Read step zero :
So, you have identified a gap in existing market, where you can provide value. You know the keywords which will be suitable to your blog. Now what?
Before you start writing the blog posts and look out for credible hosting solutions for your blog, take a break.
It’s not that easy.
And I am telling you from experience.
You see, you don’t get traffic and then eventual recognition by just having few blog posts. However high their quality is.
Because you are competing in reality where more than 2 million blog posts are published every day. Everyday!
Hence, the planning part
Structure of blog
Structure of a blog can literally decide about success or failure of a blog. This is especially true from SEO point of view.
With proper structure, your blog (or complete website) is properly scanned and indexed by search engines.
Subsequently, with proper indexation, your posts have better chance to be ranked for keywords you are targeting for.
**You can read about Google’s recommendations to webmasters to properly understand the context for same. Or you can look forward to this guide too. **
In WordPress, the option for URL structure is available under settings>permalinks. As a general guideline, keep your post one or at most two level deep from the main root domain. For eg. example.com/post-name or example.com/category/post-name
Whichever option you choose, the proper structure starts from URL itself. Which means your URL should show clearly what the post/page is all about.
Important structure of a good blog
From SEO point of view, your post name should be similar to keyphrase you are targeting for. Keep it around 3-6 words length at max.
The easy way is to first decide about the headline of the post and then let the post URL come from there.
Post or Page
Now this is tricky. And most of new bloggers are confused between the difference service that a blog post or page provides.
For better detailed information: Read this article.
Good way: When you are creating a nearly timeless article which won’t need comment section, use Page. For everything else, use post. Due to their timelessness, pages provide there unique long term ranking benefit, whereas post tackle it via timely updates.
Category or tags?
Though tags are a good way to show related posts for proper search terms, it is a good idea to keep the category structure to arrange your blog posts.
Moreover, it is recommended to no-index the tags in google search console.
A blog should have a good about me/us page, which tells the readers about you, and what the blog is all about.
If the blog you are creating is about the topic which you are passionate about, then telling about that story is also a good idea.
Contact us page
This optional. The main idea here is that your reader should be able to contact a person behind the site. The reason it is mentioned optional is that it depends a lot on the type of website too. A curated buzzing news site has contact details at the bottom and the viewer is only interested in news. Rarely he looks into contacting any person behind the site.
The content king
‘Content is king’ : One of most used lines about blogging.
In reality, content is not automatically a king. It is how you plan to present it, which makes is a strong tool for regular traffic to your blog.
And let me tell you, you can’t predict which blog post will get more popular or viral.
Yes, you read it right. Even if you have worked your ass off in creating super awesome high quality content, you can not predict how successful it will be.
I know this contradicts nearly everything you read about quality content bringing traffic on its own. And the statement is right. It is just that it doesn’t work in the way you assume.
The point is quality content coupled with consistency is what eventually brings ever growing traffic to the blog.
Hence, the planning about the content.
There are two things that needs to be planned
Timing of content
Your content should be consistent with regards to be publishing. Search engines likes latest timely content. But more than that they like consistency.
The best approach is that you should have a content calendar, something that tells you what you will be publishing over next 6-8 weeks. (Assuming that you publishing once or twice in a week)
If you don’t follow a content calendar, there are chances that either you will rush right before the publishing date or you will skip one. When you rush for publishing any post, you will compromise on quality and if you skip posting altogether, then you will loose out on consistency.
If your blog is going to be part of your income, then it needs a unique identity. The quality and consistency of content on your blog, defines this identity.
Latent Semantic Indexing
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI for short) is the method that Google and other search engines use to study and compare relationships between different terms and concepts. These keywords can be used to improve SEO traffic and create more visibility and higher rankings in search results.
Once you have written(typed) your content, it is good idea to look for terms, sentences you can improve to include ore of LSI relevant sentences. This will help in long term SEO of your website.
Theme & overall look
There is no denying about it, that unless you are already a established authority(even then it matters) in your field, how you present your thoughts/views/ideas matters a lot.
So, unless you are presenting data to readers who are mainly scientists or something with similar content guidelines and readers, you should care about presentation.
It doesn’t mean that you have to fret over design part. What it means is that your blog is designed in such a way that it is simple to navigate to.
Here are few keypoints that are considered good design principles:
- Layout: Having good amount of whitespace increases the legibility of your blog/site
- Fonts (typography): complex fonts may look good on your computer but remember not everyone of your reader is on similar device while reading the content.
- Responsiveness: With most of data being consumed via mobile devices, your theme and blog should be responsive.
- Loading time: Whatever theme/design you have on your website, keep in mind that overall loading time of your website is also an important factor in ranking your website. A slow loading website is big no-no in today’s time.
There is a never ending debate about free vs premium theme. My personal choice is to purchase a premium theme.
The reason is that a high quality premium theme takes care of design principles, code optimization (that effects the loading time), security and responsiveness. A value of time that you can use to work on better ideas for your website.
Few of the popular themes that I have used over the time for my clients are:
- Page load speed and happy readers
- Responsive Web Design: it matters for growth of your blog
- Typography: the easy to use guide [link to blog]
Planning your blog before you start writing content is an important task.
It will save you a lot of time in long run. It is not uncommon to see blogs starting good but then loosing out due to lack of new content, bad design which made navigation difficult, too many scripts on site which led to slow loading or sites simply won’t work on mobiles.
Moreover, there are various examples of good sites which you can check out for inspiration. Imitating a successful blog (up to certain level only) is good idea too.
Nothing beats a good idea more than bad execution. Planning helps you in executing your idea in best possible way.
I would like to think that if after you have been through step zero and are still reading, means you are serious about your idea.
Now all it requires is that you use the right steps to maximize the chances of success with your idea.
All it will take is little planning of the steps listed above.
Get going 🙂
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