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Top 10 Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts Bonus: Videos

Hey, it’s Tyree from Website Muscle again. If you’ve been watching the videos or have read the e-book on our Top 10 Must-Do’s for Good Blog Posts, thank you! I hope you’ve enjoyed them and found them to be valuable for your own blogging.

As always, if you have any questions, I’m available and love to discuss this stuff. So, I wanted to give you my bonus number 11 must do for good blog posts, Videos.

It’s exactly what I’m doing now, and as you can see you do not have to be a professional in order to do it. So, if you’re not a fan of being in front of the camera, you’re not alone, but you might want to think about conquering that fear.

Benefits of Blog Videos

Videos actually have a higher chance of ranking on the first page of Google keyword results for videos than text pages. Also, more people prefer to watch videos nowadays than to read text.

With that in mind, video watchers tend to be more serious buyers, and video marketing has been responsible for more page views on a website, more time spent on a website, and more conversions completed on a website.

It might be a good idea to think about repurposing your blog posts into short videos. It also really helps to showcase your personality too, and get people to know, trust, and like you.

Search-Friendly Videos

And just a couple tips for making your videos Google friendly before we wrap up. Put keywords into the titles, descriptions, and tags. Post them on YouTube and then embed them into the relevant pages or posts on your website.

You can create a video library on your website so Google knows where to find your content, and link to your website at the beginning of the videos if you can.

Ultimately, it really just helps to do it. I’m using a tool called Soapbox by Wistia to create these videos now. So it doesn’t have to be professionally done, it doesn’t have to be crazy good, just putting yourself out there. And it’s good — good for your growth as a blogger, and hopefully for business growth as well. Again, I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and found some value in it.

Learn more about effective blogging with our “Blog Writing Guide” eBook. Download it here.

Happy blogging!

Top 10 Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts #10: Call to Action

Hey guys, it’s Tyree from Website Muscle. We are going through our top ten must-dos for good blog posts and we have reached number ten: the Call to Action.

What Do I Do Next?

So, a reader has finished reading or scanning your amazing blog post. What do they do now? Calls to action, or CTAs for short, that answers the question: What do I do next?

Think about the next step that you would like a reader to take once they’ve gone through a particular post. Should they read more? Should they read something else? Should they contact you? Is it time to buy something? Set up a meeting?

Whatever the case may be, tell them. Don’t ever assume that they know what you want them to do, and don’t put the ball in their court. The ball is always in your court. So keep asking, keep asking, keep asking.

We like to use the analogy of marriage: keep asking them to marry you. Ask for their hand in marriage until they dump you or until they say yes. Just no restraining orders, please.

Call to Action Best Practices

So we recommend at least one, but maybe two calls to action per post or page on your site. The two types are a main call to action which is that direct, “Will you marry me?” Buy now, contact me, set up a meeting, let’s do this.

A secondary call to action is a little less forward, and it’s a good option for readers who are not quite ready to seal the deal but they might be open to a second date. So, read more, learn more, download this free offer, sign up for our newsletter and so on.

Free offers are really highly recommended, like our e-book that we’ve created with our top ten list. It’s a great way to get people into your sales funnel because you can get their typically gated content, you can get their email address, and then you can continue to woo them with your great content until they’re ready to say yes to you.

Don’t ever neglect to include a call to action. It’s one of those things, again, you might wait till last, but don’t put it least, because it is very important.

Here’s a call to action for you: Our “Blog Writing Guide” eBook has 10 tips on crafting the best blog posts possible. You can download it here.

Top 10 Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts #9: Categories and Tags

Hey, it’s Tyree from Website Muscle. We are going through our top 10 must-dos for good blog posts, and we’re onto number nine — Categories and Tags.

If you have done any blogging, you’re probably familiar with these. But categories and tags are really nice ways to segment the content of your blog posts based on subject matter, theme, or keywords.

The main purpose behind categories and tags is user experience, which is important to keep in mind. We want to organize the content so that it’s easy to access for our readers, and they can find what content they’re interested in.

Get Cozy with Categories

Categories are usually more broad, general topics. They can include a number of different posts.

Do not select all the categories when you’re publishing your blog post! It should not apply to all your categories, and that defeats the purpose of organizing your content. We usually recommend one or two, and no more than two categories per post.

(Also, please uncheck “Uncategorized”. That should not be one of your categories.)

Category Audit

Every once in a while we recommend going back and doing an audit of your blog and seeing how many post fall under each category. Sometimes the categories that you think will be really valuable are not relevant anymore.

Make sure that you’re updating your blog categories regularly. If you only find one or two posts in a category, you might want to consider merging it with another category. You can also create subcategories within a general category for more specific sorting.

All About Tags

Tags are more specific than categories. They’re more like keywords. Think of them as the index words in the back of a book for reference. If you’re interested in a very specific word or topic, you can get to that through tags.

Nowadays, blog tags work more like hashtags on Twitter or Facebook. Users can click on a tag and see all the posts that use that same tag.

In other words, use as many tags as you want. Just make them relevant to the subject matter.

Remember, use categories sparingly. We should be really intentional and make sure that the categories actually have posts in them, and select no more than two per post. And then again, tags, you can do as many as you want to. Just make that they’re valuable.

Our “Blog Writing Guide” eBook has 10 tips for developing blog posts for your business. Get the inside scoop for free by downloading it here.

Happy blogging!

Top 10 Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts #8: Links

Hey guys, I’m back! It’s Tyree from Website Muscle. We are going through our top ten list for must-dos for good blog posts and we’re on number eight: links.

External & Internal Links

There are two types of links: external links and internal links.

External links are when you link to someone else’s website, another article, another post, or what have you. You’re linking away from your website.

Internal links are links to other pages on your website and are highly recommended for blogs. When you write a new post and you refer to a topic you’ve written about before (which you will do eventually), take a few extra seconds, highlight that text, and link to your previous post.

This helps users stay on your site longer because they might find something else interesting to read on your site. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to find more of your content to engage in.

External links are okay too, especially when you are quoting someone or using another site for inspiration and you wanna link to that. Maybe sourcing an image. But please make sure that external links always open in a new tab. We do not want to usher people away from your site, okay?

If your external link opens in a new tab, your user still stays on your site, but they can go to that other tab if they want to see the source of the link. So, use links, but just be sure that they open…external links open in a new tab. Internal links don’t have to. That’s totally up to you.

Our “Blog Writing Guide” eBook has 10 tips on creating effective blogs for your audience. If you’re interested, download it here.

Happy blogging!

Top 10 Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts #7: Focus Keywords

Hey everyone, it’s Tyree from Website Muscle, and I’m back with our top 10 must-dos for good blog posts. We’ve reached number seven, focus keywords.

Understanding Focus Keywords

If you are accustomed to writing blogs and posting them in your WordPress platform, then you’ve potentially seen the section down at the bottom. There’s a blank field for focus keywords, and that is what I’m talking about.

Remember, keywords are still important for SEO. They don’t carry the weight that they once used to, but they are still super critical to optimizing your blog post for Google rankings.

So, building a keyword strategy is part of the initial planning process that we talk about in our intro video. I recommend creating a top 10 list of keywords that you’d like to rank for. Then you can build your post strategy and your content strategy around those. Then you can do some basic monitoring using Google Analytics to see how your posts are performing.

Long-Tail Keywords

Your focus keywords are the terms and phrases that you want your post to rank for in search engines like Google. To do that, especially when you’re starting out, you’ll usually aim for what we call long-tail keywords.

You will most likely have keywords that are very general and broad, and those will be really hard to rank for because they’re super competitive. The more specific, niche, and targeted you can get with your focus keywords, the more likely your post is going to be able to rank for it.

Let’s say you’re a massage therapist. Massage therapy is a very broad, general keyword. It’s going to be highly competitive and difficult to rank for.

A long-tail keyword for a massage therapist might be corporate chair massages, or sports injuries massage, so on and so forth. So, those might be more likely to reach very specific users who are looking for that service.

Using Yoast SEO

In your Yoast SEO WordPress plugin, you’ll see a blank field at the bottom of each post for your focus keywords. Once you put those in, Yoast SEO will give you tips on how to optimize your post.

When we’re creating content with Yoast, we always shoot for a green light, which means your post is as optimized as it can be. Sometimes you have to settle for yellow, but no red lights — no red lights!

Yoast has lots of tips on their website for how to choose focus keywords, which is linked in our ebook. So set those set those focused keywords, so that you can see what kind of traffic your posts are getting.

Our “Blog Writing Guide” eBook has 10 tips on effective blog posts. Get it here.

Happy blogging!

Top 10 Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts #6: Images

Welcome back! I’m Tyree from Website Muscle. We are going through our top 10 must-dos for good blog posts and we are on number six, images.

There’s actually quite a bit to say about images, but I’m going to keep it short for the purpose of this video. If you don’t understand what I’m saying or if you need some elaboration on this subject, please read our eBook, where I get into a little more detail on the technical side of image use.

3 Benefits of Using Images Properly

1. Quality over Quantity

First, you don’t need to use a lot of images. One really quality image is enough. And set that as your featured image in WordPress (you’ll see where that’s available in the back-end).

Images can really add depth to your posts. They can help tell the story that you’re telling. Images draw out emotions. As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” right? So they can help, they’re important, but don’t overdo it. One quality image per post is all that’s necessary.

Notice I said “quality”. Not all images are created equal. There are lots of stock images out there. You don’t want poor-quality stock photos. There are good stock images out there too so I would say err on the side of using less. If you can only find one quality image, that’s great, that’s fine.

2. Get Permission

Number two, make sure you have permission to use the images you choose. There are copyright trolls on the internet who are ready and willing to pounce on people who have used images improperly.

We’ve written posts about this in the past, and those are linked in the eBook, but there are lots of good sites out there where you can use their images for free. Be sure to note whether or not you’re required to provide attribution or give credit to the source for those images because that’s just as bad as, you know, stealing someone’s else’s photo.

3. Optimize Your Images

Number three is image optimization, which is gonna be super important for SEO. So what that entails is naming the images, the file size of the images, and more. We use a WordPress plugin called WP Smush to optimize images on client sites.

There’s also a website you can go to called tinyjpg.com. It’s a free online tool where you drop your images and it compresses and optimizes them for you.

We recommend these tools because if your image file size is too large, it will slow down your site and affect page load time, which is a Google factor for ranking. Your site’s performance is very important and images can definitely affect that. So give your image a name, Smush the file, and use alt text.

Bonus: Alt Text

Now the name and the alt text appear as alternative text in HTML code. These are important because Google can’t see images, it can only read the text associated with the image. So when Google bots crawl your pages and index them, we want them to know what this page is about. Alt text helps the algorithm understand your site, and it’s also great for ADA compliance, which I also cover in the eBook.

Our “Blog Writing Guide” eBook has 10 tips on making the best blog posts possible. If you’re interested, you can fill out a form and download it here.

I hope you learned a little bit about your images and optimization. Again, there’s more information in the eBook, but that’s what’s probably most important about images.

Happy Blogging!

Top 10 Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts #5: Original(ish) Content

Hey, guys, Tyree here from Website Muscle. We are going through our top ten must do’s for good blog posts. And you guys, we’re halfway through already! We are now are on number five, which I like to call original(ish) content.

Original(ish) Content

Now the reason I don’t say “original content” is because there’s a lot of good content out there. You’re probably already reading industry blogs, newspapers, and other news sources to find out what’s going on in your industry and with your business. And you probably find pieces of content every once in a while that you’re like, “I really want to share that with my readers.”

The problem comes in when your instinct is to just copy and paste that into your blog.

First of all, that is copyright infringement, and it’s also just really bad form. You want to build trust and authority in your brand, not someone else’s brand, okay?

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, but you can repurpose other people’s content. You can make it your own. You can add your own thoughts into it, your own personality, your own…bits about your own company, and so forth.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

So get inspired, absolutely. Cite direct quotes, most definitely. And overall, take that interesting subject matter and rewrite it in your own words, to your own audience.

Don’t sell yourself short. You have something very valuable to offer. You have a unique value. So generate your own content. Show off your knowledge, your technical knowledge, your industry expertise, write how-to’s, talk about your company culture, do case studies, expand on frequently asked questions, and so forth. There’s really no limit to what you can do.

Best Practices for Sharing Original(ish) Content

An important note, if you do link to another post (which is fine) be sure that that post opens in a new tab. You don’t want to have someone click a link and then leave your site altogether, okay?

We’re trying to keep people on your site. So make sure that new tabs that go off of your page or your site open in a new tab. And there you go, original(ish) content.

Note: Our “Blog Writing Guide” eBook has more tips for your company’s blog strategy. If you’re interested, you can fill out a form and download it here.

Happy blogging!

Top 10 Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts #4: Short Text

Hey, it’s Tyree from Website Muscle. We are going through our top 10 must-dos for good blog posts, and so far we have covered:

  1. Compelling headlines,
  2. Proper headings, and
  3. Bullets and numbered lists.

That takes us to number four, short, concise paragraphs and sentences — or, more simply, short text.

Readability

Short sentences and short paragraphs help with readability. People don’t read, they scan, remember?

Also, most likely, they’re also reading from a really small screen. Most people are on their mobile devices, so not super conducive to reading extensive amounts of content. So breaking up the content with short sentences and short paragraphs makes the content more easily digestible and more readable, and it also helps you.

Choose Your Words Carefully

As a blogger, you need to be as clear and intentional with your word choice as possible, because you know that you have to get your point across in fewer words.

You don’t have much time to get or keep a reader’s attention.

We’re talking seconds here.

So it’s very important to have short, concise sentences and paragraphs.

Short Text Best Practices

Here are a few rules of thumb.

We like to keep the posts at a 300-word minimum, max of 800 or 900 words. WordPress has a word count at the bottom of every post or page, so you can see that. Also, word processors do as well.

If it’s good content but it’s too long, break it up into two posts. If it’s not long enough, wait until you have more to gather it up together.

Also, blog posts should not be less than 300 words. They should not be a sentence or two long. That’s not a blog post, okay? If you can’t reach a minimum level of content, then just nix it altogether.

Write at about a junior high reading level. We have a couple of tools that we use to determine that. The Hemingway Editor is great. Also, the Flesch reading ease and the Yoast SEO plugin will give you an idea of what the reading level is.

Avoid industry jargon. Your readers most likely do not use the same terminology that you do, so skip the mumbo jumbo and talk to your audience. Be consistent with your grammar and spelling. If you capitalize something once, capitalize it always. If you hyphenate it once, hyphenate it always. And proofread, or, better yet, have someone else proofread for you.

Finally, the content needs to be interesting to your users. If it’s only interesting to you, if it’s only interesting to your employees or your colleagues or your competitors, it’s not blog-worthy. You want sharable content, and it’s got to be valuable to your audience, okay?

So it’s super important to break up that content into short, concise, readable bits. And we’re using our headlines, and our headings, and our bullets and numbered lists. It’s going to be great. These are really easy tips, but they make a huge difference.

Our “Blog Writing Guide” eBook has 10 tips on creating the most effective blog posts for your business. Download it here.

Happy blogging!

Top 10 Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts #3: Bullets and Numbered Lists

Hey guys, welcome back. This is Tyree from Website Muscle going through our top ten must-dos for good blog posts. Number three is bullets and numbered lists.

Bullets and Numbered Lists

This video is going to be a short one because there’s not a ton to say. It’s super important for readability and scannability for you to break up the content with bullet points and numbered lists, and/or numbered lists, whichever you prefer.

Scannability is Key

Bullet points and numbered lists, like our headings and subheadings from video number two, have a higher chance of being read than standard copy because they stand out, people don’t read, they scan. And it breaks the content up into nice, bite-sized pieces.

The exception to this rule is if you are overusing these methods. If you use bullet points constantly, then it’s not going to have the desired effect of improving readability and highlighting important information.

So be smart, sprinkle them throughout your posts, use them sparingly but strategically to highlight important information and it will help your users read your posts better. (And Google as well.)

Our “Blog Writing Guide” eBook has 10 tips on making the best blog posts possible. Get a jump-start on your competition by downloading it here.

Happy blogging!

Top 10 Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts #2: Proper Headings

Hi, guys, welcome back to the “Top Ten Must-Dos for Good Blog Posts.” This second installment is all about proper headings in your blog post.

Why Are Proper Headings Important?

Headings and subheadings are super-important, not only for readability and scannability, but also for SEO. So, for readability, you’ve seen headings of different sizes. It helps break up the content. It helps important things stand out. For SEO, it’s not a major ranking signal, but it is important, and Google follows a hierarchical structure, so you want to stick with that.

H1 Through H6

For instance, in HTML code, your heading choices are sorted as H1 through H6. Your rule of thumb here is that your headline — which we discussed in the first post, Compelling Headline — is going to be your H1. That’s your most important tag. Your H2s are going to be major points, followed by H3s, H4s, and so on. Most people use H1 through H3 the most often. That’s what we kind of do, as well.

Following these guidelines makes using proper headings simple. Your post title is your H1, your major point, H2, followed by subpoints, H3s, and so on. You can go back to your second major point as an H2, followed by subpoints, H3s, and so on, and repeat that as many times as you need to. So, you can go back from an H2 to another H2 as long as you’re not skipping levels, if that makes sense. And it’s okay to have text in between them.

You do not want to stuff keywords into your headings (or your text!) That’s spammy. Don’t just jam all your keywords into your headings. Google will flag that as spam. But, we do recommend having your focus keywords, which we’ll talk about in another video later, in one heading, and preferably in an H2.

We’ll talk more about keywords later, but it’s important to have headings and help users who are scanning to really understand what the page is about. The hierarchical structure helps Google also understand what the page is about as well.

Our “Blog Writing Guide” eBook has 10 tips on making the best blog posts possible. If you’re interested, you can fill out a form and download it here.