Lesson 1: Writing Content
In the previous unit, we discussed setting up your website for your travel blog. We created a name and a logo, chose a host and platform, chose a theme and plugins, and began customizing our website. Now, it is time to start writing. The best way to start writing is to simply START! So many people get caught up in thinking what to write that they just cannot think about what to write! Our suggestion: Just start writing. Anything. The ideas will come.
What Should You Write?
Ultimately your goal is to write content that will help as many people as possible. Whether you help them by providing them advice when traveling to a certain area or you write to entertain them, your goal should always be to help people. What are some topics that you can start writing about?
Think about your niche and how you can add value to it. What are some of the travels you have been on that you can write about? Begin compiling a list of ideas. Aim for a list of thirty things that you think you can write at least 700 words for. Need some help thinking of ideas?
- Things to do at a destination
- Why you should go to a certain destination
- Best food to eat at a certain place
- Travel advice for a certain country
- List articles: best food, best cities, best things to do..
- Unique stories
Creating original content for your thirty ideas is extremely important. Each article should have a purpose. Provide your reader with as much information as possible in your writing. If necessary, do the proper research to include in your writing. You can include a link in your writing to the page you did research on to allow your readers to digest more information on the topic. You should make sure that you never copy content from another website or resource. Use your own photos or ask for permission from someone else and give credit to them. There are also resources for free use of photos online.
Writing the Post
Ready to begin writing your first post? Go to Posts -> Add New. From here, you can begin by creating a title. After you have created a title, a permalink will be generated automatically. This can be edited if you would like, though we generally keep it the same as the title for SEO purposes (more on that later). For writing purposes, we NEVER use the Visual tab of our writing box. Using the Text tab at the top right of the writing box requires minimal HTML knowledge and allows for better customization of your post. From here, you are ready to begin writing your post.
When beginning my writing, I like to include in the first paragraph a clear purpose and what the reader should get out of the post they are reading. I believe this is extremely important for somebody who is reading your post. They need to know and understand what they will learn from reading your post.
Following the introductory paragraph is the body paragraph which includes all of the necessary information about your topic. I try not to include lengthy paragraphs, but I aim for about 4-6 sentences in each paragraph. To further break your body paragraph into sections, you can include headings. For example, to break these lessons into sections we include headings like this one, “Writing the Post”. These are broken up with heading tags in your writing. Learn more about heading tags by studying HTML.
After your body paragraph, you will want to write a conclusion that sums up what the reader has learned and how they can now use the information. Tell them the value that they just earned by reading your post. Often times visitors to your blog will read the introduction, skim through the body, and then read the conclusion. Then, they will choose whether or not this post is valuable enough for them to read, or they will close the page. That is why creating an interesting and informative introduction and conclusion paragraph is important. Do not forget to include a call-to-action on your page. This can be as simple as, “Leave a comment below,” after asking a question to your reader in your conclusion.
- Create an interesting introduction that states what the visitor will get from the post and makes them want to continue reading.
- This is where all of your information and research will be. Separate the information into relevant paragraphs and headings.
- Restate the purpose of the post, and what the reader can now do with this information. Include a call-to-action.
Writing valuable content will create engagement from your audience. Engagement comes in the form of website visits, comments, and interaction. In addition to writing valuable content, you can also write controversial content and question your audience. This will create a discussion on your website for comments and interaction between yourself and your audience.
Now, do not publish a post unrelated to your niche about an extremely controversial subject. It just would not make sense to do that, and it would affect your brand. You do not want that to happen. Controversial content does not necessarily have to be negative content. It just needs to open up a discussion.
Feel free to ask questions to your audience. This is an excellent way to engage with your readers. In the conclusion, end with a question that your readers can answer in the comment section. Remember to respond to those comments when you get them. Always be willing to ask for the engagement in order to receive it.
Search Engine Optimization is optimizing your content to rank in search engines. You want people searching for the topic you wrote about and finding your post on the first page. SEO is a massive topic that takes into factor hundreds of algorithms that search engines rank websites. It is also important to understand that these algorithms are constantly changing. All of this could not be covered in one blog post, but we will talk more about it in the next unit.
For now, we are going to talk about SEO before you begin writing your post. You want to do some keyword research before (or even after) you begin writing your post. You will want to create a post around that string of words. You do not want to create a post around the keyword ‘travel’. Why? Travel is an enormous market, and there are already dominate players in that market. Go ahead and search ‘travel’ into Google and see the websites that show on that first page. Do you have the resources to create a post that will rank on that first page? Probably not unless you pay for the advertising space.
After you know the topic you will write about, let us find a string of words that will become your keyword that you are targeting to rank in the search engines. This keyword phrase can, and should, include a strong keyword like ‘travel’. What is your topic? Type it into this keyword suggestion tool. From here, you will get a list of suggestions that you can then start researching how many people search for that specific phrase on search engines each month.
This is when you should create a Google Adwords account. It is free, and you can use the keyword tool under the Tools tab. You can search the volume of visitors searching your specific term. Are there enough to make it worth your while to create a post around that keyword phrase? How is the competition for that phrase? Take your time to do a quick Google search of that phrase and see the websites that rank on the first page. Are they all major websites? Are there some blog posts from not less well-known blogs? If you think you would be able to rank on that page, that is definitely the keyword phrase you want to write your post around.
This is all we are going to talk about SEO for now. In the next unit, we will discuss this in more detail. If you want to, you can also learn more about SEO here.
Lesson 1: Why Blogging?
Lesson 1: Creating Your Name
Lesson 2: Choosing Your Host and Platform
Lesson 3: Setting Up Your Blog
Lesson 1: Writing Content
Lesson 2: After You Write
Lesson 1: Blogging Resources
Lesson 2: SEO
Lesson 3: Social Media
Lesson 4: Advertising
Lesson 5: Monetizing
Lesson 1: Continuing with Your Blog