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CHALLENGE DAY #4: Writing Pages and Posts

It’s finally time to start WRITING! Pages, posts- we’re going to write them all today so you can attract the right readers again and again.


I challenge you today to finish today’s lesson and get one step closer to an additional income stream in your life!


Today you will learn about:

  • writing your About page,
  • setting up a Contact page,
  • creating a content calendar,
  • writing blog posts,
  • and getting shares on your posts.

Remember, if you need help with anything at all, ask away in our Facebook community, and tag your question with #challengeday4.



New to this challenge?

Did you somehow find your way to this roadmap before even learning about what this challenge is about? Well, let’s get you started the right way.

Learn about this free blogging course here.


Sarah Chetrit is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This is how I am able to provide you with this information for free! Thank you for helping me help you! Learn more.


WRITING YOUR ‘ABOUT’ PAGE

Who are you? Why should readers listen to what you have to say? What is your blog even about?

These are some questions you may want to answer in your About page.

Essentially, an About page shares information about you, your blog or even why you started blogging about your niche.

  • Tell your readers who you are, what your blog is about, and how it’ll provide value to your reader.
  • Be open to your readers connecting with you on a personal level, and feel free to express the passion you have for your niche.
  • Also, it’s a good idea to ask your readers to subscribe to your newsletter or follow you on social here! Asking them to do something like this is a Call-to-Action or CTA for short.

Add this page into the top menu or somewhere on your site where it is easily accessible.

See my About page as an example.


SETTING UP YOUR CONTACT PAGE

A ‘Contact’ page is self-explanatory. It’s there so your readers can reach out to you if they have questions or just want to say hi.

Here’s what you should have in it:

  • A contact form or simply your email
  • Friendly wording on why your reader should contact you and what benefit they’ll get out of doing so
  • Links to your social media accounts that you’re active on

You could even add a picture of yourself here to make them feel more connected to you or willing to contact you!

Add this page into the top menu or somewhere on your site where it is easily accessible.

See my Contact page as an example.


CREATING A CONTENT PLAN

11/10/20 Update: I added this section in because I realized a lot of new bloggers have trouble staying motivated and consistent.

If you don’t write blog posts, then you can’t get page views. If you can’t get page views, then most likely you’re not going to make money with ads, sponsorships and affiliate marketing.

To help you stay on track with blogging, I recommend creating a content plan even before you start writing your first blog post. This will help you stay structured and be consistent.

To help you with this, I made this content calendar/tracking sheet for you with Google Spreadsheets. It’s something I wish I had when I first started blogging to keep me organized!

  • To get this, go to this Google Spreadsheet.
  • Click on the empty white square in the top left corner (above the number 1 and to the left of the letter A). This will copy the entire page.
  • Create a new Google Spreadsheet, and paste this in.

To make your content plan, simply fill out column C with some blog post ideas and write in potential dates that you want that blog post to be published. Future blog posts to write should be in italics to note that you haven’t written them yet.

  • For the purposes of our blogging course, please add five blog post ideas + dates to the spreadsheet.
  • Be kind to yourself about the dates. You don’t need to overdo it since you’re in this for the long-term.
  • Focus on quality over quantity. Writing one really great blog post every four weeks is much better than writing three mediocre blog posts in four weeks.

If you want to make sure that you’re blogging the most efficient way from the start and want to get page views from Google organically, which technically means you don’t have to post to social media for page views, then you’ll want to create a search engine optimized content plan.

An SEO plan keeps in mind how the Google search engine algorithm works so you can target keywords and write blog posts in an efficient and systematic manner. This allows you to grow your page views the most efficient way.

Learn about how the Google algorithm works in Module 1 of my free SEO Course.


WRITING BLOG POSTS

GETTING TO KNOW WORDPRESS

Now that you have a content plan written, it’s time to familiarize yourself with WordPress.

To write a new blog post, in your WordPress dashboard, you can either:

  • hover over +New in the top bar and click on Post,
  • or go to Posts in the left sidebar, hover over it or click on it, and select Add New.

You will see a page like the above, which is the WordPress Gutenberg editor.

Here are some basic things to know:

  • Add your Title where it says ‘Add title’.
  • Where it says ‘Start writing’ is where your content will go (i.e. writing, photos, etc.).
  • Each paragraph, image, columns, etc. gets put into a ‘block’.
  • The Document bar on the right side has components related to your entire blog post such as what category your post will go in.
  • The Block bar on the right side pertains to characteristics of a specific block.

To learn more about using WordPress Gutenberg editor so you can take full advantage of everything it has to offer such as Reusable Blocks, read this post.

Every time you publish a blog post, it’ll automatically be found in your Blog.

This is different from publishing a Page, which is more of one-off content such as your About or Contact page. They have to be manually shown on your blog.


TYPES OF BLOG POSTS YOU CAN WRITE

There are a six categories of blog posts that your post will generally fall into. They are:

  • How-to posts – show how to do something with clear instructions
  • Newsjacking posts – take news and inject your personal opinion into it
  • Personal spotlight posts- interview someone and highlight their story
  • Listed based post aka “listicles” – list out information, facts, or resources
  • Curated posts – curate content from the web in an easy-to-follow manner for your reader
  • Entertaining posts – entertain your readers

Of course there are other types of posts outside of these six categories, but these are the main ones that people tend to write.

Whether you write a how-to post or a curated list, you’ll want your post to be captivating to draw your reader in.

TIPS FOR WRITING CAPTIVATING BLOG POSTS

SPEAK TO YOUR AUDIENCE

Before you even begin writing, think about who you’re writing to.

What do they want to know about? What problem do they have that you’re trying to solve? How will your words resonate with them?

If it helps, you might want to create an ideal reader profile.

Is your reader male or female? How old is he? Where does he live? What is he interested in? What type of lifestyle does he lead?

After making this reader profile, write to that person.

Make the post about that specific reader.

Make your headline and opening paragraph shine.

Most people will only read your headline and opening paragraph so you have to make those shine bright like a diamond.

Then perhaps, they’ll read the whole post and even be willing to share it.

Here are examples of headlines that people like. Adjust it to your own post.

  • How I Learned How to Make a Profitable Blog in 7 Days
    • Don’t you love learning about people’s personal experiences knowing that it can be done? Tell readers you too have experienced something first hand.
  • 10 Ways to Eat Healthier Without Trying
    • Knowing that a post is going to clearly solve a problem for me in X number of steps makes me want to read it more than a general post about eating healthier.
  • Amazing Lessons I Learned in my 20s
    • Although you might not talk like this, or your lessons aren’t the most amazing, it’s ok to put this in your headline. It’s a way to get your foot in the door. Once you pull a reader in, then you can write as you intended to.
  • How do you use Pinterest? Expert advice straight from the source.
    • This cuts to the chase of what problem you’ll be solving for your reader.
  • Expert Strategies to Getting More Page Views
    • This automatically informs your reader that they’re going to get expert advice on something so it’ll probably draw them in more than just getting average strategies for more page views.

However you choose to write your headline, make sure it is clear and concise but also exciting.

Stirring up some kind of emotion or solving an issue is a safe way to go with headlines.

Organize

If you’re about to write a lengthy post about a complicated subject or something with a lot of steps, it may help you to write out a framework for your post first, then write content in afterwards.

Not only will this be helpful to you, but it’ll help your readers take in your information in an organized matter without intimidating them.

To keep your post organized:

  • Use headers.
  • Write short paragraphs with 2-4 sentences.

Using headers and writing short paragraphs will increase the readability of your blog post. Better readability increases user experience, which can boost your SEO ranking with Google and increase page views.

Show, Don’t Tell

You are the expert in your field, but your reader doesn’t necessarily need to hear, “I am an expert in this.”

You can show it to them by laying out information that they can understand and take in easily.

As they read, they’ll learn that you’re an expert through the picture you’re painting for them.

Be Useful and Informative

Providing value to your reader is the ultimate way to keep your reader for sticking through to the end of the post and coming back for more.

Whenever you’re writing a post, ask yourself if you would find this information to be useful or informative.

Then ask yourself, “Will the reader find this useful or informative?”

If you’re not sure, then you can always ask your friends and family, or even ask your fellow bloggers in our Facebook group.

Have a Call-to-Action at the End

Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) in your post to trigger a response from your reader after connecting with them.

You can ask them to comment on your post, share it, or sign up for your newsletter.

Be careful about asking them to buy something.

That, of course, is our ultimate want if we have affiliate links in there, but doing it too fast or pushing too much about it before creating a relationship could scare your reader away.

When in doubt, always go back to the ‘useful and informative’ tip.

You can ask yourself, “Would my reader find this useful and informative enough to want to make this purchase?”

Edit Your Post

Editing your post is essential when it comes to writing a captivating post. When you go back to edit, look out for:

  • Grammar mistakes
  • If sentences and paragraph flow properly together – If it helps, read your post out loud to catch these odd sounding sentences.
  • Long paragraphs that are hard to read
  • Visual adjustments you can make such as with headlines or adding photos

TOOLS FOR WRITING BLOG POSTS

These blogging tools have been a must-have since I first started blogging. They are tried-and-true resources I always recommend.

for writing and editing

Grammarly is a free Google Chrome plugin to double check your grammar. It is a time-saver and big help when it comes to editing!

If you’re not sure what words to capitalize in your headline, head to this Title Capitalization site. Choose what style of writing you want to use, and copy and paste your headline in.

for photos

Unsplash is an awesome site for free stock photos. They’re not the stock photos you saw from the 90s of business men in offices. They’re taken by real photographers and mimic beautiful photos that you might find on Instagram.

They have a really great selection of photos, and you can do whatever you want with these photos! They are 100% royalty free. You don’t even need to credit the photographer unless you want to.

Pexels and Pixabay are two other free stock photos sites I use when Unsplash doesn’t have what I want. You can also do whatever you want with these photos.

Although you cannot use photos from Instagram freely since they’re copyrighted, you can embed photos from Instagram into your post! All you have to do is:

  • Go to Instagram and find a photo you want.
  • Click on the photo so the photo box opens up.
  • Click on the three dots in the bottom right corner.
  • Choose Embed.
  • Copy and paste the code into a Custom HTML block in WordPress.

Here’s an example from my own Instagram.

For SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)

Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is basically when your blog post is optimized for search engines. It’s a method of getting organic traffic.

From a non-blogger’s point of view- you know how when you need a question answered you go to Google, type it in and a bunch of websites show up?

Those websites in your search results are most likely search engine optimized and that’s how you were able to see them in the top ten results.

Not learning SEO from the start is one of the biggest mistakes I made as a new blogger. Other experienced bloggers also list not learning SEO as one of their biggest mistakes so I’m happy to teach you about it from the start!

To optimize your blog post for search engines, make sure your blog follows basic search engine optimization rules. An SEO post will have:

  • keyword optimized titles,
  • keywords in the post,
  • use of targeted keywords in the first and last paragraphs of your post,
  • and keyword anchor texts.

Doing this will make your post more relevant to readers who find you from search engines.

THREE TOOLS I USE:

Keysearch – This SEO tool helps you find keywords that you can rank for.

Since using this tool and focusing on SEO, my page views from search engines doubled in a year!

I use Keysearch because it’s the cheapest, effective SEO tool I could find and you don’t need more than the Starter plan.

I don’t recommend getting this until you at least read my post about SEO for Beginners here. But if you do get it, at least get 20% of the Keysearch Starter plan with the code KSDISC.

Get a free PDF of how I find keywords with Keysearch in Module 3 of my free SEO course.

Yoast SEO – This plugin I had you download yesterday is awesome!

You put in the keywords that you find from Keysearch into the plugin at the bottom of the post, and Yoast SEO will let you know how your search engine optimization is

It’ll give you exact tips on how to improve your blog post.

Google Analytics – Google Analytics has so much information that most bloggers don’t take advantage of such as what keywords people are typing into search engines to get to your blog.

Learn about Google Analytics for bloggers here.


MANAGING YOUR TIME

A blog post has many components to it. It’s not just writing.

These are things you might do for one blog post:

  • think of an idea,
  • write a headline,
  • write the post,
  • research places, people, and facts,
  • look up links and websites to include in your post,
  • put in photos,
  • edit the post, and
  • market your post.

To better manage your time when writing a post, especially if you work full-time, you can break up your post into separate sections, and plan it over the week or two or however often you choose to publish a post.


WRITE YOUR FIRST BLOG POST

Now that you know what makes up a good blog post, time to write your first one!

Either choose one of your planned blog posts from your content calendar or one of the topics you wrote in your niche activity from day one, and jump into your first blog post.

It is up to you what you choose to write.

After you write your blog post, make sure to also:

  • in the sidebar, add a feature image as this will be shown on your blog,
  • select a category,
  • write an excerpt, which is a quick 1-2 sentence summary about your blog post,
  • and at the bottom, copy and paste the excerpt into the Yoast SEO plugin, which you might have to reword to make it fit.

Good luck, and feel free to share your first blog post in our Facebook group!


UPDATE YOUR CONTENT CALENDAR

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Once you publish your blog post, don’t forget to update your content calendar spreadsheet!

To update the spreadsheet with blog posts after you publish them, add in the published blog post link and check off the social columns as you share your blog post.

You can customize it by adding or deleting columns for things you want to track. For example, take away or add social channels you plan on sharing your blog posts to.

Tip: I personally would only choose maximum two social media channels to publish your blog posts to. Otherwise you will spread yourself too thin and get overwhelmed with blogging.

The #1 social media channel to post to would be Pinterest (depends on the niche), but if you focus on SEO, you really don’t have to post to social media at all.


GETTING SHARES ON YOUR BLOG POST

To get shares on your blog post, you’ll want to add Share buttons onto your blog post so that readers can share your blog posts to their friends and family easily.

I’ve tried six different sharing plugins over the past five years ranging from free to paid plugins, and by far my favorite is the Grow plugin.

There is a free version, Grow by Mediavine (search for this in the Plugins page), which is great as a simple sharing tool.

Here are tips for the free version:

  • Activate the Inline Content, which will show social share buttons on your blog posts.
  • If you use the Floating Sidebar, check to see how this looks on mobile.
    • With my theme, the buttons cover the content on mobile, so I uncheck the Show on Mobile option.

But as I mentioned before, there are four things I recommend a new blogger buying: a hosting plan, theme, my SEO course and Grow Pro by Mediavine.

Grow Pro by Mediavine is great because it combines the best of regular social sharing tools and specific Pinterest sharing tools that I’ve used. I highly recommend using Grow Pro in combination with marketing your posts on Pinterest.

If budget is something to keep in mind right now though (don’t worry; I’ve been there as a new blogger), then hosting, theme and my SEO course are the most important… and I’m not just saying that about my SEO course to make money, which is nice of course, but even before I had my course I recommended new bloggers learning SEO asap!

You can get free information about SEO all over the internet but my course condenses the information to what bloggers, not e-commerce sites or businesses, need to know and my personal experience of years of SEO. Get started with beginner SEO tips here.

Good to Know: SEO and Pinterest are my main methods of getting page views to my blog organically. I don’t focus on anything else!

Grab a free LITE version of my SEO course here.

NEXT STEP

I am so proud of you for finishing the fourth day of the challenge!

Now you can:

If you have any questions, feel free to ask anything in our Facebook group!


#letsbamm

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