Best practice when blogging

Writing blog content is the best way to promote your brand and your website for free. All you need to do is spend a bit of time writing some useful and engaging content for your readers and you can start driving traffic to your site in no time!

Show your readers (and potential customers) how much of an expert you are and why they should come and work with you. Aaaand, as long as you are posting useful content regularly, it can be a huge boost for your SEO.

If you haven’t written blogs before, don’t panic. We are here to help with some best practice tips to get you blogging like a pro.

Table of Contents

Writing valuable content

The first, and most important thing to remember is that your content needs to be valuable. Write content that is useful to your readers.

Solve a problem or give them a how-to guide (kind of like this one) on something that you’re the expert in. The point is that you are writing useful content that people want to read and interact with, not just pointless waffle that’s a waste of everyone’s time (including yours).

This is helpful to your readers and keeps them engaged with your website, it’s also what Google is looking for when they are deciding who to put in the top spot on their search pages. According to Google’s helpful content update, they’re looking for ‘original, helpful content created for people’.

Picking a keyword

When you are writing blog content, it can be useful to centre it around a particular keyword or key phrase. This is for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) purposes and it means that when people are searching for certain phrases in Google, your blog should (hopefully!) come up for them.

Picking a keyword can be tricky, it is worth spending some time doing a bit of research to find a keyword that is relevant to you. Google’s Keyword Planner is a free tool you can use to see how many people are searching for your keyword and how competitive it is.

Once you have an idea of what keyword you are going to use, it is worth popping it into Google to see what results come up. Similar pages to yours? Great! You can even check out what some of your competitors are doing for inspo and to make sure that your content is better than theirs.

Try to have your keyword appear throughout the body of your content at least a couple of times – if you can get it into some headings as well then great. What this does is tell Google that your content is relevant to that particular topic and push it up the rankings!

An important thing to remember when it comes to writing blogs for SEO is to avoid overusing your keyword, also known as ‘keyword stuffing‘. Your keyword should organically come up throughout your blog content in a way that seems natural and easy to read. You need to remember that you are writing for your readers, not for Google.

It can be tricky to get the balance right at first but with a bit of practice, you will be an expert in no time. If you are stuck, it can always be useful to ask someone you trust to read a draft of your blog and give you some constructive feedback. Or ask AI how you can better optimise your blog.

Another thing to think about when writing your blog content is the links that you might use throughout the text. It’s a good idea to reference an external page to help explain or make a point. And you should definitely link to other pages on your website whenever it’s relevant. Here is the best practice when adding links to your blog content. 

Using good links throughout your blog content can help Google to see that your content is valuable and on-topic. Ideally, you want to try and include both internal and external links to your content if possible (again, make sure that they appear naturally and that you aren’t just adding them for the sake of it). 

The first thing to think about when adding any link to your content is the anchor text. Anchor text is the clickable text that you see on a hyperlink. See the image below, there are a few examples of anchor text that are highlighted in yellow. 

Notice how they are all key phrases to tell Google what that link is about, rather than a generic anchor text like ‘click here’ or ‘read more’.

We have a whole guide that you can read that goes into more detail about how to use links and anchor text on your website.

Adding a link to your blog post is easy. Just follow these steps and you will have it sorted in no time!

  1. Highlight the text that you would like to use as the anchor text.
  2. Click the link button, it should look something like the image below. This is from WordPress but the button should look similar in all website builders
  1. Then enter the link in the box below highlighted in red and if the link is external, check the box marked in yellow so the link opens in a new tab. 
  1. Double check your link to make sure that it goes to the correct page and opens in the correct way aaaaand you’re done!

Internal links are links to your own website. They are important to have in your blog content because they keep your readers from bouncing away from your site and keep them engaged with your content. 

There will probably be chances for internal links to pop up in the body of your text, which is great, but you also want to include some at the bottom of your content as well. This means that when your readers have finished reading your highly engaging and informative blog post, they have a choice of other pages to read next. If they didn’t have these options, they might just leave your website, which we definitely don’t want!

Here is an example of some internal links at the bottom of one of our blog posts:

This gives 3 options for other blog posts to keep your readers interested in your content and on your site for as long as possible!

As well as internal links to other pages on your website, you may want to link to another external website. This can be used as a citation or to guide your users to a particular page that they would find useful. Again, this can help to show Google that your content is valuable, on topic and worth moving up their rankings. 

The most important thing to remember with external links is that you want them to open up in a new tab when clicked on. This is so they’re not pulling users away from your website. Apart from this, you should frequently check any external links that you have to make sure the pages are still live and relevant to your blog. You don’t have any control over what the external website does so if the website gets taken down, you might end up with broken links.

Headings

You want your post to be as easy to read as possible for your users so giving it some structure is a great way to separate different sections. 

At the top of each section add a heading. Use a H1 heading for the main title of your page and the headings that follow should be either H2 or H3. This gives your post a clear structure and means users can quickly scan to find the section relevant to them. It also makes your page more accessible – the majority of screen reader users say skimming for headings is the first thing they do when they open a web page.

Headings are easier on the eyes too. Having the text broken up into multiple sections is so much easier to flick through than one big block of text. On this same note, try to split your text into smaller paragraphs in each section so it is as easy as possible. Think 1-3 sentences.

As well as making the text easier to read, using clear headings helps Google to understand what your post is about and to make sure it ranks on the relevant pages. So try and get a keyword into those headings for an extra SEO boost.

Adding images to your blog post

It’s a good idea to have an eye-catching image to go alongside your new blog post, this helps to draw readers in and it can also help to give your readers an idea of what your blog is about before they dive in. You want to make sure that your image is relevant to the post and that it suits the overall tone of the blog. Make sure that your blog content has at least one main image to go with it, you can add others throughout the body of your content though if they are relevant. 

For images, you can use a photographer to get a good selection of images and headshots (we always use Cass for personal branding photography – because she’s the best 😍). This is usually the best approach because it means that you can get a selection of unique, on-brand images and headshots for your entire website and blog.

However, we understand that this might not be everyone’s cup of tea. You don’t always have to use a photographer to get images for your blog. We sometimes use stock images websites such as Unsplash to get our images – this is great because the images are free. If you are going to use images from the internet, always make sure to check that you have permission to use them. Don’t use any copyrighted images without written permission.

Image SEO bonus: Rename your images before you upload them so they reflect the topic of your content. It’s better to go for website-design-projects.jpg instead of IMG-0012.jpg

Alt-text

Once you’ve found the perfect images to go with your new blog, make sure that they have the right alt-text.

First, what is alt-text? Short for ‘alternative text’ alt-text gives your image a description that is used for accessibility purposes and by search engine crawlers.

Try to describe your image in a short couple of sentences, this is the text that will be displayed if your image doesn’t load for any reason and more importantly, the text that visually-impaired users will rely on to understand and navigate your website. Here is a great article that focuses on how to write alt-text descriptions for image accessibility

Alt-text can also help with SEO by letting search engines know that your images are relevant to your content… and make them searchable in Google Images! If you can naturally get one of your keywords into your alt-text description, then great. However, make sure you aren’t putting keywords in unnecessarily. As always with SEO, alt-text needs to come with a humans first, search engines second mentality. 

SEO titles and meta descriptions

It is important to have both SEO titles and meta descriptions for your pages. These are the descriptions and links to your page that appear on search engine results pages. The title is the link that you click on from Google’s search page so try to make it short, snappy and to the point. The meta description is the small body of text that appears underneath, this allows you to give a short paragraph to describe the page to your new potential readers.

If you don’t set these then Google will pick them for you from the content on your page so it’s best to set one so you can have control over how your pages look on the Google search pages. As always, see if you can manage to get your main keywords into here if they come up naturally.

Most SEO optimiser tools will have an option to allow you to change both the meta titles and descriptions, we use Yoast to handle our blog posts – we have a guide that will help you set up Yoast on WordPress that might be helpful to get you started.

Need a bit more help with titles and meta descriptions? Don’t worry, we have a full guide that explains in more detail how to fix issues with meta description or title

Call to Action (CTA)

After you’ve finished writing your post and adding everything that it needs to be a success out there in the world, you should add a Call to Action (CTA) button at the bottom to make the most of your users’ engagement.

What is a CTA button I hear you ask? You will have used them yourself loads of times before, they are usually at the bottom of a blog post, but you can find them almost anywhere on your page. It is the ‘Subscribe!’ button or it might say ‘Download here’ or ‘Find out More!’.

The point is, you use a CTA button when you are asking your users to do something or engage with your website in some way. You want to make it stand out from the rest of your website with a short, clear message – here are some examples from the THB homepage, circled in pink.

CTA’s are useful tools to use throughout your website and we always encourage you to have at least one on each page! They are especially useful at the end of a blog post because they provide an opportunity to keep your readers on your website once they have finished reading. Without a CTA button or link to another post, your readers might simply leave your website once they are done, we want to try and keep them around!

Preview before post

Okay everything is done, you’ve added a CTA button, ready to post right? Not quite…one more step first.

Have a good read through your post before you set it live. Make sure that everything is positioned correctly and that all of your links are working. Add any finishing touches that you need and your blog post is all ready to go up on your website! But wait, there is just one more very important step before you can go and put the kettle on.

Submit to your blog to Google Search Console

The last thing you need to do, after your amazing, shiny, new blog post is live on your website, is tell Google about it. The good news is that it only takes 2 seconds (as long as you are already set up with Google Search Console).

  1. Log in to GSC
  2. Add the URL for your new blog post int o the search bar at the top of the page (see below)
  1. You can use this feature to check if any of your pages have been indexed by Google. If you see the below message ‘URL is not on Google’ then just go ahead and hit the ‘REQUEST INDEXING’ button, highlighted below. 
  1. It can take a couple of minutes for Google to run its initial checks on your page but you should then get a message saying ‘Indexing Requested: URL was added to a priority crawl queue. Submitting a page multiple times will not change its queue position or priority.’
    Note: This doesn’t mean that your page has been indexed instantly, it can take a couple of days or sometimes even weeks. But they will get around to it now that you have requested the indexing. You can only request indexing for around 10 pages per day, so use them wisely

If you don’t submit your content to Google, they will naturally find it eventually, but you don’t want to wait around for them to find your page. Put it right in front of their faces so they can’t miss it! You didn’t put all that work in writing the thing for them to just ignore it, right?

For more help making your blog really shine we have another guide here about how to get your blog to stand out in a sea of AI generated crap.

Or if it all sounds like too much and you don’t fancy doing it yourself…Don’t worry, get us to do it for you! Get in touch to discuss our website maintenance plans and find a package that works for you and your business.

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