If you’re just starting your online business/blog, maybe you don’t have the luxury to hire a freelance writer to get the job done for you.
And this isn’t a bad thing at all.
You should learn how to write high-quality blog posts anyway if you want to be either a blogger or a freelancer.
If you can create excellent content (posts, videos), you can make money online. And I’m not talking about a few extra dollars, but much more than that.
Also, how do you expect to evaluate the work of the freelancer you hired, if you don’t know how a really good post looks like?
How to Get Content Ideas That Drive Traffic and Sales
Many beginners make the mistake to create a piece of content that they find interesting and then they’ try to promote it.
It sounds good, isn’t it?
What if I told you that this isn’t the best practice to follow?
I’m going to reveal you a secret that many marketers won’t tell you if you don’t buy their course, e-book or webinar!
Do you desire to create content that attracts readers, engages them, resulting in more traffic and success (Likes, Shares, sales) for your blog?
Then you should work the other way around! Define who your audience is, find them online and then create content based on their needs.
Also, make sure to avoid all these blogging mistakes that are killing your blog!
Step #1: Define Your Target Audience
- Who are they? Are they men, women, adults, teens?
- What do they need?
- What are their problems?
- How can you help them?
- What are their habits?
If you have experience about the niche you’re writing for, it would be much easier to understand and help them. Do you need help for choosing your blog niche? I’ve you covered in this post!
Step #2: Find Where They Spent Their Time Online
This serves two purposes:
- First, you can see more specifically what their problems are and what they’re actively searching online. Then, you can create content based precisely on their questions and their needs.
- After you’ve created a valuable piece of content about them, promote it in the same places you found them online.
A post/video that targets a specific audience it’s much more like to succeed! It’s what they need!
Instead of trying to force them to read your random piece of content, make them be thankful that you created it and shared it with them.
If you want to write about a topic that is already covered before, create an improved version of it. Add more value to the existing posts and make it more appealing.
But remember: never just copy other people’s work!
How to Find Where Your Target Audience Lives Online
Facebook, Twitter, and other social platforms offer a great opportunity to see what kind of content is famous and engaging. Also, you can discover other sites/blogs related to your niche.
Let’s assume that we’re interested in the “Camping” niche. After we type it in the search box, we can check all popular Groups, Pages, Events, Posts, Photos, and Videos.
I suggest performing the same search one more time using the hashtag symbol (#). Maybe you’ll discover even more interesting material.
This way, we can take ideas about what our target audience is looking for or sharing online.
Then we can repeat the same process in other Social platforms, such as Twitter. Further, you can try https://twitter.com/search-advanced for more specific searches.
This is probably the best and the most popular webpage for asking questions or getting answers. Everybody can ask a question and everybody can reply. The best answers (based on readers’ votes) appear at the top.
Quora is a goldmine for discovering what are the problems, questions, and fears of your target audience. In order to use Quora, you need to connect a Facebook or Google account or to register a new one. However, it’s free and it’s totally worth it.
Quora user: What is the necessary equipment for camping?
You: Definitely you will need “Tool 1” for this reason. Also, “Tool 2” is very useful. You can find a more detailed guide here: [insert your post’s address]
This is my personal favorite free tool for extracting content ideas. After you type the keywords you’re interested in, you’ll get tons of data based on what people are searching online.
Further, you can select how this data will appear visually and even download the complete report.
You should always research and dig deep in Google for finding useful information about your future content. Also, don’t forget to pay attention to Google’s suggested keywords. These keywords are the most popular queries that the users type in the search engine.
If you want to find more related keywords, use Google Keyword Planner. It’s a valuable free tool that provides more specific data.
(Disclaimer: In this post I recommend some products that I personally use and have success with them. I want to be honest with my audience so I make it clear that if you click any of my affiliate links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a commission.)
Practical Tips for Creating High-Quality Content
In order to create appealing content that attracts your readers, make sure you include into your post:
- An introduction
- A Call-to-Action
Also, your paragraphs shouldn’t be longer than 3 sentences. This way, your content becomes more appealing as your readers’ eyes can take many short breaks.
Let’s dive deeper:
The words that you’ll include here is what will make a reader click and read your post or skip it. Therefore, it’s one of the most important elements. The main point is to attract a reader’s attention.
A heading can drastically affect the number of visitors to a site. As a consequence, this will affect the number of sales or overall traffic. And in the online industry, the numbers (of visitors, sales etc) matters a lot.
So pay attention! According to statistics, here’s how you write a good headline:
- Promise something to your readers. Then, make sure your post fulfills this promise. If a reader is already looking for information about this particular subject, he’ll read your post! (“Start Losing Weight from the First Day with This Easy Diet”).
- Use numbers in your titles, especially if you’re writing lists posts. Numbers make people excited and curious. (“5 Awesome Tips for Getting Rid of Anxiety”).
- Use “How to” in your headlines. This is among the most popular types of posts. People love to learn new skills or how to solve their problems. ( “How to Earn an Extra Passive Income Every Month”).
- Attract readers’ attention using negative words. (“Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Writing a Blog”).
- Make a combination of the above ways. “How to Get Rid of Insomnia (7 proven ways)”.
- Your headline should include less than 75 characters.
- Finally, you should always write them in Title Case. This means that the first letter of every word must be capitalized, except prepositions, articles etc.
If you’re not sure how to write a headline in Title case, use this simple and free tool titlecase.com. Just enter your text in the first box and click “Convert”. Then, your heading will be converted to Title Case in the box below.
Other worth mentioning free tools for generating and analyzing headlines:
- tweakyourbiz.com/title-generator: Simply enter the keywords you’re interested in and it will generate some very good headlines for you. Don’t hesitate to tweak them in order to fit more to your content.
- aminstitute.com/headline: This tool analyzes your headlines with the EMV (Emotional Marketing Value) score. Enter your headline and click “Submit for analysis” to receive your score.
After attracting a reader with your headline, it’s time to ensure that he/she will read your post. To do this, you’ll need an introduction that will hook them to keep reading. Below are some of the best methods:
- Ask them a question. This is probably the most popular way to start a blog intro. (Are you tired of the exhausting exercising without seeing actual results? Learn what you may be doing wrong!).
- Narrate a story that fits your target audience.
- Make statements that readers agree with. (Driving in the traffic is frustrating. But what if meanwhile you were listening to some informative podcasts?).
- Use statistics and link to credible sources. (Did you know that almost 67% of smokers die earlier because of illness caused by cigarettes?).
- Stating a fact. (Raising a child properly is not an easy task, especially if both parents are working many hours. Here are a few tips to help you deal with it).
Before you start writing your post’s main body, think how many points you want to include. Then, you should always separate your points using subheadings:
- Make sure you write your subheadings using H2 or H3 tags (Heading 1 or Heading 2). All popular writing programs (MS Office, Google Documents, WordPress Editor) have these options.
- Keep them short and to the point. It should be a complete phrase or sentence.
- Write your subheadings in Title Case as well.
- Include your most important keywords in at least one of them (for SEO).
- Never use a period at the end of your subheadings.
Tips for your summary:
- Summarize your points and come to a conclusion.
- Use a subheading such as “Summary”, “Let’s Sum It Up”, “The Bottom Line” or something similar. Don’t hesitate to be creative!
- Describe again with a few words the most important steps/parts of your post.
- Your final sentences should always be your “Call-to-Action”.
This is actually the reason why you can profit from every post. A piece of content has no value for its owner if it doesn’t include a Call-to-Action.
At the end of every post, remember to encourage your readers to take a form of action:
- Remind them to like, comment and share the post.
- Ask something that leaves room for discussion.
- Promote/recommend a product or a service.
- Give them a reason to subscribe to your E-mail list.
- Recommend them more relevant posts to read.
6. How to Add High-Quality and Unique Images to Your Content.
Pictures are essential to your content as they make the reading experience more pleasant. They let the reader’s eye to rest for a while so he/she can keep reading your post.
If you haven’t created online content before, you probably don’t know that you aren’t allowed to add to your post any image/photo you found online.
This is because pictures (same as posts or videos) are copyrighted. This means that you can’t use them to your blog or platform. In fact, it’s the same thing as copying other people’s work and it’s considered plagiarism.
However, you can ask for the owner’s permission to add the image into your blog. Further, you can add them to your platform giving the appropriate credits (mentioning the creator’s name and placing an active link to the original source).
So, how can you add high quality and unique images to your blog without having any designing skills?
Fortunately for every content creator with no designing skills, there are many websites that offer “royalty free images” or “stock pictures”. You’re free to use any royalty free pictures as you please or even modify them.
Some of these stock photo sites are free to use, some others require signing up or giving your email, while some others charge a few dollars per picture.
The best option is to use a program like Stencil because it combines an excellent program for editing images and it provides access to millions of royalty-free pictures at the same time.
In the case you want to use a different program, you can find below the most popular sites with a wide variety of free images:
Note that these free images aren’t unique. This means that many other sites are using it, making your work look a bit amateurish. In the case you don’t want to pay for a picture, I strongly recommend to edit a free image, making it unique.
After you’ve chosen a picture you like from a stock site, you can further edit it. For example, you can add text to an image to make it match your content.
There are many editing programs for images that don’t require technical knowledge or designing skills. Some of the best ones are:
This is like Canva on steroids and one of my favorite tools. You can do more things and make higher quality images. Stencil offers a free version and an affordable premium version. If you can spend a few dollars on an image-editing program, look no further than Stencil. It’s one of the best investments you can do for your online business, because:
- It’s fast, simple and easy-to-use.
- Stencil is the best software in its category.
- Stencil provides access to more than 3 million pictures and icons (that other sites charge for each one of them).
- It’s ideal for adding fancy fonts to your images, making them unique.
- You can implement it as an add-on to your browser (Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Chrome)
Check this video to see how fast you can create unique and high-quality images for your online business:
Other decent image-editing programs
- Canva: An easy and simple program that works on your browser. Canva is free but also has a premium version that offers more icons, templates etc. I don’t believe it’s worth buying though, because it often gets slow or appears some glitches. It’s decent for editing a few images, but it gets frustrating if you use it on a regular basis.
- Microsoft Paint: The classic program that is often underestimated. If you get used to it, you can make wonders!
- Adobe Spark: Personally I had a hard time to figure out how it works. It requires some training first I guess. On the other hand, I know that many content creators use it, even for professional purposes.
- Skitch (Windows download – Mac download): It’s a simple and useful tool for editing your screenshots. You can crop your pictures, add arrows, shapes, letters, and highlight a screenshot’s part. The easiest way to capture a screenshot (for Windows) is by pressing the “Windows button” or “Start button“(Windows flag or “Wn” on the bottom left corner of your keyboard) and the “PrtScr” or “Print Scr” button (at the upper right corner of your keyboard) at the same time . Then, the captured screenshots are saved by default at Pictures/Images -> Screenshots.
Writing for the Web Basics
There are two 2 kinds of blog writing:
- SEO Writing (Search Engine Optimization)
- SMO Writing (Social Media Optimization)
This kind of posts focuses mainly on certain keywords in order to rank higher in Search Engines. This way, online businesses drive more traffic to their site, resulting in more sales and profit.
This type of writing is ideal for smaller posts that target specific keywords or long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are keyword-phrases (e.g. How to train your Labrador to be friendly with other dogs).
Usually, smaller or new blogs use this tactic in order to rank high in Google. It’s not going to bring you tons of traffic, but it can bring you targeted traffic. And that’s exactly what you should be looking for!
If a reader types in Google a very specific phrase and finds your blog, it means he/she is already interested in your content. So, it’s more likely to buy from you or get what you have to offer.
In order to improve your chances of ranking in the first page of Search Engines, make sure you include your target keywords in:
- The post’s title
- At least in one subheading
- The first 100 words.
This kind of content relies mostly on Social Media in order to attract traffic and sales. It means that you’re writing for your readers, trying to create the best possible content.
Often, Social Media optimized posts are:
- Long (1500+ word)
- In-depth and well-researched
- Providing high value – Informative
- They have a very attracting headline
Also, these types of posts get more Likes, Shares, and Comments, so Search Engines rank them high.
Note that SMO Writing targets some keywords as well, but it doesn’t rely only on them.
Final Step: Editing Your Work
Once you finish writing your post, it’s time to take a break. Let your mind rest. After a few hours or even a day:
1. Read Your Post Again
Try to catch mistakes such as wrong words or misspellings. Further, make the final adjustments or improve some parts you don’t like.
2. Run Your Content Through a Grammar Checking Program
I strongly recommend Grammarly as it quickly catches vocabulary, punctuation and grammar mistakes. Moreover, you can implement it as an add-on in any browser or word processor software. I personally use the MS Word add-on.
Note that Grammarly offers both a paid and a free version. Both versions are working fine, but the premium one catches more advanced issues and provides advanced fixes. Also, the paid version comes with a “Plagiarism detector” tool.
3. Check Your Content for Plagiarism.
The web is full of content, so it sometimes happens to use the exact same sentence as some else unintentionally.
This is illegal and also affects your search engine ranking, because Google punishes plagiarism. To avoid this from happening, you should run your post through a plagiarism detection tool.
The best two options are:
- CopyScape: This is a reliable, easy-to-use and cheap tool.
- Grammarly Plagiarism Detector: It’s more expensive than CopyScape, but it also offers a valuable premium grammar-checking tool. This tool often detects plagiarized content from academic archives but don’t worry about it.
4. Make the final proofreading
Don’t forget that grammar checking programs aren’t flawless. Before publishing your post read it one more time to ensure that it’s perfect.
Alternatively, let a person (friend/relative) you trust to do the final proofreading.
The best way to create high-quality content that attracts readers and converts them is to take the following steps:
- Find what your targets audience is searching for online
- Research the topic and create a valuable post about it.
- Spread the post in the places that your audience lives online
- Make sure your content includes all the key elements (headlines, images, call-to-action etc.)
Do you have any questions or comments? You can submit them below. It would be a pleasure to answer them! Also, I’d be grateful if you share or like the post!