Every blog starts with the first blog post. You are ready to embark on this online journey. You are probably excited and anxious at the same time. You have all these ideas but don’t know where and how to start.
Don’t worry. I have been there and now I’m here to offer a bit of my guidance. This post will tell you how to write your first blog post and provide a step-by-step plan of action.
Shall we begin?
Step 1: Decide What You Are Going To Write About
In order to write your first blog post, you need to decide what your blog is going to be about. What are your hobbies and interests? What are you passionate about? Do you possess knowledge in a certain field?
Whatever it is, it has to be something you have at least some experience in.
Furthermore, you need to have a website to start posting. If you haven’t bought a domain name and web hosting yet, read my blog post about:
Step 2: 50 Blog Post Ideas
Writing your first post is always a bit tricky. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, check out this list that I have compiled.
Make sure to keep all of your posts relevant to your niche.
50 Blog Post Ideas
1. Top 10 Post
2. Comparison Post
3. Pros And Cons Post
4. Truth Vs Lie Post
5. Advice Post
6. Must-Have Post
7. Checklist Post
8. Thank You Post
9. Rant Post
10. Bucket List Post
11. Old Post Update
12. Guest Post
13. Success Story
14. Inspirational Story
15. Beginner’s Guide
16. Step-By-Step Guide
17. Troubleshooting Guide
18. Product Review
19. Service Review
20. Book Review
21. Company Review
22. Event Review
23. Industry Review
24. List Of Blogs You Read And Follow
25. List Of People You Read And Follow
26. List Of Best Blog Posts To Read
27. List Of Podcasts To Listen To
28. List Of Videos To Watch
29. List Of Instagram Accounts To Follow
30. List Of YouTube Channels To Follow
31. List Of Courses You Have Completed
32. List Of Tools You Use
33. List Of Social Media Platforms You Use
34. List Of Apps You Have On Your Phone
35. List Of Hacks
36. List Of Annual Events To Attend
37. Create A Survey
38. Create A Quiz
39. Create Infographics
40. Create A Presentation
41. Create A Video Tutorial
42. Create Funny Memes
43. Create GIFs
44. Create An Online Course
45. Create Downloadable Content
46. Create A Useful Timeline
47. Host A Contest Or A Giveaway
48. Host A Live Q&A
49. Interview Someone You Admire
50. FAQ Post
If you are still unsure what to write about, you can get even more ideas from my blog post:
Step 3: Find Keyword Ideas
Before actually picking a keyword for our first blog post, we must generate a list of ideas. What topic is heavily talked about in your niche? What are people searching for?
Here are my 5 proven methods for finding keyword ideas:
(1) Google Suggest
Simply go over to Google and brainstorm some ideas. This is a super easy and insightful exercise.
(2) Google “Searches Related To”
Once you have input your search term, scroll down to the bottom of the page and see searches related to your query. This can help you generate even more ideas.
Reddit is a great place to do some research and see what people are talking about. There are tons of different communities (also known as subreddits) you can browse and join.
Forums are still widely used nowadays and a simple Google search will give you lots of information. Just type in your “keyword ideas” + “forum” and see what relevant forum threads popup in the search. Forums are a good way to engage with people and see what they post about.
BuzzSumo is a great tool for content marketing. Although you do have to pay for it, you can get a free 7-day trial without having to input any credit card details.
Input your query in the search tab and see a list of articles that have the most social shares. Social media channels covered include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, etc.
Step 4: Learn About Keywords and Keyword Research
What is Keyword Research?
Before you start writing your blog post, you need to know what keyword you are going to target. If you are unfamiliar with keyword research, MOZ has the following definition:
Keyword research is a core SEO task that involves identifying popular words and phrases people enter into search engines -make in an attempt to figure out what to rank for. Researching keywords gives marketers a better understanding of how high the demand is for certain keywords and how hard it would be to compete for those terms in the organic search results, offering some direction to optimization efforts.
Put into simple terms, keyword research tells you how many times people enter a specific search term into search engines.
Types of Keywords
There are 3 main categories of keywords:
- Generic keywords – short keywords consisting of 1 word or single phrase. For example – mobile phone
- Broad keywords – mid-length keywords consisting of 2-3 word phrases. For example – Samsung mobile phone
- Long tail keywords – very descriptive and specific keywords consisting of 4 or more word phrases. For example – Samsung mobile phone with best camera
It is a well-known fact that generic keywords are very competitive and usually have a very high keyword difficulty. Long tail keywords, on the other hand, are less competitive and have a lower keyword difficulty. So if your site is new, you are better off targeting long tail keywords with low competition.
What Keyword Research Tools to Use?
There a so many options here to choose from. Some tools are free and some tools aren’t. If you are just starting with SEO, I would probably suggest looking at the free options first. And also, don’t forget about all the free trials you can sign up to.
Here is a list of my favorite keyword tools:
- Ubersuggest (FREE)
- Ahrefs (PAID at $99 per month or 7-day trial for just $7)
- SEMrush (FREE version limited to 10 searches per day or PAID version at $99.95 per month)
- KWFinder (PAID at $29.90 per month or 10-day free trial)
How to Pick the Right Keyword?
In order to pick the right keyword, we have to take into account the following factors:
- Your site’s domain authority (on a scale from 1 to 100)
- Your backlink profile (number of backlinks your site has)
- Keyword difficulty (a scale from 0 to 100)
- Keyword search volume (number of monthly searches a keyword has)
- Keyword trends (is your keywords steadily growing or dying out)
- Relevance (if your site is about fashion, there is no point picking a keyword related to financial advice)
If your site is new or only a few months old, we want target the following keywords:
- long-tail keywords
- with a low keyword difficulty
- with a monthly search volume of at least 100+
- that are relevant to our site’s niche
- that are growing (use Google Trends to see interest growth over time)
If you want a more detailed look into keyword research, check out my following post:
Step 5: Learn From Your Competitors
Once you have completed your keyword research and picked your primary keyword, it is time to do some competitor research and analysis.
Type in your keyword and write down all your competitor websites from the first page of Google into an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheet, whichever you prefer.
The template can look something like this:
Once you have your TOP 10 results, research every single post and look at the following:
- Site Domain Authority – does this site have a high domain authority? Or is it somewhere in the mid-range?
- Number of Backlinks – how many backlinks does the post have? What websites are linking to the post?
- Post length – does the post consist of 1000 words, 2000 words or even more?
- Media used – does the post contain relevant images, screenshots, infographics, embedded videos?
- Social shares – have people shared this post on social media?
- Comments – are people commenting on this post?
- Post structure – is the post divided into relevant sections, steps, etc?
Once you have researched and analyzed the top 10 Google results, you will have a good idea about what your post is going to be like. Remember, because you are just starting your blogging journey, your post must be:
- More engaging
- More interesting
- Visually appealing
- With great structure – the post must be divided into relevant sections and include compelling visuals
To gain backlinks and eventually show up on the first page of Google, your content must be ten times better than the content that is already out there. So make sure to put in the effort to create an outstanding blog post.
Step 6: Write Your First Blog Post
Start writing your first blog post by creating an outline. It can look something like this:
- Blog Post Title – come up with a catchy title, one that grabs attention
- Introduction – introduce your topic, be engaging and creative
- Main Section – divide your post into logical sections. Think of sections as chapters in a book. Use H2 tags for your subheadings.
- Conclusion – write a summary of your topic, state your opinion and include a call to action
Have a look at this infographic I have created:
Don’t forget, structure is only one of the components to writing a successful blog post. It is also crucial to produce creative content and talk about things you are passionate about and interested in. Great content is one of the most important recipes for success.
You want your first blog post to tick all the boxes – engaging text, compelling visuals and good structure.
Step 7: Find Relevant Images
Now that your text is ready, it’s time to add images to your post.
Images are a vital part of SEO and text structure. They also provide extra information and separate the text when needed.
When you want to find images for your blog post, you need to keep the following things in mind – image and size quality, image usage rights and image relevance.
Image Size and Quality
It ideally should be as large as your blog content width. Depending on your site, it can be anywhere between 690 to 800 pixels, or sometimes even more. For example, my blog content width 750 pixels.
Also, never use images that are too big, try to keep your image file size between 100 to 200 KB (unless your blog revolves around photography). Remember, that file size affects webpage loading speed, so make sure all your images are compressed.
If you want to check your site’s page speed, head over to Google’s PageSpeed Insights and enter your web page URL. Your website will get a score that summarizes its speed performance. A score above 90 is considered fast. A score of 50 to 90 is considered average. And a score below 50 is considered to be slow.
Image Usage Rights
Before you use any image in your post, you need to make sure you are actually allowed to use that image.
What types of photos can we use in our blog post?
- free stock images and photos – images that are free for use, no attribution required. You can find free images on Pexels, Pixabay, Canva and many more.
- royalty-free images – images you usually need to pay a one-time fee in exchange for the right to use it. You can find tons of royalty-free images on Shutterstock, Getty Images and more.
- your own images – a lot of people nowadays, especially those who have travel blogs or food blogs, use their own photos on their site. This definitely makes your blog a lot more unique and personal.
- screenshots – an extremely useful technique that you can utilize in your blog post. Screenshots can provide additional data, imagery, and more.
Always keep your images relevant to the blog post topic. Whether you are writing about your travel adventures or sharing knowledge about investing in the stock market, your photos should add value to your text. If you are running short on ideas, see what images your competitors are using and find something similar.
Step 8: Create Infographics
Another great way to make your post more engaging and increase your chances of getting backlinks and social shares, is to create informative and visually appealing infographics. Whenever a person reads through a blog post, he first and foremost pays attention to visual aids. Infographics are eye-catching and provide a clear summary of your data and text.
My favorite online infographic maker is Canva. You can always create an infographic from scratch or use their extensive range of templates. Check out these free templates they have:
Advantages of Infographics
- People process visual information 60,000 times faster than text
- 90% of information transmitted to human brain is visual
- Majority of the population are visual learners
- Infographics are shared 3x faster on social media than any other type of content
- Infographics have a better chance of generating backlinks to our blog post
If you have never created an infographic before, I highly recommend checking out the following post:
Step 9: Perform On-Page SEO
Now that we have everything for our first blog post (the text, images, and infographics), we can start inputting all this data in our WordPress post editor.
Your blog post structure should include the following:
- URL structure should contain your keyword. Avoid lengthy URLs and try to keep it between 50-60 characters.
- Post title should start with your keyword. If you want to add a word in front of your keyword, it’s fine, but nonetheless, still aim to have the keyword closer to the beginning of the title.
- Main heading should contain your keyword and only be used once. HTML has 6 different heading tags, beginning with H1 (the most important) and ending with H6 (the least important). Always use the H1 tag for the main heading.
- Subheadings should be relevant to your topic and can be used multiple times. For most subheadings, it is enough to use H2 and H3 tags. Using all 6 tags is a bit excessive unless your planning to write a super lengthy blog post.
- Keyword should be used in your URL, post title, main heading and text (1-2 times). Avoid keyword stuffing at any cost! It will negatively affect your SEO and sometimes even result in a Google penalty.
- Image optimization – pick a good file name for your image and include an Alt text description. Ideally, the Alt text should include the SEO keyphrase and also describe the image. However, avoid spammy titles that just include your keyword and nothing else. First and foremost, your text should be descriptive.
- Internal links – interlink relevant articles with each other. I always try to include 2-3 links to my other posts that the reader might find useful.
- External links – link to external articles that are relevant to your post. I usually include 3-4 links that benefit my content.
- Word count – aim to write blog posts that are at least 2000 words. Numerous studies have shown that Google prefers pages that are longer than 2000 words. According to serpIQ findings, the average content length of an article that is ranked number one on Google is a bit over 2450 words.
- Write a meta description (up to 155 characters) – this is a snippet located under your text that summarizes your blog post. It is very important to optimize the meta description as this is the information that search engines show in search results. Ideally, a meta description should be engaging and contain your keyword and a call-to-action.
Summary of the key points is presented below:
If you want to read more on this topic, check out my in-depth post about on-page SEO:
Step 10: Finalize Your Blog Post And Publish It
This is where you need to proofread your text and make sure that your spelling, punctuation and grammar are free from mistakes. I like to read my post aloud as it helps me focus and makes it easier to spot any errors. Also, if you have the opportunity to show your text to anyone else, they are more likely to notice mistakes and provide valuable feedback.
If you aren’t the best speller, I highly recommend using an online tool like Grammarly or any other alternative.
If you aren’t sure what to use, check out my post about the best proofreading tools:
When your are confident in your blog post, it is time to finally hit the “Publish” button. Yay, your blog post is on the Web now.
Step 11: Promote Your First Blog Post
Congrats! Now you know how to write your first blog post.
But you don’t want all your efforts to go to waste, right? If you want people to find your blog post, you need to promote it and drive traffic to your website.
How do you do that?
- SEO – content marketing, keyword optimization, link building. Perform on-page and off-page SEO.
- Email outreach – reach out to relevant people in your industry. According to Quicksprout, for every 100 emails you send out, at least 5 of them should be linking back to you.
- Guest blogging – write content for other blogs in the same industry and gain exposure (and backlinks).
- Social media – use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit etc to promote your blog post. The possibilities here are endless. I am a firm believer in the power of social media.
- Paid promotion – Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Instagram Ads, etc.
To read more on this topic, check out Brian Dean’s post on how to drive more traffic to your website:
Advice from Industry Experts
I have picked 5 of my favorite people in the industry and want to share their opinions with you.
Maybe you’ve been working hard to improve search results, but haven’t been actively promoting your blog posts. I think you should give it a try. That’s why it’s called “content marketing” and not just “content.” Start working smarter, not harder with your site content.
A renowned blogger once said that if you want to gain huge traction with your blog posts, spend 20% of your time writing and 80% marketing and promoting your writing. This is where search engine ranking results come from.
The ironic reality is that if you stop focusing so much on ranking in Google’s top 10 and instead focus on the user while targeting more long-tail keywords, you’ll notice a huge boost in organic search traffic and rankings. This is because Google is passionate about users and will reward a good user experience.
There are actually so many things that I wish I knew on day 1 that would have saved me a ton of time and frustration.
Here are a few of the most important:
1. I wished that I knew that I needed to focus on my 1,000 true fans: I wasted A TON of time posting to social media profiles, tweaking my design and basically spinning my wheels with stuff that didn’t matter. Kevin Kelly was right on the money with his “1000 True Fans Theory“. Your goal from day 1 should be to get in front of your 1,000 true fans, which are people that will absolutely LOVE what you’re doing on your site. Once you have those 1,000 fans in place, you have a small army that will promote you to other people. But without those 1,000 true fans, it’s REALLY hard to get any momentum.
2. I wish I put more resources into building my email list: By the time I started Backlinko in December 2012 I’d been in the IM space for more than 4-years. So I “knew” how important building an email list was. That’s why my initial site design had several opt-in forms on every page. However, I didn’t test different forms, placements or copy. Once I started testing, I was able to significantly increase my conversion rate for what I now realize is the most important metric of all: email subscribers.
3. I wish that I knew that I should focus on epic content pieces: Everything I read online about growing a blog said: “You need to post once or twice per week. The key to growth is publishing consistently.” And that’s exactly what I did. And while the content I put out there was what I’d call “very good”, it wasn’t enough to stand out among the thousands of other articles published that day. I eventually realized that “very good” isn’t good enough. For something to grab eyeballs, social shares and links it has to be AMAZING. Lately I’ve focused on publishing only long, in-depth pieces. I’ve noticed much better results in terms of social shares, interaction and traffic.
There are a ton of blogs out there nowadays, so if you want to start a blog that stands out, you’ll need to create content that stands out.
Here are some quick-hit tips for writing content that people want to read:
- Think of your ideal reader…and write the post to speak to them.Don’t try to please everyone – just make your ideal reader really happy.
- Be helpful and add value.If you genuinely try to be helpful, it’s going to pay dividends in terms of popularity.
- Bring a unique perspective and voice. You’re a unique person, so don’t fall into the trap of writing the same thing as everyone else.
If you bring a unique perspective and try to create awesome content that actually helps your target readers do something better, you’re going to build a great foundation for a successful blog.
In summary: find out what people want, give it to them.
So that’s what I did – I started to browse forums/blogs looking for peoples problems and making notes every time there was something I could help with.
After doing that for a day I saw the same common problems coming up over and over.
With my notes in hand I created possible tutorial titles and then bullet pointed the areas each tutorial should include.
So I knew what my audience wanted and how I could help them.
I also had the mind-set that each piece of content I produced would be the best piece of content on that topic period.
The content strategy was born!
“Where a lot of people mess up is they try to build a business or create a product that serves everybody, and by trying to serve everybody, you serve nobody. You have to specialize and niche down and find a market with a pain point that you, based on your experience, based on your education and based on your passion, can help,”
Don’t pick a topic just because it’s hot. If you can imagine yourself happily writing on this subject and coming up with new products in this space five or 10 years from now, that ups your chance of success.
Starting a blog has never been easier and here is where to start a blog: Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Medium. Now, I know what you’re saying — “Those aren’t blogs”. Actually, they are. Any social media platform can be treated like a blog because that is where people are listening
Currently, many “marketing gurus” will preach that blogging is dead, that it’s over, and that the personal blog has failed.
I want to point out just how wrong they are.
Blogging is now the establishment itself. Start a blog on any social media platform and engage your audience.
To Sum It All Up
Writing your first blog post is never easy. But trust me when I say this, it does get easier with experience. If you are passionate about something in your life and possess extensive knowledge of a certain topic, you are halfway there. I don’t believe that you can become successful by doing something you don’t love or enjoy. I would never devote my life to anything that doesn’t fulfill my dreams.
I started blogging because I genuinely take pleasure in it. It’s not for everyone. It’s not easy. But it is sure as hell satisfying once you see your first little steps of progress.
Be yourself and people will accept you.
Got any comments or questions? Please leave them in the comment section below.