In this article, I will be giving some general tips for writing blog posts. In order to effectively market your products, or affiliate links, you should actually be marketing your content. Provide good, useful content and the sales conversions will follow.
For the purposes of this discussion, let’s assume you have already set up your blog/website and you are happy with the layout and navigation structure. The next step is to start writing blog posts to add content to your site.
This is very important, because it’s what will give your site its value. Good content will encourage people to visit your site and to come back time and time again. The challenge is making your content stand out in a sea of other websites and blogs.
To do this, you must focus on offering content that is high quality and that is consistently offering value to your readers.
As we’ll see later on, this is also good for your SEO. Always remember that someone has to be drawn to your content based on the title, their previous experience with your site and their impression of your brand. If you are only giving them content that is uninspired, derivative or poorly written, they won’t bother to visit.
Word Count: How Much is Enough?
There are a lot of conflicting opinions on what the optimal length is for a blog post. Some say a blog post should be around 1,800 words to provide value to reader and, also, to satisfy the search engines. That might seem a bit long, but that length allows you to drill down into a topic and provide insight that won’t be found elsewhere.
Some sources say that at minimum, you every post should be 600 words. Still others recommend a minimum of 1,000 words. Personally, I like to shoot for at least a thousand words, but I would like to offer an important caveat.
If you content is too “thin”, your target audience (and the search engines) aren’t likely to give it much attention. However, you shouldn’t get too hung up on the word count. Make sure you are doing a comprehensive overview of a subject and your blog posts will be a valuable resource. Quality is more important than quantity. If you are really examining your topics, though, a sufficient word count usually happens naturally.
You also need to give some real though to the title and topic of each post. Let’s say your niche is fitness. If you write an article called “Top 10 Ab Exercises” for your fitness website, you aren’t likely to win over any new fans. Why? Because this subject and structure have both been done to death already!
When people read your title, they will already know exactly what your post will be about and they’ve probably already seen those top ten exercises somewhere else. Based on the title alone, they can assume that you are providing no new value.
On the other hand, consider the titles and topics from Maria Popova’s website, “Brain Pickings”.
Here are a handful of examples:
- “Bruce Lee on Self-Actualization and the Crucial Difference Between Pride and Self Esteem”
- “The Outsider With the Public Voice: How Joan Didion Mirrored Us Back to Ourselves”
- “A Year Without Mom: A Gorgeous Graphic Novel About Separation and Reunion, the End of Childhood and the Tradeoff of Happiness”
These titles are all highly original and unique. They beg to be read. Furthermore, when you click on any of those titles, you’ll find that the same care and thoughtfulness has into the content of those posts. Each blog post is between 1,000-3,000 words long. They include beautiful images and selected quotes. Perhaps most importantly, they are well written. All of that is to say, these blog posts offer real value to the reader.
Don’t you think that a well-crafted article like this is going to generate some discussion? Wouldn’t it have a better than average chance of being shared? How much more likely is someone to subscribe to such a blog that consistently offers quality content?
I hope you can see the value of this type of content when compared to something like “Top 10 Ab Exercises”. It’s worth noting that all of your posts don’t need to be great works of literature. No, they simply need to be interesting, unique and offer something that your reader can’t find on a dozen other websites.
Let’s revisit our example of a website targeted at the fitness nice. We can take a look at an actual site in that niche to see what kind of examples we find. So, let’s check out some titles from the “Breaking Muscle” website and see what we might learn:
- “World-Level Weightlifters Are Just Like Us”
- “The One-Session, One-Exercise, One-Set Strength Plan”
- “So, You Want to Be a Lion?”
Okay. These are fitness related titles, but do you see how these stand out more than “Top 10 Ab Exercises”? Just like in the earlier example, these titles are unique and interesting. The posts are long and in-depth and, as a result, they provide a lot of value.
Finally, let’s see what examples are on “T-Nation“, another fitness website making effective use of its titles:
- “Iron Core: How to Build a Punch-Proof Body”
- “A Lifter’s Guide to Alcohol”
These three sets of examples give us a good idea of how to create titles that stand out in the crowd. So, let’s move on to some other areas.
What Clickbait Can Teach Us
If you spend any time on social media, you are probably familiar with “clickbait” titles. Let’s think about these for a moment. They tend to have sensationalized titles like ‘You’ll Never Believe What This Single Dad Does Next. Shocking!”. Sometimes they use something controversial in their title to get clicks. Either way, they tend to use over-the-top headlines to spark the reader’s curiosity. In short, they are designed to get a click.
You’re objective is to generate that same type of curiosity, but instead of leading to some sort of spam content, like the “clickbait” titles normally do, you want to reward your audience with posts that are actually as interesting and unique as the title made them sound.
Keep in mind, too, that the objective is to convert your visitors into customers. To do that you’ll need to build trust. You have to demonstrate your ability to provide value. I know I’m repeating myself, but the best strategy is to create compelling content.
Introduction to SEO
As an internet marketer, your blog exists in order to sell products, generate clicks or otherwise inspire people to engage with your business.
Your blog as a marketing tool. In order for your blog to be a marketing tool for your business, you need to market the blog itself. This is what content marketing is all about. Content marketing may be the foundation for affiliate marketing, for selling your own products, or any number of other things. Whichever business model, or models, you use, marketing your content is the foundation.
One of the fundamental components of content marketing is Search Engine Optimization, usually just referred to as SEO. What SEO does, essentially, is it allows you to promote your website through Google (or other search engines) by ‘optimizing’ your content to show up in their search results. One way to accomplish this is by adding lots of content to your blog. The greater the number of posts, the more chance that people will be searching for when the topics you have written about.
Helping Your Audience Find You
You also want to make sure that the right people are finding you. That means you should be including important “keywords” in your content. If you don’t already know, keywords are phrases that people enter into a search engine. This is how they find what they are looking for and, hopefully, they will find what you are offering. So, if you sell backpacks, your “keyword” might be “buy backpacks online”.
You don’t want to repeat this phrase too often, though. That is known as keyword stuffing and the search engines don’t like it. It also creates a poor user experience, because it’s hard for your writing to sound natural when you are mainly concerned with cramming your keyword into the post as many times as possible. This will end up making your site look like spam to both your readers and to Google. In that case, you’ve put in all of that work for nothing. You won’t show in search results and you won’t convert visitors into paying customers.
Too Much of a Good Thing? Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Keyword density, or how many times you use your keyword in a post, is another subject that generates competing theories. Some say you should shoot for 1% – 2% keyword density, focusing on writing “naturally” around the subject. Personally, I recommend keeping it simple. Use your keyword in your title and make sure you use it again in the first paragraph of your post. If it shows up again later in the post, as a result of the natural flow of the article, that’s fine. I wouldn’t worry about it, though. Put it in the title and in the first paragraph and focus on producing quality content.
I’ve already mentioned this, but it bears repeating – posting lots of content is good for SEO. Just make sure that you prioritize quality over quantity. Search engines like content heavy sites, because it indicates authority. It is also important to make sure that your site loads quickly.
Site Structure as SEO
You want your site to look good, but keep it as simple and clean as possible. Too many bells and whistles will slow down the loading speed of your website. It has been proven that people will usually not wait around. As mobile continues to gain a bigger share of internet activity, you need to make sure that your site loads well (and looks good) on both desktop and mobile devices.
Google takes all of these factors into account when indexing websites. The other search engines take a similar approach, but keep in mind that Google accounts for more than 90% of all web searches.
Building Your Backlink Profile
Another aspect of SEO is building “backlinks” to your site. Some people refer to this as a “backlink profile”. What that means is that a lot of other websites are linking to your website. Ideally, those websites will be of high quality and relevant to your niche. This is a topic that requires more consideration that I can provide in this article, but it’s important that you are familiar with the concept.
Leveraging Social Media
Social media is another way you can promote your website. Building a large following on different social media platforms can drive traffic to your site. If your audience shares your posts on social media, this will increase your reach. If you are just starting out with your online business, I would suggest focusing most of your time on building out your blog content. Social media is an important part of your overall strategy, but it can also be a time-consuming trap if you’re not careful.
The art and craft of writing blog posts is a topic that could fill a book – and it has. If you apply what you have learned in this article, though, you should be off to a good start. Remember, you want to build a large collection of articles on your blog, but this can happen gradually over time. Creating high-value content is the first priority and that is what will build your trust in your brand.
Content is king and if you are able to successfully market your content, the rest of your business will practically market itself.
If you have any good tips for creating great blog posts, let us know in the comment section below.