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- Choose a compelling topic by researching what’s trending and what your competitors are writing about. This will help attract readers.
- Optimize for SEO by doing keyword research to find your primary and secondary keywords. Use these keywords in your title, headings, and content.
- Create an outline based on top-ranking competitor posts to give your content the best chance of ranking high.
- Format your post well with images, videos, lists, and more to increase readability. Check SEO titles, slugs and meta descriptions before publishing.
The goal of this article is to help teach you how to write a great blog post.
But before we go any further, you might be asking: What makes a blog post “great”?
It could mean:
- You like writing about the topic
- Your audience enjoys reading the post
- The post generates organic traffic to your blog
The truth is a “great blog post” should have elements of all 3 things.
With this in mind, let’s dive into how to write a blog post for your blog.
1. Choose a great topic
The most important aspect of writing a blog post is choosing a topic that resonates with your readers.
Sometimes choosing a topic is simple, but often you may need some inspiration to come up with the perfect subject to write about.
This is especially true if you already have a mature blog or niche site that has hundreds of posts. Coming up with a new topic to write about can feel like pulling teeth.
Below are some ways you can brainstorm ideas for your next epic creation:
Pull from your competitors
The quickest way to come up with relevant topics to write a blog post around is to make a list of the topics your competitors have recently written about.
In the Google search bar, type: site:competitor’s URL and filter the results by the past month.
These results will also show older articles that your competitors may have made recent updates to.
This allows you to find topics that are not only relevant but may be able to drive traffic to your site as well.
Answer relevant questions
Identifying questions that people are asking is a great way to brainstorm blog post topics to write about.
AnswerThePublic is a useful site that can help you find the questions people are asking surrounding a specific niche or topic.
Just input your root keyword or phrase and ATP will spit out hundreds of related questions.
📝 There is a paid version of AnswerThePublic but the free version is all you need if you are just running a few queries per month.
One of the most powerful free tools available online is Google Trends.
Not only will Trends show you the hottest topics being searched on Google, but it also allows you to enter a topic or keyword and find out related topics and queries that are trending.
You can filter trends by time period, so you can get up the day (or even hour) trend reports. Unless you report the news, you should limit the period to the last 30 or 90 days.
Use Trends to qualify how hot the topics are that you found from examining your competitors and AnswerThePublic, as well as use it to find altogether new topics.
📝 Try to focus your writing around the Breakout topics and queries.
2. Perform thorough keyword research
Writing a blog post isn’t always enough to generate traffic in 2021. You need to be deliberate about the keywords you want your page to rank for.
A big mistake many bloggers make is only focusing on one keyword per page.
They will write separate posts for many related keywords when instead they could intentionally craft one post to rank for them all.
The first step is to properly identify your target keywords and determine how important they are to your post.
You will only have one primary keyword per blog post. This keyword is usually pretty easy to figure out.
The quickest way to find your primary keyword for a topic is to search for your topic in Google and look at the title tags for the top-ranking pages.
Find the common keyword phrase and that is the primary keyword you should be optimizing your post for.
Your secondary keywords are the other keywords that you can easily rank the post for if you properly optimize for your primary keyword.
The quickest way to find a few quality secondary keywords is to search for your topic in Google and scroll down to the Related Searches at the bottom of the page.
Identify which results are the most closely aligned with the topic of your post and make sure to include them when you are writing.
📝 Make separate H2 or H3 subheadings within your blog post and cover these secondary keywords in detail.
3. Craft a compelling title
Focus on writing a catchy title that accurately conveys not only what your blog post is about, but how your post can help the reader.
The title tag is the first impression a potential reader has of your blog post and is one of the main factors that contribute to whether they click through or not when searching.
Below are a few ways that you can leverage the title tag to help your blog post get read:
Frontload your primary keyword
Having your primary keyword positioned at the front of your title is a small ranking factor for Google.
Your title is going to give Google an excellent idea of exactly what the content of your blog post is about, so try to include the primary keyword as early on in the title as possible.
People love lists, so adding numbers to your title is a great way to get the attention of potential readers.
Power words are words or phrases that are proven to evoke an emotional response from a reader.
Using power words properly in the title of your blog post can get people intrigued enough to take action and read what you wrote.
Understanding what makes your target audience tick is the key to identifying which type of power words you want to use in your title.
For some further inspiration check out this list of 801+ Power Words
Include the current year
No one wants to read outdated information. Depending on your niche, old recommendations or advice can be blog suicide.
One great way to let the reader know that they are reading current information is to include the current year in the title of your blog post.
You can achieve this by putting the current year at the end of the title in brackets or parenthesis:
Another way is to organically work the current year into the title:
4. Outline post structure
Taking the time to make a proper outline for your upcoming blog post is important for a number of reasons.
- Saves time in the long run
- Content will be easier to read
- Gives you a better chance to rank
There are a number of ways you can go about outlining your post. Many bloggers just open up Google Docs and start free-flowing their ideas.
As I am interested in giving my content the best possible chance to rank high on Google, I have a more systematic approach to outlining new posts.
Copy what’s already working
If you want to become a successful blogger, the adage “Google shows you what it wants” should be a rule you live by.
Always format your content with the mindset that you want to get it firmly anchored on page one of Google for the keywords you are trying to rank for.
With this in mind, the first thing that I do is search for my primary keyword, open up new tabs for each of the top 5 pages in the results, start a blank Google Sheet, and make an outline of the key elements of these top-ranking posts.
These elements are:
- Table of Contents (TOC)
- Ordered Lists
Then I compare all of the results and highlight the commonalities between them.
The highlighted items will be included in my outline. I will inspect the questions a bit further to see which ones I want to include in my post, either as subheadings or in a separate FAQ section.
📝 Make it common practice to include an introduction, table of contents, and conclusion in every blog post you write.
Create your post outline
Now that you have a basic idea of some of the elements you want to include in your post, it’s time to build your outline.
I use a free tool called Dynalist to construct all of my article outlines. Dynalist makes it as simple as using the <tab> and <enter> keys to create a detailed outline.
📝 Don’t forget to add some secondary keywords in your subheadings!
5. Write the first draft
Now that you have a skeleton version of your blog post outlined, it’s time to start writing!
Every blogger has their own style and unique voice, so make sure that you stay true to yourself with every post you write.
One of my favorite free tools of all time is Grammarly. Make sure to install it on your browser of choice.
It will instantly make your writing error-free, more succinct, and easier to read.
Run your finished draft through Hemingway to get additional tips for improving readability.
Determine Word Count
A great tip that I have learned over the years is to figure out your target word count BEFORE you start writing your first draft.
Determining your target word count isn’t an exact science, but having a rough estimate of how many words you need to write about a subject is necessary to compete on page one for your primary keyword.
A good approximation to use is the average word count of the top 5 posts ranking for your primary keyword:
- Install the SEO Quake browser extension
- Search for your primary keyword in Google
- Open the top 5 results in new tabs
- Click on the density button in the SEO Quake toolbar for each result
- Record the word count for each post
- Determine the average word count
Use this average word count as your target when writing your first draft.
6. Optimize basic on-page SEO
Once you have written your first draft it’s time to optimize it for basic on-page SEO.
For this step, you will need to make sure that you have the free version of the RankMath plugin installed on your site.
First, paste your first draft into the WordPress editor (if you composed it outside of WordPress) and enter your primary keyword into the Focus Keyword box.
Next, take a look at what on-page SEO factors RankMath says you need to improve upon and make those changes.
📝 The main Title Readability factor that you need to care about is using your focus keyword at the beginning of the SEO title.
There are plenty of tools out there that will give you a more in-depth on-page analysis specifically for the keyword you are trying to rank for. Some of the better paid tools available are:
7. Make revisions
Now that your post has been optimized for basic on-page SEO best practices, it’s time to make any necessary revisions.
Please take this opportunity to show your newly optimized content to a trusted friend or associate and ask them to assess it for you.
If you don’t have anyone that you feel comfortable showing your content, try reading it slowly from the perspective of a third party who knows nothing about the subject matter.
If anything seems confusing or if you feel like you didn’t cover key parts of the subject, now is the time to make the proper changes.
8. Format/Publish your post
Once you feel like you have a completed post, the final step is to format and publish it.
Here are some elements you can add to polish the look and readability of your finished piece:
- Table of Contents
- Bullet points and numbered lists
- Comparison Tables
- Call to Action Buttons
- Block Quotes
Once you are happy with the way your post appears, it’s time to publish it.
Before you hit the publish button, make sure to check your post title, permalink (slug), and meta description. All 3 should have your target keyword in them.
You can change your slug inside of the Post Settings pane in the WordPress editor.
Or you can edit your slug, title, and meta description at the same time inside the Rank Math pane in the WordPress Editor.
By taking a systematic approach to creating blog posts, you automatically give yourself a huge advantage over the average hobby blogger.
When writing a new blog post keep the following rules in mind:
- Pick topics that are popular/trending in your niche
- Find the proper keywords to write around
- Optimize for basic on-page SEO
- Make sure your post is informative while staying readable
If you stick to these rules, you will no doubt have a blog post that readers will enjoy and search engines will favor.