Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of garbage clogging up the internet. Finding valuable information often requires a lot of sifting through poorly written nonsense, even on highly respected websites. It couldn’t be more clear that not enough people know how to write a blog.
We 👏 deserve 👏 better 👏.
So, to help make the internet a better place, I’m going to show you how to write a blog; one that people will actually want to read and that you’ll be proud of.
Do The Research, We’ll Know If You Didn’t
The first step to writing an article with any kind of authority is to do the research. If you don’t do the research, how can you expect anyone to take the article (or your word) seriously? The good news is that all of the information you need is right at your fingertips.
The tricky business is finding information from a trusted source.
In the eyes of Google, the information you present is only as strong as the source it came from. Find information from sites with high authority or from educational sources. This lets Google know that you really did your homework and that you aren’t serving up a nonsense sandwich.
Smart Research is Better Than Dumb Research
Doing smart research is all about empathy. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and start asking the questions they would ask. The search results give you insight into what Google’s algorithm views as worthy of those top spots.
Keep an eye on the snippets at the top of the search results to see how and why Google chose them. The “People Also Ask” section of Google’s search results is another great secret writing weapon. These are the most searched and relevant questions surrounding your topic.
Choose the best questions about your topic AND ANSWER THEM!
You can make your article even more useful by using the best of those questions as individual headings. When someone searches that question, Google can easily see that your article addresses and answers that question. This gives you a better chance to jump to the top of the search results, or even into the ever-elusive Google snippet.
Estimated Time to Research for a Blog Article: 1 hour, depending on familiarity with the topic, length of article, and how in-depth you plan on going.
The Outline – Your Blog’s Skeleton
Once you’ve done the research and have a general idea of the information you need to cover, outline it. I call this part of the process “Building the Skeleton” because that’s exactly what it is. The outline is the stripped-down bones of your blog article. It’s the structure that holds the information together.
Without a skeleton, your article is just a deflated bag of empty promises.
Outlining an article also helps speed up the writing process by keeping it organized and keeping you on track.
Follow the Heading Hierarchy… Or Else
When outlining a blog article, keep in mind the Heading Hierarchy. Also known as the Semantic Markup, the heading hierarchy is a guide to when and where it’s appropriate to use specific headings in an article or on a webpage. Headings span from H1 to H6 and it absolutely matters when and how you use them.
The headings within an article help the reader quickly understand and find the information they need. It’s especially useful for people with cognitive disabilities. Google also scans the headings to help identify and serve up the best possible search results for users.
If you don’t follow the heading hierarchy, you’re setting yourself up for failure and you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Finely-tuned articles with proper semantic markup can very easily be turned into rich snippets by Google, giving you a much better chance of appearing at the top of the Google search results page.
- H1: The article title. ONLY the title.
- H2: Main headings throughout the article.
- H3: Subheadings nested within the H2s. These should ONLY be used after an H2 or H3. These are sometimes used for the heading of a list.
- H4: Sub-subheadings nested within H3s. These are often used for the heading of a list.
- H5: Sub-sub-subheadings nested within H4s.
- H6: I think you get it.
Estimated Time to Outline a Blog Article: No more than 30 minutes.
Write With Your Heart
Now that the heavy lifting (research and outlining) is done, you can finally write. This part of the process is all you. I could give you advice until I’m blue in the face, but your creative process is your own.
My general rule when it comes to writing is to write with your heart. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, you need to feel it if you want to produce something great. Write something that you would want to read. Write with your own voice and make it fun.
Throughout the copy, mix in your own humor, anecdotes, and sass; adding these breadcrumbs of yourself helps each reader make a personal connection with you, the author. In the end, it’s all about creating something that people are going to enjoy while they learn something new.
Every blog article is an opportunity to TEACH and to HELP someone, so let’s take it seriously. But also not too seriously 😋.
Every writer is unique, bringing a totally different voice, point of view, and attitude to the table.
Let. You. Shine.
Content marketing is storytelling. Remember that as you write your blog article and you’re sure to produce something that’s educational and fun to read. Remember: we have the power to improve the internet one piece of content at a time.
Estimated Time to Write a Blog: Between 3 – 4 hours.
Edit With Your Brain
Editing is incredibly important. There’s absolutely no reason a first draft should ever be published; that’s how typos and grammatical errors slip through the cracks. Whenever I read a typo or spot a glaring error in a published article, it feels like an insult. It tells me that the author didn’t care and the publisher cared even less.
If writing comes from the heart, then editing is a job for the brain. Give yourself some time before editing the article, let it marinate for a while, then go through it with a fine tooth comb. Fix the typos, eradicate any grammatical errors, and trim away the unnecessary fat.
Pictures Say a Thousand Words – Hopefully Good Ones
After you finish writing and editing your article, it’s time to find a few pictures to go with it. This is a pretty tricky step if you’re still new to this and, if you pick the wrong picture, it could land you in expensive legal trouble.
As a blog writer, it’s good to have a few free photo websites bookmarked.
Popular Photo Websites for Blogs
- Envato: Free account gets you 12 files per month, paid accounts start at $16.50/month
- Adobe Stock: Pricing starts at $29.99/month for 10 assets/month (great if you’re John D. Rockefeller)
- Shutterstock: Starts at $29/month for 10 images; On-demand packs let you get 2 – 25 images for $29 – $229 without a subscription.
- Unsplash: Free but limited selection
- Pexels: Free but limited selection
- Pixabay: Free but limited selection
Proper Sizing Matters
One of my biggest pet-peeves is when I’m reading a blog article with pictures that are poor-quality, way too big, or way too small. Poor pictures affect the overall user experience by making your article look sloppy and unprofessional.
Giant pictures don’t just make your page look dumb, they also slam the brakes on your load time. This is a BIG DEAL when it comes to your overall SEO. People hate slow sites and so does Google.
For the main, featured image of your blog article, resize the image to 800 width, while the images in the body should be resized to 400 width. Always save your photos as a JPG unless they have a lot of text. Save text-heavy images as PNG to retain the readability.
If your file size is still too large (more than 500kb), then shrink it down for free at TinyPNG.
Estimated Time to Source and Prepare Pictures for a Blog Article: 30 – 45 minutes.
SEO That B
When it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), content really is king. Recurring articles are a FANTASTIC way to boost the SEO of any website… if the articles are written well and with SEO in mind. The good news for you is that, if you’re following this guide, you’ve already done the SEO heavy lifting.
This is when all of that research you did earlier comes in handy again.
Links: Internal & External
Linking throughout your article is essential to show the readers and Google that you’ve done your research. Not only that, but it also shows that the information you’re presenting is legitimate and valuable.
A good rule of thumb is to include 3 external links to higher-ranking sites than your own and 5 internal links to relevant pages or articles throughout your site.
Try to think of it like this: external links show your reader that you didn’t half-ass this article and internal links keep the reader in your ecosystem while adding backlinks to other articles and pages on your site.
The Devil in the Details: SEO Title, Meta Description, and Alt Tags
When it comes to SEO, the devil is in the details and those details are alt tags, meta descriptions, and the SEO title.
Start with the SEO title. This is a concise, less than 60 character title describing your article and it’s what shows up in the Google search results. It can (and sometimes should) be different from the original title. Include your focus keyword somewhere in the title (preferably at the beginning).
The meta description is what shows up under the SEO title on the Google search results page. Keep it below 155 characters long and include the focus keyword. Remember, this is what sells your article to potential readers, so make sure it hooks them.
Alt tags are the descriptions included with pictures to help people with disabilities access your article. These alt tags are also used by Google to rank your article. Accurately describe your image and try to include your focus keyword for Google’s sake.
SEO Checklist for Blogs
- Is it between 750 – 1250 words?
- Does it follow the heading hierarchy?
- Did you include at least 3 external links to high-authority sites?
- Did you include at least 3 internal links to relevant locations on your site?
- Have you chosen a focus keyword/keyphrase and does that word/phrase appear at least 3 times throughout your article?
- Does your keyword appear at least once in a heading?
- Is your SEO Title shorter than 60 characters?
- Is your meta description less than 155 characters?
- Do all of your pictures have relevant Alt Tags?
Estimated Time to SEO a Blog Article: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Post It From The Rooftops
Finally, you can post the article!
By following this guide, you’ve set yourself up to easily post your blog article. Simply create a new post in WordPress, copy the article from the document, and paste it into the text box. Paste it without formatting to avoid format conflicts.
Pasting your article without formatting means you’ll need to go back through to add the heading tags and links, but it’s much MUCH better than having to deal with formatting conflicts.
After you’ve built out the text portion of your blog article, add in the images. Make sure, as you’re adding the images, you plug in your alt tags.
Use the Yoast plugin to help you SEO the article. This incredibly helpful plugin gives you an easy spot to add the SEO title and meta description while also giving you an easy-to-understand SEO score. It even gives you helpful tips on how to improve your score.
Before hitting “publish”, check and double-check it to make sure the final formatting looks good on the site. I typically like to schedule my article to be posted the next day at 11:30am, just in case I think of something that needs to be changed.
Estimated Time to Post a Blog Article: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Congratulations, You Did It!
Writing a blog article isn’t as cut and dry as most people think it is. Marketing managers are often frustrated by the upfront time it takes to properly research, outline, write, SEO, and post a high-value blog.
That’s because they don’t know how to write a blog.
The most important thing for a marketing manager to remember when it comes to writing a blog is that the value of a blog isn’t in the amount of time it takes to write it. The value of a blog is in the amount of relevant information that it provides and, to put it frankly, the amount of joy it brings the reader.
The Value of a Well-Written Blog:
- Blogging companies get 97% more links to their site.
- 47% of buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content before taking the first step towards making a purchase
- Companies with blogs get 67% more leads.
- Paid ads cost money and the results stop as soon as you stop paying, blogs cost next to nothing and continue performing over time.
- Studies show that blog posts have an average total lifespan of 700 days before they get 99% of their total impressions.
- Adds more indexed pages for potential customers to land on your site.
- Blogs go hand-in-hand with social media, allowing you to boost both.
- Easily combined with email marketing.
- Improves your site’s domain authority, meaning more consumers get directed to your site for the answers to their questions.
The internet can be a nasty place, full of half-hearted content and lackluster listicles. As content writers, we have an opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small it may seem. Now that you know how to write a blog, one that doesn’t suck, you have the power to make the internet a little bit better.
And that matters.
Total Estimated Time to Complete a Blog Article: 6.5 hours
Look, writing isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. Most business owners don’t have time to run their business AND write meaningful, valuable blog articles. Because of this, lots of businesses settle for mediocre content, just to get it done. Here at WebHorse Marketing, we genuinely care about the content that we put out on the internet because, frankly, it matters!
Give your business a leg up on the competition by investing in proper content marketing with WebHorse Marketing. Not only will your blog articles be awesome (in every way), but they’ll also resonate with your audience in a way that bad content can’t. Don’t settle for mediocre, you’re too good for that and so are we.
Give us a call at (810) 991-4848, or contact us online, to find out how we can make your online presence AWESOME.