The Ultimate FREE Guide to Making Blog Posts with WordPress
I’m asked several times a month by clients how to make a blog post. Sometimes the question is about where to get the content, how to post the format, what to do about images, and of course SEO.
Well, now I have a few websites where I’m asking member participants to supply me with “guest blog” posts too. So, I figure it’s time I put together a real blog post checklist to follow for clients, members, and of course welcome first-time visitors to the HereNextYear site too.
I’ve talked with my clients in great length to answer these questions, of course, so these steps might make more sense to them than to a person landing on this page for the first time. I just needed to assemble a sort of quick-reminder checklist for them.
If you have any questions, please add them to the comments area below and I will be happy to reply…for free…in a written form to your comments.
So, here goes…
Blog Post Length
A good blog post is typically 200-600 words in length. If you are a guest poster (posting to a blog that is not yours), this length may be considerably longer. Here’s an example of a guest post I made for Premium Web Cart. On your own blog, however, the typical length should be within the 200-600 range.
Blog Post Etiquette
Never write a blog post that is just a bunch of paragraphs. Your readership will be cut down to 5-10%. Always section off your content into the following pieces:
1. The problem – The intro states the problem and why it’s important that your readers know that there is something they can do about the problem right now. I like to make these intro sections either one or two paragraphs. Rarely will I go beyond that unless I’m guest
2. The solution – Present your recommended solution in either one of two ways–a series of steps or bullet points. Always use 1, 3, 5, or 9 steps or bullet points. Never use even numbers as the human mind is always wanting resolution. If there are two steps to the solution, the human mind will always look for the third, for example.
Once you get over the 9 mark, all sorts of possibilities exist. Use of “10 Steps” just seems to be not detailed enough for people anymore. It’s funny. Offer 3, 5, 9 steps and people get excited. But, 10? Blahhhh. Who wants 10 basic steps anymore? Better to go up to 21 Steps, or 35 Reasons.
That reminds me of one of my most popular blog post ever. It’s called 35 Reasons Why a WordPress Website is Better than a Traditional Website for Your Business.
Notice the numbered list. Notice the slightly longer intro. Notice the “Why WordPress” image (more on that further in this post). Notice the bold on the main points and light text of the description of each point.
3. The send off – Provide a recap of how important this topic is and that by using those steps or bullet points, the reader will be well on their way to improving upon the problem. You may decide to have a link to a product you’re selling or give a phone number if additional services are suggested. That’s completely fine to do in a blog post…BUT! You want to be sure to finalize your steps or bullet points before suggesting the next step.
For an example of properly closing off a discussion and suggesting there’s more, go to my blog post about 5 Home Page Designs for Pro Speakers
3 Types of Blog Posts
There are three core types of blog posts. Others do exist that I might post something about someday, but focus on these for now. They are enough to keep you busy for years!
1. How-to information – Position yourself as an expert in your field and that you are willing to share what you know. Craft a nice mix of giving them the goods without giving away the farm. Start these types of blog posts with lists.
“3 Easy Steps to….”
“5 Questions Everyone Should Ask Before Hiring a….”
2. Industry News – Know when news is happening in your industry so that you can blog about it. Go to Google Alerts and setup several keywords you are trying to get search positioning for.
When anyone on the Internet posts content or news that includes those keywords, you will receive an email with a link to that document. You might want to adjust the settings at Google Alerts so that you are only notified once per day.
With an industry news post, you have two choices. You can either add a link in your post to an article you saw someplace and then make a comment about the posting; or, you can make the posting as if YOU discovered the news and you’re reporting it to your readers. Either is fine. But,
personally, I choose to link to other websites and give them the credit for the news and then give my side of the story on my blog post. Just lets me appear more honest that way.
3. “Real Stuff” – I use this term real stuff because these are the blog posts that most people equate to “what I ate for breakfast.” You know…the real useless stuff. Or is it?
Remember, people BUY from people they know, like and trust. I’m going to add another word to that list you’ve probably heard many times before. And, that word is “relate-to.” People will buy from you if they know, like, and trust you. But, if they can relate to you, more people will buy from you and they’ll buy more from you.
Every once in a while, you need to step aside from telling people how smart you are with all of your educational lecturing (blog post type 1) and
industry opinions (blog post type 2) and simply prove to people that you are a real human being that has the same questions, experiences, findings,
intrigues as your audience does.
One of my most favorite “real stuff” posts was my very first YouTube
video where I recored my then 9-year-old racing a ski instructor down a NASTAR course…and darn near beat him! It has nothing to do with my
industry or educational steps. It shows I’m a regular human being with a kid and a hobby beyond just working all the time.
You don’t need me to tell you how important a headline is. If you’ve ever sold anything or written anything on the web, you know that a GREAT headline is really a big deal. You really need to take the time to craft a headline that hooks your reader. And, when I mean hook, I’m not saying hook them into buying, or even hooking them to call you. You just want to hook them into reading the next paragraph. If you’ve accomplished that, you’ve accomplished everything the headline is supposed to do. So, how do you find out what you should be writing about in the first place and crafting a headline?
- Go to Google’s free keyword search tool.
- Search the Google search tool for the main phrase that you are interested in making a blog post about. Example: “tree trimming” (I’m writing this portion using a specific example for one of my clients in case you’re wondering where I pulled “tree trimming” from)
- Add the captcha words so the search will function. If you use this tool on a few searches, Google will ask you to login to your account. So, you may wind up setting up an AdWords account inside Google to see full results. That’s fine. Go ahead and setup the account. You will use this tool frequently and simply having an AdWords account is free even if you never run a Google AdWords campaign.
- Notice all the keyword phrases in the search results. They can be further sorted chronologically by clicking on the column header. So, that means you can sort the report by Keyword, Competition, Global Monthly Searches and Local Monthly Searches.
- Pick a headline for your blog post that BEGINS with one of the resulting keyword phrases on this search results page …because people are already searching for those phrases.
So, if I entered “tree trimming” in the top search area, I would see a search result report that would include the word “tree trimming services.”
I would then begin my headline with that phrase and THEN tack on the end of it the content I wanted to get into the blog post.
“Tree Trimming Services in Rogers Arkansas are Reported Higher Priced than Ever Before”
NOTE: Because it takes me forever to craft the perfect headline, I had my programmers craft a little tool for me that creates headlines for me using the 250 most effective headline formats. I just answer a few questions and it spews out 250 possible headlines. Go check it out inside our completely FREE members area. Have a couple of other tools in there for you too.
Using Images and Photos
Every, well, maybe not “every” but certainly 80% of all of your blog posts should have at least a photo or an image of something that describes he blog post. Also, a photo or image helps to promote the blog post on social media because people are attracted to those images when I post the blog post on facebook and Google+.
So, you need to start including a photo OR an image (some sort of graphic, bought or produced on your own) with as many blog posts as you can. You will get better with this process as you go.
If you don’t want to take the extra time to go take photos and you’re not much of a designer, using iStock.com is a great alternative.
- Go to iStock Photo and make an account.
- Buy some credits…probably good to buy about 50 credits.
- There’s a place on the left column with a bunch of checkmarks for the type of image you want to receive in your search results, including photos, illustrations, video, audio, flash…Reduce your search results to find what you want faster by only leaving “photos” and “illustrations” checked, unless of course you know for a fact you would rather use a photo for this particular blog post or an image/illustration, then uncheck the other to reduce your search even more.
- When you find a picture or image that relates to the topic of your blog post, you will need to resize it to something that works well with your blog post. I usually set screenshots or photos to 500 pixels wide and 72 ppi resolution for easy viewing and, yet, quick loading.
For smaller images, like those you see when I post topics about WordPress or facebook or Google+, I make those smaller so that I can have content to the right of the image. And, I’ll have that content styled to not be butt-up against the image but a little to the right of it. [Clients, let me know if you need help with styling]
- ALWAYS buy the photo or image in the lowest resolution possible for the least amount of credits.
- Once you have about 10-20 pictures or images, you can start re-using them with blog posts as pretty much every blog post should be somehow related to your topic and therefore have something to do with at least one of your collection of images.
- Design (or have your designer make) or create four or five little images that you plan to blog about most frequently. That way you don’t have to always spend money buying images and photos.
- And, let’s not forget about video and taking your own pictures. Not only does Google love images and pictures, well, facebook and Google+ do too! When you post a video or photo to your blog post, either will come up as a thumbnail when you add a post to facebook or Google+. Always feature a photo or video (or illustration too of course) in any blog post, because the social network posting will display those to viewers and attract them to visit your blog post.
- Finally, make sure your image or photo is NOT linked to anything. If there’s a picture, just about everyone will click on it. But for seo reasons, you want to keep your image/photo tied to your blog post.
Blog Post SEO
After you’ve added your post content, headline, and photo, move your way down to the bottom of your WordPress post admin area and complete the most important fields of the All-in-One SEO Pack, which are:
- The Page Title
- Meta Description
Remember, the keywords field is one of those things that’s way at the bottom of the totem pole as far as what Google looks for so don’t pay too much attention there. Just add maybe 3 or 4 phrases and that’s enough.
Just a few more steps that I’m going to keep in the SEO list by continuing with #4:
- Double check your URL to make sure it has the same keywords you just added to your Page Title. You can change that URL remember. And, it should be more exact with what people are searching for than what you have in the headline. For the tree trimming example, I would make my Page Title in the SEO Pack plugin to be “tree trimming service best prices [location]” because that’s not only something a large amount of people are searching for, but also fits well with the headline you created earlier.
- Publish the blog post and then go find three (3) other pages on your website or other blog posts on your site, go into edit that page through WordPress and then change a few words in your content so that a text link makes sense. For example, I might have on a different blog post the following sentence:
“You might be wondering why tree trimming is usually so expensive…”
I would enter the post and change that sentence to look like this:
“You might be wondering what to expect for tree trimming service best prices…” whereas that underlined blue link would be a live link to your NEW blog post you’ve been working on all this time.
Finding a few other pages or posts on your website to link to your new blog posts shows Google you have created something that is related to another pot and that if you have it on three other places on your website, it must be rather important. So, Google lists it. See how that works?
Alrighty, I’m all excited to go make a new blog post! Wait, I just did. Ooops.
Take your time with all these steps. Go one by one and you’ll get it. If you have a question, HereNextYear clients, you know where to find me by email, phone, or Skype. If you’re not a client, be encouraged to make a comment to this post and ask your question there. I reply personally
to all inquiries.
And, if you do want to learn more about this process, you might checkout a mini-book I wrote in December when I first realized how to get any and every one of my blog posts on Google…within 5 seconds! Often in the #1 position!
In fact, when I launched it originally last month, I even called it “5 Seconds to #1” and it sold handsomely for the five days I let it out.
I can’t offer the orginal discounted special I gave in December, but I will open it up again the same document, 5 Seconds to #1 on Google, for purchase for just $14. BUT, that’s only going to be available ONLY until Saturday, January 21, 2012. I’m soooo close to having my Getting Brutal with Google fully updated, full-length, SEO ebook completed, (the only thing that stopped me was a deadline to have my first 5 chapters in to the Wiley group for the 2nd edition Web Marketing All-in-One for Dummies coming out in April, but that’s another story!)…
…in which the “5 Seconds to #1” document is included.
I won’t be selling the 5 Seconds document at all when Getting Brutal launches…and that will be at the same rate it has been for the past 10 years at $79.
So, there you have it. One big giant blog post for sure, but still the same format. Intro with the problem, bullet points or steps to follow for the solution, wrapping up with a convincing statement that I HAVE given you what you came to the page to see. And, then offering some step to take if you want to do even more.
Have a great rest of the week. This is Marty Dickinson saying blog well and bye for now!