Did you know that around 4.4 million blogs are published every single day? It’s an amazing number if you think about it.
We’ve never been so inundated with written content - which means it’s never been so difficult to get yours noticed.
But let’s look on the bright side. Around 409m people read WordPress blogs every day. That represents a huge potential audience for your blog, but you have to learn how to tap into it.
These 10 actionable tips will set you on your way to earning a chunk of that online readership.
1. Generate New Content Ideas From Your Competitors
You only have to look at the world of social media to see how even the biggest companies steal ideas from competitors all the time.
Facebook has stolen photo filters, stories, and direct messages from Snapchat alone, for example.
And so there’s no shame in being inspired by your competitors to think up new blog post ideas.
Take a look at their blog to see the kind of stuff they’re writing about. Ideally, they will have a most-viewed section so you can see exactly which type of content resonates best with their audience.
Don’t copy their ideas outright, obviously, but use them to inspire related blogs of your own. Take what they’ve done and put your own spin on it.
If they write a general guide to Facebook ads, you could write separate blogs addressing specific topics related to that blog: how to reduce your ROAS, how to optimize your Facebook ads copy, how to target the right users: things like that.
2. Generate New Content Ideas With Keyword Research
There are plenty of ways to find blog post topics your readers will love, and keyword research is probably the most effective. There are plenty of paid tools - such as Ahrefs, Semrush, and Moz - but Google’s free Keyword Planner can also be an effective way of generating new content ideas.
Start by visiting Keyword Planner and choosing ‘Discover new keywords.’
Now input a list of terms related to your website. These don’t have to be the actual keywords that you’re going to target, because Google is going to produce a list of related keywords for us.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll see thousands of possible keywords. Try filtering and refining them until you get a list of keywords that are relevant to you.
It should be noted that although Keyword Planner is a useful tool for generating content ideas, it has its limitations.
If you want more detailed numbers on search volume and competition then you’ll probably need to use one of the paid tools we just mentioned. I highly recommend using Semrush for all your keyword research and marketing needs.
3. Understand What Your Readers Are Searching For
It’s important to contextualize your keyword research. That means not simply looking at the search terms and writing blogs around them, but understanding what users are actually looking for when they search in Google.
You can do this by Googling the search term in question and analyzing the top results.
Let’s say I’m a freelance copywriter and want to write a blog advertising my services online.
But when I Google ‘freelance copywriter’, I can see that the results come in at least three different categories:
This complicates things because all three categories have different search intentions. Category 1 posts are targeted at businesses looking for a copywriter.
Category 2 is targeted at businesses looking for a freelance copywriter (via a freelance marketplace).
Category 3 is targeted at novice copywriters hoping to learn more about freelance copywriting.
In this case, I would recommend being ultra-specific with your target keyword. So let’s try Googling ‘freelance creative copywriter’ instead.
From the image we can see that there’s now the 4th category of content:
"Marketplaces advertising job vacancies for freelance copywriters."
This is intended for freelance copywriters who want to apply for open positions at companies.
To make sure we’re not competing against the job sites found in category 4, let’s get even more specific with our keyword. Let’s try ‘freelance creative copywriter website.’
OK, now we can see that the top 10 or so results are all freelance creative copywriter websites - just like me.
This is what my intended user is searching for.
So I need to write some content that improves these search results. But how do I do that?
4. Analyze Page One Content - And Improve On It
This part is actually quite simple. Take a look at the pages and blog posts that appear on page one for your target keyword - let’s say that is ‘blogging tips.’
When I Google that search term, the first thing I notice is that most of the page one content is aimed at beginners.
So ours should be too - because it is beginners who are searching for this content.
If we try to write expert, technical advice for bloggers, the people using that search term might not understand or benefit from your post.
Now look through these posts in detail, and note down anything you would add to them. Give users a reason to click on your content instead of theirs.
That might be because your post includes a free PDF checklist of blogging tips.
You might have added an accompanying video for users who don’t want to read 2,000+ words.
Or maybe you spoke to expert bloggers to give your post some extra kudos.
5. Write A Memorable Intro And Meta Description
A large proportion of your blog visitors are likely to come from two places: social media platforms and search engines.
Think of these channels as a shop window for your blog. You only have a tiny opportunity to grab the reader’s attention and entice them into your shop.
That means the first thing they see from your blog - normally the headline + intro/meta description - has to be good.
Better still, it has to be memorable. If it isn’t memorable, they will scroll on and never read the rest of your post.
So use that space to drive home the things that make your blog valuable to the reader. If you’ve been following all of this guide, tip number 4 explains what kind of things they could be.
So if you interviewed an expert as part of your blog, mention it. If you recorded a podcast alongside it, write that in the description.
If you’re offering a free PDF report, tell the reader. This is your chance to tell the user what makes your blog different - so use it.
6. Be Specific
If you’re writing a ‘how to’ style blog, or one that gives out tips and advice, be specific.
Don’t tell people to write better blog posts than their competitors.
Tell them exactly how they can do it, with examples and/or images.
For example, in this very blog, we showed you how you can better understand user intent.
It’s no good just saying ‘use keyword research to generate blog ideas.’ Go through the process step-by-step, ideally with accompanying images.
It’s better to assume your user has no knowledge of the topic than to assume they already know about it.
If you do that, you could omit important information from your blog that they wanted to know. Don't do blogging mistakes like that!
7. Use These Tools To Edit Your Work
Let’s talk a little about the quality of your writing. Being a writer is difficult, it’s an art, and you’re not going to become a brilliant one overnight.
But there are things you can do right away to improve the quality of your blogs and elevate them above a large proportion of bloggers.
Firstly: spell check and edit. The number of online blogs with basic spelling and grammar errors absolutely beggars belief.
Google Docs has a free spell checker that works pretty well. Use it. If you’re unsure about grammatical rules, Google them.
Grammarly is great for that kind of thing, but it’s time-consuming to check each rule one by one. Feel free to try that if you'd like.
WordCounter is possibly the best writing tool of all. Copy and paste your blog into WordCounter and it’ll tell you if it’s too complex to read, if your sentences are too long or if you’re using the same word too many times.
Just some basic editing like this makes a world of difference. Don’t get lazy. You can also use tools like Pro Writing Aid to improve your writing further.
8. Use WordHippo To Expand Your Vocabulary
As we just touched upon, WordCounter is a great way of telling if you’re reusing the same word or phrase too many times. But how do you find an alternative?
That’s where WordHippo comes in.
Take the top words and phrases from your Keyword Density list in WordCounter and put them into WordHippo, one-by-one.
It’ll suggest a bunch of alternatives that you can use. Mixing up your word choice keeps your blog coherent, easy to read, and easy to digest.
If you're using Pro Writing Aid then you don't need to WordHippo, Pro Writing Aid has built-in feature to help you with that.
A word of warning. Keep your word choice simple, and don’t overcomplicate your language.
So if you find you’re using the word ‘great’ too much, it’s not an excuse to go thesaurus-crazy: sensational, marvelous, brilliant, fantabulous.
If there is no better alternative to the word you’ve already used, keep it as it is. This is all about finding a balance between varied vocabulary and over-complicated language.
9. Use Google Analytics To Analyze Average Time On Page
The work doesn’t stop after you publish your blog. Once you start to see traffic, you’ll also start to see analytics.
These analytics are vital to assessing how well your blogs are resonating with your audience.
If you haven't already added Google Analytics to WordPress, I suggest you do that first. If that's done, let's examine the key metrics to look out for (beyond page views).
The first number I like to take note of is the average time on the page.
Now, it goes without saying that the higher this figure is, the more people are reading your post. But what constitutes a good result?
Well, let’s go back to WordCounter (tip #7). If you copy and paste your blog into the tool, it will produce an average reading time.
By comparing this figure with the average time on the page, you can start to get an idea of how much of your blog people are actually reading.
If it’s on the low side, think of what you can do to keep people engaged. You could try breaking up the information into smaller sections to make it more digestible, for instance. Or, you could think again about user intent.
If the average time on page is quite low, perhaps your content isn’t quite what people were looking for. Look again at the other top results for your target keyword, and assess whether they’re more relevant to the user.
For example, let’s say you’ve written a blog: How to Paint a Shed. You’ve broken it down into three sections: how to prepare, how to paint, and how to maintain.
But when I Google ‘how to paint a shed’, most of the top results are step-by-step guides. This suggests that users want a step-by-step guide rather than an overview.
With this knowledge in mind, you should go back and turn your blog into a step-by-step guide.
That’s a hell of a lot of insight to get from just one number, right?
10. Use Google Analytics To Analyze Bounce Rate
I also like to look at the bounce rate for each blog post I write. Now, although it’s easy to think that lower = better, let me explain why that’s not always the case.
Let’s say that someone is looking for the answer to a very specific question: ‘how do I turn off Facebook notifications?’, for example.
And let’s say you write a post that answers that very question, but you see it has a really high bounce rate. Well, that’s OK actually.
Because people are searching for a specific answer to a specific question, it makes sense that they leave your website straight afterward.
They’ve got the answer they need and they’re satisfied. In this case, a high bounce rate isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Your post actually answered the user’s question.
High bounce rates across all the content on your site suggest a wider issue, however.
It suggests your content isn’t engaging or relevant to the user - and that’s obviously not a good thing. There’s no quick fix for this, but if you start following all of the tips outlined in this guide then you can start improving the quality and relevancy of your blogs.
Then, the rest of the pieces will fall into place.
So those were 10 of my tips to instantly start writing better blogs.
What do you think? Do you have any extra tips to share? Or which of these tips are you going to follow to write better blogs instantly?
Let me know in the comments below.