Originally Created 01/04/2012, Revised 11/14/2017
After all these years, there are so many people who still post questions on forums and social media how to create a blog post. The questions are usually about whether writing blog posts is a waste of time, if blog posts are even relevant anymore, how to find hot topics, post length, how to find photos, and of course SEO.
I’ve talked with my clients and presented in workshops on this topic for as many years as the word blog has been in existence. So, I use this post as my main answer to the question as it has been evolving as a post originally made in 2012.
What’s the Most Significant Change to Blogging for 2017?
VIDEO…and LIVE video. A little more than 80% of people prefer consuming content from the Internet by way of video. Your blog needs to satisfy that preference.
Even more important, is the need for you to continually work on improving your video presentation skills. To get started with that, I strongly suggest you get immediate access to our new white paper, MISGUIDED: 10 Deceptions Live Video Experts are Wrongfully Teaching You and They Don’t Even Realize it.
If you have any questions related to this post, please add them to the comments area below and I will be happy to reply…for free…in a written form to your comments. You can also LIKE our Facebook page where I will also gladly respond to your questions.
So, here goes…
The 2017 Ultimate Free WordPress Blog Post Guide
A Definition of BLOG for 2017: A blog is a complete stand-alone website or portion of a website devoted to providing timely topics of interest to its readers.
A Definition of a BLOB POST: A single page of timely content produced to introduce a problem, solution, subject, movement, cause, or event to a group of interested readers.
Blog Post Length
A good blog post today is typically 400-800 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 CloudNet360. On your own blog, however, the typical length should be within the 400-600 range.
Blog Post Format
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 Issue – The headline and first few sentences of a good blog post introduce the problem, event or subject and why it’s important for your readers to pay attention to. I like to make these intro sections either one or two paragraphs. Rarely will I go beyond that unless I’m guest for another website.
2. The Answer – Present the solution of the problem, or details of the event, 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 for a blog post. If you are going to use 10 for anything, make that part of a free report that needs to be opted-in to receive.
That reminds me of one of my most popular blog posts 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 using a video in a blog post and suggesting there’s more, go to my blog post about Using Props for Better Live Video
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. The How-To Blog Post – 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. The Industry News Blog Post – 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. The Real Stuff Post – 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 “visible.” People will buy from you if they know, like, and trust you. But, if they see you are visible, more people will buy from you and they’ll buy more from you because they can actually see you are a real person.
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, fun, experiences, findings, and intrigues as your audience does.
One of my most favorite “visibility” posts was when I made a trip with my son to visit battlefields of the Civil War. I took a selfie pic of us in the Devil’s Den. Although there is a topic associated with the pic, the more important objective was to show 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.
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 Pixabay is a great alternative with Creative Commons photos for public use.
- Go to Pixabay and make a free account.
- Search for a specific keyword related to the photo you’re trying to find. If you enter two words into the search phrase you will need to include the word “and” between the two words like: [computer and people] for example.
- Results will display starting with photos supplied by Shutterstock (photos you will have to PAY for if you want to use them). The pics below the Shutterstock photos are the free ones available for your use.
- When you find a picture or image that relates to the topic of your blog post, you will need to download it and edit its size to something that works well with your blog post. I usually set screenshots or photos to 700 pixels wide and 72 ppi resolution for easy viewing and, yet, quick loading.
FACEBOOK NOTE: If you intend on sharing your post on Facebook (which you almost always should for additional traffic,) you will need to resize your photo twice. Once will be for your blog post to be at your desired width to fit the parameters of how your blog/website is configured. The other will be used specifically to upload as an image to Facebook. Currently the preferred pixel size for Facebook posts is 1200 pixels wide by 630 pixels wide. Then, you would write some introductory text into your Facebook post, upload the 1200 x 630 photo to the Facebook post and copy and paste your blog post URL into the content of the Facebook post as well. That’s how it gets linked from Facebook to your blog post.
- Take as many of your own photos as you can. Using your own photos makes you look much more like a real person instead of some mysterious company who only uses stock photos from photo storage websites.
- Finally, make sure your image or photo in your blog post 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 your SEO plugin, 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.
So, there you have it. One big giant blog post for sure, but still the same format as mentioned in the beginning. 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!