A Few Words Before Learning How To Write Your First Blog Post
Before delving into the details of how to write your first blog post, for your long-term success it is preferable that you have reached the stage where you have completed the following tasks, and in the order shown:
- researched and chosen your niche
- found and registered your domain
- set up your hosted WordPress website
- researched your first batch of low competition, high volume keywords.
When you have done this you are ready to start writing and begin your journey to becoming a successful blogger. Moving forwards step by step in this way will help gain maximum advantage as far as organic SEO is concerned.
Don’t worry if you do not consider yourself a great writer. As long as you put down some carefully researched facts that solve your potential reader’s problems and pain points your content will have ranking potential. Whatever standard of writer you are, your technique and blogging know-how will improve with practice.
The content that you write must be of high quality and provide value for your potential reader for it to stand any chance of ranking with Google.
Yes, there is sometimes some really low quality stuff that manages to make the SERP rankings, but for a blogger just starting out with a new website, it has to be high quality posts that offer value to the user in order to gain favor with Google’s algorithms.
Your first blog post is most likely not going to rank straight away. It will take consistent publishing of several such high quality and value posts to produce enough SEO juice to move your content up the SERPs ladder.
Depending upon the competition in your chosen niche, you may need to write twenty to fifty posts before Google takes significant notice of you. Then you will probably find that a few of your posts are starting to rank on page one, perhaps even at the coveted number one spot.
But you have to start somewhere to set the ball rolling, so pick one of your carefully researched keywords to base your first blog post on. Choose the one that you will feel most comfortable writing a solution to a potential reader’s problem or pain point around.
This is where it pays to have chosen a niche in which you have some degree of expertise. If you know a lot about the subject of your keyword, you can write a good quality article in a relatively quick time.
Otherwise, if you do not have much knowledge of the subject, you will have to do some research to make sure you have all of the relevant information and facts that you need to publish an authoritative article that will keep your reader engaged.
In either case, you will need to do at least some research to check that all you have written is factually correct before publishing.
Research Your Chosen Keyword
By research your chosen keyword, I mean two things:
- Find out exactly what someone searching for that keyword is expecting to find in the results.
- Research all of the information and facts about that keyword that you will need to write your blog post. As I mentioned above, some expertise about your niche will help with this.
I find that the best way of starting this off is to actually perform a Google search for that keyword. Google has a good reputation for delivering what the user is looking for, that’s why it is by far the most popular search engine.
It’s reasonable to assume then, that the top ten results, or the majority of them, on page one are what the user is searching for.
From the relevant websites in the search results, you can then start researching all of the information and facts pertaining to the subject of the keyword.
Two things are important here:
- Make a note of all the important points covered by these websites but DO NOT copy the content. Google quite rightly penalizes plagiarism, not only by not ranking your content but perhaps also by not indexing any of your future content on any domain you may register. You would also leave yourself open to being sued for breach of copyright.
- Never assume that the facts published by one particular website are correct. Take a consensus from several reliable sources to establish the correct information.
Once you have determined exactly what the searcher is looking for then, if necessary, you can use other media, such as books, magazines and YouTube videos, to further research your keyword.
Keep To The Keyword Subject
Don’t try to cover the whole of your chosen niche in one article. You will eventually write about everything pertaining to your niche over many articles but each individual post must remain relevant to the target keyword.
However, your content must delve deep into the subject of your keyword. Focus on the facts relevant to that keyword. Research every single fact that you can find to incorporate into your article.
Until recently it used to be that the ideal length of a blog post was around 1,500 words, and it still can be. Lately, though, Google has liked to see longer articles of 5,000 or more words.
Whilst bearing in mind that the longer the post the better, remember that the most important ranking factor is the value that your content offers the user. It’s no good writing a super-long blog post of over 5,000 words if it is all waffle and padding.
Content must be concise, relevant information that offers value to your users and keeps them engaged with the answers they are looking for. You will gain more ranking points for such an article 1,000 to 1,500 words long rather than a 5,000 word one with the same facts but also full of padding and irrelevant information.
Although it may be best to make your first post a written one to get started, bear in mind that your content, other than written, can also be in the form of video, a podcast or any combination of the three. As your website develops you will settle into a style that suits you, suits Google, and suits your visitors.
How To Set Out Your Post
Once you have gathered all of your information for your post, before you actually start writing anything it is a good idea to make a plan of how you are going to set it out.
Think about what order you are going to set out your researched facts and information and what headlines you are going to write to draw your reader’s attention to each section.
A well-worked and successful formula that suits both search engine rankings and user engagement is:
- INTRODUCTION – A paragraph or two about how your post is going to solve your visitors’ problems and pain points for this keyword. If you’ve had this particular problem yourself, you may like to empathize with your readers here. They will be more likely to listen to somebody who has experienced the same pains that they are going through.
- MAIN OR MIDDLE SECTION – Write about at least three main subtopics that you have researched for your keyword here. The more points you can cover, the better.
- CONCLUSION – Another paragraph or two that neatly wraps things up. You won’t be able to do this with your first post, but when you have a few articles posted you can refer your readers to your other relevant content using links here.
The Actual Writing Bit
Actually writing your article using your website’s editor can be a little bit fiddly, particularly as you are likely to make many changes to your content before you arrive at the finished article.
It’s far better to get as far as the finished draft by using a plain text editor and then copying and pasting to your website. A plain text editor such as Notepad avoids any problems with formatting when copying and pasting to your website.
Having said that, I write all of my articles in Google Docs and find that most of the formatting, including the links, transfers well to the WordPress editors, both the Classic and Gutenberg.
Make Your Content Easy To Read
If you set out your web content as you would for a hard copy written document, all your readers will see is a wall of words that will not be very easy to read.
There are several ways of breaking this up and making it less difficult for the average pair of eyes to make out the individual words and sentences.
1. Choose Your Font Wisely
To enhance the readability of your content, use an uncomplicated, nicely rounded sans serif font such as Arial or Tahoma. The additional squiggles of a serif font just add to the clutter.
The easiest to read font colors are black on a white background or white on a black background. I thoroughly recommend choosing one of these options, but if not, make sure your font is of a contrasting color to your background color so that it stands out.
2. Use Smaller Paragraphs
If you were writing on a sheet of A4, you would probably only have three or four paragraphs on the page. Paragraphs for the web need to be much smaller than this, perhaps just three or four lines when viewed on a smartphone.
3. Use Headlines
Use eye-catching headlines where you can. The larger font used for the headlines breaks up the text into easier to read blocks.
4. Use Royalty-Free Images
Further break-up the blocks of text with carefully placed, royalty-free images. I usually try to space them out so that anyone scrolling through my post on a smartphone will see the next image start to appear just as the previous one disappears. This way the screen is never completely filled with text.
Make sure that the images you use are royalty-free and that you attribute the photographer when appropriate.
Just copying and pasting images that you do not have a license for will result in legal action with the possibility of heavy fines plus the possibility of your website being shut down.
You can find many websites that offer free to download, royalty-free images online. Here are my favorites:
My first choice, though, is Canva.com. The free version of this website has many free to use royalty-free images to choose from plus free limited use of it’s built-in editing software, making it easy to add a personal touch to your selections.
Using these free sites is a good choice when you are first starting a new project and trying to keep your overheads low.
However, after you have a dozen or more articles posted you will probably find it increasingly difficult to find free images to incorporate into your posts that you haven’t used before or ones that other bloggers and websites in your niche are using.
This is the time to consider paying for a subscription service. For a small monthly outlay you can greatly increase the size of the pool of images you can choose from.
Again, there are many paid-for royalty-free image websites around. I used to use Depositphotos.com and Dreamstime.com. Both are still very good sources of images and I will probably still use them for one-off purchases.
But for my subscription service, I have now realized the the paid for version of Canva, Canva Pro, offers the best value for money and excellent, online editing software that allows me to adjust my chosen images to exactly what I need. Plus, we’re not talking a fortune here, just a few dollars per month.
Write With On-Page SEO In Mind
As you write your post you will need to take into consideration your on-page SEO. Optimize your post for the search engines to greatly improve your chances of ranking for that keyword.
Make sure that you get your exact keyword into the title of your post, the URL slug for the post, the meta title (the title that is colored blue in the Google search results), and the meta description (the black text that appears under the meta title). These are the most important locations to place the exact keyword.
Then, if you can fit the keyword into at least one heading, at least one of your images’ “alt text”, the first paragraph and two or three other places within the text, it will increase your ranking chances. This should be done in a way that the keyword fits in “naturally” to the flow of the content and doesn’t sound odd or contrived. Beware of overusing the keyword as “keyword stuffing” will be penalized.
Further optimization can be gained by including a link to another relevant authoritative site within your niche. When you have written a few posts, it also pays to link those internally where appropriate.
The amount of time your reader spends on your page also counts towards ranking points, so aim to keep him or her engaged and interested enough to read all the way through to the end of your post.
A good SEO plug-in for your WordPress website can help you with all of these points. The SEO plug-in that I use is the free version of Yoast. For me, Yoast that little bit more and the free version is quite adequate without having to upgrade to the Pro version.
For more detailed information, see my post:
Go One Better Than The Competition
As well as offering valuable content that solves your readers’ problems and pain points, in order to outrank your competition and make your post more attractive to users than theirs, you need to offer that little bit more than they are.
So, take a look at each of the existing top ten ranked sites for your chosen keyword, read through what they have to say about the subject and make sure that you go delve deeper into it whilst keeping it interesting and engaging.
It’s Not As Hard As It Looks!
Okay, the amount of information that I have given here to be considered when writing your first post may seem a little daunting to begin with.
I can promise you that it isn’t! Work your way through the steps and you’ll soon have your first post written, ready to publish and ready to set you off on the road to page 1 rankings. As you progress you will develop your own style and will not have to refer to this post any more.
Of course, as I have said previously you will need to write many quality posts to consistently rank on page 1. However, depending on the competition in your niche, you should start to gather a small audience after publishing ten to twenty posts. That’s when you can start thinking about promoting products and adding affiliate links, but that’s another subject that I’ll write about in another post.
There’s no set rule about how often to post new content but two to three new posts per week is seen as the industry standard by some. If you can meet that, all well and good but remember that quality always trumps quantity, so if that means only one post every week or two, that’s okay. This just means that page one rankings will take a few months more to become a regular occurrence.
In the world of organic SEO and affiliate marketing, patience is the key. Keep at the quality content writing and success will come. The only people that fail in this business are the ones who give up.
Until next time.