This post contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase a product through one of my links I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Writing a blog post can be a time consuming process. Having a goal for your content and knowing the purpose can make coming up with ideas much simpler, but the process of actually putting pen to paper (or cursor to computer screen) can still leave you feeling overwhelmed. There are certain items every blog post should include. In order to make blog post creation a bit simpler, I have broken down what to include in a blog post into a simple list.
If you are looking for a great resource for coming up with content idea, this is my favorite blogging resource.
What to Include in a Blog Post
An informative, keyword rich, first paragraph that draws your reader in
Many of your readers will not make it past your first paragraph and if they do, lots of them will skim the rest of the post. Make this paragraph count.
This is also the main paragraph that Google and other search engines will scan to decide what your content is all about. Make sure to place your long tail keywords within this paragraph, but make it a natural flow.
You don’t need to just plop it in as many times as you can. If the keyword doesn’t naturally fit within your first paragraph consider looking at other keywords to see if there is a better fit.
Affiliate disclosure if needed
First and foremost, you must include an affiliate disclosures before you put in any affiliate links. Put this disclosure after your first paragraph if possible.
The first paragraph should tell your reader (and Google) exactly what they will get from the post. Making the focus clear right up front will help you rank in search engines. Just below this paragraph, I generally put an image, followed by the affiliate disclosure.
You may have a specific disclosure you need to use based on the product or service you are promoting. You can check your terms of service agreement with each company. Otherwise, use something simple such as, “This post contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase a product through one of my links I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.”
If you are not using affiliate marketing, you do not need to worry about this disclosure.
If you want to know more about Affiliate Marketing, you may want to read:
Long tail keyword
A long tail keyword is a short phrase rather than a single word.
Think about the way you search for things when you type them into Google or other search engines. Most likely you don’t just type one word. Rather than searching “meals” you might search “family friendly meals” or “easy cheap meals”.
When you are deciding on the focus of your post, think about what someone would search to find the information you are providing. Naturally try to fit this long tail keyword throughout your post, including headings and subheadings.
You can also use similar phrases where they fit. Most SEO pros would tell you that even similar phrases can up your SEO score.
Headings and subheadings for easy reading
Include a lot of white space within your posts.
Separate main ideas in a logical fashion with headings and subheading. This will allow your skimmers (which is most of your readers) to key in on the main points and the areas that are of most importance to them.
If a reader gets to your page and it is one long post that looks like a lot of reading, they will most likely leave right away. You need to present the information in a way that makes it look easy and manageable.
Provide LOTS of valuable information, but split it up.
Your headings and subheadings are also important for Google. Use your long tail keyword within as many headings as it seems reasonable and natural. You never want your post to sound like you are just plunking your keywords anywhere so be careful, but place them where you can.
Make sure to add 5-10 relevant tags to your posts. If you use WordPress, there is a section for this in the right sidebar where you create your posts. You simply add each tag (keyword) into this section. You can usually add way more if you choose, but I find around 10 to be my sweet spot.
Your tags are another way for Google to figure out what your post is about as well as a way for your readers to find the post on your website. Think of it as yet another place to add keywords.
Pinterest image and FB image + 2-3 hidden pins
This one is very important. Every post needs some visuals and the best visuals are the ones you can also use to share on social media.
Create at least one Facebook Image and one Pinterest image to place somewhere within your posts. This way you can pull those same images when you want to share and others will have images to choose from as well. You want to make it as easy as possible for others to share your content or it just won’t happen.
On top of this, create 2-3 more Pinterest images that you can hide in your post (directions below). The great thing about Pinterest is you can link the same post to several different images giving you a higher likelihood of one of the pins taking off. You can also play around with titles on each image. Make sure every title is a clear depiction of your post, but play around with what works best on Pinterest.
How to hide a Pinterest image in your post:
- To hide a pin with in your image, place this code: <div style=”display:none;”> </div> around your photo url in the text side of your post.
- For example, if my photo url is https://startabloginyogapants.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Teachable-Icon.jpg
- Then I would want it to look like this
- <div style= “display:none;”> https://startabloginyogapants.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Teachable-Icon.jpg </div>
- When someone clicks your pin it button all the pin images will show up even though they do not actually appear in the post.
Want to learn more about Pinterest and finally start driving traffic to your blog? Get signed up for my free course, Foundations of Pinterest.
Right now, research shows that 1200+ words is optimal for the best SEO rankings. This is likely to change as everything in the online world does, but it is a safe bet that search engines will continue to look for longer articles that cover a topic more completely before showing less comprehensive posts in the search.
It’s important to note, you do not want to just fill your post with fluff. It is not like those middle school papers with a page number that needs to be fulfilled, where you would double space, add unnecessary paragraphs and so on.
If you are not putting out high quality content, it will not matter how many words are in your posts. They won’t be read anyway. Create each post as a comprehensive overview of the topic and you should be fine.
Sign up in at least 3-4 locations
Every page and post should include a sign up form in at least 3-4 places. Don’t worry, your readers won’t even see most of them so you don’t have to worry about bombarding them. If you have a worthy opt-in that matches the topic of the post, the sign-up form will be purposeful and just what your reader is looking for. Not sure where to start with your opt-in? Read this.
The locations I find that give me the greatest conversion rates are;
- Top of page
- Middle of post
- End of post
- Intent to exit pop up
I do not find my sidebar to drive very many sign ups so I leave that out, but you may want to play around with different areas to see what works best with your readers.
I also do not like to have a pop up, that is too distracting for the reader so I use an exit intent pop up. The reader has already had a chance to view the content and they are not given the pop up until they are leaving the page or site. I think this provides a better overall experience for my readers.
Having people come to your blog is great, but if they never interact with you again then you will not benefit from that traffic. Capturing those visitors as subscribers gives you a chance to build a relationship and potentially turn them into a customer!
If you don’t have an email provider yet, I have used Mail Chimp, MailerLite, and Convertkit. I would recommend either MailerLite or Convertkit (my favorite, but does cost a monthly fee) as you get started with email marketing. The sooner you get started the better for your long term success.
Links to other relevant content on your blog
Once you have someone on your site, lead them around to other information they may find valuable. A great way to do this is to provide links to your other posts that build upon or are related to the post they are reading. Most people will not click around your website once they read what they came for unless it is obvious. It is your job to give them a reason to look around. This will also help your SEO score!
Plus, every click equals a new page view so if you can turn 1 view into three, just think of what an impact that could have on your overall numbers.
Outgoing links to other high quality site
Having outgoing links will benefit you in two ways, as long as they are links to high quality websites. Outgoing links to websites that appear spammy can actually hurt your SEO ranking.
One great benefit of having outbound links is that Google likes to see a website that is linked to another website providing great information. This is why some people pay for links or “link juice” as it is often referred to. I do not suggest this method.
I do suggest creating genuine links with other websites that you find helpful and relevant to your audience.
Another benefit of having outbound links is that the website you were linking to might be willing to share your content as well if they find it helpful for their audience.
Before placing these links, contact the blogger ahead of time and ask if it is okay to link to their blog. Give a quick synopsis of the content of the post. Once you have the post written, send another email thanking them and ask them to share the post if they find it helpful. More often than not you will get the share.
Try to include these items in every blog post you write. Download the checklist and pin it by your computer for easy reference. No longer will you need to ask yourself what to include in a blog post!
You can do this!
Want to get the most out of Pinterest for your blog or business?
Get signed up in the FREE Foundations of Pinterest Course today!
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