If you’re new to the world of blogging, it may come as a surprise to discover that there’s more to learning how to write a blog post than first meets the eye.
Sure, you could simply open up a new post on WordPress and start typing until you’ve said everything you want to say, but the truth is that this approach is rarely as successful as taking the time to properly plan out your posts and create them according to a tried-and-tested process.
If you really want your posts to drive traffic, help you build a loyal reader base and ultimately help you achieve whatever goals you set in your blog content strategy, the step-by-step process I’m about to share with you today is the best way to go about it.
How do I know this process works?
It’s the exact same process that I’ve used time and time again to write the kind of blog posts that have helped me to build a successful content website portfolio currently worth millions of dollars.
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Write a Blog Post
Below, I’ll talk you through each step in an easy-to-follow fashion so that you can get your new blog off to a flying start.
1. Decide What to Write About
If you’re reading this guide, I’m going to assume that you’ve already taken the basic step of choosing a niche for your blog.
That could be health and fitness, technology, travel, gaming, cooking, or just about anything else.
This is a good place to start when it comes to determining what you’re writing about, but even if you’ve picked a very specific niche, you’re still going to have to narrow things down even further to determine the kind of topics you’re going to write about within that niche.
Fortunately, there are a couple of very easy methods that you can use to brainstorm potential blog topics.
- Read what others are writing about – check out some of the top blogs in your niche. What kind of subjects are they writing about? Can you offer a different perspective, a unique insight, or new information on those subjects?
- Browse online groups and forums – Check out social media groups, online forums, or Reddit subs dedicated to your niche. What are the kinds of questions being asked in those groups? What problems do people need to solve? What questions do they need to answer? Think about how you could best answer those questions or solve those problems through your blog posts.
- Use Google Trends – Head to the free Google Trends tool and type in some search terms related to your niche to see what kind of topics are currently popular. The more popular they are, the more likely it is that people will want to read your blog posts on those subjects.
- Pay attention to the news – What current hot topics are dominating the news? How do these events affect your niche?
2. Begin Keyword Research
Now that you’ve got a list of potential blog post subjects, it’s time to narrow that list down even further and choose just one topic to focus on for your first post.
This is where keyword research proves invaluable.
There are a number of platforms to help you do this, and I’ve written this guide to the best keyword research tools to help you pick the right one for you.
For today’s guide, however, I’m going to use the Keyword Magic Tool from SEMRush as it’s free, easy to use, and provides all the information you could need to help you decide which topic to write about first.
After opening the tool in your browser, type in the keywords relating to the topic, you’re thinking of writing about. For this example, I’ve used “how to write a blog,” though, for you, it might be “best restaurants in New York,” “yoga tips for beginners,” or whatever you came up with for your research topics.
Hit search, and you’ll be presented with a wealth of information about that keyword, though they’re just three key things you’ll want to focus on:
- Search Volume – This refers to the number of times a specific term has been searched for. The higher the search volume, the more queries there are for that term. Therefore the greater the likelihood that this topic will prove popular among your audience.
- Keyword difficulty – This literally refers to how difficult it’s going to be to rank high in organic search results for that keyword. As a general rule, I recommend bloggers focus on a mix of high and low difficulty keywords when creating their content, though when you’re first starting out, you might want to begin with a keyword that’s easier to rank for.
- Search intent – This tells you what it is that users are hoping to find when they search for that term. This is important as it will help you determine the type of blog post you write. If the search intent is “informational,” for example, then it means that users are looking for answers to a question. This may mean that the best way to answer that question is to write a how-to tutorial or step-by-step guide like this one. On the other hand, if the search intent is more related to purchasing a product, you might find that you can better meet users’ needs by writing a review of that product.
If you’d like to learn more about this process, you’ll find my guide on how to do effective keyword research helpful. For now, though, focus on the three key metrics above to determine which topic to write about and pick a subject that has a decent search volume and isn’t too difficult to rank for a while, using the search intent to decide what kind of post you’re going to write.
3. Create a Compelling, keyword-optimized Post Title
The title of your new blog post is the first thing that people are going to see. It’s this, more than anything else, that determines whether or not people click through to your posts and whether or not they stick around to actually read them.
As a general rule, your title should contain three things:
1. Clarity and Conciseness
More than anything else, your post title should get straight to the point and tell readers exactly what they should expect from your content. This isn’t the time to be cute, comical, or overly clever. Instead, it’s a time to set readers’ expectations clearly and concisely.
If you followed my suggestions in this guide to the top must-have WordPress plugins, you’d already have the Yoast SEO plugin installed on your site. You can use Yoast’s SEO title feature to ensure that your title is the perfect length and is optimized for your keyword. Speaking of which:
2. Your keyword
If your post is based around the key search term “how to write a blog,” put that term right at the start of your post title. If it’s a review or a piece of software, put “Software Name Review” as the first thing in your title.
Not only does this help to make it immediately clear to readers what your post is about, but it also helps Google to understand the context of your post better when it comes to SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking positions.
3. A Promise
Finally, your post title should promise readers the kind of value your post is going to provide for them. This might be that you promise to solve a problem (how to write a blog post, how to fix a bicycle puncture etc.), that you promise to help them make a purchasing decision (“is Software X worth buying? Our Expert Opinion” etc.) or something else entirely.
Whatever it is, put yourself in the mindset of a reader who comes across your post and asks, “what’s in it for me?” – use your title to answer that question by promising to add value to their lives in some way.
4. Create a Structured Outline
As you’ll be able to tell simply from reading this guide, blog posts can be pretty lengthy pieces of content that contain lots of information. In order to present all that information in a way that’s easy to read, it’s best to break it up and put key points under their own separate sub-headings.
In order to write a properly Search Engine Optimized post, you’ll want to stick to a basic structure using appropriate header tags for each subheading as follows:
- H1 – This is the main header tag for the title of your post. Only use one H1 tag per post; otherwise, you risk confusing Google as to the content of your post.
- H2 – These are the headings for the main sections of your post. If you were writing a recipe guide, for example, you may have one H2 for ingredients and a second for the step-by-step instructions.
- H3, H4, H5 – Within your main sections, you may find it helpful to break down your key points into even smaller sections, each with its own subheading. As demonstrated in the image above, you can use a basic hierarchy where you break H2 sections down into H3s, H3 sections down into H4s, and so on.
5. Write Engaging, Optimized Content
With your outline in place, it’s time to flesh it out by writing clear, compelling content.
You’ll typically do this in three main parts:
As with most forms of writing, a blog post should begin with a strong introduction which sets the tone and expands on the post title by elaborating on what readers can expect from your post.
I find that the best way to do this is to follow a simple formula:
- Identify a relatable problem your readers may be facing
- Explain why you’re the best person to help with that problem.
- Explain how your post will solve that problem
For example, in this post that I wrote on how to choose a web host, I began by saying that because there’s so much to consider with regard to web hosting, picking one company can be difficult.
This presents the problem in a way that readers can hopefully identify with. If a reader is finding it difficult to choose a hosting company, they’ll relate to the problem I’m talking about.
Next, I explain that I’ve got a lot of experience in working with web hosting companies and know what to look for, which tells readers why I’m a suitable person to help with their problems.
Finally, I explain how I’ll help them solve that problem by outlining all of the important factors to consider.
Altogether, these three things help users decide whether this guide is going to be helpful to them and whether it’s worth sticking around to read the whole thing.
2. Body Content
Here’s where you’ll write the bulk of your post, expanding on the subheaders you wrote in your outline structure and providing all of the information your readers need.
In order to make your post as easy to read as possible, stick to using short paragraphs consisting of no more than 1-3 sentences.
Avoid reputation and, above all else, remember that you’re writing to help your readers, not to entertain yourself, so be sure to leave out anything that might be interesting or amusing to you but ultimately provides little value to your readers.
At the end of your post, wrap things up with a short conclusion.
This is a good opportunity to briefly round-up the key takeaways you want your readers to learn or to sum up the main themes discussed or points made.
Where possible and relevant, this is always a great place to direct readers to any other posts you’ve made related to your topic.
6. Add Hyperlinks
Although I’ve included this as a separate step, adding hyperlinks to your posts is something you can do as you’re writing your content.
Where it’s relevant and appropriate to do so, look for ways that you can naturally link out to other content that would be useful to your readers.
There are two types of links to include here:
1. Internal Links
Internal links link to posts and pages within your own blog that helps you expand on certain topics or offer more information.
For example, when I was discussing keyword research earlier, I linked out to my keyword research guide as it’s a genuinely helpful resource for people who want to know more about this subject.
Later, when I discuss SEO, I’ll link you to a post I made on that subject, as it contains far more information than I’m able to include in this post.
To give some other examples, let’s say you’re a travel writer putting together a post on the best things to see and do in New York. You want to mention restaurants, so you touch on that briefly and then link to your “best restaurants in New York” post.
Or perhaps you’re writing about how to recover from a running injury and offer yoga as one of the solutions. If you’ve already written a post about the best yoga positions to use for injury recovery, now’s the time to link to it.
Including these internal links provides added value to your readers and keeps them on your site for longer, helps you build up reader loyalty, and can even boost your SEO as it gives Google a good idea of which pages on your blog are most important.
2. External Links
External links are, you guessed it, links to content and resources on external, third-party websites.
There are a number of occasions when it’s most appropriate to include external links.
- Linking to the source of any stats, facts, or figures you use
- Linking to products or services you’ve mentioned (such as the way I liked to Yoast SEO earlier)
- Giving credit if you’ve (legally) used images, infographics, or other media from third-party sources
- Directing users to helpful information or resources.
Again, these links help your users and boost your SEO efforts as they can help Google better understand your niche, organize your content, and begin to trust your website as an authoritative source on your subject matter.
7. Add Relevant Visuals and Media
While all that written content is going to be invaluable for getting all that useful information out to your readers, never underestimate the importance of adding some relevant visuals and media to your posts.
A few well-placed images help break up the text and thus improve the reading experience for your visitors, but they can also help improve your SEO, providing they’re fully optimized.
Where to Get Images For Your Blog Posts?
When it comes to images, the one thing you don’t want to do is to carry out a quick Google Image search, save the first photo you like the look of, and add it to your site.
There’s a good chance those images are copyrighted, and thus using them on your site may land you in trouble.
Instead, there are a couple of useful and legal alternatives, including:
Take your own photos.
Grab a camera, take some high-quality images of your own, and include them in your posts.
Much like I’ve done in this guide, if you’re writing about tech, gaming, or similar subjects, take screenshots and include them. This is particularly helpful if you’re writing how-to tutorials as you can better demonstrate each step.
Use legitimate free image sites.
You can source free legal images to use from sites like Pixabay and Unsplash.
Pay for a stock photography site subscription.
You’re likely to get better-quality images through paid sites such as Dreamstime, iStock, Adobe Stock, or Shutterstock.
How to Optimize Your Images?
When you’ve got your images ready, don’t forget to run them through an image optimization tool like Smush to ensure that large image files don’t slow your site down.
You should also be sure to add alt-tags. Ostensibly, these are designed to improve accessibility for visitors using screen readers, but they can also help give your SEO a boost.
You can add alt tags (known as “alt text” in WordPress) in the Attachment Details box that appears when you open up your WordPress media library.
Adding Other Media
Don’t forget that you can also add value to your readers by embedding other types of media such as relevant YouTube videos, podcasts, or infographics.
8. Optimize Your Post Using Yoast SEO
Again, this is something you could technically do as you’re working on your post, but if you didn’t, be sure to at least look at the SEO analysis provided by your Yoast SEO plugin to see how well optimized your post is.
This will recommend any areas for improvement (such as adding the keyphrase in more headings) and show you everything you’ve done right.
Where possible, you want to get a green light for each of the key things within this analysis to ensure that your post is as optimized as possible. That way, you put yourself in a better position to get that post ranking highly in search results and generate some solid organic traffic.
If you need more help with this, check out my complete beginner’s guide to WordPress SEO for bloggers.
9. Add a Call to Action
The last key component to add to your post is some kind of call to action (CTA), which encourages readers to keep engaging with your blog or your business as a whole.
Depending on your goals, this CTA could be any number of things.
It may be that you simply encourage readers to follow you on social media or check out another blog post.
It may be that you compel them to sign up for your newsletter, buy your eBook or other digital product, or even contact you if you’re using your blog to promote a paid-for service that you offer.
Whatever the case may be for you, adding this CTA helps turn your post into a powerful tool for achieving your blogging goals.
10. Proof and Edit
You may be entirely happy with your post and convinced that it’s as good as possible, but don’t hit that publish button until you’ve done at least one round of proofreading and editing.
You’ll want to check that your spelling and grammar are up to scratch at a bare minimum. Tools like Grammarly can help with this to some extent, but even Grammarly isn’t perfect, and it often gets things wrong as it doesn’t understand the context of certain words or phrases, so it’s still best to do a manual review of your work.
You may also find that it’s good to read your post out loud and think about how it sounds.
Does everything make sense? Have you made your points clear? Have you needlessly repeated yourself anywhere?
Ask these questions as you go through your work and make any edits to ensure that this post you’ve spent so much time on is as strong as possible.
11. Add Categories and Tags
Finally, add categories and tags to your posts to organize your posts by themes or subjects.
Think of categories as the broad, overarching themes of your posts (blogging, fitness, recipes, etc.) and tags as a more specific and defined way of categorizing your content. For example, if you wrote a recipe post on how to make vegetarian lasagne, you might make “recipe” as your category and then have “vegetarian” and “pasta dishes” as your tags.
This helps readers navigate your content and find the most interesting posts to them. Improving your navigation this way also helps with SEO, so be sure not to overlook this important task before you finally hit publish on your amazing new blog post.
How to Write a Blog Post: A Final Word of Advice
From planning and preparation to creation and optimization, following the 11 steps outlined above will ensure that you’ve produced a high-quality blog post that provides value for your readers, helps you to grow your audience, and gets you one step closer to achieving whatever goal you had in mind when you created your blog.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that if you really want to achieve success with your blog, then actually creating the content is only one part of the process and you’re certainly not finished once you hit “publish.”
The next important step is to actively get out there and start promoting your blog so that people know it exists.
Not sure where to start with that?
Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.
Check out these guides on how to drive traffic to your blog and the best ways to promote your blog for all the advice you could need to ensure each blog post you write is a resounding success.