There isn’t a one size fits all approach to blogging. We’d all jump on blogging best practices that guarantee success. A blog by number approach.
Your blog will always be unique. Even within the same niche, two blogs can take completely different paths and both come out on top.
That said, blogging best practices are important. Ignore them and your blog will be a sink of wasted time and money.
Get them right and the results will surprise you. Read on to become a successful blogger in 2020…
Blogging Best Practices In 2020
- Figure Out Why You’re Blogging
- Pick A Niche & Matching Revenue
- Create Content Your Audience Really Wants To Read
- Write The Best Content You Can
- Pick The Right Keywords
- Work On Your On-Page SEO
- Backlinks, My Top Tip For Best Blogging Practices
- Post Frequently
- Encourage Engagement
- Treat Blogging As A Job
- Find Where Your Audience Hangs Out
#1 Figure Out Why You’re Blogging
This #1 blogging best practice might seem obvious, but have you actually thought about why you’re starting a blog?
I don’t just mean to work from home. To lounge about all day in your PJs, go for a run at midday or take time out to meet up with friends.
Yep all terrific benefits when you’re a full-time blogger but let’s get you there first!
I’m trying to get at what is the purpose of your blog?
Is it for an existing business? Done properly, blogging can really help your business grow.
Or do you want to be a PRO blogger, making money directly from your blog with ads, affiliate income or selling products?
It’s important to know the end goals before you start. Figure out what is a blog and how does blogging work.
Now you could just wing it! Write about anything and everything that pops into your head.
It might work, if you’re a celebrity. Otherwise it’s a short cut to your own lonely spot on the internet, that no-one ever visits.
Not even your mom.
#2 Pick A Niche & A Matching Revenue
I’ve written about this before. It’s no good deciding to make money from ads then picking a small niche like this one.
Ads need vast amounts of traffic to make a good income. You need to be writing about really popular topics.
It’s a best practice for bloggers to have a clear idea of how your blog will make money. If in doubt, check out other blogs in your niche.
You can learn a lot from your competition. Work out what they’re doing to make money. Does it match what you want to do? If not, find another niche.
#3 Create Content Your Audience Really Wants To Read
Forget writing about the weird stuff you’re interested in. No-one wants to know. You need to write for your audience.
I have a lifestyle blog. If it was a reflection of my actual lifestyle and all the crazy stuff I’ve done in my life no-one would read it.
Maybe one day I’ll write that personal blog and find my lonely spot on the internet. Right now I want to make money.
My lifestyle blog provides tips, advice and inspiration for people wanting to get fit and enjoy the outdoors. It’s a popular niche.
These are topics I really care about but I’m not writing for myself. There’s a difference.
Work out what keeps your audience wants. What fills their dreams or keeps them awake at night. What are their biggest desires and what topics do they devour?
The bigger the need, the easier it will be to grab your audience’s attention.
Take, for example, the subject postpartum hair loss. If your hair is falling out in chunks, do you think it will be enough to read just one post on the topic?
Of course not! You’re going to read every single post you can get your hands on!
These are the posts you want to be writing. The issues your audience really cares about.
Now not every blog needs to cover the burning issues – there will always be a place for lemon drizzle cake as the Londoner blog knows all too well.
But even this type of lifestyle blog is tapping into it’s audiences desires, painting a lifestyle of perfection.
Whatever your chosen blog topic, just make sure your posts are relevant. If you have an eCommerce store selling dog collars, write about how to choose a dog collar, dog collars for training… keep it on topic.
There needs to be a match between what you’re promoting and what you’re writing about.
#4 Write The Best Content You Can
Some of the best practices for blogging create conflict. One of these is frequency of posting.
There’s a misconception frequency is everything when it comes to blogging. Want to get more traffic? Post everyday.
My organic traffic went UP when I stopped posting for 3 months on my lifestyle blog.
Blogging isn’t all about frequency. It’s about posting the best possible content you can – right now.
What does this mean?
You’re not going to start a blog and over night become the best writer ever. Or suddenly be able to produce amazing graphics to illustrate your blog posts, (unless you’re already a graphic designer).
But you do need to show up with your best work.
It’s better to spend time writing your best possible post than churning out mediocre posts just to it a self imposed deadline.
One great post a month will always be better than four lousy ones.
#5 Pick The Right Keywords
Blogs often fail because they start out writing posts they have absolutely no chance of ranking.
Judging from keyword choices, bloggers must be the most optimistic people on the planet!
In case you haven’t done your homework yet, keywords are phrases. The words people use to search on Google.
This post is about “blogging best practices”, in case you hadn’t noticed. It’s a keyword I have a chance of ranking for and it’s a topic relevant to my audience.
Helpful information for you and visits to my blog – a win-win situation.
If I write about “blogging” that’s a lot harder. Even heavyweights like Neil Patel fail to make the first page of Google for the term “blogging”.
(If you haven’t discovered Neil’s SEO tool Ubersuggest yet, hop over and take a look now! It’s excellent and free. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization).
Pick keywords where you have a chance of getting on the first page of SERPs (search engine results page).
That’s going to be keywords with a really low SEO difficulty (SD) if you’re a new blogger. Aim for less than 10. Less than 5 is even better.
#6 Work On Your On-Page SEO
When it comes to blogging best practice knowing your SEO is really important. Yes you can grow your blog with social media, but for long term success, SEO is essential.
Get your SEO right and Google will consistently send you traffic for years to come. Unlike social media, where yesterday’s post is history, posts ranking on Google tend to rank higher with longevity.
It’s going to take way more than one blog post to cover On-Page SEO. You could check out my NO-Nonsense SEO course, but here’s a few tips to get started:
When you’ve picked a keyword you have a chance of ranking for, research and write your post. Make sure it’s the best possible content.
Try and improve on what’s already ranking on Google and make sure what you write is relevant to search queries.
Write your first draft before you go back and optimize for SEO. This way you’ll write naturally and your copy will flow for your readers.
Next you need to include your keyword strategically in your text. Add it to your blog title, the url and meta description. Include your keyword in your first paragraph.
Add your keyword or related terms, (for example: the best blogging practices for bloggers), naturally throughout your text. Keyword stuffing isn’t best practice. Just add your keyword a few times within the body of your content and, if possible, within a sub heading.
Come up with a click worthy blog post title
Post titles are your little adverts on Google, (and social media). Make them count.
You want a title that entices someone to click through to your post. A title with a hook. Something your readers desire. In this case it’s ranking on Google.
It’s not easy coming up with a catchy, enticing headline, that contains your keyword and has a maximum of 70 characters.
Take a look at the tabloids and get some tips from the pros.
Make your post the right length
If you’re trying to compete with other posts to hit the top spot on Google – make sure your post is the right length.
There’s heaps of articles around writing about Skyscraper posts. It was invented by Brian Dean at Backlinko and the original intention of the technique was link building.
- Find link-worthy content
- Make something even better
- Reach out to the right people
Somehow it’s become a technique that’s lost in translation. Instead of a technique for building backlinks, I’ve read countless articles about writing super long posts.
Stop right now.
Your post length should match the average for the keyword you’re targeting on Page 1 of SERPs.
If all the posts on the Page 1 you’re targeting are 500 – 800 words, write a post around 650 words in length and make them words that count.
You don’t always have to write a super long article.
The posts on this blog tend to be long 2000+ words but it matches equivalent posts in my sector.
On my much neglected lifestyle blog, I have a post of around 1000 words consistently in the top 3 spot and driving significant traffic to my blog.
Just make your blog post length appropriate.
Write a good meta description
It’s always good blogging best practice to write a meta description. Your meta description is a 160 character sales pitch describing your post content.
It needs to be relevant. Don’t over promise. You don’t want disappointed readers heading straight for the back button. (Google will penalize high bounce rates).
Include your keyword in your meta description and make sure there’s a hook to entice people to read your post.
Work on your page load speed
The top ranking sites on Google are fast. Google loves speed. A fast loading site will always win out over a slow site when it comes to ranking.
The number one way to improve your speed is to opt for good hosting. Opt for the best you can afford.
I use WPEngine on this blog because tend to write long posts with lots of images. Long form content needs good hosting to load fast!
A rookie error when it comes to speed is using bloated images. Always make sure your images are sized appropriately and optimize to load as quickly as possible.
This Facebook Live video walks you through resizing your images using free tools. Give my page a like while you’re there!
Backlinks are incredibly important when it comes to best practice. As bloggers you can make quite a difference with your internal and external linking.
Make sure you link to authoritative external references where relevant in your post and create internal links throughout your blog to other posts on the same topic.
Keep your urls short and sweet.
Google takes notice of your urls so keep them short and easy to read. Make sure they include your keyword. When you start your blog go to Settings > Permalinks and select postname.
A word of warning here. Don’t start changing your permalink settings for an established blog. At least not without seeking Pro SEO advice.
NOTE: Whenever you change a URL make sure you create a redirect to send traffic from the old URL to the new.
Make sure your site is HTTPS
HTTPS is becoming essential if you want to rank on Google. If you’re starting a new site, make sure it starts off from the word go as HTTPS.
You can read all about HTTPS and SSL certificates in my post:
#7 Backlinks, My Top Tip For Best Blogging Practices
This is the bit most people avoid, Off-Page SEO. It’s better known as building backlinks to your blog, links from other people’s blogs or websites.
It should be a priority. Building backlinks can have a major impact on your web traffic. Stick it on the must-do list if you want people reading your posts.
#8 Post Frequently
Yeah I know. This is a bit of a contradiction to #4 Write The best Content You Can!
You do need to keep your blog active. Google likes updates. Your readers like to see new content.
There’s nothing sadder than a neglected blog with the latest post 6 months old.
One alternative to constantly writing new posts is to update your existing content. Working on improving your posts can sometimes be more effective, especially if you improve posts that are already ranking on Google. It’s a way to push your post up to Page 1 of SERPs.
Your post frequency will depend on the type of blog. If it’s a magazine style or lifestyle blog where your audience is constantly looking for a new read, you need to post frequently.
#9 Encourage Engagement
There are some very successful blogs with huge numbers of comments on every post. Encouraging people to engage with your posts is a great way to improve your ranking.
Just make sure that you always reply to comments.
It’s also important to write content that keeps your readers on the page.
This isn’t some stuffy textbook writing. Your purpose as a blogger is to inform and entertain.
Keep the writing light, friendly and write for the medium.
People are reading your blog on their phone. Big chunks of text are a big turnoff.
Stick to short, easy-to-read paragraphs and break up your text with images and headings. Some people prefer to skim read and headings keep them on your page.
#10 Treat Blogging As A Job
If you want to make money from blogging, it’s not a hobby. Treat it with respect.
When you start your work week as a blogger, have a plan. Stick to it and make yourself accountable.
#11 Find Where Your Audience Hangs Out
It’s a mistake to assume that just because everyone these days is on Instagram it’s the best platform for you. Or that you need to spend all your time on FaceBook, or Twitter…
Choose the social media platform that best suits your blog. You want to be where your audience hangs out.
Conclusion, Best Practices For Blogging
The way we interact with blogs continues to evolve with new technology. It’s a medium that barely existed 20 years ago. We read blogs on the phone, on the go and use voice search.
Best practices for blogging continue to evolve with Google algorithm changes but the basics stay the same. Writing quality content your readers love.
Get the basics right and you will always have readers.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Figure out why you’re blogging.
2. Pick a niche and make sure it matches the revenue stream.
3. Create content your audience really wants to read.
4. Write the best content you can.
5. Pick the right keywords.
6. Work on your On-Page SEO – keywords, post title, post length, meta description, page load speed, internal and external linking, short urls and an HTTPS site.
7. Build backlinks.
8. Post frequently
9. Encourage engagement.
10. Treat blogging as a job.
11. Find where your audience hangs out.