what makes a great blog post

What makes a great blog post? One which fully answers the Question Asked.

If the post drifts away to answer a different question, then it is off-target. Google will not be serving this post, at the top of the SERPs as it is not as relevant as it could be, to the topic in the search query.

As you build your blog, keep this in mind.  Always answer the question in the search query early on in your post. Elaborate later!

Depending on how old your blog is, how you decide on the post topic, is different and this really should be split into two – 

  1. How to write a blog post on a new blog
  2. How to write a blog post on an established blog

For a new Blog or a Blog of low Domain Rank

When you first  start a blog, Google ( and other search engines ) are not aware you even exist. So you must go through a process of introduction, to build trust, by writing easily ranking articles with low competition and probably low monthly traffic. 

The point of doing this is to get some ranking pages in Googles index. They will then look more favorably on your bigger, better posts – your blog’s cornerstone posts – “ultimate guide to….”,  later on – the ones that will get you serious traffic.

Very Important :

It has been noted that creating BIG ‘Cornerstone’ type posts first, without having written the smaller ‘intro’ posts and getting them to rank well in the index, can render the Bigger posts less effective. Google may well ignore them unless it can collect enough data over time, on your site and considers it ‘trustworthy’.

There are  3 ways to create content: 

  • write it yourself
  • outsource it
  • use software  

by ‘software’ I don’t just mean spinners, sooner or later spun content will get you in serious trouble, Google can now spot spun content a lot more easily and you don’t want to suddenly lose your rank after clawing your way up.

No I mean content creating software.  Creaite.com for example which claims to be able to create content AND pass the Copyscape test  for uniqueness. 

I would strongly advise anyone to write it yourself. At least until there are some profits to use for outsourcing. You HAVE to know how to write it, if you are to instruct an outsourcer to do the work, in the future.

Its going to be hard slog, researching each post, creating an outline, then filling in the ‘meat’ of each article. It will continue without much happening for at least 4 or 5 months, but with persistence, you will gain establishment in Google’s database. 

Finally, Google will send those visitors over and you will start earning when they buy your products. 

Organising Your Site with Great Navigation

Navigation is often left till last. Wrong! Google is a computer program, so it reads things best that are well organised. This is all part of Good SEO.

Build your Site Navigation Menu totally logically. Build Clusters or Themes or Categories of posts that have something in common. If you consider the navigation first, you may find that posts work better if organised with the Cluster or Category in mind. 

As you organise your site, you will also easily spot places to put internal links in your post to a related post. This enables the reader to continue on to another post, increasing time-on-site

How to actually Write your articles

Listicles

Many articles on the web are ‘Listicles’ or List-Articles. Nice easy model to create. Start by Googling the subject in your niche, say  “Best Vacuum Cleaners” or “Places to visit in Norway”…etc 

Then from the information you find online, collect ( from more than one source -do not take everything from the same site ) the information and find some pictures to go with the articles, you can usually find them on manufacturers’ sites or from Pixabay and other free picture sites.

Assemble these on your WordPress editor. Do a word count and aim for 1500 to 2000 words in total

From this info, collected,  rewrite the main points, put it together with your pictures and select the best ones for publication, if there are 7 items, you can then put together a title ” Seven best ….. ” or ” 7 places not to miss in ….. ” or something along those lines. The website Answer the Public might be useful in formulating a title but do make sure the INTENT is there and also the main ranking keyword. 

Cornerstone Content

This is content which makes up the main core of your website. Definitive, authoritative and detailed articles on your subject. 

You can of course use Listicles as described above, but it will not suit all situations, instead you can use subheadings which , taken together make up the body of your article and cover every possible angle. 

How to come up with sub-headings? Use Google initially. When you did the main keyword research for the blog, as I described in my SEO article (the section where you initially create a list of subjects to write about )  you will be Googling each main keyword… 

At the bottom of the page , you will find a list of “related searches” . In other words Google’s algorithm has brought up these phrases as being RELEVANT, so do include these in your article

Enter all of these keyword phrases back into your keyword tool, until you have a large list of related keywords, from which you can select key points within your big article.

Key Point: The Importance of Data

Data collections and Presentations – Google loves data, being a computer program it understands structured data very easily, it does not have to process human text to logically sort it into understandable parts. 

In most subjects, there are subjects that can be assembled into a table. It might be the species of BIRD, their LIFESPAN, their SIZE or WEIGHT, their FOOD, HABITAT, AND GEOGRAPHY

BIRDLIFESPANSIZEWEIGHTFOODGEOGRAPHY
EMPEROR PENGUIN301.1M35KGKRILL, FISHANARCTICA
LITTLE BLUE PENGUIN1235CM1KGKRILL FISHAUSTRALIA
ROCKHOPPER1540CM 2KGKRILL FISHTIP S AMERICA

If you can create a big all-encompassing table where visitors can find everything they need, then it will be an instant hit

How to keep the visitors on our post or page

One of the key parameters monitored by Googles algorithm is time-on-site. What is the top content item that keeps the attention of the readers?

Video

So, not going that extra step to use video content will reduce your chance of ranking well. 

Images will also lengthen time on site significantly but not as controllably as video. So embedding a relevant YouTube video is recommended, if you have no video footage available

Some Writing Tips

Set up your environment to Blog at your Best

Few people can write articles straight off, from start to finish. Personally, I like to make notes, sometimes just paper notes, or computer notes, using one-note, Notepad, Word or even use your phone with an audio note app. I can then create sub-headings from the notes, eventually bringing it all together. Currently, if the subject is a familiar one, I will dictate large amounts into an email, on my mobile, which makes it very easy to copy-paste into Word later back in the office.

Remote Access

If you find yourself in a situation with no internet connection eg. on holiday. If you have it set up in WordPress you can post directly from email. Compose your post by dictation into your phone and as soon as you have a network connection the email will be sent, auto-login, and post on the site.

When i’m at my desk, I much prefer Word, to compose the piece, then copy it to the WP blog page, don’t forget to add it to your menu system or site map if it’s a manual procedure. With most WP installs you can arrange new posts and pages to be auto-added to the menu – depends on the complexity of the menu structure.

I don’t like noise, but I know some writers say some sort of mood music helps. Having said that, I get some ideas whilst walking my dogs in our wonderful nearby woodland and waterways. Basically do what works for you and do it when it suits you, I tend to make notes anytime and do the main writing in the mornings. You just have to find the best most productive times for yourself.

Use a little Basic Psychology!

This is just a pocket version of a complex subject but creative writing uses a  different side of the brain than  spelling, punctuation and grammar,. So the best way forward when writing is always :

  1. Let the article pour out of your mind. Pay no attention to spelling etc. Just get it all down.
  2. Now go back and edit in another – separate session.

By doing this, you aren’t switching from Left to Right hemisphere, which is a very unproductive thing to do, as it interrupts the creative process.

Update old Posts

I’ve mentioned this before. It is very valuable to update an old post, both from the point of view of new ideas and from any affiliate offer that you may be running. Check regularly that old offers on old pages haven’t finished. An overhaul of an old post can be as easy as inserting a new offer.

Update your Links

If you use a redirection plugin or service, eg link shortener, it can be a major time saver, to just update to a new offer. Imagine your main offer ends and you have linked direct to it from 10 blog pages and use 15 different Ads. To update, it means ONE change in the redirection service, versus finding and editing 10 pages and 15 Ads all on different platforms!!

For completeness I have to mention not to plagiarise, copyright is a legal minefield you don’t want to cross!

Don’t Get Stale!

Mix up the type of post you write, don’t just do 2000 word text articles, readers find it tough going, even if the content is top notch. Use interviews with experts, which can be repurposed later for podcasts or YouTube videos. Do a List style post, with the top 10 current items in your niche. Are there Apps used in your industry, you could approach App programmers with your ideas. Make an FAQ for the topic under discussion.

Guest posts – a simple “write for us” ad in your sidebar, sooner or later attracts guest post writers, especially if it’s a tough or popular niche. Similarly look for opportunities to Guest post on other blogs, which will create links back to your blog.

If there are tools or products in the niche, write a review or compare the top ones. Write a How to guide, to using them. If there are a lot of tools, maybe a list style post would be the best choice.

Are there any case studies where your product makes a significant profit, or has advantages over other methods, saving time or money.

List the top 10 blogs in your niche.

If your personal story is relevant to the niche, write it from your own experience

Presentation

Lastly, I found yet another use for one of my favourite tools – Designrr.

This online based eBook creator, comes with many built in templates, which over time are added to by the Designrr team.

Having written the piece, I now use Designrr to view it in various of my fave templates. It just gives me ideas for layout within my article page.

I store a copy of the created eBook in my computer. I have all my website content organised in sections relating to each article on every site.

It is good practice to back up like this, in case of site hacks, mercifully rare these days, but yes it has happened to me and I lost a lot of content  Don’t let it happen to You !! 

Apart from the obvious back up facility, an eBook  format is useful. You may decide to offer it as an incentive on an option page, or as a give away for any other reason. Part of a course perhaps?

Designrr is such a useful tool, I would advise anyone to get it, great value at less than 30 dollars for the basic version