I've written hundreds of blog posts in my lifetime. The sad truth is that most of them have been average or below average.
You probably think that's a weird way to start off an article about writing great posts, and it definitely is.
But, stay with me...
The cool thing is that just a handful of the posts I've written have made me 100s of thousands of dollars.
This process has taught me what works and what doesn't, and I'm going to share that with you here in this post.
This article can catapult your success as a blogger if you follow it and implement the processes in everything you write.
Once you understand HOW to create posts that drive traffic and get users to click, making money is merely a numbers game.
We can almost PREDICT how much we should make from a blog post before we even write it.
"We can almost PREDICT how much we should make from a blog post before we even write it..."
I'm gonna show you how to do this, but first, let's crunch some hypothetical numbers . . .
Let's say that we know an article would drive 1400 visits.
Let's assume a bounce rate of 5%.
This gives us 1,330 visitors who are seeing enough of the page to perhaps get exposed to a pop up or quick link to a 3rd party affiliate product.
Let's say that 3.5% of people click on an affiliate link that takes them to a sales page that converts at 10%.
Then let's say that the average affiliate commission for each sale is $32
(1330 x 3.5% x 10% x $32) = $148/month in affiliate sales!
When you start to crunch the numbers involved with content marketing, things start to get very exciting!
Of course, these are example numbers that change based on many factors, but they aren't outlandish.
Most affiliates can provide you with information regarding the average conversion rates for their products, average cart total, etc.
Once you know this, you just have to get them quality, relevant traffic.
Creating "The Perfect Blog Post" accomplishes this.
Do you want to learn how? Let's keep going...
What Makes a Great Blog Post?
A great blog is part science, part art.
Fortunately, it's more parts science than art, so it's much easier to crack the code on what works.
So if you don't consider yourself an "artist," you can breathe a sigh of relief now.
These affiliate blog posts, for example, have cracked the code in terms of traffic and conversions, but they won't win design awards. For their writers, these are near perfect blog posts.
A perfect blog post should be ....
- Created to appeal to our readers
- Crafted to earn targeted traffic (search or social)
- Created to convert traffic into subscribers, buyers, or lifelong readers
This article breaks down each of these 3 goals further and provides you with more actionable, specific advice for proper execution.
5 Rules of Drafting Amazing Blog Posts
I'll share a lot with you but first, let's explain the absolute must follow rules of creating content that grows revenue and improves your brand.
Rule #1 Always Research before Writing
Over the course of my first 2 years blogging, I wrote over 200 blog posts.
Of that 200, only about 10 made 80% of my sales!
Not a perfect example of the Pareto Principle at play, but very close!
I focused on writing when I was inspired and believed, "if I pour my heart into it, people will come!"
Well, they didn't!
The biggest mistake I made when I started blogging was not researching keywords thoroughly (click the link below to learn more about blog topic research mistakes).
Don't write a single word until you can see quantifiable data telling you that there are people asking the questions that your post answers, that there are enough of them to justify your time and that you can realistically get your article in front of them.
If you want to write what your heart wants, that's fine . . . write a journal.
Ok, that's a little intense. Write an ebook or something to give as a premium content upgrade, just don't disappoint yourself and write blog posts hoping that the universe is going to send you traffic because you're being original.
The truth is that people aren't going to find your take on "why hard work is the most important key to success."
Trust me . . . I've written that article! There's just too much competition!! Plus you most likely haven't established the credibility and authority to attract readers.
Folks like Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, and James Altucher have authority that was built on years of work. They also have mailing lists the size of 3rd world countries. People want to hear these guys wax on about big vague topics, not you and I.
We need to be more creative. We need to use the data available to us.
If you want to create a blog that drives visitors who then pull out their credit cards, verify that people are actually looking for what you're writing about, AND that you have the ability to compete with other content creators to get your article in front of them.
So we will always research two things . . .
- Identify that people are actually searching for what you're writing about.
- Identify if their is any room for you to actually get a piece of that search traffic.
I will show you how to do both.
I recommend using a tool like AHREFs or KW Finder and storing all keywords you want to target in future posts (more on that to come).
Rule #2 Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
You can ALWAYS control the quality of your content.
If you're creating an original piece on a topic that has never been covered OR is unique to just you, make it epic!
Put some real elbow grease into it.
If you're writing on a topic that has already been covered at length by competitors, you can leverage the "skyscraper approach" and use competitor's content as a proxy for your bigger, better content!
Improve your article until you can confidently say that it is the best piece on the topic you're covering.
It is exponentially easier to make money when you are pouring your heart and soul into your content that answers questions your readers desperately want answered.
With a few exceptions, I recommend you focus primarily on long form content.
Google absolutely loves it. Serpiq proved this after analyzing the search engine result pages of over 20,000 different keywords.
The data shows a strong correlation between content length and page rank.
Also, long form content is shared more often on social media according to Neil Patel.
Longer is usually (but not always) better...
"If a post is greater than 1,500 words, on average it receives 68.1% more tweets and 22.6% more Facebook likes than a post that is under 1,500 words."
Neil Patel // NeilPatel.com
So, next time you're tempted to write an article under 1500 words, ask yourself "can I make this more 'epic' somehow?" The answer is usually yes.
Keep in mind, adding substance is not the same as adding "filler," or as one of my high school English teachers called it, "fluff."
"Fluff" is content that is just there to be there. My English teacher got a lot of "fluff" from me when we had essays with a minimum word limit. 2500 word essays were diced into about 1000 words of worthwhile content after she finished slaughtering the "fluff" with a red pen.
You don't need hundreds of posts to crush it.
It is better to write 10 amazing articles that are optimized for traffic and conversions than 100 that are just thrown together in a frenzy.
Don't be afraid to spend 20-40 hours on one post if that is what it takes. I usually labor over a great post for about a week and spend an hour or three each night composing and optimizing it. This epic post, turned book, you're reading now took me the better part of a summer to complete.
This seems less daunting when you understand that an amazing post is going to pay off much more than 10x the amount of aimless content that is easy to whip up.
I have seen blogs with as few as 10-15 posts absolutely crush and outperform blogs that have hundreds of articles.
One of my favorite bloggers, Neville Medhora performed an experiment where he created a content mill and had 50 articles written for a total cost of just $445.25. His results confirmed what I have practiced.
Better content is . . . well . . . better!
Rule #3 Each Post Should Focus on "a Sale or an E-Mail"
Don't start writing a post until you can answer the question, "How does this help my brand or bottom line?"
"Each post should lead to a sale or email opt-in"
Now, this may seem like I am pitting you against your reader. Encouraging you to ONLY write content if it serves you.
That is half true. Your posts can serve you AND your reader regardless of the topic.
Not every post needs to sell something but each post should at the very least get the reader onto your mailing list or to take some desired action.
"What if the topic I'm writing on doesn't have something I can sell?"
Then you need a lead magnet that is relevant to your main topic. Also, if you have 5 sub topics, then you should have at least 5 separate lead magnets to get them all to join your list.
For example, I have the following sub-topics on this blog.
- Amazon FBA
- Affiliate Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Software creation
For each of these sub topics, I have a specific lead magnet that encourages these readers to join my list.
- Amazon FBA --> 488 Online Sourcing Sites
- Affiliate Marketing --> Financial Freedom Calculator
- Email Marketing --> Spam Words to Avoid PDF
- Software creation --> Software Outsourcing Checklist
This allows me to write posts that don't directly sell anything but still make me money and grow my brand in the long run.
Capturing emails is the next best thing to making a sale.
I average about $1/month per email subscriber.
An email list of 10,000 TARGETED subscribers should be earning the list owner at least $10,000/month in revenue (if they are working their list properly).
Approach your content with this in mind, and you will see things in a completely different light.
If you're worried about "being salesy," don't be. You don't have to be salesy when you write great content because your products should be perfectly relevant to the topic at hand.
You will craft posts knowing that you need to tie in your product seamlessly OR provide some sort of "content upgrade" to capture an email.
Rule #4 Regularly Update Posts
"Perfect" isn't permanent.
You wouldn't spend an entire spring creating a garden just to harvest some vegetables and then let it die, would you?
This is how blogging is.
Most bloggers post it and forget it.
It is to our advantage to regularly update and improve our pre-existing content, so we continue to rank well in Google over time.
Remember the skyscraper approach isn't just something that we are using. Other bloggers will be creating new content or improving their older content based on ours. Keep up!
Rule #5 Automate Follow Up
The money is in the list.
This is a half truth. The money is in how you utilize your list!
Collecting emails should be a top priority of each blog post, but a great blog post enters these opt-ins into a sequence that sells to your readers long after they have left your page.
Russell Brunson is the king of the sales funnel, and he has crafted something called The Soap Opera Sequence. You can learn more about it in his free book Dot Com Secrets.
The Soap Opera Sequence is far from the only type of email sequence you can create.
I create email sequences that do the following...
- Indoctrinate my readers. I use my sequence as a way to introduce myself and my brand to the reader a little bit more. Sharing who I am and what I stand for makes me more relatable, and my traffic heats up from cold to warm.
- Promote my most important articles. I want to impress my new email subscribers, so I use my email sequences as a chance to showcase my best, most valuable content to them.
- Promote my best affiliates. Most readers won't buy on the first exposure to something. Showcasing my affiliates again in follow up emails helps boost sales (big time).
- Hedge my audiences. I want my email subscribers to also follow me on all relevant social media platforms. I use my sequences to encourage them to engage with me across these different platforms.
If you opted-in to the Perfect Blog Post ebook at the top of this article, you will likely (depending on how long it has been since this launched) receive a variation of this sequence. I created it with ConvertKit.
Depending on the lead magnet, you might want to have a different sequence. Yes, this will take a good bit of time and effort, but if your goal is to generate serious passive income, you will be glad you invested the time and energy in this.
Some marketers plan out their sequences months in advance.
Whatever you do, have something in place.
An imperfect sequence is better than no sequence. You should always be fine-tuning your sequence, but for now, just get something up that helps you connect with your readers after they leave your site.
A great blog post keeps working long after your reader has left your site.
SEO for a Great Blog Post
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) happens before, during, and after writing your post.
Quality SEO work requires that you are mindful and deliberate with your writing.
Thoroughly Review Your Target Keyword Choices
Never write a post (one you want to rank for anyway) without researching the following...
- The search volume for the main keyword/phrase. Are enough people searching for this keyword to make it worth targeting? This number varies depending on various factors (what type of blog, how often you blog, how much authority the blog has, etc.) but know what a good number is for you and target that. If a word doesn't get over 1,000 searches per month, I am typically not interested in basing an article around it.
- The relevance of the keyword. Don't work to rank for words that aren't going to lead you to your target customers. Understand the user intent and decide if most of these searchers are actually interested in what your content is sharing.
- The difficulty of ranking for the keyword. A large search volume doesn't matter if you can't get a share of the traffic. Over 2/3rds of all clicks go to the first 5 spots on Google! When assessing keywords, consider if you can rank in the top five realistically. Consider...
I grab this data from AHrefs, KWFinder, SEM Rush or Google's Keyword planner.
Now, out of all the search traffic coming toward your keyword, how much of it can you realistically lay claim to?
KW Finder will show you what sort of traffic each article on the SERP (search engine results page) is actually receiving.
Identify which article you think you can surpass and then use their current traffic as a reference to what YOUR estimated traffic will be.
Can You Realistically Rank for Your Keyword/Keyphrase?
This is a "yes or no" question, but there is a lot that needs to be considered.
It doesn't matter how many times a keyword is getting searched per month if we can't get a piece of that traffic!
There are a lot of factors to consider when estimating if we can get a "piece" of a popular key phrase and how much volume we can realistically get.
As a rule of thumb, I like to target keywords and phrases that I can realistically rank for within the top 6 spots on Google.
Why? Because most of the clicks go to the top 6 spots in Google.
The top spot averages about 33% of all clicks and spots 2-6 get about 45% of all clicks. It only goes downhill from there.
If we aren't in the top 6, we are usually on the outside looking in.
Again, this is a rule of thumb. If you can crack page 2 for a keyword being searched 300,000/month, you may still be driving enough visitors to justify an article or two.
KW Finder will show you the estimated monthly visits each article is getting at each spot in Google SERP (search engine results page).
Once you identify which spot you can realistically overtake, you can estimate how much traffic you will get.
If we assume in the example above that we can outrank the current #4 spot, we can expect roughly 1400 visits per month.
Here are the basic factors to consider when estimating if you can rank for a keyword or not.
Note: I find this information from KW Finder.
- Domain and/or Page Authority. Similar, but different measures of how well a domain or page will rank in Google. A higher score for either will mean the site is more difficult to compete with. I give more weight to domain authority but give page authority mild consideration if it is much higher or lower than domain authority.
- Backlinks. More backlinks means competing will be more difficult. A tool like SEM Rush will allow you to actually use these backlinks against your competitors.
- Social Media Shares. KW Finder counts Facebook shares. That isn't complete information, but it is a good start.
Learn More about Finding Keywords
Keep in mind, there are many other factors that can improve your keyword decisions, but these three will get you about 80% of your results.
Construct an Article Title(s)
For new posts, consider 5 different titles. Choose the best of the bunch.
One tool I find helpful when creating blog titles is Coschedule's Headline Analyzer
Great titles aren't just for style points; they are necessary to the success of your content.
Copywriting legend David Olgilvy said it best...
The headline is everything...
"On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar."
David Olgilvy // Legendary Copywriter
I recommend you spend more than just a few minutes crafting your headlines.
Sit down and crank out as many as you can think of and then shorten the list to the best ones.
Learn More about Creating Killer Blog Post Subject Lines
- A Huge Guide on How to Write Effective Blog Titles via Blogtyrant.com
- How to Write Catchy Headlines and Blog Titles Your Readers Can't Resist via Hubspot.com
- 74 Attention-Grabbing Blog Titles That Actually Work via Inc.com
Create Your URL
Your article URL is no place to slack.
Your article URL should include your main keyword if possible and be free of articles and prepositions (stop words).
The part that you will be editing is called the "slug."
By default it will be long and sloppy. Clean it up and make sure to fit your keyword or phrase in if possible.
Learn More about Blog Post URL Best Practices
Assign Proper Category and Tags
Your blog should be easy to navigate, and properly categorizing and tagging posts will make the user experience much better.
Is the Main Keyword in the Title?
This is a basic SEO best practice. If the keyword or phrase you are trying to rank for is "low cost travel," you might write an article titled, "5 Hacks That Will Guarantee Low Cost Travel to Any Country!"
Is the Meta Description Complete?
Your meta description is going to be visible on Google and is another chance for you to add your keyword/keyphrase to improve traffic and search engine rankings.
Is the "Excerpt" Complete
The blog excerpt is what will appear on your blog and is not the same as the meta description.
The purpose of a blog excerpt is to entice visitors on your blog to click on your post. This will increase page views per session but isn't going to impact ranking in Google directly.
Most blog themes default to the first 150+ characters of the blog post if you don't specify a unique excerpt.
Do Images Have ALT Descriptions?
Alt text will allow you to rank images in Google more easily.
This will help you generate more organic traffic.
It isn't a fun part of blogging, but by taking the time to add relevant ALT text to each image, you will see a boost in organic clicks and hopefully, backlinks.
Inbound and Outbound Linking Strategy
Link building is a critical part of a successful blog post.
Are There at Least Two Inbound Links?
The first is called "internal link building" and it makes Google love your posts.
Whenever you get a chance, link to RELEVANT blog posts using "anchor text" that clearly describes the post you are linking to.
For example, in my blog post promoting ConvertKit for email marketing, I also include links to other relevant articles like my article on how to increase open rates using the resend to unopen feature in Convertkit.
When working on internal links, be sure to focus on your "anchor text."
The last hyperlink I added to this post links to the URL --> https://entreresource.com/resending-unopens-convertkit/.
The anchor text I used is "resend to unopen feature in Converkit." This is intentional. I want to link the URL to words that I'd want to rank for.
If someone typed into Google "Resend to unopen feature in Convertkit," I'd love it if they landed on this article.
This is what anchor text is all about. Showing Google that the anchor phrase is relevant to the URL.
So next time you are tempted to put a link in the phrase "click here" or "more about that here," consider using words that relate to the article instead. This will help your SEO in the long run.
Are There at Least Two Reputable Outbound Links?
Linking to reputable outside sources will make your article more attractive to Google.
Focus on adding links to sites with high page authority.
If you link to newer blogs that is ok, but it is ideal to link to well established and trusted sites like the NY Times, Huffington Post, etc.
Are You Sure You Haven't Linked to Competitors for Your Target Keyword?
This is a catch 22.
While you want to rank to articles that help strengthen your article and improve the reader's understanding of your topic, giving backlinks to articles that are competing with you for your target keyword/phrase is not ideal.
You will be improving their chances of outranking you and hurting your own traffic.
You should usually have multiple options for what to link to, so be sure to double check that you aren't unwittingly improving your competitor's chances of outranking you.
Do All Links Open in a New Window?
You want users to stay on your site, so be sure that all internal links open in the same tab, so that users are not forced to open a new tab. If an internal link takes them to another page on your website, that's okay. They can use the navigation menu or the "Back button" to navigate back, if needed.
On the other hand, external links, especially affiliate links, should always open in a new window.
Style and Layout
Your blog posts need to be constructed in a way that keeps your reader on the page and makes Google happy.
Here are some basic style and formatting items to check.
Are Heading Tags (H2, H3 etc) Used Properly?
Headings make your post easier to read for your readers and easier to crawl for Google.
Practice consistency with your headings.
I will normally not go deeper than H3 tags, and that is for long articles over 1500+ words.
Here is an article that discusses the proper use of heading tags in your blog posts.
Does the Post Look Correct on Multiple Devices?
Most themes you use will be mobile optimized.
If your site is NOT mobile optimized for some reason, that is a big problem.
I found that the theme I had installed through Thrive Themes looked pretty ridiculous on mobile. I found this out only after reviewing the blog myself on my iPhone 7.
You should check all your blog posts on a mobile device before sharing them publicly.
Is the Featured Image Quality and Representative of Your Brand?
A quality featured image is the first thing that your readers are going to see. It complements the blog post title and makes the reader want to keep reading or bounce off the page like a frog in a hot skillet.
I buy stock photos from DepositPhotos.com, but there are tons of free alternatives (just be careful not to use images that are overly done and cliche).
Are Images Properly Attributed to the Rights Owner?
Never use images that don't belong to you without approval from the owner.
It would be a disservice for me to try and explain what this article explains thoroughly (read it).
Do Images Have ALT Descriptions?
Alt descriptions help your images rank in Google.
I admit, it isn't fun, but get in the habit of doing it, and you'll be glad you did in the long run.
It is particularly important that you add Alt descriptions to images you created yourself (things that would need attribution and possibly backlinks!)
Are All Images Compressed?
Site speed is something Google factors in to page ranking, so always make sure that your images are compressed to optimize page speed.
I use a free tool called Tinypng.com, but there are also a number of WordPress plugins that do the trick.
I try and keep my images below 100 KB if possible (it isn't always).
Are You Using the Proper Amount of Images?
As a reader, I love images.
The number of images you use will depend on your style, your audience, and the topic. When something requires a lot of examples and descriptions, images are a huge asset.
My goal is to have a RELEVANT image every 250 words.
I feel that it makes my articles more "skimmable" and leads my reader to see their way through to the end of my article (and lead magnet!)
Creating a Powerful Call to Action
A blog post is nothing without a lead magnet.
Over 75% of your readers will never come back! If we don't get them to opt-in to our email list, the odds are that we will lose them forever.
This is why it is so critical that we create a lead magnet that is...
- High quality
- Provides insane value
This is one of the most important aspects of a great blog post, so never, ever forget to add these.
Opt-ins can be shown as:
- Pop ups
- Inline text
However you do it, do it!
I prefer to create a nice balance of Welcome Mats and inline opt-ins.
Welcome Mats are opt-in forms that take up the entire screen and force the reader to select no thanks or enter their email.
These will convert around 2-6% on average.
I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING
"Nate, I HATE pop-ups. I don't want to annoy my readers!"
There is a fine line between annoying your readers and providing an opportunity to grab a freebie in a tactful way.
Remember, 75% of readers won't ever come back to your site. Most blog readers understand that pop-ups are part of the nature of getting free, premium content. It is a fair trade off. Don't stress about this too much.
So, always ask yourself . . .
Is There a Relevant and Enticing Bribe to Subscribe?
If there isn't, you need one.
I mentioned earlier that each blog subcategory should have its own, relevant lead magnet.
If you are new to blogging, a lead magnet is a premium piece of content that is given in exchange for an email opt-in.
Emails aren't "free." You can't just use the old, "join our newsletter and get exciting updates sent to your inbox," routine.
It isn't 1997. Without some substance, you aren't going to be getting opt-ins. Bottom line.
What Makes a Great Lead Magnet?
You know your readers best. Your lead magnet should be something so good, they would pay for it if they had to.
Sometimes giving your BEST content as your lead magnet can be the smartest option.
"What?!?! Are you crazy Nate! Why would I do that!?!?"
Here is why...
- It gets you off on the right foot with your readers. Readers will think, "Jeez, if this is the FREE stuff, what comes when I pay money?
- It gets you more emails. There are tons of sites that drive tons of traffic that don't get nearly as many email opt-ins as they should because they are underwhelming readers with their offer. Remember, I said $1/month per subscriber is what I generate. Keep that in mind when crafting your lead magnet.
What Types of Lead Magnets Are There?
You have a lot of options when it comes to creating lead magnets.
For bloggers, they should be some sort of immediately accessible, digital product.
Here are some options.
- Group access
- Premium videos
- Email drip courses
- "Secret" information
Whatever you give, make it high quality.
Since you won't be writing 100+ articles/year like I did when I started, you will be able to focus a lot more time and energy on creating high quality lead magnets.
The more lead magnets you create, the better!
Here is an excellent shot of a landing page that encourages readers to join the email list of blogger Robbie Richards. He built this with Thrive Landing Pages.
A lead magnet can also be as simple as a printer friendly version of the blog post itself OR a summary of the key points.
Neil Patel does this often.
I know that this works because I have opted in to this on several different articles of Neil's!
How Do I Make a Lead Magnet?
There are a number of tools you can use to distribute your lead magnets.
- Clickfunnels --> This is what I use if I want to make a high performing, standalone landing page. Clickfunnels is dense with features, but you will get your money's worth just using it for opt-in forms. I created my financial freedom calculator opt-in with Clickfunnels.
- Sumo --> This is what I use for my pop-ups, welcome mats (full screen opt-ins) and some in-line opt-ins. Formerly known as "SumoMe," Sumo is a powerful and affordable suite of tools to help you get more email subscribers.
- ConvertKit --> This is my email provider of choice, but I don't love it for forms and opt-ins. Why? They are ugly! Yes, you can edit them, but I am not well versed in CSS and I don't feel the need to be when there are so many other (low cost) alternatives that integrate with ConvertKit seamlessly.
I use several tools interchangeably and I recommend you consider doing the same.
Are You "Hedging" Your Audience?
You want your readers on your email, but you also want to give them a chance to follow you on the social channels that are valuable to you.
The nucleus of your blog should be your email list. Your email list is one of the few traffic sources that YOU own. Facebook, YouTube, etc. can decide to ban you at any moment. Your email list (more or less) isn't at that same mercy.
Your next priority should be growing the size of other channels you are on.
Does the Article Ask the Reader to Engage?
Most users don't comment on blogs. You need to do everything in your power to get readers to engage with your posts.
- It builds community. If you are actively answering and engaging with your readers, they will start to feel like part of your blog rather than just a bystander.
- It encourages readers to return to the site. Most WordPress comment boxes email commenters when their comment has a reply.
- It helps SEO. Blogging and SEO guru Neil Patel averages 178 comments per post and discovered that 16% of his organic traffic from keywords found in his comment sections!
So, how do you do this?
Find a relevant way to ask your readers for their thoughts and encourage them to become a part of the article.
This can be a simple PS in your emails saying:
"Please share and add a comment if you enjoy the article!"
Or put something at the end of the post asking:
"What do you think about (topic of blog post)? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments!"
Are You Encouraging Readers to Read More of Your Content?
A good blog theme will have a "you may also like," section at the bottom of your post.
Internal linking helps here too, but adding relevant posts at the end of each post is one of the best ways to get readers to stay on your site and increase that average page views per visit.
Content Enhancements and Repurposing
Blogs don't end when you're out of words to write. There is so much more you can do to improve your content in terms of...
Here are some points to consider.
Note: You don't need to do all or any of theses suggestions, but adding additional ways for your readers to absorb your content can lead to more conversions.
Can/Should I Add a Video?
There are tons of reasons to add videos to posts.
- Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. (via Moz.com)
- Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them (via MarketingSherpa.com)
Can/Should I add an Audio Clip?
Podcasting and blogging are more similar than you think!
There is no reason podcasters shouldn't be blogging and bloggers shouldn't be podcasting.
Simply converting your blog posts into audio recordings OR transcribing your podcasts into text (with a service like Rev.com) can give your content a serious boost.
Can/Should I Add an Infographic?
Infographics are great for a number of reasons.
- They are sharable and will get tons of referral traffic.
- They are an amazing way to collect backlinks.
- The make data easier to understand.
It may seem daunting to create infographics, but there are plenty of tools and services to make the process more feasible, regardless of your budget.
Sharing and Outreach
A good blog post needs to be shareable.
You need to make the process of sharing your content as easy as possible for your readers, so it is critical that you install a sharing plug-in to your site.
I like Sumo for my sharing, but I have also played around with other options like the built in Thrive Themes sharing.
Here are 9 great plugins to increase sharing across social media.
Did You Reach out to Influencers who Could Backlink to or Share Your Post?
I don't enjoy this part anymore than the next guy, but backlinks are a critical part of blogging. You can also look at backlinks as credibility fuel for your post.
Reaching out to influencers is going to help you get backlinks, which is going to help boost your domain and page authority and eventually, organic traffic.
After you create content, reach out to influencers who may share it for you with their audiences.
I usually reach out to influencers who I have linked to in my post. It is much more of a "give and take" rather than just a "take."
Did You Schedule Cross Promotion?
One of the biggest mistakes I see bloggers make is they write a post and then forget about it.
You need to proactively share your content across various social media platforms!
I use a tool called Coschedule for this. You can easily set posts to be shared at certain intervals. This makes it much easier to focus on other aspects of your business (like writing the content that is worth sharing!)
The least sexy part of blogging: proofreading!
Now, it's unreasonable to expect every blogger to also have immaculate spelling, grammar, and punctuation ability, BUT there is a fine line between not being perfect and being overtly bad.
Proofreading your posts will help you retain credibility in the eyes of your readers. If you can't follow basic spelling and grammar, readers might discredit your other points.
This isn't totally fair (being an expert carpenter for example doesn't mean you also should be able to blog about it error-free), but it is the reality of the game.
Spend the time to make sure that your content is crisp and clean.
I find this is much more of an effort issue than a general lack of writing skills.
Keep this in mind when proofreading your content . . .
BLOGS DO NOT HAVE TO ABIDE BY HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH RULES
You can have one sentence paragraphs.
You can write "like you speak" if it aids in clarity.
Write for your readers, not your 11th grade AP English teacher.
Are All Sentences Clear and Concise?
Your goal is to convey your point and to get your reader from the beginning of your post to the end of the post without losing their attention.
Remove superfluous unnecessarily complicated words (see what I did there?)
Less is more...
"Don't use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do."
Mark Twain // You Know...
Speak in the language of your reader.
No one has ever complained that something was too easy to understand, but many have certainly complained about something being overly complicated.
Have You Re-read the Article Yourself Out-loud?
When I say out loud, I mean out loud.
You should read your posts out loud to make sure that each line is relaying the message that you want it to.
This blog post is over 7,000 words and I have read it aloud to myself 2x.
Have You Checked for Basic Punctuation Errors?
I do this myself but then outsource it for certainty.
I send this sort of task to the good folks at FancyHands.com
Have You Checked for Spelling Errors?
Spellcheck is usually good enough for this, but sometimes we use the wrong words.
Basic examples are things like "compliment" instead of "complement." Spell check won't catch these things, but your readers will.
Have You Fact Checked All Information?
The one thing more important than grammar and spelling: fact checking!
Your credibility is on the line with each fact you share. Only reference credible sources, and keep your posts up to date with the latest developments and changes to data.
Each blog post is a chance for you to get clicks to your various affiliates. There is no shame in this! Remember, you are creating killer, FREE content, so sharing resources that will actually help your readers AND earn you a commission isn't just ok, it is the right thing to do.
You owe it to yourself and your readers!
Are Amazon Associate Links Shared Properly when Possible?
If you are an Amazon affiliate, there are many chances for you to share relevant links to Amazon products related to your topic.
I am not a huge fan of the Amazon affiliate program, but if you mention a product, you might as well send your readers to the best marketplace on earth and earn a small commission in the process.
Are All Affiliate Links Shared Properly?
Use your affiliate links liberally as long as they are relevant and not forced.
Don't miss a chance to link to your affiliates if the tool, product, or service is mentioned.
I find it annoying to not have a link to something that someone recommends. Don't over-think this.
Are All Affiliate Links Relevant to the Topic?
There is nothing worse than a blog that promotes affiliates that have nothing to do with the topic at hand or the reader's interests.
This blog post has TONS of affiliates, but they are all completely relevant and valuable.
Also, I use each one of the tools and services mentioned (click here to see the break down of how much I am spending each month to run my businesses).
Email Follow Up Sequences
The final piece of the blogpost is getting more out of each reader AFTER they leave your site.
The best way to do this is with an autoresponder sequence that is sent out to your email opt-ins.
There are a number of reasons why autoresponders are so amazing.
- They get much better engagement and open rates. Your readers will remember you if you email them frequently after they opt-in to your list. Ironically, folks who "don't want to bother" their subscribers get higher unsubscribe and SPAM rates. Why? PEOPLE FORGET ABOUT THEM! They think, " I don't remember signing up for this crap! SPAM!"
- They help "confirm" your members. When users are opening your emails they will be more likely to become whitelisted and make it into the users inbox going forward.
- They help build comradery with your followers. Russell Brunson writes in his book "DotCom Secrets" about the need to develop relationships with your followers.
Do You Have a Relevant Autoresponder in Place for Opt-Ins?
Although I am not a fan of the term "passive income," (you earn it at some point; it's more like "deferred" or "delayed" income), having an autoresponder in place is as close to making sales passively as you can get.
Think of your conversion rates on one post.
Now, imagine if you could take each subscriber and 5x their exposure to your content. Not just any content, your MOST IMPORTANT content.
A good autoresponder will create an "alley oop" for you to make sales, get clicks, and accomplish your most important goals.
There are a number of tools that will do this (most email platforms support autoresponders). I have used and still use a combination of ConvertKit, Actionetics, or Sumo (formerly SumoMe).
Holy Moly this is a crazy amazing blog post soooo much information. that anybody can use. very well written. i got to read it slower and grasp all the juicy details. Thank You
Great post, this is really useful!
What a fabulous treasure trove of information this is, Nate!! It’s especially valuable since I’m looking into blogging as a way to help me explore/improve my writing. Thank you as always. You’re the best!!
Wow Nate, this is Epic. You always out do yourself! Tons of value, easy flow, perfect execution WOW
I can readily see that I NEED this book!
Really resourceful and worth the read. Really learnt alot.
OMG! What an amazing article! Pure value
Teach me to blog!
Thanks for a great article! Now to put it into practice.
What an educational post! Thanks for the easy to read eBook format as well!
Great book Nate. Very useful as a checklist, with detailed explanations.
Great article all around amazing tips
You have always have some of the best blog posts to read, now I know why!
I’ve been out of the blogging game for over 4 years. Had a homesteading blog and 6k FB page but life got busy and I let it fall to the side. I am definitely interested in learning this skill again!
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