Whether you’re just starting your career in the world of content and SEO, or you’re learning some new skills, blog writing is one of the best skills you can harness to help you in any sort of career. Being able to create engaging, informative content that doesn’t bore the reader and also manages to jump through the hoops of Google’s ‘Helpful Content’ update is no mean feat!
We’re here today to help you learn how to write a blog, covering the basics of SEO blog writing so you know that your content can rank, and also just how to create a good structure, how to create useful or entertaining content, and why all of this is hugely beneficial to your website.
What is a blog?
Let’s start with a simple question – what is a blog? Well, blogs got their name from the term ‘weblog’ in the 1990s, which was the term for documenting your thoughts and lives on the World Wide Web. As blog tools for the internet became more accessible and easier to use, blogging really took off.
People used blogging as a personal diary, as a way to spread information about news and events, and even to document political or scientific discussions and findings. It was a way of getting the information and discussions that you found interesting out into the world where everyone else could see them. As of 2008, blogging had become so widely popular that a new blog was created every single second of every minute of every day that year.
Now the term blog has evolved and mutated into different strains since then – we’ve seen the stratospheric rise of vlogging, which is sharing your life, thoughts and findings via video recordings; we’ve seen the rise of food blogs, clothing blogs, book blogs; and now we see the adaptation of blogs by corporations too.
Companies and businesses can use blog forums that they host on their own website to share information, support, news, and helpful content with their customers. For example, a large department store may have a blog that details different ways you can use their products or a pet shop might have a blog about different products you can use to clean your pets. But why do they do this?
Why do blogs matter?
Blogs are really important for big and small businesses because they help elevate your brand and reach different types of audiences. By creating content that is insightful, entertaining, and useful to a website visitor, they are providing a helpful service, and are likely to either retain that customer or see that customer interact further with their site.
They might look at other blogs, click on some internal links to take them to a category or product page, and they may even complete a transaction if your blog (and product) were the answer to what they were looking for.
Do blogs help with SEO ranking?
If you want your business website to reach more people, or if you’re not completely satisfied with how highly you rank on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), then creating a blog can be a really big help. Blogs help to drive new traffic to your site that might otherwise not have known your brand before, especially if you use some key SEO tools, like great keywords.
Sowing keywords throughout your blog copy helps your blog pages to come up when people are searching for specific terms. For example, if you’re a flooring company, you might write a blog about how to remove stains from a carpet. By including keywords like ‘carpet stains’ and ‘how to get red wine out of the carpet’, your blog will hopefully show up on the first couple of results pages when people search for these terms.
Helpful and informative blog content can also help businesses rank higher when it’s created and structured well. Let’s take a more in-depth look at how you should do this.
How to structure a blog post
It’s always helpful to have a framework to work to when you’re creating brand new content – after all, a blank page can sometimes be a little intimidating!
By creating some headings, you can begin to create a structure and a narrative for how you’d like your blog to read. Headings are really important – the heading at the top of the page, what the blog is going to be called, is called an H1. You’ll only ever have one H1 on a blog post because this is the main title.
If you want to create different sections of content underneath this, it’s best to create subheadings for each section using H2s. If you want to create subsections within each section, then you’ll need to use H3s. It’s not advised to go as low as H4s – you might need to reconsider your structure if you’re getting as low as H4s!
If you’re struggling even to come up with different heading ideas, take a look at your keyword research (we’ve got a really handy blog if you want more information on how to conduct keyword research for SEO). This should be packed full of questions people want answers to and terms that they’re regularly searching for, and you should be able to formulate headings out of these and help you get a better idea of what you’ll be answering in each section.
Now it’s time to let your creativity flow and get writing! Starting with the basics, you need a beginning, a middle and an end. So, this means including an introduction and a conclusion around the main chunk of your blog article, introducing the topic to your reader, and a recap at the end of the blog about what you’ve covered and where they can find more information.
Remember you’re telling a story to your readers every time you write a blog article – you want to take them on a journey from start to finish, constantly keeping them with you and ensuring that they’re not getting left behind. This is especially important if you’re explaining difficult or in-depth concepts, such as legal or financial procedures for example.
It’s really important when you’re writing any content that you keep a few things in mind:
- Your business’s tone of voice
- Your blog article’s purpose
- Word count
- Ways to keep the reader engaged with your website
- Your content should be helpful, entertaining and in no way misleading.
Google will penalise misleading content – so this means being careful not to promise that you’ll answer a specific query and not following through! You should aim to answer questions that users may have or provide them with information that they may be seeking. This is important to ensure that you don’t get penalties on your website, causing you to lose ranking positions and users.
A great way to keep a user engaged with your website after they’ve finished reading your blog article is to insert links throughout the copy to other parts of your website. For example, if you’ve written that article on removing carpet stains, you might want to link through to your carpet page, or even your stain remover page. You could also link through to other helpful articles that are related, such as how to take care of your carpet, or the best type of carpet for family homes.
Not only is this helpful for your rankings and audience retention, but it’s also helpful for the reader. You might help them by answering other queries they may have had, and you might also lead them to products they may not have previously known about, or services that they hadn’t considered. Internal linking can also help you to bump up pages that you want more people to see, for example, a new carpet you’ve released, or a new cleaning service that you want to promote.
Including multimedia in your blog articles is another way of keeping the reader engaged, and it can boost your SEO rankings too. There are so many different types of multimedia you could include on the page to keep readers interested:
- Page design
- Downloadable attachments
- YouTube clips
- Social media snippets
It’s a great way of engaging with your readers in different formats – after all, if you’re trying to explain something very complicated, or describe a route to take, or even want your reader to know what different steps of a recipe should look like, it’s important to have visual or audio cues there to help them.
You can use multimedia on your website to improve not only your user experience, but it can positively impact web crawler diagnostics, which are important metrics in SEO.
When all of this is completed, your final step will be to write your metadata. We’ve got a really helpful article you can read if you want to know more about how to write metadata and why it’s important. This is another good place to get those keywords in, hopefully giving you a final bump in the SERP rankings. With that, you should be ready for proofing and publishing!
How to write a good blog post
So, you’ve got the structure, and the basic principles of writing a blog post, but what takes your blog post from basic to great? Well, aside from great writing, there are a couple of things you can do to improve the quality of your blogs:
- Get your content proofed by someone else – we tend to skip over our own little mistakes when we’ve had our heads buried in a blog for a while, so getting a second pair of eyes on your work is key to making sure all the spelling and grammar mistakes are caught.
- Research before you write a blog – there’s nothing worse than reading a blog that you can tell has been written by someone who has no clue about what they’re talking about. Becoming a bit more knowledgeable in the subject of your blog can only help and add to your blog content.
- Hire a translator for translated work – whatever you do, don’t use Google Translate! If you have work that needs to be translated from another language into English or vice versa, always use a skilled and competent translator, as you’ll appear unprofessional and an untrustworthy source in other countries otherwise.
- Don’t be afraid to start again – if you find that you’ve spent all that time conducting keyword research, planning your blog, researching the topic endlessly, and when you sit down to write it, it turns out there’s not much to say, don’t worry about starting again. Your readers would much prefer to read content that is well-rounded, engaging, and informative than content for the sake of content.
Any content you can provide to your readers that’s helpful and insightful for them will be good, but you can make your content great with the tips in this article. If you want to find out more about the different offerings that our content team can provide for your business, why not contact us or reach out on social media like Twitter or LinkedIn? For more help with SEO, content or even PR and Paid Media work, check out our blog which is packed with insights from our industry experts.