10 Steps to Create a Successful Blog Post
You are fired up and already have the inspiration for your post!
You can’t wait to start publishing great content for your blog.
Before you start working on it let’s review how you should approach getting the work done to have a successful blog post.
I know, you are thinking “I’m ready and I have a great idea!”.
You should approach this like you are cooking a meal on the Cooking channel.
- You remember that post from Facebook that had three thousand likes, so you go with that.
- Look up the recipe for the main course and side dishes.
- Measure out all the ingredients into those fancy glass bowls.
- Create your masterpiece!
This guide is like the prep work step before you cook!
Let’s do this
I will typically go through this process at least twice. As you refine different details in the later steps you will find that you need to rework the main idea.
This is what I use to help stay on track and work faster.
- Develop the Main Idea
- Gather Artwork
- Call to Action
- Categories and Tags
- Title and Main Heading
- URL and Slug
- Optimize Images
- Bonus: Check Readability
Develop the Main Idea
This is where you start writing and collecting supporting information.
I like to use Evernote to keep all of my ideas for a post together in one place. When I’m searching for information I can use a Chrome extension, Evernote Web Clipper or the mobile app for iOS to send links, pictures, or text to a notebook in Evernote. They even have a mobile app for Andriod. I use the free version of Evernote and have not needed to upgrade to the paid version.
An alternative to Evernote is Google Keep, which has similar functionality and is free.
Here are some articles on Google Keep
Sometimes I create lists of thoughts or ideas that would be subsections of my post that I can rearrange into an outline.
I like doing this now because it allows me to relax my brain as I search for images before jumping into the writing.
Every post should have a header image. Even if you don’t show it on your page it will be needed for social media sharing.
The header image should be something that is related in some way to your content. You may decide to change this or do this after you have flushed out the title.
I like to use the Unsplash web site since the images are free and you can save images to collections.
Here are some other types of images you should think about using.
- Screenshots for tutorials
- Photos from events
This is the story, list, or tutorial. This is where your main writing comes into play.
Start writing down ideas and thoughts. They don’t have to be complete sentences or use correct grammar and spelling.
It’s best to set a timer for five minutes and see what you can write. If you are still typing away don’t stop, KEEP GOING!
“Let the ideas flow through you”
You will come back and polish them out on the second pass. For each pass increase the time you spend writing by five minutes. I find the time limit helps me when I can’t think about what to write. I won’t end up staring at the screen for an endless amount of time. Then I can go to the other steps to engage other parts of my brain.
There are times when I start to write the body and I think of related topics that could be an extension of the post. By all means, keep a list of those ideas!
Now that doesn’t mean you can’t switch it around. I find this works best for me, mainly because I can spend too much time developing the flashy title and have no content. Then I inevitably put off the blog post and never come back to it.
You do you!
Call to Action
This the “End of Post Message”. It’s a good place to put internal links to other posts you have written.
Identify at least two articles that are related to share with your readers. You may decide to put these as featured posts or posts that are part of a series.
If this is your first post then let your reader know where you plan to go from here.
Sharing your ideas for upcoming posts will help you hold yourself accountable.
Plus it will help build trust with your readers, so be sure to follow through!
Categories and Tags
The objective is to see how the post fits in your site and how many potential keywords to see if the topic is too broad.
So how are they different?
Imagine a forest full of different kinds of trees.
The trees are all similar in that they have a trunk, branches, and leaves.
Your blog is the forest and each tree is a category of knowledge.
Each branch on the tree is a subcategory of that topic.
Each leaf represents a blog post about a small subset of that subcategory.
Your blog should be a knowledge forest!
Great, but what are Tags?
Tags are the things that each tree may have in common with another tree.
Some trees have leaves some have needles.
Some trees have large leaves but not all.
The Tags are what a reader can use to move from knowledge tree to knowledge tree.
Like a flying squirrel that will jump from tree to tree!
This step will you create a better Title and Main Heading.
Title and Main Heading
These are similar, yet serve two different purposes.
The Title is where I like to identify a problem or pain point. I want to pique the curiosity of person searching Google!
I want them thinking “I NEED to see read this post!”.
The Main Heading is what the reader will learn.
- It is the Title HTML tag
- Include context words
- Keyword near the beginning
- Google only shows about 70 characters Character count
- It’s shown in the Browser tab.
Title helpful tools
Main Heading tips
- It is the H1 HTML tag
- H1 how is this different than the title?
- This sets out what the scope of your blog post will be and should meet the users intent. If it doesn’t then they will quickly leave your site.
- 20-70 characters
- Include a keyword. A keyword may be a phrase. A longer phrase would be a “long tail” keyword.
- Style away, but be consistent and let it enhance the user experience!
- Used for internal links on your site
Congratulations, You were able to get the reader to your page! Most likely due to the Title, Main Heading, or Header Image.
Now you need to keep them locked in so they stay on your page for a long as possible!
I like to do these two key things:
- Tell the reader why they need to fix the problem you identified in the Title.
- Explain how I will fix the problem, which should come from the Main Heading.
I want to build trust with the reader by showing them that my Titles and Main Headings are trustworthy.
This is a good place to put internal links to other blog posts the reader could benefit from.
This could be a post that would be helpful for them to start with before reading the post.
Bring the reader in with a story, an analogy, or some candor. Be yourself!
This is used to preview the content in search engine results.
Keep this to 150 characters or less.
Be sure to use the keyword!
In the picture below the area in the red rectangle is the excerpt.
You may use this on your site when previewing the post to the user as well.
URL and Slug
We do these last because your content is the hardest thing to write for a new blogger.
I get all of my thoughts out then make sure I have a good summary. Then I check the title to see if it covers what I’ve written.
Last but not least I decide on the Slug and URL for the post.
You said Slug, eeeewwww!
The Slug is the end of the URL that will direct users to the post.
You need to include your keywords!
The URL will be your site name and any categories the slug will be part of.
This is the URL for a post. arkeytek.com/blogging/10-steps-to-create-blog-post/
Here a Slug for the post. 10-steps-to-create-blog-post
You will need to reduce the size of the images so they take up less space and will be faster to download.
The website should not use the original images. I find it better to put the optimized images in a separate location.
Optimization can be reduced files size, dimensions, or a change in the file type.
These are the images I always create an optimized version of.
- image for Facebook links
- image for Twitter
Bonus: Check Readability
I like to check the readability of the Introduction, Body, and the Call to Action sections.
A free tool that I use is the Hemingway App site. It is easy to use. Just past in your content and it will point out any issues.
Parting Thoughts - Apply the Polish
Go through these steps at least twice.
Now you can go to your website CMS tool and input all of your work and polish the layout.
In a future post, I will show you how to apply these steps on a post with GitHub Pages.
You have your Github Pages blog post content ready to go, but aren’t sure how to put that in your site. Follow these steps to get your post live!
Start a free blog to share your experiences with the world. You can do this for free thanks to GitHub!
5 Reasons to start blogging today. You can do this for free thanks to GitHub!