When I first started writing a blog back in 2010 I had no idea what I was doing. H1 title tags, permalinks, calls to action, copywriting, internal linking and more. It was all totally new, so in this guide I’m going to explain how you properly write a blog that ranks well in search engines and converts with regards to the end goal of your blog post.
What is the point of a blog?
A blog’s main goal should be to get free organic traffic through creating content with good on-page SEO that ranks well, uses the right combination of words, images, video, audio to persuade your visitor take some sort of action (known as your call to action or CTA).
That action as it relates to a blog typically revolves around three key drivers:
- Share your content in order to grow your traffic
- Turn web traffic into email subscribers
- Make product sales (affiliate or otherwise) or earn from display advertising
You do this through writing content that’s going after relevant keywords for your website that people are actually searching for by building an authoritative brand around a topic and understanding your audience.
The end result is that you create a brand that has trust and authority over a given topic.
Build a brand with SEO
A common mistake beginner bloggers make is to “wing it” and write whatever they want with no regard to what people are looking for. If you’re serious about leveraging a blog for business and to make money blogging, you need to create content people are looking for on your topic.
You do that by creating the best in class content for a competitive search term, you promote that content so it attracts backlinks and attention from other websites and lastly you maintain that content as needed so it stays relevant.
You also need to be on the lookout for under-served keywords as well as emerging popular topics for your niche that you can create content on. There is a first mover effect with Google in that if you write a great piece of content on a new topic, it’s often hard for other websites to knock you out of being in the top 3 results pages.
Here the types of content you will write on a blog typically:
- Product guides
- How-to tutorials
- Answer questions
- List posts
What you will write depends on your topic but these are the most common formats you’ll write about as this is what people tend to search for.
Ignore topics unrelated to your website
With building a brand, people and search engines want to box you in. They want to understand what is the general topic of your website all about. Are you a dating blog? Personal finance? Cooking and food? Travel blog? Pick a topic and stick to it as it helps with rankings.
Building a brand is essential because it helps build authority for a given topic. My ESL website now ranks quickly and easily for any keyword related to “teachers” (like best day planners for teachers). This is the advantage of building a brand. However, that also means you need to stay on point with your content and ignore content not related to your website.
James Clear for example built a huge personal brand in the habits niche. His site ranks fast for any keyword related to habits and to maintain that level of trust from the search engines it’s in his best interest to not dilute this trust by posting content on irrelevant topics (unless there is some habit angle to leverage).
Build out categories
When you write a blog, on the backend you’ll have to build out categories. Start with 4 categories related to your topic and then expand. This way you end up building authority on sub topics within your niche.
So for my ESL website I originally started off writing about how to teach English abroad (teach abroad in Thailand, Vietnam, Korea etc). Then I expanded that to teaching online, then general in classroom advice and so forth. So while the over-arching topic of your blog may be one thing, you can expand into new topics in the future.
A great example is havecamerawilltravel.com. This website started out strictly as a GoPro blog covering questions, tutorials and how-to content. The founder over time has expanded the categories and content to cover things like vlogging, action cameras and travel.
Create your blog professionally
You’ll need to know how to start a blog in order to write a blog. When starting a blog you’ll need to consider what CMS you want to use and what webhost. You need a webhost in order for your website to be live on the internet and you can also get your custom domain name through them as well.
With regards to choosing a CMS, you do have a few options but WordPress is the most popular for blogging. But one size does not fit all so here is what I suggest anyone looking to write a blog take a look at:
Bluehost and WordPress
Bluehost is the #1 recommended webhost for WordPress. They are beginner friendly and upon purchase of a hosting account will have an on-boarding process to help you get your domain setup as well as WordPress installed.
WordPress is one of the best blogging platforms because of it’s on-page SEO, themes for design an plugins to add functionality on to it.
Ghost.org CMS for subscription blogs
Ghost is an under-rated CMS that allows users to create a beautiful, high converting blog aimed at building your email list and creating subscription revenue. If you’re looking to make money from your writing through creating blog posts that rank, that grow your email list which you then convert into paid subscribers you’ll love Ghost.
Squarespace – The done for you option
Squarespace is one of the most popular website builders in the world. They provide an excellent blogging experience, they have their own optional email list you can purchase and it comes with an intuitive and easy to use page builder in order to design your website.
Good design enhances content
Good web design for your blog actually enhances the effectiveness of your call to action. Design elements should be created with a level of intentionality and professionalism and to convey the value you’re able to provide visitors.
With collecting emails (an important goal for most websites and blogs) you can leverage pop-ups with good copy and you can choose to use a clear, static call to action for the end visitor to join your mailing list:
Miles Beckler’s website is a competent example of this with a call to action sitting at the top of every single blog post. It grabs the users attention with a strong call to action, the contrast of colors of the orange and blue is intentional and the copy was tested over a few months to figure out what works best.
Last, the use of this specific image helps readers trust and connect with Miles as an authority and expert. Don’t forget about the bottom of your website and blog too. It’s one of the highest converting spots:
This is the footer of getlasso.co, it’s an effective use of the footer as the visitor is presented with a big CTA and an equally big button to take action and sign up. Thus you can combine a sort of sandwich effect where you have a strong CTA at the top and bottom.
Write with one purpose per page in mind
Each of your blog posts should have one clear goal. Sometimes that could be to convert the visitor into buying a product. A review post like the “best drones for YouTuber travel vloggers” is that sort of content. Other types of content are so broad, maybe the goal is just to get a lot of traffic and attention.
Creating a post on something like “how to make money online” is going after a competitive, high traffic keyword but what exactly is the search intent? It’s unclear as they could be looking for anything from paid surveys to doing freelancing on Fiverr to starting a blog.
So for a piece of content like that the goal could be to collect emails or to simply run display ads. Regardless, any content you write on your blog must have a clear goal, otherwise, what’s the point of writing it? Take a look at successful competitors in the space you’re wanting to enter.
What similarities do you notice in regards to colors and navigation? What similarities are there with the logo design? What do you think the ideal user expects from a website in your specific market? You want to differentiate yourself in regards to your selling point, but when it comes to design and layout it’s best to emulate proven success principles.
Good Titles and bylines
“Clearer and more specific subject lines convert better.”Bob Kemper
Your tiles are your H1 tag for your blog post. Make sure to incorporate your keyword into them well but also balance it out by making it clickable. Like “the stunning truth about <insert keyword>.”
Also, instead of telling people what you do, just get to the features and it benefits. This is especially true when creating a call to action to persuade someone.
For example, instead of writing “corporate accounting for small business” change that to something better like “on average we save our clients 12% on their tax liability compared to using Turbo Tax for business.”
The latter emphasis the benefits and features more and is more likely to persuade someone to click through to learn more.
Make your content scannable with H2 and H3 tags
Most of your website traffic will skim your web page. They won’t actually read it word for word. This is because they’re not vested in your online work and want to be cautious before spending time on something that is of low quality or irrelevant.
This has other implication too. Since most people don’t read (79%), you need to make your web page scannable. You do this by having large fonts, pictures, and breaking up what you write into paragraphs with clear H2 and H3 titles (the “H” stands for header).
That way you’ll increase your visitor time on site and you’ll get your visitors to stop and read a section that is most relevant to what they need and to then convert them into a product sale or email list sign-up.
Color scheme (choose 4 colors max)
With writing a blog you’ll need to take into consideration the colors you choose to use. In general, you’ll want to pick 3-4 colors. One or two colors will be your primary colors that makeup the overall design of your website, one color will be for your on page hyperlinks and one color will be your contrast color.
The contrast color is what you’ll use for buttons and your CTA. This is very important because you don’t want your buttons to blend into your website. Link colors and buttons should stand out. Just not in a tacky way. Read up on color theory if this concept is totally new to you, Elementor has a helpful guide.
Formatting tips for writing blog posts
Writing a blog is obviously not the same as writing a research paper. A well written blog post does not simply mean it’s grammatically correct, with good punctuation and it’s formatted into “introduction, body and conclusion.” When you write a blog, there a lot of new rules you need to learn (because this is not taught in any school).
Font size readability
Use a large font size for your title tags and a larger, readable font for your blog content. Particularly for desktop viewing. When on mobile, it’s fine to have a font size that resizes a bit smaller.
A larger font is simply easier to read and consume which makes your content more compelling. If people who land on your blog are actually able to read and enjoy the content they are more likely to convert.
Also make sure to choose one font style for your headers and another font for your body paragraphs. You can use FontPair.co to get an idea of what fonts match well with one another.
Paragraphs for blog posts should be small and easy to read with a lot of white space. You do not want to produce walls of text as people won’t read. If people are not reading, they won’t convert into whatever call to action you have setup.
So unlike writing a paper where you want long and detailed paragraphs, with writing a blog post keep your paragraphs to 3 or sentences and then hit that enter button to make some space.
Include internal and external links
Internal links are very important for a blog. Not only do they help with your on page SEO, they are also useful for anyone visiting your website to find related content.
External links are necessary too. Your blog should link to other websites and resources. It adds to the credibility of your own website and makes your blog look more trustworthy to both users and search engines.
Keep in mind however, you should only link to relevant, related sources. A dating blog linking to a personal finance blog makes no sense.
To help generate revenue use affiliate links when possible but don’t use overly bombastic language to get people to click. Simply linking to a helpful resources with an affiliate link is often enough to drive sales. However for more advanced tactics you can do the following.
Use exit intent pop-ups with your affiliate link. So if you have a blog post that ranks well for something like “best headphones for introverts” and the user mouses over the tab, a box would appear with a CTA to click a button to the product page of your #1 recommendation.
Use product boxes. A product box can be for an affiliate program instead of your own product. Write catchy sales copy with a good product description and the benefits follow by a button. Here is an example:
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Add relevant videos and pictures
As I said earlier, good web design enhances your writing. When writing a blog post make sure to include a relevant video if it makes sense and pictures. Pictures should never be added just for decoration, they should only be included to help visually demonstrate what you’re writing about.
Opt-in form at the bottom
If you’re trying to grow your email list or you want to convert traffic with a product box, make sure to add it to the end of your content. Your most engaged traffic who got value from your blog post will convert at this spot.
Your blog posts should be organized into specific categories. As such you’ll want to add related posts to your blog posts that sit underneath the content. You can use a WordPress plugin to do this, your theme or website builder may already have this feature built in or you can manually add in links.
Your author bio is also something you can add to your blog. It’s particularly important with regards to Google’s EAT initiative. EAT stands for expert, authority and trust.
If your blog is about health or money you’ll want to add in an author bio where you emphasis your credentials as a way to establish authority.
Table of contents
Adding in a table of contents is also helpful for longer pieces of content where a user may be interested in only a specific section. Not only does it help the end user, it also makes your content more easy to understand for search engines.
If you want to see a table of contents in action, take a look at my “best cameras for YouTube” guide. In it I break down cameras for vlogging, streaming or talking head shots which is why an in page menu is so helpful.
So that’s it for this guide on how to write a blog post. If you’ve not yet started your blog I strongly suggest you get a shared hosting account with Bluehost and follow along with any one of my tutorial videos on blogging. If you found this content helpful consider sharing it with someone it could help.
David UtkeDavid Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 20k+ YouTube subscribers!
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