Unless you are an experienced writer, creating content for your website can feel like a daunting task. Believe me — blogging doesn’t come naturally for me, either!
The good news is that you don’t have to be a pro to create awesome content for your website. You do need to know how people consume content online.
(A good copy editor is also key, but we’ll get to that later.)
The Blogging Process
Through some trial and error of my own, and after working with some truly great writers, I have found a fairly simple process for blog writing that goes like this:
- Define a problem
- Perform keyword research
- Create an outline
- Organize your topics
- Utilize visual space
- Include links
- Send off for professional editing
Over time, you’ll develop your own process for content writing that works best for you, but hopefully this guide will get you started until it becomes more natural.
Define a Particular Problem
The biggest mistake you can make when blogging is using the platform as a sales tool — no one wants to read your sales pitch.
A much better approach is to solve some kind of problem for your readers.
Sure, you want to cover topics related to your business, but what drives traffic are things like how-to guides and downloadable resources that teach potential customers how to accomplish a task.Learn How to Increase Your Website Traffic
You’re an exterior lighting designer? Awesome! Blog about the best way for people to design and install their own lighting.
Maybe you’re an electrician. Your blogging should give away tips and tricks for people to use around the house — people can increase safety and make their home more attractive.
You won’t lose business. You’ll build relationships.
If someone finds that they don’t have the time, patience, or experience to complete the project themselves, you’ll be the first person they call!
The goal here is to become a trusted source of information. You become the expert in your field by teaching people how to solve their own problems, not by being a pushy salesperson.
One way to do that is by utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) best practices — the most basic is to use specific keywords that people use for Internet searches.
The trick is getting the two critical ingredients right — finding frequently used keywords, and working them into your writing in a way that sounds perfectly natural.
At Commotion Art, we like to use kwfinder.com as a resource for researching keywords. The service is free, and you can keep lists of phrases to pull from as your blog grows.
Take our client, Hannah Skalsky Tattoo, for example. We publish a monthly tattoo blog for Hannah — each month focuses on a different type of tattoo that she specializes in.
A quick search on kwfinder.com showed us that 9,900 people search for “color tattoo” each month and that competition for this keyword phrase was relatively low.
Sounds great, right?
Well, a quick Google search for “color tattoo” revealed that Maybelline has an eyeshadow line named Color Tattoo — any search for that phrase would be saturated with mentions of that product and links to companies like Amazon who sell it.
A simple tweak to the plural, “color tattoos,” showed that far less people searched that phrase each month, only 1,300 total.
But, by plugging the revised keyword into Google, we found that people searching for that specific term were also far more likely to be looking for an actual color tattoo and not makeup. There was far less competition for that phrase.
You don’t have to be an expert to do some basic research on what phrases to use — spending a little time in advance will payoff in the long run.
Create an Outline
Remember writing term papers in high school English class? I do.
Mrs. Haskins was a stickler for organization and proper planning. We were always required to create an outline for our writing. I’m glad she made us do that — it’s a highly effective strategy that I still use to this day.
It’s much easier to establish a logical line of thinking by listing the points you want to make and arrange them in the order you’ll be covering them than just aimlessly diving into your blog.
You’ll find that some topics need to be arranged differently than you initially had in your head, and your writing will flow much better since you planned ahead.
Pretty straightforward, right?
Organize Your Topics
Alright, time to jump into the writing!
A good way to start any blog is to tell your reader what you’ll be covering, or what problem you’ll be solving for them.
As we discussed earlier, people are more likely to read your posts if you are teaching them how to DO something — so, lock them in by quickly telling what they’ll learn by reading this blog post you have written.
Next, give a step-by-step list on what you will be covering.
Bulleted and numbered lists are the best way to quickly introduce what your blogging about — you can even use the outline you just drew up in preparation to keep yourself on track.
Take our recent blog, for example — How to Get Traffic to Your Website in 5 Simple Steps. After a brief introduction, we list exactly what the five steps are:
- Optimize Your Page Structure for SEO
- Implement a Content Marketing Strategy
- Step Up Your Social Media Marketing Game
- Utilize Email Marketing
- Incorporate Pay Per Click Advertising
Our readers have varying levels of experience with this topic, so this gives them a chance to see if any of the information is relevant to them.Learn How to Increase Your Website Traffic
Once you’re into the body of your blog, it’s important to utilize an open layout with plenty of visual space.
Copy-heavy articles made up of large blocks of text, that have few line breaks, and use subheadings ineffectively are difficult to read on a computer screen or mobile device.
Consider how you personally consume content online. You scan articles until you find something that causes you to slow down and read more carefully, right?
Keep that tendacny in mind when you compose a blog and you will increase the time that readers spend on your website. You want them to stay, not to click over to your competition.
Help readers to easily scan your blogs for relevant information — organize your writing into sections using subheadings or H2 tags that follow your numbered list that you outlined in the beginning of your blog.
Keep in mind that the average person may only be interested in one or two of your topics, so make it easy for them to find what they are looking for.
You may have noticed that this blog post references several other blog post on our own website. This is called “internal linking,” and it’s a good practice for your website.
Search engines like to see a strong internal linking structure. It allows people to easily navigate a website, but also sets up a informational hierarchy within a website.
The more often a page on your site is linked to, the more important that information is considered. Moz explains this practice and how it impacts SEO here.
Internal linking also encourages website visitors to spend time on multiple pages within your site, which boosts your SEO.
Generally, you want people who visit your site to spend lots of time there. Search engines observe this and determine that you’re providing high quality information.
As a result, search engines will rank you higher on the list of results — most people never click on a link lower than the top 3, so ranking high is important.
Alright, almost there!
Now that your blog is written, it’s absolutely vital to have it professionally edited or proofread.
No matter how thorough and meticulous you try to be, you just can’t edit your own writing — believe me, I’ve tried.
As with any creative work, by the time you finish blogging, you’ve been immersed in the project for hours. You’ve been staring at the screen, wracking your brain for the best information you can share with your readers. Now you’re tired.
A fresh set of eyes is the only way to get an objective view of what you have written, and it’s well worth the investment.
Editors range in price depending on experience and what level of service you need. A simple proofread for spelling and grammar will cost less than a project that needs to be re-written and heavily polished.
You may need to work with several editors before you find someone you work well with, so don’t feel obligated to stay with the first one you hire.
There you have it! You are now a blogger!
Depending on what type of service your website designer offers, posting your blog may be up to you, or they may handle it for you.
The important thing to remember is that each blog post will need to be promoted to generate traffic.
Posting across all social media channels on a regular basis and utilizing sponsored posts for your blogs is a good idea. We use Missinglettr to automate our social media posting.
Hire a Pro
Blogging is a highly effective way to generate traffic to your website and boost your search engine ranking. It’s also very time consuming.
Hiring a professional to keep your blog on track allows you to spend your time doing what you’re passionate about, not writing about it.
At Commotion Art we offer monthly SEO packages that include regular blog posts written by an expert blogger.
Contact us today for advice on blogging, or to get started working with our team!