Blog Content Best Practices Baseline
I’m going to start off by saying: you might be wondering why this post, about the content of your blog content, is coming before content about titling your post.
This is a trick I use, to make my writing process easier. Remember when you were in school, and you were taught to write the introductory paragraph last? Like, start with the content of your essay, and then come back to writing the introduction once you’re done, so that you can effectively summarize the content?
That’s what we’re doing. We’re using that strategy, but for your blog.
In order to do this, I suggest taking your prompts, and writing your content from the prompt – BEFORE writing your title. This isn’t just a strategy that helps with being able to write an accurate title, it also helps you with your writing process. It can be really easy to allow titles to get in your way.
Starting with the Title can be Limiting
For example, you might write a title for your post, find yourself straying from the content that specific title speaks to when you’re writing… but you’re writing really good shit. You want to keep it, but you feel limited by the title, so you get rid of it, and move back to content that’s closer to the title you wrote. However, all of what you were writing was relevant to the topic you were on, and it made sense altogether. It just… didn’t match your title.
Sometimes when you get off-topic like that, it requires making an entirely new post – but I’ll leave you to be the judge of that. If you don’t let yourself get pigeonholed by titles, you don’t have to worry about feeling limited in what you can say in a post because of a label you literally made up for it.
Another potential problem with starting with your title, is honestly? Titles are fucking hard to write.
I said it, and I’m not sorry.
Titles are hard. What’s too click-baity? What’s not click-baity enough? Does it match the content? Is it going to catch attention? We really need that title to encapsulate the content of the post – and what better way to encapsulate it and know what it’s going to consist of… than having the content before you even get close to touching the title?
Nothing. Nothing is better.
So THAT, my friends, is why we’re starting by talking about content best practices before we talk about titling and keywords.
But what about the content itself?
There are a few rules to follow when it comes to creating posts that will definitely benefit you in the long run. I’m going to keep this simple, and link to brilliant articles by yoast that get into detail on all of these. You can go down the rabbit hole if you’d like, because honestly each of these points has SO much behind it, that makes it relevant and important and useful.
- Write 300 words or more – ideally, 1000. It sounds like a lot but I promise it’s a lot easier than it seems! Once you get writing, it’ll come naturally, especially if you’re writing conversationally.
- Use subheadings liberally. More than you think you should. I don’t mean put them like, every three sentences, but if you’ve gone 300 words without a subtitle, you want to pop one in there. And, consider using your blog key phrase in at least one of the subtitles in your content. I usually use h3 tags for these, but there’s a great outline of how to set up your subheadings here!
- Use images!! As a general rule of thumb, I use three images per post, more if it’s long. It breaks up your writing, allows you to alt-tag your content, and keeps your readers engaged! It’s not the end of the world to only include one image if a post is short, or mostly informational – but do try to include images in your posts. If you’re looking for good, legal, free images to use – check out the list of 12 Free Stock Image Sites I compiled for you!
- Include your keyphrase and related key phrases in your copy. This is pretty self-explanatory, as it helps your post rank for the keyphrase you’re using! Don’t keyword stuff though – this is when you have keyphrases in like, every sentence. It’s a no-no, and Google hates it. It used to be a real SEO strategy, but… we’ve grown, honey. You want to make sure that you’re using synonyms of your keyword as well – Google is an intelligent little bugger, honestly.
- Use both internal, and external linking! This means, in your content, you want to link to other posts on your site, and to content created by others. This helps tell Google what your content is related to, AND helps establish authority for your pages, by telling Google what is, and is not cornerstone content on your website. You can see a super solid example of this literally right here. I’m using tons of both internal, AND external links right here in this article.
- Allow commenting or other engagement! This allows your future and past clients to engage with what you’ve put out. It allows them to ask questions, and get involved in your process. You might even end up with more blog topics just from what they present! Now, you don’t have to do this solely through a commenting tool on your site – you can take this OFF your website too. SEO doesn’t just live on your website, it also lives on social media, and you can drive traffic to your website there. Consider starting conversations about your blog content in your facebook group or page, like I do in the Strategic Female Entrepreneurs.
- Post regularly. When I say regularly, I usually mean about once a week. You don’t want to flood your blog with content all at once (there are exceptions to this) and you don’t want to allow yourself to go too long without posting. When there are months and months between posts, there’s less of an opportunity for your audience to engage with you, and it also looks less professional overall since then you have an unmaintained blog on your site. You can kind of cheat this one, by batch writing, and then scheduling the content to post on a specific day in the future. This allows you to write content, schedule it, and then not stress for… potentially months at a time.
Of course, this isn’t exhaustive. But, when followed, these will make your blog more productive for your business, and less stressful for you to maintain!
If you’re looking for even more starter content on best practices for your blog, then you should truly check out the yoast.com beginner’s hub. They have a TON of content around SEO basics that will give you far more depth than I’ve covered here!