Writing articles on the Internet has been my job for over 12 years and I have several blogs and websites on all kinds of topics.
Here are ten top secrets that I’ve learned on my blogging journey. It’s taken years to learn some of these tips and tricks. What you can learn from this article is blogging gold dust.
1.) Write What Your Audience Wants to Know.
Make sure you are writing for your audience even if that audience is just you.
Answer questions. Solve problems. Don’t be afraid to put in links to other sites which will be of value.
If your post is of value to the reader they are more likely to share it and come back to your blog to read more. Likewise. if you are writing content that has value to you – you are more likely to share it and come back to your blog to write more.
I find writing articles for yourself often helps other people too. Another tip is to write an article that helps a friend or colleague. If you write as if you are talking to them, it’s likely your work will speak to other people as well.
2. ) Check Your Stats.
(Side note: This is an important tip. If you take one tip away from this article, make it this one. I credit this tip to most of my success with blogging and affiliate marketing.)
Once you get some traffic, it’s important to regularly check your statistics.
There are all kinds of ways you can gather data and statistics from your blog. Google Analytics and Google Search Console give information about particular keywords helping people get to your blog. You can set up free accounts with both of them.
There are other sources of statistics as well. For example, if you sell products, check your sales statistics. Check your social media accounts and see which posts are directing traffic to your blog.
Statistics give insightful feedback. They help work out which posts are popular. What traffic sources are working. What’s selling and what’s not. What’s ranking well on Google and what’s not.
This information is important as it gives ideas on what to work on next. It shows exactly where to focus your time. It stops you from wasting energy on activities that are not fruitful. You can work on your blog less because you work smarter.
If your statistics show certain types of posts are getting a lot of traffic, it makes sense to write more posts like these. It helps you see which kinds of niches are working and which aren’t.
It lets you know what products are selling, what to promote more of and which products to ditch.
You can see which social network is driving traffic to your website, so you can focus your time on there or not (as the case may be).
3.) Keep Improving Your Existing Posts.
If you have a post that is performing well, make sure that it’s kept up-to-date and relevant.
Ensure that all the links are working, especially if there are links to products.
Cut out any information which is no longer relevant.
Google likes posts that are regularly updated. Google also likes long posts so if you add additional relevant information to a popular post, it will keep your post higher in the rankings.
Checking your stats will give you information about which existing posts you should focus on.
4.) Have a Catchy Title.
The title is arguably the most important part of the post. If it isn’t something that entices a reader to click, it won’t perform well in the Google search results.
A title could promise to solve a problem or answer a reader’s question.
Or it could be something that’s so intriguing, the reader has to find out more.
Numbered post titles such as “10 Ways to…” and 10 Tips on… perform well. “How to” post titles immediately show how your article can solve a problem. Other posts that perform well are comparison posts where you compare two different products or methods. For example, my last post on this website was about WordPress vs Weebly.
Titles are also important when promoting your blog in social media posts. They need to be eye-catching. What problem is your article solving? Is there something in there that will entice people or shock them into clicking through?
5.) Learn From the Competition.
What are successful bloggers in your field doing and why are they successful?
You can learn a lot from the competition.
What are their popular blog posts? Which posts rank well and why? Can you write a post like theirs that adds even more value? Which titles read well and why? Which posts make you want to click and dive right in? Why is that? What problems do they solve? How do they help people? What mistakes are they making? How would you improve their work? These kinds of questions can help you examine your own blog posts in a different light.
Of course, never copy another blogger’s work. However, their work can inspire you. It can also help you understand where you could improve.
6.) Google Looks at the Whole Website When Ranking Articles.
Google favors websites with more articles that have been around for longer.
It makes sense if you think about it. Google is more likely to rank an article from a website that’s been live for a year with 50 other rich content articles than it is a website with 8 other articles that’s only been around for 3 months.
This means it takes time for your website to become successful in Google. You have to be in it for the long haul.
The exception for this is if you are writing about a niche topic that nobody else has written about. Then your articles may then rank a little more quickly.
7.) Google Likes Long Posts But It Has To Be Valuable Content.
Some of my best performing posts are between 2000 and 3000 words long. But I also have posts performing well with word counts at around 1000 words or less.
I don’t believe that Google is actually putting much value the length of your post
My opinion is that Google measures how long readers stay on your page. If they stay longer and are obviously engaged in the post, you are more likely to rank higher than the competition.
If your post is 3000 words and people are clicking off right away, Google won’t like this. The content has to be readable and of value. So a long post that doesn’t engage the reader is useless.
Short posts tend to offer the reader less value and the reader may click off your website quickly unless you give them something else to click. This is why at least 1000 words is a good benchmark for most articles. However, don’t worry if you feel the post isn’t long enough. You can update and lengthen articles after you’ve posted them. Many of my articles started at around 1000 words but I’ve added more content as time has gone by.
I’ve also found that if you write a post and there isn’t much content on the web on the same topic, it doesn’t have to be as long to rank.
Google takes many things into consideration when ranking a post. In my opinion, Google places a higher value on websites with at least 50 articles that have been on the web for at least 6 months to a year. Article length is just one metric.
When writing posts, another tip is to check the competition (again!). See how long their posts are. And see if you can improve on those posts by offering more value and content.
8.) Write for the Internet.
Generally, people don’t read blog posts in the same way they read a book.
Most readers scan your blog post to find key bits of information that are important to them. A mistake many new bloggers make is not realizing this and writing a blog post like a chapter of a book. Having a large section of text often makes readers click away. Just think about how you read information from the internet.
Make it easy for readers to read your blog by:
- adding subheadings,
- writing some short sentences
- using a larger font
- highlighting important phrases in the post in bold
- use pictures and diagrams
- having lots of white space between shorter paragraphs.
Having said this, this isn’t a one size fits all approach. There are many blogs where people will read the content in depth. These bloggers often have a strong connection with most of their audience. They are often experts in their fields or they have a strong community following. So you need to know which type of blog post your readers expect. However, more often than not, it’s scannable content. If in doubt go with that!
9.) Have a Table of Contents.
Google loves posts that have a table of contents.
Google will often use the table of contents to direct readers to the part of your post that answers the question in the Google search results.
A table of contents also makes it easier for readers to navigate your post.
There are many free WordPress plugins that automatically give you a table of contents such as Easy Table of Contents.
10.) Your First Few Sentences are Important.
You have a catchy title. The reader is interested. The last thing you want them to do is to click on the back button.
Don’t underestimate the value of the first few sentences of your post. It’s important to hook the reader in. And you have just seconds to do it.
Short snappy sentences that catch a reader’s attention are a great way to start a blog.
And there are other ways too. Ideas include:
- A short story. Humans love stories. It doesn’t even have to be a true story. For example, you can describe the problem you’re going to solve in your article in the form of a story that the reader identifies with.
- A shocking or interesting statistic.
- A question
- A statement
- A quote
- A promise
- Or just a short sentence introducing your topic
It doesn’t have to be perfect. But look at the beginning of your article and ask yourself, would I carry on reading?