Do you struggle with content ideas or layout for your blog? Are you at the beginning stages of wanting to create a blog and have no idea on how to start one? Starting a blog or coming up with interesting content or layout can be very challenging. In this months’ article, we’re sharing our top 10 tips on how to create a successful blog which have worked for us and our clients.
Before we dive right into our tips, let’s first start with why you have a blog. The whole point of creating a blog is to develop an online presence by sharing your knowledge with your audience. Blogging is an excellent method for attracting an audience because it provides something of value to them before asking for anything in return. With the right tactics, your blog can attract and retain an audience that will convert to customers, partners, friends, or otherwise.
So, let’s get started.
1. Create blog posts that align with your company goals.
Your blog should be written to help solve problems for your audience and, ultimately, grow your business. Content should have a natural tie-in to issues in your industry and address specific questions and concerns your audience may have. By doing this, your blog posts will be on target and limit wondering off into subjects that are irrelevant.
2. Create headlines that include your SEO keywords.
Creating headlines that are SEO optimized can help people discover your content and get long term SEO traffic to your blog articles.
Headlines that include numbers perform best. In fact, a study by Conductor found that people prefer headlines that contain numbers over other types of headlines by a significant margin.
3. Write a great intro.
The introduction is a crucial part of a blog post. It’s a chance to invite the reader in and answer any questions directly they may have and support that awesome headline you just came up with. There are several ways to write your introduction that will engage your reader. Use a personal experience or find some sort of commonality in your industry to directly speak to. Begin with a question, like we did in this article, or state facts to increase the value of your post.
4. Use the KISS method.
When it comes to the layout or design of your blog, we suggest the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method. Don’t over-complicate your layout, simplicity reigns over complex. Use good typography, color, imagery (we’ll touch on this in a separate step), and great visual hierarchy – direct people where you want them to go as they scroll down your blog.
5. Use bulleted lists.
Bulleted lists are essential for blog posts. They make your post more readable and convey information more effectively. Placement is key when using bulleted lists. Readers will enjoy a refreshing break from blocks of text, but if you make your bullets look like a shopping list, it could turn them off. Use them in moderation and highlight only essential information. For more information on how to use bulleted list, checkout 6 Tips for Writing Compelling Bullet Points from HubSpot.
6. Use images.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The content people read online is increasingly becoming more visually appealing. And this holds true for blog posts. Always use images in your blog to engage readers and make it easy for them to share your content on social networks. It is VERY important to not just copy any image you see on the internet though. These images most likely have a copyright and if used, may cause you to pay a pay much larger than what the image was originally worth or worse, removal of your blog. There are a ton of free websites that offer royalty free images, like Pexels.com, Unsplash.com, Pixabay.com or you can purchase images from iStock.com, Shutterstock.com, Adobe Stock, and Getty for use. Original pictures and videos are best, when possible.
Also, don’t forget to set the image’s alt tag so the image can be found by search engines. Alt tags assign text to describe your image—if your browser can’t load the image, the alt tag will show up. This is also an important part of your SEO activities since alt tags allow the images to be found by search engines. For Wix users, the Alt tag can be found here:
7. Use data and research to back up claims you make.
Although this rule may seem far too easy, many writers, bloggers, and influencers try to get away with copying other people’s content without permission. Remember, your blog is open to the public internet. Reference information that isn’t your own, whether it is from another blog, social media post, or a company website, or study. Referencing or citing sources is easy. Simply place exact copy in quotes, include the article or blog post title, author and company name with link, and that is it! This step is easy enough to do and important. Not only will your readers appreciate the honesty given in your content, you will remove yourself from a possible case of plagiarism.
8. Use an editorial calendar.
Using an editorial calendar in our agency has been a huge time saver. We advise our clients to use an editorial calendar as soon as the inform us they want to create a blog. Editorial calendars allow you to organize what you will be writing, prepare for important dates such as when the final edit is due and when to post, move things around in case there is breaking news and you need to switch out articles – which happens more than I’d like to admit, and my favorite – recycle popular articles for later.
Editorial calendars are easy to create yourself with MS Excel or find free pre-formatted calendars by searching online.
9. Edit often.
Editing your blog article several times can make the difference between a so-so article and a great article that is shared and liked by many. Out of all the steps, this is the one where you will need to SLOW it down and review a few times before posting it online. If you are a sole business owner and do not have a staff to help you review your article, ask a friend or family member.
Content management systems like WordPress and Wix, allow you to draft articles online and preview before it is published live. This is a great opportunity to view online how your blog will be seen by others.
10. Use a CTA.
A CTA (Call-to-Action) is a button or link that guides your readers to enter their email address into a form to receive something in return. This could be a free consultation, downloadable guide or infographic, or a form to subscribe to an email newsletter. CTA’s turn readers into future customers.
Keep in mind that it takes time for blog posts to fully engage readers. Posting fresh content on a consistent basis will help your blog and website rank better from an SEO perspective. Check out our blog post, “How often should a business post to a blog? What's the magic number?” to learn more about posting frequency and how to better engage your readers.
Broaden your presence by sharing your blog on social media and through your newsletter. Track your results through Google Analytics and social networks so that you can accurately measure what articles are resonating with your readers for future articles.
If your company needs assistance in setting up a blog or just needs some general direction in starting one, contact the blog experts at First Wave Marketing. We have the expertise you need to achieve your digital marketing goals. Contact us today for a free consultation.