Part 5: we’re finally to the actual “blogging” part! For many people, this is actually the hardest part. But you’re here for a reason, and that’s to blog. So, below, I’ve put together the actual technical steps to creating a new post in WordPress and combined that with some guidance on the “expressing yourself” part, the writing.
First, the step-by-step how to create a new post in WordPress.
- On the left navigation, mouse-over “Posts” and then click “Add New” when it pops up. You’ll get a new screen, your blank canvas!
- See where it says, “Enter title here“? Type your title there. See how easy this is? Personally, I never enter a title until I’ve finished the post. Then I name the post according to what I’ve actually written.
- See that big scary blank space? Start writing. Don’t know what to write? That’s ok, here’s a great post demonstrating 13 ways to think of new topics for your blog. Also, when you’re writing, you should do what other really successful bloggers have done and are doing to be successful. Here are 7 best practices to follow.
- Now that you’ve written your 300-500 words (check the count at the lower left of this writing panel) with a beautiful image (or several), make sure to add the image that truly summarizes your post to the “Featured Image” field on the right side of the screen. Depending on your WordPress theme, this image may appear above your title when someone views a list of your posts. This is also the image that usually gets posted to social media when someone else shares your post.
- Do you have a catchy or pithy or meaningful line in your post that you want readers to share? That’s the place to use that cool plugin, “Click to Tweet.” It’s the easiest thing you’ve ever done. Just start a new paragraph, and click the little Twitter bird in the toolbar above this pane and paste or type the words you want people to share, so it will look like this:
- Save draft on the top right corner of the screen. WordPress autosaves every post every few minutes, but I always like to be on the safe side. Save Draft as often as you think about it. Also, right beside “Save draft” is “Preview Post.” Clicking here will open a new tab (depending on your browser) and show you exactly what the post will look like if you make no more changes. Very helpful.
- Now, you’ve heard the term SEO, right? Search Engine Optimization. Don’t get all technical and geek out here. SEO is not black magic, dark art, or weird science. Anyone can win at SEO. Here are two posts on exactly what you need to do to win at the SEO game, here and here, both from the General Assembly Digital Marketing blog. Here’s the short version:
- Pick 5 or so keywords that you want to own when anyone searches for those terms on Google
- Weave those words into every post, naturally and organically. For my website, Atlanta Tech Blogs, I chose “tech blogs” as the phrase I want to own. Six months later, I’m consistently on page 1 of Google search for tech blogs.
- Submit your blog to Google using Google Webmaster Tools at least once a month (I do it more often).
- Post at least once a week (consistency outranks frequency). In 3-6 months, you’ll be close to or on page one of Google search engine results.
- Add categories and tags, using the simple fields to the right. These are two very different things called “taxonomies” in WordPress-speak, but they simply enable your readers to find different topics more easily. I recommend choosing about 5 categories. Consider these categories “buckets” of topics that you write about. For example, I have four topical buckets: Digital & Content Marketing, Startups & Enterpreneurship, Nonprofits, and Pitch Practice. Everything I write falls into at least one of those categories. Tags are different, and more specific. I’ll tag this post with “blogging” and “digital marketing” and “writing” because that, specifically, is what the post is about.
You’ve now written (but not yet published) your first blog post. I highly recommend coming up with as many blog topics as you can think of and keeping a list, based on the aforementioned baker’s dozen ways to create new content, and then publishing one post a week until you make that a habit. Then increase your cadence to twice a week, then 3 times, then 5. Keep that up, and you’ll be posting like David Cummings or John Saddington.
The next – and final – step is to edit, publish, and share your blog post through social and email, and then engage with your readers. You ready? See you tomorrow!