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Write the Perfect Blog Post for SEO and Sharing

October 21st

Offsprout is the only WordPress website builder for freelancers and agencies.

I know the title says “Write the Perfect Blog Post,” but the truth is, I’m not a great writer.

Nor can I write quickly.

However, I’ve learned a thing or two growing and selling one business. And I’m learning even more growing my second business.

I think I have some hard-earned lessons that are worth sharing.

But in order to be able to turn those lessons into effective blog posts, I knew I had to create a guide for myself that would:

  1. Help organize and streamline the process
  2. Enable me to write effectively
  3. Help optimize my blog posts for SEO
  4. Make my content more shareable

This is that guide.

 

Keep In Mind: 7 Traits of Great Blog Posts

My take on a great Hubspot blog post.

1. Actionable – Unless a blog post is a news story, it should help people solve a problem. Will your reader, having read through your blog post be better able to solve the problem that she was looking to solve? Content upgrades including checklists and action plans are a great way to ensure that your content helps readers with a problem they’re facing.

2. Combined Relevance – Our brains work by associating new information and patterns with old, familiar ones. Take advantage of this in your writing by introducing metaphors and connecting the something that your readers can understand easily with more difficult or hard-to-remember concepts.

3. Urgent – Pick a topic and there are probably dozens if not hundreds or more posts about it already. If you want to maximize the effect of your content, create a sense of urgency. How? Help people visualize the results that taking action will yield.

4. Scannable – Use images when they can convey a concept better than text. Break your post into sections with engaging headers. Use bullets and numbers to organize steps or lists.

5. Entertaining – People often equate entertaining with funny, especially when it comes to blog writing. However, humor is only one way to make a post entertaining. You can also try suspenseful, argumentative/controversial, allegorical, inspirational, etc.

6. Definitive – Write enough content that you can truly help someone solve the problem they’re trying to solve. If it’s a huge, complicated problem and you only have time to write a short post, take on a smaller part of the problem and attack it comprehensively.

7. Simple – The topic or concepts don’t have to be simple, but when you write a blog post, the language you use should be easy to understand and the way you explain how to solve a problem should be as simple as possible.

SEO: How to Rank Your Perfect Blog Post

SEO is frustrating. Like, REALLY frustrating.

If you’ve spent any amount of time trying to build rankings for one of your sites, I’m sure you’ve run into some pages that were outranking you and thought, “REALLY? WHY?!”

Here are some best practices though:

Include your main keyword in:

  • The title
  • The first paragraph
  • The first subheading
  • The meta description
  • The URL
  • Image alt tags

Include synonym words and phrases that Google suggests in search results:

Include links to the following (study on outbound linking and SEO):

  • 2 reputable industry sources
  • 2-3 pages on your website
  • 5 other various sources

Statistics: Keep These in Mind While Writing Your Blog Post

[Link to statistics post]

Content

  • People tend to read the first 3 words and the last 3 words of the content title
  • Keep titles to 6-7 words and 55 characters
  • About 1500 words gets the most shares and engagement, while 1000-1500 words seems best for rankings
  • Average of 3 images for high-ranking posts
  • Average of 10 links for high-ranking posts
  • 50 character title for high-ranking posts
  • 28% of the words in your blog posts are read (is anyone even reading this bullet?!)
  • For more stats, check out this Buffer post

Timing

  • Most social sharing happens between 9pm-12am
  • Saturday and Sunday are the two best days for social sharing
  • For more check out Track Maven’s report

Generating Topics and Titles: Grab Attention and Encourage Sharing

1. Predictions Post

  • Why Kanye West Might Win the 2020 Election

2. Things You Might Not Know About Me

  • 24 Things I’ve Never Told You
  • 30 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in the Last 3 Years

3. Why I Don’t Do X

  • Why I Don’t Do Social Media

4. [Famous Person] Guide to [subject]

  • The Elon Musk Guide to Time Management
  • The Tucker Max Guide to Dating

5. Case Study

  • How I Built and Sold a 7-Figure Business
  • How I Lost 21 Pounds in 30 Days

6. Product Showdown

7. ‘X’ Things You Must Do After ‘Y’

  • 7 Things You Must Do After Writing a Blog Post
  • 10 Things You Must Do After Every Workout

8. How to ‘X’ in ‘Y’ Hours/Days/Months

  • How to Generate 30,000+ Visitors in 1 Month
  • How to Get 1000 Twitter Followers in 20 Days

9. Experimental

  • June’s Income Report
  • August’s trial results: Gaining time by losing email addiction

10. Comprehensive Pillar

  • How to Create a Facebook CPC Campaign
  • How to Write a Sticky Blog

11. [Desired Benefit] that No One Talks About

  • Link-Building Strategies that No One Talks About

12. Blog Post Roundup

  • 30 Posts that will Supercharge Your Saas Marketing

13. Things I Wish I Had Done Differently

  • 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started
  • 12 Things I Would Do If I Were Starting Over

14. Tools of the Trade

  • 7 SEO Tools I Couldn’t Live Without
  • 18 Must-Have WordPress Plugins

15. Ask/Involve the Reader

  • Ask the Readers: What’s Your Favorite WordPress Plugin?
  • Create Your Mini-Product Side Business Along With Us

16. Debunk Industry Myths

  • 7 Lies You’ve Been Told About WordPress
  • Why FTP Access is Overrated and You Should Focus On Selling

17. Comment on Industry Gossip

  • Are Websites Really Going to be Obsolete?
  • Is PHP Being Replaced by Full-Stack Javascript?

Introductions: How to Grab Your Reader’s Attention

1. Start with an interesting fact.

Banging your head against a wall burns 150 calories an hour, but if you’re frustrated with your SEO results, there’s a better solution.

2. Tell the end of the story first.

We had just sold our company for over $1M. But even for a modest acquisition, boy did it take a lot of work and strategy to get there.

3. Use an anecdote.

I once had a client yell at me for 10 minutes straight.

4. Ask a worthwhile question. (Can’t be obvious.)

Is launching a SaaS as a first time founder a fool’s errand?

5. Segment your audience.

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate. If you’re close rate is worse than that, here are some things you can do to improve it.

6. Go for the cliffhangers.

I started with an eTrade account and $10,000. One year later, I was a millionaire. But I was so close to losing everything.

7. Gentle confrontation can be a friend.

If you think your 15% conversion rate is good, let me rain on your parade. It’s not.

Capture Email Subscribers: Use Content Upgrades

Content upgrades are additional downloadable worksheets, checklists, action plans, etc. that enhance a post and make it more actionable. Every post should have one. Backlinko has a great post about them.

Here are 5 ideas for content upgrades:

Checklist

  • On-page SEO checklist
  • Blog post promotion checklist

Worksheet

  • Customer personas excel worksheet
  • Content planning calendar

Action Plan

  • 24 hour plan for starting a business
  • 30 day plan to get your first 500 subscribers

Zip File

  • Small code project
  • Stock image pack
  • Documents cache

Case Study

  • How ‘X’ used these techniques to grow her list by 200%

Power Words: Great Words for Impactful Writing

Authority
Exclusivity
Danger
Greed
Completeness
Novelty
ProvenSecretWastefulUnlimitedDefinitiveTrending
ReliableEliteCheatNewDetailedShocking
GuaranteedUnconventionalLosingFreeEssentialMagic
ResultsLittle-knownProtectProfitGuideSurprising
ConclusiveUnderusedDeadlyImmediateTroveSpoiler
SurefireHiddenAlarmingInstantlyTotalHack
FormulaNinjaUnreliableBonusSuperchargedBold
ExpertUntappedWeakDoubleUncutStartling
PowerfulBack DoorRidiculousIncreaseNo-holds-barredMiracle
IroncladStealthySneakyNever
Subliminal

Conclusions: How to Continue the Conversation

Here’s what you want to do in your conclusion:

  • call it a conclusion
  • make it short
  • be real
  • don’t use pictures
  • provide disclaimers
  • summarize the main point
  • suggest next steps
  • and ask a question.
  • include a call-to-action to download your content upgrade

Conclusion

If you follow this guide, you’ll have all of the elements of a perfect blog post even if, like me, you’re not the best writer.

The ultimate goal is to maximize the number of eyeballs, and further, to maximize email list conversions. Blog posts following this guide do just that.

I’ve actually printed out this guide for myself and keep in on my writing desk for quick reference and highly recommend it.

Did I miss anything?

 

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