I should know … This week, MyMoneyDesign.com officially turns 6 years old. Can you believe it?
And while I don’t have any ultra-impressive five or six-figure monthly income reports to share with you, I do celebrate the fact that we have a ton of blog content to offer you – over 500 posts (and counting)!
But that’s not to say I haven’t had my fair-share of success either. Blogging over the years has been an incredible source of modest passive income; generating sometimes as much as four-figures of revenue each month.
Earlier this year I even sold a few of my side-project niche sites for five-figures. That’s a lot of money for simply “playing around” on my computer at night.
I’ve watched several of my articles climb to Page 1 in the Google search results for their intended keyword, and appreciated every new visitor to my site it’s brought. The feedback I’ve received from the readers and the questions they’ve generated have really forced me to become a better expert in so many areas of personal finance; some I didn’t even know existed!
But none of that would be possible without the focus first on this blog’s content. Though I don’t consider myself to be any sort of great writer, I do have a few tricks and strategies that I follow to produce what I think makes for a worth-while and quality read.
So with that said, whether you’re a new blogger or have been already at it for a while, here are some words of encouragement for writing better blog content.
Write About the Things You Want to Know More About
I write about the things I want to know more about.
I’ve made mistakes in the past of:
- Forcing myself to write review posts.
- Write about topics that didn’t interest me but I thought they would be good for the site.
- Create content simply to rank for keywords that I thought would be low competition .
All of these were bad ideas. It was putting the cart before the horse.
Unfortunately this has also been the demise of many blogs I used to read over the years. I could see them also fall into these traps and simply get burned out.
To really write a post (and I mean REALLY write a well-researched, +2,000 words of content with graphs, pictures, etc), you need to actually care about the subject. And the only way to do that is to pick topics that you genuinely have an interest or passion for.
- Maybe it’s a question you have.
- Maybe it’s something that could help a loved one.
- Maybe it’s a question you already know the answer to, but you’d like to better explain it to a friend.
In all of these cases, the spark should start with some sort of curiosity or meaning within you.
Don’t try to guess at what your audience wants you to write about.
As long as the topics you’ve got in mind are within your blog’s niche, then there’s a very strong chance that your readers will have the same types of questions too. After-all, aren’t common interests what attracted them to your blog in the first place?
Once you’ve got solid and interesting topics at your core, it’s okay to then go back and add in any keywords or affiliate promotions. As long as it doesn’t disrupt the natural flow of the content, then there’s no harm.
What happens when you get writers block and run out of things to write about?
My trick is to the hit the Internet and see what’s going on in the personal finance community.
- Check out your favorite blogs and see what’s sparking conversation in the comments sections.
- Go to forums and look at what kinds of questions are being asked (and if you could do a better job answering them).
- Hit up social media like Twitter and Pinterest and take notice of the headlines are the getting the most buzz.
Do this enough and you’ll be sure to find something that sparks your creativity again.
Write Content That Provides Value
If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t hit publish.
Think about how or why someone would come across your content in the first place. Every day, people use search engines to effectively find the answers to questions they have. So in order for your content to matter and live on, it has to accomplish this one fundamental task:
It has to provide value.
I’ve seen this mistake time and time again on other sites when the content goes from being a main course to little more than an appetizer. Your readers are smart! They want there to be “meat on the bones”.
And if they scan through the text but can’t find anything but fluff or tips that simply scratch the surface, then forget it. Move on. Your Google bounce rate goes sky-high. Not good.
So what do people want to read?
My latest process has been to approach each post like it’s a mini-ebook.
- Is there a central theme?
- Is there a definite structure or outline (similar to chapters in a book)?
- Are there supporting facts or research (with proper links to authority sites)?
- Did I give personal examples? If not from me, can I find other “real world” examples to better illustrate my point?
- Is the content scan-able and easy on the eye?
- Are there images, graphs, and photos?
- And most importantly … Did I provide a good answer to the question?
Longer is not always better
There has been a lot of buzz that in order for your blog posts to rank better, they need to be longer. Neil Patel from Quick Sprout has written a number of posts about how the Google Top 10 articles are usually 2,000 words or better.
But don’t misinterpret the message. The implication is that longer posts are better explained, cover more sub-topics, and are generally better researched with supporting facts.
If you write a 5,000 word rant, than this isn’t doing anyone any good.
I think it helps to think of your content like a conversation or interview. For each topic that comes up, what would be the main point? What would be the supporting facts or examples?
Your content should read like casual and helpful conversation between two friends. Approach it in this way and it will help to keep your tone exactly where you want it to be.
Don’t Forget to Market Your Content
This is key! It’s a point I always find myself circling back to every time my viewership starts to stagger.
One of the great tragedies of blogging is when someone writes an incredibly awesome post, but no one ever reads it. (So then, does it really exist? – Sorry, bad philosophy pun.)
The biggest mistake we make as bloggers is thinking or – worse – expecting that people will find our stuff. This is a little like opening a store in the middle of the dessert, and then wondering why you don’t have any sales.
To be successful, you need people to come to you. And in order to do that, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to find you. You need to somehow stand out among the noise and put yourself in a position to become noticed.
Here’s the simple strategy that I follow to accomplish this:
One of best ways for the content you’ve written to be found is to get as much organic traffic as possible from the millions of people who use search engines every day. In other words, when people go to Google and type in their search terms, you want your posts to be on page 1 – preferably towards the top of the page!
To do this, you need to make sure your articles are optimized for the search engines – SEO friendly. Though that may sound technical, it doesn’t have to be as cumbersome as you may think.
The first step: Pick a good long-tail keyword that fits nicely with your topic. Again – Don’t try to force your content to conform to a keyword. Let it happen naturally.
There are lots of ways to find good keywords. You can find them for free using Google Keyword Planner. Or you can use a paid tool like LongTail Pro which will give you more insights into their competitiveness. Even something as simple as starting to type a phrase into the search box and seeing what auto-complete suggestions pop-up can be effective.
Once you have a good keyword, sprinkle it into all aspects of your content. Use it in the headline, headers, and content. Don’t forget to also include it in the meta description, URL, and image alt-tags.
Feel free to also use lots of variations of this keyword too. These days Google is smart enough to recognize synonyms.
There’s a really simple (and free) tool you can use to help make sure you’re doing everything you’re supposed to: The Yoast SEO plugin. It will evaluate every post you write according to all of these points (and more) and let you know what other steps you can take to better optimize your chances.
You can also check out this great resource from Backlinko for helping you make sure your on page SEO is spot on.
2- Guest Posts
Would you believe that I’ve already had 21 guest posts published this year on other sites?
Guest posting is one of the tried-and-true marketing strategies that still works really, really well – as long as it’s done tastefully.
Why should you guest post? For starters, there is the immediate benefit of standing up in front of another blog’s audience, telling them who you are, and then convincing them that they need to check out your site. If your guest post is great, then this new potential audience will have no problem seeing what else you’ve got to offer.
But then there’s also the long-term SEO benefits. Links on other sites are like positive votes in the eyes of Google. They increase your authority, and that it turns helps your content to rank better in the search engines. This helps improve your SEO – getting your posts closer and closer to page 1.
My top advice for anyone looking to guest post:
- Write something as good (or better) than you’d publish on your own site.
- Be cooperative with the site owner and do whatever you have to in order to meet their quality standards. If they ask you to re-write it, don’t take it personally – do it.
- Don’t beg to guest post or follow-up 100 times. Have some class. If you get no response or rejected, simply move on.
- Don’t overstuff your guest post with links. Include a modest amount. But be sure to also include a good combination of authority links and internal links on the site hosting your post.
Here are some more good guest posting tips.
3- Leverage Social Media
People spend more time than ever now on social media. And those bloggers who have figured out how to leverage these sites seem to be really cleaning up.
When using social media, my suggestion is to go with whichever one you feel comfortable with. Some people really love Facebook or Twitter, and they report a lot of success with them.
Speaking from personal experience, recently I’ve discovered that Pinterest is the sh*t when it comes to promoting your content! Pinterest now makes up approximately 20% of all views on My Money Design, and I feel we’re just getting started.
The more I’ve been using it, the more I get it. Pinterest makes it incredibly easy to find posts on literally any topic. If you’ve got a great headline and a catchy cover image, then that will be enough to get people to click on to your site. From that point on its up to your content quality to do the rest.
To promote my content, I use a service called TailWind. It’s a program that lets you automatically pin new content into the feeds of your followers. This greatly increases your chances of being noticed, getting more re-pins, and ultimately more traffic.
4- Commenting on Other Blogs
Blog commenting on other blogs is one of the oldest ways to get people to notice you. Much like guest posting, readers will see your comments will notice your name / link, and then click on over to check you out.
Nevermind that pretty much all links on blog comments are nofollow. It’s not so much an SEO gain as it is to just simply get the word out out to others in your niche that you exist and are active. Do this enough every week and people will become curious.
5- Linking Back to Your Older Content
Have you ever been on Wikipedia and found yourself hoping from one page to the next and the next?
That’s the power of internal linking. Every time you’re writing a new post and you’ve got something else that’s awesome and is worth sharing, you should find a way to incorporate it into your content. Again – make your other work easier to find!
Keep in mind that this works both ways. If you write a new post that would make a great resource on something you wrote previously, then go back and add it into the post. I do this regularly now with every new blog post. From a user perspective, it helps to keep the link flow circular.
Learn How to Start Your Own Blog
If blogging sounds like fun or the prospect of making money on the side interests you, then I encourage you to check out our complete guide for starting your own blog. There you’ll find a TON of information from registering your domain to installing the right themes / plug-ins, writing, marketing, and ways to generate revenue.
Thank You to the Readers
Again: I’ll take this opportunity to thank my readers. Without you, this content would not exist. It’s your continued attention and interaction that helps keep me motivated and writing week after week. I’m eternally thankful for everyone who comes to this site, and it’s my wish that it provides some sort of value to everyone who reads it.
Featured images courtesy of Pexels and Pixabay