My number one advice for starting a blog is to just start writing and publish it, and that’s exactly how I started. However, there are a few simple things that could have made my first blog posts better. And while writing good content is key, the way you format the post is just as important if you want to draw traffic to the page so somebody actually reads it.
You also want to draw the right kind of traffic so the people who visit your blog actually want to stay and read the posts! So here’s a few tips that can help get your started on the right path with your very first blog post.
When you first start your blog, don’t get too caught up in following all the rules and formatting if it stops you from moving forward. Sometimes you just have to write and hit publish and move on. You’ll learn a lot as you go, and posts can always be updated and edited later. This is how I started, though I could have started even stronger if I’d known a few key things about blogging when I started.
For reference, I’d like to include my very first blog post on Geek Mamas, because you’ve got to start somewhere!
Helpful Tips for Writing Your First Blog Post
Descriptive Titles Matter
As you can see on my first post, I titled it “Mama, mama, mama,” because that’s what I was writing about. But who is going to search that phrase in Google? And if they do type in “mama,” my little blog surely isn’t going to pop up on the first page. It is probably on page one million something.
When you title your post, think about what people are going to be looking for. What is your post really about? What question does it answer? Who would it help to read it? For example, a better title for the post about would be something about starting a mom blog or being a first-time mom blogger. Those are things people are going to be searching for.
Avoid Funny Titles
I thought I was being pretty funny with my blog post titles, hoping to draw people in. Well I did draw people in because of those cheeky headings, but it wasn’t the right kind of people and my bounce rate (people who visit your blog and leave immediately) sky rocketed after I posted a blog titled , “Mommy Spank Me.”
I thought I was being funny and descriptive, because that’s the phrase my son said that sparked the whole blog post. It was a totally innocent post about my toddler acting up and me threatening him with a spanking when he didn’t even know what that meant. He kept bending over and wiggling his butt at me and asking for a spanking after I told him what it was.
One look at the search words people were using to find my blog post alerted me that they were definitely NOT looking for cute toddler stories!! They didn’t stick around long, so while it improved my traffic, it didn’t really help overall.
Use Subtitles to Break Up Your Text
Subtitles are another tool to break up your text and make it more readable. They also help drive home your keywords. Nobody wants to read a big block of unending text. Use your subtitles wisely.
Only Use Copyright-free Photos
Did you know you can be sued for publishing random photos you find online, on your blog? Well you can, and a friend of mine found out first hand when he got a letter from a lawyer claiming he was illegally using a photo the photographer took for profit on his blog. One search and it seems this has actually happened to a lot of people!
And it’s not that he was charging for the photo, the “profit” claims can be from ads on your blog, affiliate links or linking to a business. So when searching for free stock photos for your blog, check out free photos sites like Pexels.com or Pixabay.com. I use those two all the time when I don’t take my own photos. I also take a chance on using memes (like the one above), but try to avoid using copyrighted cartoons. People get busted for those as well!
Example of free stock photo, that I’ve used more than once! (yes it’s ok to use the same photos)
Focus on Your Keywords
You’re going to hear a lot about keywords when you start blogging. You want a fine balance, because mentioning your keyword or key phrase over and over is considered “keyword stuffing” and Google doesn’t like that. So you want your keyword in your title, mentioned in your text, and in a couple subtitles, but not all of them!
For example, my keywords to focus on for this post would be “first blog post.” So if you did find this post on Google, I’d be curious to hear what words you searched for it to pop up.
Include Pictures the Right Way
Pictures are another great way to break up large blocks of text. You want them to be large and clear, but not so big that they dominate the article or take a long time to download. You can change your images over to smaller sizes easily with an app called Compress. It’s free, but I pay for the version where I don’t have to watch ads or have limits on photos. You can also change them in most photo editing apps and programs.
When adding your photos, make sure you take time to include the “alt text.” This will help with your SEO and your keywords.
Use Internal and External Links Wisely
Linking is a huge part of blogging and SEO. When writing your first blog post, you won’t have anything to create internal links with, but it’s something to think about as you add more posts. Internal linking means linking to other posts within your own blog.
Besides internal links, you also want to have some links going to other pages. However, you want to avoid linking to other posts that are competing with your post. If you do that, you are just reinforcing their position as the authority post, and theirs will show up over yours, unless you use a “no follow” tag. I wrote a whole blog post about the “no follow” tags and explain the concept of link juice here: I Got a Crash Course in Nofollow, Noopener and Noreferrer.
With a little knowledge of how blogging works, and how people will find your posts, you can craft your blog into a great resource from your very first posts.