Write a post. Hit publish. What’s next?
Is just writing and publishing enough to reach your target audience?
Search engines are the main traffic source to any website. A blogger has to perform a series of tasks from the very beginning even before he starts to write in order to develop an SEO and user-friendly article. This routine will help you to grow yourself and reach heights in blogging career.
If you are not following these basic blogging practices, your posts will dump into thousands or millions of similar articles on the web. No one wants to face such a situation. Right?
We compiled 18 essential things you should do before you write and publish every blog post. As a result of them, you can expect more exposure and visits to the pages.
1. Keyword Research
Find the most trending topics in your niche. Use a keyword research tool to know what people are searching for now. Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and Ahrefs are popular tools that will help you to detect and analyze the search queries.
Filter results by your target audience, search volume, database, and keyword difficulty to detect content creation opportunities. Choose a keyword with high search volume and low competition to rank your topics higher in search engines and get more user clicks. Check related keywords and collect them in a separate file to extend your content ideas.
2. Are you familiar with the subject?
No one can handle all subjects in a niche. You may be familiar with WordPress security tips and practices. But it doesn’t mean that you can handle all WordPress related topics.
Google and people love long contents having at least 1000 words. A high-quality article may rank topper in the search results and invite more user shares. Make sure that you can write in full confidence and without any suspicious mind.
3. Read similar posts
Don’t forget to read the top ranking posts in the same subject. Search your keyword on Google and read posts that appear in the top pages. They will contain relevant and most probably, updated information around the matter. Analyze the shared data to polish your knowledge and improve your writing.
Note down important points in a Word document or your favorite project management application so you can include them in your post if needed. Present the topic in detail with all your collected information and personal experience or knowledge.
During keyword research, I asked you to collect related keywords in a document. The corresponding sites allow you to download those things easily in Excel format.
Highlight your ideas to include them in different parts of the post to make it keyword rich and search engine friendly. Thus you can rank the content for various trending keyword phrases or long tail keywords.
Now it’s time to prepare your content. There are several online tools and office programs like Microsoft Word, Google Docs to help you in writing. But I am not in favor of third-party tools and use WordPress editor itself to type and modify the post.
5. Focus keyword
Set a focus keyword first. If you are a WordPress user, enter your target keyword in the on-page SEO plugin settings. It will help you to build content around the main keyword. Consider these things before choosing a keyword,
- Are you really going to write around the selected keyword?
- How much search volume it has per month?
- Is it a high-competitive keyword? If so, can you prepare a high-authority content and rank it in the organic results?
6. Write the post
Write your post. Start with simple wordings, funny thoughts, and your experiences. Don’t forget to use your focus keyword in the first paragraph or within the first 100 words.
Divide your posts into short paragraphs. This strategy is useful to improve the reading experience on your blog. Scatter your main and related keywords throughout the content without annoying the readers.
Heading is another part you should keep an eye out while writing. Break up texts with appropriate subheadings. It helps readers to quickly find out the information they need.
7. Raise questions
Blogging is not a one-man show. It is a two-way journey and you should engage with readers through comments, social media interactions, etc. What about raising questions to the readers at the end of your post?
Ask people to share their feedback, thoughts about your post or a certain point you mentioned. It’s a proven strategy to improve user interactions and build a strong community around your blog.
Images make your blog post more attractive. They can redirect traffic from search engines and image sharing sites also. So use simple, eye-catchy images on your content.
Find royalty-free images from the stock photo sites or create custom images through online tools like Canva. Facebook recommends 1200 x 630-pixel size for the images and almost similar on Twitter too. It’s better to use images with a minimum width of 500px and a height of 300 px. So they will appear without any dimensional issues in your social media shares.
9. Compress images
It’s a bad idea to upload original images as you got them from the sources. The file size will be high which will affect your bandwidth and page loading time. So you should compress them before uploading to the site.
TinyPNG and Kraken are our favorite tools to optimize images in lossless quality. They are free and easy to use. Upload your images to any of these sites to compress and resize them. It may take a few milliseconds to finish the process. On completion, download the output and upload to your web server to use it in posts and pages.
Give a unique, interesting title to your post. It should encourage the visitors to click and open your link. Search your target keyword on Google to get heading ideas and enter a different, keyword-specific heading for your page.
People have a tendency to open titles like ‘top 10′, ’10 best’, ‘how to’, etc. You can also use year (XXXX) and words like ‘updated’ to inform visitors that it contains recent, updated information.
Boost your SEO with internal links. Linking is a common method to divert traffic to other internal pages and thereby reduce bounce rate on your site. But it will also inform search engines about your past posts and let them index the links if not yet done.
There is no restriction on how many links you can add per post. But they should be natural and match to the context. Use anchor texts, long tail keywords or related post links to invite readers’ attention and increase your page visits.
Some mentions and complex terms need further clarification. Suppose, I mentioned blogger outreach campaigns in one of the blogging related posts. In such a situation I should either explain what it is or link to relevant posts.
If you are unable to explain a term, find a relevant post in top-authority domains and link. It should pass additional information to the readers and let them understand the topic clearly. Make sure that the linked domain is in the same niche of your blog with higher domain authority and traffic. This strategy is also useful to improve your web authority and search engine rankings.
URL customization is the next thing you should do. Search engines love clean post slugs. WordPress like platforms automatically generate URLs from your post titles. Keep it short and don’t forget to use your focus keyword in the slug.
14. Create Pinterest images
Pinterest is a great platform to promote your blog posts. Unlike other social networks, it focuses on the quality of images.
The photo-sharing site says 600 x 900 pixels is the optimal size for the images. They appear vertically in your profile and home feeds. So any image with 2:3 aspect ratio is ideal to pin.
“When you pick images for Pinterest, think vertical. Most of our formats are vertical, and taller than they are wide. In our creative best practices, we recommend that you use a 2:3 aspect ratio for all of your Pins.
For example, your Pin could be 1,000 pixels wide, by 1,500 pixels tall. If your image falls outside this ratio, it could get truncated in people’s feeds and they won’t get to see your full Pin.” As said by Pinterest in a blog post.
Is your content free from mistakes? Do you use grammar and spellings correctly?
It may be difficult for you to manually proofread each and every post. Luckily, there is a solution.
Online grammar checker tools. They are ideal to detect and fix your mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and others. Being intelligent and powerful, they will find errors as you write through browser extensions or in seconds from the web interface. Thus you can deliver high-quality competitive articles that readers will love and may rank higher in search engines.
16. Meta description
Meta description represents your post in search snippets and social media shares. It should explain your content topic in 160 words. When seeing it, people should click on the link to read more.
Some bloggers use a certain part of their content to fill the meta description. It may give only a vague idea to the visitors about the nature of your post. So write a custom excerpt in your own style for search engine and social media optimization.
17. Keyword density
Keyword density is the percentage of times your focus keyword appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page. It can influence your search engine rankings so you should keep the density within the recommended limit.
Google doesn’t impose any restrictions on how many keywords you can use in a post and thereby increase your keyword density. But at the same time, keyword stuffing or overuse of keywords may affect your website ranking and lead to penalties or permanent ban in the SERPs.
According to the SEO experts, ideal keyword density to be 1 to 2.5 percentage and if you exceed the limit it could be considered as spam.
18. Final check
Before hitting the publish button, you should confirm everything is perfect from your side. Check the following things to better optimize your post and bring traffic from all possible sources.
- Have you used the focus keyword in the post title, slug, meta, and image alt attributes?
- Have you assigned categories and tags to the post?
- Is a featured image properly set?
- Is your post contains at least 300 words? Many sources suggest having at least 300 words per post to cover the topic in a decent manner and provide all required information to the readers.
Once you finished all these checkpoints, it’s time to hit the publish button.
Do you have any questions? Feel free to ask through the comment form below.