Ready to write your next blog post? Are you not sure how to structure your content? Struggle with writer’s block, or maybe you’re just not sure what to include in your post. If so, then this blog post is for you!
In this article, I will walk you through the steps of writing a successful blog post. By following this checklist, you will be able to produce high-quality content that engages, educates, and inspires your readers.
One blog post – one focus keyword or topic
Before you start writing, it is important to choose only one focus keyword or topic for your blog post. This will be the main theme of your entire article and will help to keep your content focused and on track. Your focus keyword is how you tell search engines what your content is about. This is the keyword or topic you want to be ranked for and appear for searches, so it’s important to get this right.
Check out your competition
Once you have selected your topic, do some initial research to ensure that there is enough information available on the subject. You don’t want to write an article that no one wants to read! Make sure to find enough material on the Internet to support and complement your content.
Ideally, you want to link out to other helpful, valuable information within your content. Take note of who’s already ranking for what you are about to write.
Determine what are the keywords they are targeting, what are their subheadings, what is the style of their post, are they using multimedia on their post.
Determine how many words you need to write in order to beat your competition (here’s a secret little formula)
The length of your blog post is also an important consideration. In general, longer articles tend to perform better on search engine results pages than shorter ones. This is because longer articles are usually more comprehensive and provide more value to readers.
Of course, you don’t want to artificially inflate the word count of your article just for the sake of it. Your content should always be well-written and relevant to your topic. With that said, if you are wondering how long your blog post should be, a good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 1000 words.
To determine how many words you need to write in order to beat your competition, I use this simple formula:
(Target Word Count = Average Word Count of the Top 5 Results + 100 words)
Go to each of the top 5 posts, grab their content and see how many words each of the top 5 posts have. Tally them up and divide by 5.
For example, if the average word count of the top 5 results for your focus keyword is 1342 words, you could strive for around 1450 words.
Keep in mind that this is just a general guideline. Depending on your topic, you may need to write more or less than 1000 words in order to rank higher on search engine results pages.
Decide what style you want your blog post to be
The style of your blog post will also affect its length. For example, a how-to guide will typically be much longer than a listicle. This is because a how-to guide needs to provide detailed instructions on how to do something, while a listicle can get away with being shorter and less comprehensive.
When deciding on the style of your blog post, think about what type of content would be most helpful for your readers. If you are unsure, take a look at other articles that are ranking for your focus keyword and see what style they are using.
Write a killer introduction paragraph
Your introduction paragraph is one of the most important elements of your blog post. This is because it is the first thing that readers will see, and it needs to grab their attention and encourage them to read on.
To write a killer introduction paragraph, start by making a big promise to your readers. Tell them what they are going to learn or how their life will improve by reading your article. Then, give them a brief overview of what they can expect to find in your article.
Finally, tell them exactly what they are going to walk away with after reading your blog post. If you can do all of this in one paragraph, you’re off to a great start!
Create an outline first
After you have done your research, it’s time to start writing! Begin by creating an outline of your article. This will help you to organize your thoughts and structure your content in a logical way. Include all of the key points that you want to cover in your post and arrange them in an order that makes sense. Your outline can be your subheadings.
Once you have your outline, it’s much easier to fill in your content for each subheading.
Introduce your topic and give your readers some background information on the subject. Next, it’s time to get into the meat of your article. Include all of the relevant information that you gathered during your research and present it in an engaging and easy-to-read way. Be sure to support your points with examples, data, or quotes from experts.
Add internal links to other pages of your website
Adding internal links to other pages on your website is a great way to help search engines crawl and index your site. It also helps to improve the user experience by making it easier for readers to find related content.
When adding internal links, be sure to use keywords as the anchor text. This will help improve your website’s SEO and may even help you rank higher for those keywords.
Of course, you don’t want to go overboard with this. Too many links in a blog post can be off-putting for readers and can make your content look spammy. A good rule of thumb is to add one or two internal links per 100 words of text.
Add external outbound links
Adding external links to other credible, trustworthy, reliable sources is a great way to add value to your blog post. Not only does it provide readers with additional information, but it also shows that you are well-informed on the topic.
When adding external links, be sure to use keywords as the anchor text. This will help improve your website’s SEO and may even help you rank higher for those keywords.
I usually don’t add external links to the first quarter of my post. This is because I don’t want the reader to click away from the article too soon. If you add external links within the first 100 words, they may click on it, go to the external link, get distracted, and may not return back to the original article. This is just a personal preference which also helps decrease the bounce rate and increase something called the dwell time.
Also, be sure to open external links on a new tab.
Make your content easy to scan, and easy to read
Don’t give long walls of text. Break long text into sections. Use shorter sentences and smaller paragraphs. Add lists and bullet points, your readers like to scan and skim content first. No one sits down and reads the entire post in one go! They skim and scan first and then go back and read the bits they want or resonated with. Use subheadings (<h2>, <h3> tags) appropriately.
When it makes sense, add multimedia such as images and videos to your content. If you decide to use images from other sources, make sure to give proper credit to the original source.
No need to write like Shakespeare, write like Hemingway!
It’s a common misconception among many bloggers that articles need to be written like academic papers. As you can see, I write as I speak, and the language is non-flowery. Most of your blog readers will resonate with your content when you sound natural and non-forced. I use this great tool called the Hemingway app to simplify my writing. As you create your post, the Hemingway app will give you a score based on its readability.
According to this article, the majority of US readers reads at an eighth-grade level.
This is a given, do your best to produce an article that is free of typos, grammar errors, and punctuation mistakes. Use Grammarly or any other similar spell checker tool to proofread your blog post.
Make your post easily sharable on social media
Make sure your blog post has social media sharing buttons. This will make it easy for readers to share your content on their own social media platforms. You can also add a call-to-action at the end of your post, asking readers to share the article if they found it helpful.
If you want more control of how your links appear when they’re shared on social media, you can use Twitter Cards. Twitter Cards allow you to attach rich media experiences to Tweets that link to your content.
Give a conclusion and add a compelling Call-To-Action (CTA)
Create a compelling call to action at the end of your blog post. A good CTA will always invite readers to take an action after they read the post. This could be something like “subscribe to my newsletter,” “download this free eBook,” or “follow me on social media.
Write the title last
The title of your blog post is one of the most important elements of your article. Not only does it need to be catchy and accurately reflect the content of your post, but it also needs to be optimized for SEO. The title should include your focus keyword or phrase and be no longer than 60 characters.
Once you have written a working title, it’s time to write your headline. This is the main heading that will appear at the top of your article. Like your title, your headline should accurately reflect the content of your post and be optimised for SEO. It should also be attention-grabbing and encourage readers to read on.
Both your title and headline are important elements of your blog post, so take care to craft them carefully.
Create a compelling meta description
The meta description is the short paragraph of text that appears under your headline in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
While your title and headline are important for getting clicks, your meta description is what will determine whether someone actually clicks through to your blog post.
Make sure your meta description is no longer than 155 characters and includes your focus keyword or phrase. This will help to ensure that your blog post appears in the search results for relevant queries.
Pro tip: Use a Google SERP preview tool to see how your page title and meta description would look when they appear in Google.
Use a short URL slug
Your URL slug is the part of your URL that comes after the domain name. Try and avoid excessively long URL slugs such as “the-ultimate-blog-post-checklist-how-to-write -your-next-blog-post”, something like “ultimate-blog-post-checklist” is more than sufficient.
A good URL slug is short, accurate, and easy to read. It should also include your focus keyword or phrase. Avoid using stop words such as “a”, “an”, “the”, or conjunctions such as “and” or “but”.
I make this habit of not proofreading my articles the same day I wrote them. I let it sit there and I’ll come back to it after a day or two. Read it again a couple of times to make sure you have converted everything you wanted to cover.
Get someone else to read it, if you have someone available. If not you can hire a proof-reader from a freelancing site.
Remember, blog posts can always be updated later if you missed something in the first draft, even after you publish it. So don’t stress too much about getting it 100% right in the first go.
Just do it, hit publish and go make yourself a cuppa, you deserve it.
Check back in a few days or a week to see how your post is performing. Log in to your Google Search Console or Google Analytics account. Add more content if you have a few more points you forgot. Hit republish.
Writing blog posts doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By following the steps in this checklist, you can be sure that your next blog post will be well-written, optimised, and ready to engage your audience. So what are you waiting for? Get writing!