I definitely just focused on the basics. But learning how to blog successfully means implementing a lot of strategies - especially when it comes to your content.
Alt text may seem like a small enough thing to forget about. But not only is it important for SEO, it’s also important for Pinterest too. Because what you add as your alt text is what Pinterest will automatically pull as the description to your image when someone pins your graphic to Pinterest.
So it needs to be like your headline - telling your audience what the article is about without giving too much away. And be sure to add a call-to-action!
#5 | LINK TO YOUR OTHER BLOG POSTS
This is such an important step before you publish a blog post. Linking internally to your older posts does two things:
Providers readers with more detailed reading about topics
Keeps people on your site for longer
Notice how I’ve done it several times throughout this post? It’s a way of giving people a chance to read more about a certain topic if they want to. What’s important is placing them in strategic places and always linking for a purpose, not because you feel like something would be a good fit.
Internal linking will also help to increase your pageviews because it’s encouraging your readers to visit more pages on your site. Result.
#6 | GO THROUGH SOME SEO STEPS
Spoiler alert - search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial when it comes to increasing your traffic. If you want your post to get noticed in search engines, you need to be implementing some SEO strategies.
This is a very powerful way of growing your traffic. In the past month alone, my organic search traffic has increased by nearly 50%, which has helped my pageviews to increase by nearly 40%. This means that by SEO optimising my posts, they’re being discovered more in search engines, which is increasing my website traffic.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to start. I created a guide for you on the 17 Best SEO Tips To Add To Your Blog Post Process Right Now - follow the steps and be sure to download the additional free checklist, as you can use it in conjunction with this one!
#7 | ADD A CALL TO ACTION
An effective call to action is an essential part of any website and any blog post. It’s when you add something at the end of your post that gets your readers to take action.
This could be something as simple as ending your post with a question to encourage your readers to leave a comment. Or, like I’m doing with this post, it could be leaving a free download as a way to encourage readers to develop their skills. You could also ask them to follow you on a social platform or take a picture of something and use a certain hashtag - the possibilities are endless.
A reader who acts on a post will remember that post (and that blogger) a lot more than a post without a call to action. This means they’ll be a lot more likely to return to your site in the future.
#8 | ADD YOUR TAGS AND CATEGORIES
I’ll be honest. I used to completely neglect my tags and categories. When I was a beginner and learning how to blog, I just didn’t think they were that important. Oh how wrong I was. Tags and categories are so powerful for a number of reasons:
They add structure to your blog (think of them like chapters of a book)
They make it easier for your readers to find specific content (that’s also relevant to them)
They tell search engines what your blog is all about
The main difference between them is while categories are broad, tags are more specific. Think of categories as the table of contents of your blog and the tags as the index at the back.
For instance, this blog post is going under the “Beginner Blogging Tips Category”. And the tags I’m including are “blogging”, “blogging tips”, “seo” and so on.
#9 | PROOFREAD
Proofreading is essential and it’s actually a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I hate finding errors in my own blog posts, which is why I proofread them twice, usually three times each. Don’t just rely on spellchecker - go through and check for errors, then read it outloud.
A tool I have installed as a browser extension which really helps me is Grammarly. It’s great for fixing common grammatical errors like spelling mistakes and punctuation. As you’re writing, it will automatically underline anything that’s an error. When you hover over it, it’ll give you the correction and you just click on it to correct it. Simple. I highly recommend all bloggers use this tool.
HOW TO BLOG: AFTER YOU HIT PUBLISH
#10 | PROMOTE YOUR POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA
While content is king, promotion is definitely queen. A lot of bloggers have a problem with self-promotion. But the build it and they will come method doesn’t work. How do you expect people to read your latest blog post if they don’t know it exists?
After you hit that publish button, it’s your job to get your post in front of as many eyes as possible. Social media is a powerful tool that you can use to your advantage. Be sure to share your post to as many platforms as possible including:
Twitter (3x on day published, next day, next week, next month etc.)
Facebook page (and in the promo thread of any groups you’re part of)
Instagram (and in your Instagram Story)
Pinterest (to all related boards and Pinterest boards)
Google+, Snapchat etc.
My biggest piece of advice when it comes to learning how to blog successfully is this: don’t be afraid of self-promotion. Don’t be afraid of promoting your post multiple times on your social platforms throughout a week. The average lifetime span of a tweet is 18 minutes, which means you need to be sharing each post a lot on Twitter if you want as many views as possible.
Use different messages, try out different images and keep track of your engagement and clicks to see which posts get the most traction. Using a social media management tool will really help you with this - read more here about why to use one and look out for a tutorial coming up later this month.
#11 | PIN YOUR POST (A LOT)
I want to touch on Pinterest promotion here, because it’s the most powerful social media tool out there. For a good part of last year, it was easily the biggest driver of traffic to my website (by a clear 80%).
Pinterest is great because it gets your content in front of a much bigger audience and it’s perfect no matter what you blog about. I pin about 30 times to Pinterest each day in three slots of 10. Two of these are my own pins and 8 are repins from my main dashboard. It might not seem like a lot, but this is a great rule of thumb to follow.
Pin your content to each of your relevant boards and any group boards you’re a part of too.
#12 | LINK YOUR NEW POST WITHIN SOME OF YOUR OLDER POSTS
This is a great strategy that I’ve actually only started implementing recently. Another way to get more views on your new post is going through some of your existing (and relevant) posts and adding your new link within them. To save time, you can just add it at the end of a section as further reading, like I’ve done earlier in this post.
As we’ve said, internal linking is one of the best ways to increase your pageviews and give your content more exposure.
#13 | REPLY TO YOUR COMMENTS
I know blog comments might not be as big as they once where, but they still matter. So if you get any comments on your latest blog post, take the time to reply to them.
It builds a relationships with your readers and helps them feel valued. This is something truly beneficial to the person leaving the comment and to future readers too.
#14 | INCLUDE IT IN YOUR EMAIL NEWSLETTER
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - your email subscribers are your most loyal readers. They’re your cheerleaders. They’ve subscribed to you because they enjoy the content you produce and they find value in it.
So instead of emailing your readers each time you publish a new post, when you send out your email newsletter, include a section at the end that says “new on the blog” or “what you might have missed” and add the links to your latest content underneath.
Don’t be afraid to directly share your posts with your email subscribers. Remember, they’ve subscribed for a reason.
#15 | TRACK YOUR ANALYTICS FOR THE POST
Tracking the analytics for your website as a whole is really valuable. But tracking your stats for each post is also an important step, as it tells you which posts your readers are enjoying the most.
After a few months, go back to a specific month and see which posts performed the best. If you find that some aren’t doing as well as you thought, you could try changing the title, improving the images or re-promoting it. Updating old posts is also a great way to boost your SEO.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to Google Analytics, learn more about the five most important metrics to track here.
P.S For my top five blog growth strategies, watch today's video!
This might seem like a lot more work to add to your blog post process, but I promise it’ll be worth it. And I’ve also made something to make it a lot easier for you.
This Weekly Blog Post Planner is a useful tool to make sure you’ve gone through all the points that are listed above. Enter your details below to get your free copy and you can use it for each blog post you create.
Will you be using the blog post planner to add these steps to your blogging process?