How To Write A Blog – An Essential Guide
how to write a blog - essential guide

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Discover the key principles of writing a blog and how to ensure it gets seen on search engines.

So, you have decided that you want to add new content to your website. Perhaps you are adding a new article to an existing news page, or are setting up an entirely new blog. You might be doing this for a company website or perhaps it a personal project. You might be creating the blog to position yourself as an expert in your field; or to simply to increase your ranking for certain keywords. Regardless of your motivation the principles of how to write a blog are essentially the same. This article outlines the thought process of writing a blog. It also details the elements that you need to include to create content that will deliver readers. Within the article there are some technical search engine optimisation (SEO) terms however these are explained in previous posts from Prophecy Marketing!

What is a blog?

The term blog or blogging is now liberally banded about to simply describe a regularly updated website page. They can be in the form of everything from news updates, personal opinion pieces, ‘how to’ pages and many more. The copy tone of blogs is generally more approachable or conversational. What you are reading right now is a blog!

What makes a good blog?

How to write an effective blog is depends on many different factors. These range from technical SEO elements but more important is how well-written the blog is. It should draw in readers. If you're literally just writing a post to help improve SERPs and it is not written as an interesting piece of prose that readers can engage with, then it is not doing its job. As search engine algorithms become more advanced and can identify badly written content, sites with thrown together weak content will be penalised.

How To Write A Blog Plan
Plan Your Blog

Blog Objectives

Before you start your writing a blog decide what your specific objectives are. Firstly, you want people to read your blog – actually read it – not click in and bounce out. However what else do you want from it? Do you want to showcase your products or the range of your services, provide a platform for thought leadership and if so what thoughts? Decide what you want to achieve and make it specific. Undoubtably you also want to use the blog to help with ranking your website for certain keywords. Undertake your keyword and long tail research for these – don’t forget to also develop keyword clusters as these have gained more and more importance in content development and work very well in long format content.

Before you start writing make sure you have set these objectives; write them down and keep them somewhere safe. Revisit them when you have finished the blog to check back and make sure you delivered against these. It’s very obvious but we all know that sometimes we don’t do this.

Target Audience

So you know your objectives, but do you know exactly who your target audience is? Most companies and personal blog sites will have a core audience and other sub audiences. When writing a blog decide who you are writing for. It is unlikely that you will be developing content for all these audiences in one post. Decide which ones you need to target – who your priorities audiences are for this topic.

Blog Formats

Blogs can come in many different types of formats – pick a format or a selection of formats which fit your brand and work with your objectives. Don’t pick too many different types of format and always ensure that you have an overarching strategy for your content so that it makes sense and is holistic. Here are some of the formats that you can use.

Interview

– The format for an interview blog is similar to a newspaper or magazine article style where someone is interviewed, and it is written up. For corporate companies this type of post is an engaging way of highlighting team members, from CEOs to more junior roles.

How To / Tutorial

– Detailed instructional content which informs the reader on a subject matter so that they can try this for themselves. The range of subject for this type of post are endless, from cookery, DIY, crafts, job interviews, design etc etc.

News

– Updates on the company or the industry which the company operates in. It might be an update on people joining the company, a new product launch or an interesting change in the industry.

Review

– A review style blog should weigh up the pros and cons of a product, experience or medium. This can be a trickier format for many brands as they may need to be neutral.

Opinion Piece

– An opinion piece can be on any subject from fashion, cars to politics or travel. It needs to contain an opinion, it can’t be neutral. As a consequence, this type of blog may not be appropriate for a corporate website.

Woman Reading Blog Online On Computer
How to Write a Blog And Get It To Rank

How To Write A Blog And Get It Seen

Fantastic content will only get you so far with a blog article. You need to ensure that people can find it. There are many elements of search engine optimisation that you need to build into your blog.

Keywords and Keyword Clusters

Keyword research is the most important preparation for writing a blog. You need to know exactly what keywords will get you the SERPs you want. Pick a primary keyword and also develop the support keywords or cluster words. You may need to be creative with the topic of the blog to ensure that you achieve the SERPs that you want. For example you might be thinking of writing a blog about ‘dog food’, but may find that although this keyword is getting a fantastic volume of monthly searches you will be competing against many different brands and might not make it onto the all important first search page. Therefore it my be better to tweak the content slightly so it is about an aspect of dog nutrition to garner more cut through.

Find a keyword with a happy medium, with a positive number of searches but less competition from other websites. There is no point in using keywords which no one is searching for, you will achieve the 1st position on the 1st page but no one will be looking at the page. For more information on keywords and how to use them, take a look at our previous blog.

Meta Description

Every webpage needs a meta description, including a blog. This is the short snippet of information below the blue link of a search result (in Google). Its job is to tell the reader what the website will cover. The goal is to entice the reader/searcher to visit the page. Make sure that the meta description includes the keyword of the blog.

Alt Tags For How To Write A Blog
Add Alt Tags to Every Image

Alt Tags

It is very important that your blog includes images and videos – these can be illustrations, photos, infographics, or vectors, or even film or animations. These not only make the blog more interesting for the reader they enrich the content for the purposes of SEO. Each visual needs a unique alt tag. The alt tag is a short description of the image and should include the keyword of the blog. The crawlers use this information as part of the key ranking factors to decide where to place your page in the SERPs.

For more detailed information on Alt Tags and Meta Tags take a look at our previous blog which explains how to use them in detail.

H1, H2 etc

Another important factor in the structure of your blog is the use of headers. In website content these are divided into H1, H2, H3 etc. depending on the hierarchy and structure of the information. You need to tag your headers within the code so search engines know how important that header is within the total copy content. The headers need to also include the keywords and support keywords to help the crawlers understand what the blog is about. There is no need to apply the keyword to each header, however it must be used in the H1 and distributed across a selection of the other headers. The priority is that the copy is natural and engaging to read – don’t use the keyword too many times as this will undermine the quality of the content.

Urls Length and Format

When you are setting up the blog url ensure that it does include the keyword, however it should not be too long. The current advice is between 50-60 characters.

Links

Add links within the blog – perhaps to relevant pages within your website or previous blogs. The links need to make sense and be part of the overall blog theme. It is also good practice to add links to external sites, however, ensure that they are good quality sites with a good domain authority score. The Ration of external links is around 1-2 per 500 words of copy, however add more if it makes sense to the content of the blog.

Blog Outline

It is always a good idea to develop a full plan for a blog before you start writing it. Break it down and work out topic per paragraph, just as you would for an academic essay. This helps ensure that the blog flows and that you are covering all the major points in a logical way. Then add the keywords and support keywords to the plan so you can see the frequency and how well you are covering the cluster keywords.

Blog Length

This a hugely debated topic in the field of search engine optimisation. Google has stated that copy length is not a ranking factor however, a blog needs to make sense for the topic. 300 words is suitable for some subjects, whilst 4,000 would be required for more in depth topics. It’s important the content is not seen as thin by the search engines, this means that it is providing little value to readers. On the same note the content needs to be well written and high quality for a longer blog, again the search engine AIs want to see useful content for clients.

Research is suggesting that search engines are still elevating longer blogs higher up the rankings, a study undertaken by Backlinko has suggested that search engines are favouring blogs of 1,447 words or more. Data gathered by HubSpot’s is suggesting that the ideal word count for a blog is actually higher at around 2,250–2,500 words. This content earns higher search engine ranking results and also gets more backlinks.

Call To Action

Always include a call to action at the end of the blog. This can be a simple message with email address for the reader to contact for more information. Perhaps ask them to subscribe to a newsletter or provide a link to a product or service. Always add something which will enable an action from the reader.

Wordpresssiteforablog 213Ffc665B8F36Dfac2B77729D821Afa 800
WordPress Blog Page

Design

If you have gone to the effort of writing a meaningful and useful blog and applied the best practices of SEO, make sure it looks good on the page. Use the images and headers to break up the content into manageable chunks. Use bullet points and different colours. Ensure that the page is fully responsive so it can be read on different devices.

There are a variety of tools you can use to help you publish the content on your website. With StoryChief.io you can add and even amend the content after it is published without actually having to go into the CMS of the website. The tool also has SEO analytics to help you manage your keywords within the copy and add the appropriate meta and alt tags.

So know you know how to write a blog, for more information on blog SEO or if you would like some assistance with developing content for your new blog page just get in touch hello@prophecy.marketing

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