5 Steps to Writing Better Blog Posts (That Drive Traffic)
Blogging is supposed to be the mecca of digital marketing. You write a blog post, share your best tips, bare your beautiful soul and people just show up - eager to read and then, eager to buy. Right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. But if you’re looking to write better blog posts that drive traffic, you’ve come to the right place.
I’ve done a lot of blogging over the years, both for my own health and nutrition blogs back in 2015-2017 and for the various 9-5 jobs and freelance clients I’ve had over the years. In all this experience, I wrote blog posts that went nowhere, and I wrote blog posts that drove tons of traffic to my site and my clients’ sites.
And what I found about blogging success is that while the post itself - the actual content, the way you write and what you have to say - is important, there are 5 simple steps to blog posts that drive more traffic that have nothing to do with the actual writing of the blog post. They’re super easy and require no specialized knowledge, but tons of business owners who blog are still not doing them.
So today, I’m spilling my secrets. Read on for 5 simple steps to better blogging!
Step 1: Do your (keyword) research.
This first step occurs before you ever put pen to paper (err...finger to keyboard). Once you’ve decided on a topic to write about, don’t just start writing. Instead, use some simple online tools to research the best keywords to include in your blog title, content and in other key areas to ensure your post is discovered in search results.
My favorite tool for quick and simple keyword research is actually Pinterest. I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t Pinterest just for saving your favorite recipes and home design ideas? Well, Pinterest is actually a super powerful search engine, and it has a really great predictive search tool. Simply type a couple words into the Pinterest search bar, and you’ll get a list of commonly-searched phrases. You can use these ideas to make a list of keywords for your blog post, draft a keyword-rich title and get your post seen!
Step 2: Create proper blog post structure.
This second step is important for both SEO purposes and readability purposes. Have you ever landed on a blog post and it’s just one massive page of text? These types of posts often include no:
Bullet Points (see what I did there?)
Nothing that might make you feel confident about getting through it
Make it easier on your readers and on Google’s search bots by utilizing headers to break up your text and boost your search rankings. Use only one H1 tag on each page - this is typically the post title. Use H2 tags to break up the blog post into clear sections, and be sure to use your previously-researched keywords in these headers. Google search bots love when you do that :)
Step 3: Don’t forget back-end SEO strategies.
Now that you’ve written an interesting, engaging blog post chock full of research keywords you KNOW people are searching for, it’s time to post it live, right?! Nope, sorry. Not quite yet. It’s important not to overlook what I call back-end SEO. These are the things that people don’t see directly on your website, but that are super important to making sure people find your post in search engines and also control how your posts appear in search results.
I’m talking about the SEO page title, page description and slug. If you’re using Wordpress to build your website, you need to be using the Yoast plug-in. Yoast makes it easy to get your page title, page description and slug optimized with keywords, and even scores your page content to tell you how you’re doing when it comes to search engine optimization. If the page needs some work, it will give you live recommendations to improve the page.
For Squarespace SEO improvements, you’ll want to click on the gear icon next to the page title in your editing menu and then edit your page title, page description and URL slug.
Step 4: Create custom blog graphics.
You can’t take your blog to the next level without some engaging imagery. Bonus points for branded graphics that will carry your brand wherever they end up, whether shared on social media, pinned on Pinterest or even found on Google images.
For branded graphics, ensure you include your logo and/or URL on each photo. That way, if they’re shared without your knowledge, you always get credit for your work.
I love using Canva to create these images. For each blog post, I recommend creating: a branded blog banner image, thumbnail image, Facebook-sized image, Instagram-sized image and Pinterest-sized image. Canva makes this super simple with their pre-sized templates.
I also love to create some additional graphics for use within the blog post itself featuring engaging imagery, infographics or pull quotes. Strong imagery in your posts also makes your content super shareable, which can help more eyes get on your awesome content.
Step 5: Don’t just sit there - promote that post!
Now that you’ve put all this time and effort into creating a well-written, search optimized and visually engaging blog post, don’t just let it sit there! It’s time to promote your post on social media!
While you’ve done your part to ensure your post is found in search engines, it’s not enough to hope that readers will find your work. You have to make it easy for them. Put those social media graphics you created in step 4 to use and schedule some great content on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and any other social channels you use.
I always recommend sharing right when a post goes live, and then crafting some follow-up posts for a week, a month and a few months later. It’s a good to idea to promote a great piece of content more than once!
Promote your post any way you can. Send a weekly email newsletter? Advertise and link to your blog post within the email. Share your post on LinkedIn with your professional network, or connect with other bloggers and influence to cross-promote your content on their social channels.
Putting It All Together
Now that you know the steps to take to create a truly engaging, totally shareable blog post, it’s time to get those content ideas and start creating!
What questions do you still have about creating quality blog posts? I’d love to share more tips with you to take your blogging to the next level!