First of all, congratulations on the decision to start a blog! Welcome to the club.
Now that you have the basics of your website set up, the next step of your blogging journey is to write your first blog post.
But wait – what’s this feeling that keeps creeping up from deep within as soon as you sit down in front of your computer to start writing? It sort of resembles:
Confusion. Fear. Analysis paralysis.
You’re starting to overthink things and, as a result, feel stuck.
If you can relate to this scenario, then this blog post is specifically for you.
I’ll let you in on an insider secret: the first step towards getting out of a slump is to just take the first step. A writer’s first step is usually figuring out what to write about, and there are two ways to approach your first blog post: the introductory post or a typical blog post focused on your niche.
Before going into that, let me first explain what makes a high-quality blog post that ranks in search engines. Surprisingly, excellent writing skills (while definitely a plus) are a minor factor.
You might think that writing a high-quality blog post hinges on extraordinary writing skills.
Trying to get a blog post to appear in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is a whole different ball game. There are several other factors to consider besides your writing skills. It’s best to implement the following “best practices” as early as possible, beginning with your first blog post.
Fun fact: you’ll be conducting keyword research for every single blog post you write.
If you’re unfamiliar with keyword research and why it’s important, allow me to explain:
If you want to be a successful blogger, it’s best to practice keyword research as early as possible to ensure your blog posts gain traction in the future.
Search engines like Google don’t randomly notice and rank blog posts. They use a specific algorithm to make sure that the articles being featured on page one are the most relevant to what a user is searching for.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a strategy that is used to optimize web pages according to the algorithm of search engines so that content (such as your first blog post) can be found by anyone who searches for terms relevant to it.
Keyword research is an integral part of SEO. It’s the practice of leveraging the words and phrases a target audience will likely input into a search query to find information about a topic.
I won’t go into detail on how to do keyword research because we already have an article that discusses this at a high level: How To Do Keyword Research For Blog Posts In 6 Simple Steps. I will, however, discuss what makes keyword research so important and why you need to practice it.
Keyword research will make or break your blog. In other words, choosing which keywords to focus your content on can spell the difference between the success or failure of your blog.
Think about it: you chose the perfect niche with the potential for a buying audience. Even if you pump out high-quality content that’s extremely relevant to your niche, if you fail to include the specific terms people are searching for within that niche, it’ll be really difficult for your target audience to find your content.
“So I should repeatedly plug keywords into my blog posts, right?”
Although the number of relevant keywords is crucial to the success of your blog posts, don’t force it. People will immediately turn away from your website if they sense that keywords are unnecessarily inserted into blog posts. Nothing turns people off more than feeling that the author doesn’t care about them.
You carefully chose a niche, so stick with it. Avoid venturing into topics that are too removed from your niche because this type of content won’t provide any value to your audience.
If a food blogger writes a post about how to cement a driveway, I’m going to be skeptical about their food and cementing knowledge.
(This example is a tad extreme, but you get my point.)
For a brand to become an authority, it needs to have expertise and be qualified in its field. Once you know your niche, go ALL IN. Be the expert surrounding that topic and cover every nook and cranny with the blog posts you write.
If you did your due diligence to define your audience then you will have a clear understanding of their pain points. Combine those pain points with your specialized knowledge to find your sweet spot.
This gives your posts an edge with attention-grabbing titles and content that delivers the best advice that helps your audience with solutions to their pain points.
It should go without saying that using proper format, such as an easy to read font and organized paragraphs, should be automatically applied starting from your very first blog post.
Proper formatting doesn’t end there, though. Here are two tips that should always be applied to every single blog post you publish.
43% of online readers admit to skimming blog posts. Admit it – when was the last time you completely read a blog post? Not all people have the time to read a 3000-word blog post in one sitting. That’s why most of us just skim through headings.
Properly incorporating headings and subheadings in your content – even in your first blog post – is crucial. The use of headings and subheadings organizes your content in a way that emphasizes the most important information — making it easier for visitors to decide which information is, and isn’t, relevant to them and which is not.
Make your posts easily skimmable and users will thank you for it.
A wall of text is intimidating to users and an eyesore. It’s best not to clog your blog post with text and, instead, break up paragraphs into smaller “bite-sized” parts.
A good method to break up long paragraphs is the use of images. Images add two benefits to your blog posts: they can be a good visual representation of your content and allow you to neatly break up paragraphs.
Make sure that the images you use are relevant to your content and be aware of copyright laws (stock images will clear you from any copyright problems). Randomly inserting images throughout a post just for the sake of including images will serve to confuse readers rather than help to emphasize your point.
Now that you know how every blog post should be drafted, let’s go over how to write your very first blog post.
The introductory post is a common path bloggers take. It’s a public declaration and announcement of what people should expect from your blog.
An introductory post should include:
An introductory welcome post is a good first blog post choice, but there’s another option that establishes your authority right from the start. This option will require more work than an introductory post, though.
Instead of writing an introductory post, your first blog entry could be a regular piece of content on your blog. In other words, your first blog post could focus on whatever your typical content might focus on.
This is the first step in establishing your authority.
This first article should be a chunky one because it’ll be considered a pillar post. Pillar posts are articles that are full of information and the foundation that supports your content marketing. These articles are usually 3000 words long (sometimes even more).
However, if you plan on going down this route, it’s important to find the balance.
First, this post shouldn’t be rushed or low-quality. Make sure to apply careful keyword research to appeal to your target audience, and take the time you need to complete the post. Make sure to strategically use keywords and rigorously edit before publishing.
Second, you don’t want this post to be the thing that stops you from launching because you’re striving for perfection. Unfortunately, many people use their first post as an excuse to not launch their blog. Don’t nitpick your first blog entry ideas. Get launched and concentrate on “perfecting” your content and promotion efforts more down the road.
Your first blog post should give visitors a good introduction to your writing style and be interesting enough to make them want more. And remember – it doesn’t have to be the best thing you’ve ever written.
Your blog posts will improve massively as you continue to write. You may not even notice how much your writing and blogging skills improve until three or five years down the line when you revisit your first post.
There’s no such thing as a perfect blog post, and the sooner you come to terms with this, the better.
I’m not advocating sloppy work. Nor am I saying you shouldn’t be obsessive about the details of your writing.
What I’m saying is that even the best blog post could be improved upon. The best approach to creating content is to make every post as good as it can be and learn from the experience.
I’ll be honest: your first blog post will probably never rank.
Do your best anyway. Don’t overthink when writing your first blog post because it’ll probably get pushed out of sight and relevance as you publish more content. Striving to create THE best blog post first can actually result in fewer people coming across it in the early days of your blog.
You’ll learn quite a bit from those early blog posts. In my 16 years of being an online entrepreneur I’ve realized that you will learn more from doing, observing, and adapting rather than striving for perfection on the first try.
In this industry, momentum is everything. So get moving!
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