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The ULTIMATE Guide – How To Quickly And Easily Start A Blog And Grow Your Authority

Why do I need to start a blog?  Isn't blogging dead?

Listen, I know you've heard time and again that blogging is dead.  But guess what.  It's not!  It's a thriving strategy and here's why.

Ray Higdon, Top Network Marketer, Top Recruiter, and Master Blogger, has stated many times:

"Blogging is the best strategy long-term for marketing."

There is a plethora of marketing strategies available to promote your business. From social media to video, email, visuals, and webinars, the options are endless to increasing your online presence.

Yet, blogging plays a chief role in your overall online marketing.

Everything starts and comes back to your blog. It's at the heart of the inbound way, cementing your authority and credibility in your space.

Your business blog helps you build the know, like and trust factor with your audience. When people trust you, they're more likely to do business with you.

Your blog also fosters favorable results that can be produced time and time again. Your lead generation, sales, and repeat business can be attributed to your blogging strategy. It's simply the best way to build your brand in an ever-evolving digital era.

If you don't currently have one, you need to start a blog right now.  This Ultimate Guide will take you by the hand and walk you step-by-step how to start a blog using WordPress.

Which Blog Platform Should You Use?

I absolutely, hands-down recommend WordPress.

There are some who h.a.t.e. WordPress, but if you are building a business and plan on utilizing your blog to drive sales, WordPress.org is the only one that truly allows you to do that.

Most blog platforms do not allow affiliate links, including WordPress.com accounts.  You cannot include banner ads, etcetera.  How are you going to generate sales if you cannot have your links on your blog?

What's the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

WordPress.org is a free software.  You need to find a host provider so you can host your blog.  You can do practically anything with your WordPress.org blog.

WordPress.com is not free.  With WordPress.com, you are paying WordPress to host your blog for you.

This option limits what you can do with your blog, i.e. affiliate links, network marketing/MLM, etcetera.  If they don't like what you're doing on your blog, they WILL shut your blog down, no warning.  You will also lose all of your content.

Other blog platforms include Medium, Blogger, Tumblr, Wix.  There are dozens of them out there.  The three biggest drawbacks to most of these blog platforms are:

(1) Most of them do not allow you to use a domain name of your choosing for your blog

(2) You cannot conduct business on the blog with affiliate links or network marketing/MLM

(3) Most of these blog platforms are not SEO friendly, so your blog will not show up on Google, or any other search engine.

So the choice is yours.  But as I said, if the main goals for your blog are to provide value and generate sales, WordPress is pretty much your best option.  The rest of this article is going to focus on building a blog from scratch with WordPress.

If you want to start a blog from scratch quickly and easily, read on.

What is Hosting?

Hosting is the online space that houses your websites and blogs.  So an easy analogy to understand what hosting is = hosting is the house and websites/blogs are the furniture that go inside the house.

 

 

Hosting =

start a blog, #mnminsights

 

 

Websites/Blogs =

start a blog, #mnminsights

Websites and blogs cannot exist on the internet without a host.

If you start a blog on a blogging platform provided by your company, you do not have to worry about hosting the blog.  It will be provided for you.

I do not recommend using a blog platform created or provided by your company for many reasons.

First, let’s say you miss a payment.  You will lose access to all your content until they receive payment.  And your blog is not accessible to anybody else during that period of time.

Second, you decide to no longer do business with this company.  You will either lose all your content and will have to start over, or you will have to transfer your content onto your new blog which can be very time consuming.

Third, your company shuts down, and in turn, you lose all your content.

Fourth (and much more likely), because there are potentially thousands or even tens of thousands of people using the same blog platform, the servers get overwhelmed.  This can cost you money if you lose visitors and buyers because your blog post is not loading fast enough.  Most people will not wait more than a second or two max for a page to load before clicking off never to visit your blog again.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Fortunately for you, unfortunately for us, we have come across all four scenarios in our business journey.

We’ve missed payments and had our blog shut down for a few days.

We’ve decided to leave a prior company.  We had over 400 blog posts, too much to transfer one by one.  We also found that when you utilize the transfer option, it does not transfer other pieces of content such as images and videos, only text.

After we decided to leave this company, they decided to close their doors (not related to us leaving, lol.)  They shut down all the blogs which meant everyone lost all their content.

We are currently experiencing the fourth scenario.

We realized a few months back that we are no longer ranking on the first page of Google.  In fact, we don’t show up anywhere in Google.  It took a while to figure out what was going on.

At first, we thought it might be the theme we were using because it is the most complicated, expert level theme - Divi.

After doing multiple tests, we found the time it took to load our blog posts would sometimes be upwards of 14 seconds – long after the patience level of anyone.

We knew at this point it was not the creator of the theme – Elegant Themes.  They ensured that load times would not be an issue with their products.

The only other thing it could be was the server/host used by our company.  It is overwhelmed with the amount of people using their blog platform.

So we decided to create a WordPress blog hosted by a company of our choice and of which we have complete control.

The Best Hosting for Your Needs

The first thing you need to do when you start a blog is to find a hosting plan.

There are hundreds to choose from.

I have picked the top 12 and compared them by uptime (reliability of host provider) and load time (how fast the site loads).

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Types of Hosting Plans

Shared Hosting

This is the most economical option, but it is also the least powerful.

With Shared Hosting, several hosting customers and websites share the same drive and are delivered by the same server.  Of course, these computers are larger than your typical home computer, but if you are sharing space with a couple hundred other customers and a few of them get a lot of traffic, that takes away power to your websites.  Your load times drop drastically.

This option also leaves your site at risk.  When you are sharing the same space on the same drive and server as others, it leaves your site open.  It doesn’t matter how powerful your security software.  If others on the server leave their applications open, attacks are inevitable which will affect your websites.

You are also sharing the same IP address.  The problem comes if even just one of them are spamming other people and doing other unpleasant things, your site will also be blocked from email filters and firewalls.

Dedicated Server Hosting

Dedicated Server Hosting is the most expensive, most powerful, and most difficult of all hosting options.

You have a dedicated server with complete control.  You are the only one on the server which ensures increased speed and performance.

The downside is it is very complicated.  This option is best when building custom software or even running an enterprise management system.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

VPS Hosting is a cross between Shared Hosting and Dedicated Server Hosting.

You have a dedicated server, but that server is a virtual machine, not a physical machine.

You have complete control over the environment and your own IP address.  Many virtual machines occupy one server, but there are less of them which gives you more resources to access from the server.

Cloud Hosting

This is a great alternative to Dedicated or VPS Hosting options if you get large amounts of traffic or have large spikes in traffic on any given day.

Dedicated and VPS Hosting options have a limit to the amount of traffic they can accommodate.  Most people never reach this limit.  However, if you do have or expect to generate a large amount of traffic now or in the near future, Cloud Hosting is your best bet.

Shared, Dedicated and VPS Hosting options all have one location.  With Cloud Hosting, you have many computers clustered together and you can utilize their combined resources.

Managed Hosting

This is for those of us who are technically challenged.

You get the benefits of Dedicated or VPS Hosting with specific pre-installed software such as WordPress.

It will provide the best experience with that one application, which is great if that’s all you need.

 

How Do You Choose Which Plan You Need?

Shared Hosting is great for someone with a personal blog, small organizations like clubs or churches, and non-tech businesses.

VPS Hosting is great for mid to large size organizations, major blogs, and online stores.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Dedicated Server Hosting provides little benefits over VPS Hosting unless you have someone with server administration knowledge in your organization.

Cloud Hosting is extremely expensive, and unless you get thousands or even hundreds of thousands of visits a month to your blog, it is not necessary at the beginning stages of blogging.

Managed Hosting is great for those who want to utilize the power of WordPress for their business and nothing else.  Most major hosting companies have Managed Hosting plans for WordPress.

It is important to note at this point that when purchasing a hosting plan, even though they break it down by monthly price, i.e. $5.99/month, $3.99/month, you will be paying for it annually.

If you do find a host provider that will allow monthly payments, those payments shoot up from the stated $5.99/month to nearly $20/month for that option.

Watch over my shoulder as we look at the top three hosting providers.

One-Click WordPress Installation

First, if you did not purchase a domain name through your new host plan and you have an existing domain name - or want to purchase one from places such as GoDaddy or NameCheap, you need to set this domain to point to your new host plan.

Follow this short video tutorial to see how quickly you can do that.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, next we need to install WordPress.

Log into your host provider and navigate to the cPanel.  

I purchased the GrowBig plan through Siteground.  In Siteground, you will find the cPanel under the My Accounts tab.

 

start a blog, #mnminsights

If your host plan gives you an option to install WordPress using a Wizard, you can choose to do that.  I accidentally clicked off my wizard not realizing that was the only time I would have the ability to use it.  So I had to manually install WordPress, which is very easy.

Scroll down to Autoinstallers and click on WordPress.

Once inside the WordPress installer, click on the blue Install tab.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Once you are on the install page, you need to select your protocol.  Does your URL begin with http://, http://www, https://, or https://www?

Next you want to select the domain.  If no domain is listed, see the step above where you can point an existing domain name to your new host account.

Fill out the remaining information.  Make sure the password you create is very, very complicated so it is not easily hacked.

On this page it may give you an option as to a theme you can install.  Keep in mind, you can always change your theme later.

Click Install.  It only takes a minute or two to install WordPress.

Once completed, it should give you a page that confirms install was successful, the URL WordPress was installed on, and then the URL to log into your WordPress dashboard.

Now you can go ahead and log into your WordPress dashboard.

Finding and Downloading the Best Theme for You

I just want to take a minute at this point and reassure you.  Some of us will start having a lot of doubts run through our minds when we start a blog.  Can I do this?  Do I know enough to even start a blog?  What if I run out of ideas?  How will people find my blog?

Don't worry.  This is natural.  And if you've never had a blog before, there will be a learning curve when it comes to blogging.

Trust me.  I've been there.  I've questioned myself a lot when Mark and I decided to start a blog.  As you continue to do it, your skills will grow.  Never did I think when we started our first blog back in December of 2014 that I would be called the Blogging Expert just three years later!

Now a couple of words of warning before we get into themes and plugins.

There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of themes and plugins for WordPress.  Most of these themes and plugins are created by third party sites other than WordPress or large theme creators such as Elegant Themes and Thrive.

In my opinion and for the security of your site, only download themes and plugins you find on WordPress.org.

There are also themes that are very complicated and definitely not for new bloggers.  These themes, such as Divi, are typically premium themes.

Some of these more complicated themes (Divi is a great example) use shortcodes throughout the theme which makes switching to a new theme impossible, in the sense that all the content on your Divi theme will turn to gibberish.

With that said, the majority of WordPress themes that you can find on WordPress.org are easily interchangeable, with a few minor changes.

To be safe, if you come across a theme that says it's a top level performance or complicated or highly customizable theme, I would Google that theme and look at the reviews just to be sure it is one that does not include a bunch of shortcodes throughout the theme.

Things that I look for when searching for a theme:

  • Overall customization, i.e. link color, font, brand colors, etc.  Unfortunately, sometimes this is not known until you actually install the theme and go to customize it.
  • Home page customization
  • Sidebar placement (left or right)
  • Menu bar at the top
  • Responsive
  • SEO friendly

I also make sure to only look at themes that have:

  • Over 100,000 active installs
  • 5 star reviews
  • Last updated within the last 90 days (This tells me the developer is constantly trying to improve his theme.)
start a blog, #mnminsights

Watch over my shoulder as I search for a theme and download it.

Now there are 2 ways you can download and install a WordPress Theme.  Let's start with the easiest way.

Option 1

Go back to your WordPress dashboard, click on Appearance and then select Themes.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Next click on Add New.

start a blog, #mnminsights

In the search bar, type in the name of the theme you found on WordPress.org and hit enter.

start a blog, #mnminsights

If there are different themes with generally the same name, navigate to the correct theme and click on the blue Install button.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Once the installation is complete (only takes a few seconds), click on the blue Activate button.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Your new theme is now activated.

Option 2

If you found a theme you liked from another publisher, such as your host provider, you will need to download a zipped file and then upload it directly to your WordPress.

Let's go through the steps to install a theme using a zipped file.

After you found the theme and downloaded it, log into your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance and then click on Themes.  (See image above.)

Next click on Add New.

Click on Upload Theme.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Click on Choose File.

Navigate to the zipped file that was downloaded.  It is typically found in your Downloads folder on your computer.

Select the file.

Click on Install.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Once the installation is complete, click on activate.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Next Step - A Must Do!

The very next thing we need to do is to make sure a very important box is checked.

Google will start trying to index (crawl) your new site.  We want to keep our blog hidden from the search engines until we have customized it and have published at least two blog posts.

IMPORTANT:  Please do not forget to go back and uncheck this box when you have published two blog posts!!!

I bet you're thinking.... "I don't care about the search engines right now."

I hear you.  And this first step should be taken whether you ever plan on optimizing your blog for the search engines or not - which you absolutely should do, in my opinion.

If you haven't already, log into your WordPress blog.

On the left side, navigate down to Settings.  Hover over Settings and click on Reading.

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Go down to the Search Engine Visibility section.  Check that box.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Scroll down and click on the blue Save Changes button.

You're all set.

Customizing Your New Blog

After you have your theme uploaded and activated, you may see theme recommended plugins like this.

start a blog, #mnminsights

You want to go ahead and install those recommended plugins.  Usually they help your theme run smoother and give you extra features you wouldn't have access to otherwise.

Click on Begin Installing Plugins.

After they are installed, click on Activate.

Once the theme-recommended plugins are installed, we can now go ahead and customize our theme.

Go to Appearance and click on Customize.

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Because I do not know which theme you chose or what the customizable items are, it is impossible for me to show you how to go through and customize your new theme.

I can tell you that the items you can customize are on the left of the screen, and the changes you make appear on the right of your screen.

At first, you may not know how you want to customize some of the items.  If that is the case, you can leave it as it is for now, and then go back and change it at a later date.

Unfortunately, the customizable features are different for every theme, and you don't know exactly what you can customize until after you've installed and activated the theme.

Until I finally landed on the Vantage theme, I went through 6 other themes trying to find one that was completely customizable.  As long as you have not chosen a highly complicated theme with shortcodes that make it virtually impossible to switch, you will be able to switch between themes almost fluidly.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Creating a Compelling Blog Through Functionality and Appearance

The main goals of blogging are to compel your visitors to become loyal subscribers, generate more leads, increase sales, and ultimately grow your authority.

There are many things we can do to a blog that make it compelling to our visitors.  Using menus, plugins and widgets will provide the functionality (ability to travel throughout our site smoothly) as well as creating an overall professional look and feel.

Your Menu

Menus allow you to direct your visitors to certain pages they might find valuable, such as an About Me page and pages that link to your resources or products.

Some themes allow you to have multiple menus, one for the top and one for the bottom of the blog.  My current theme Vantage only allows one menu.

You can link many different items to your menu.  These items can be Pages, Posts, Categories, or a Custom Link which can link to an outside website.  I have many different pages that link to my menu and one custom link that takes them to a capture page to subscribe.

My menu links to:

  • Home (my home page)
  • Blog (which lists all my blog post snippets)
  • About Mark and Michelle
  • Training with submenus Free Trainings and Resources and also a Products page
  • Live Your Passion Coaching Program (our coaching)
  • Subscribe (to a capture page)
  • Contact Us

When this comprehensive blog post is completed, I will also link it to the menu as Start A Blog.

In order to create a menu, you must first create the Pages that your menu item will link to.  You do not have to actually fill out the pages at this point, but the page must exist in order to link it.

To do this, in your WordPress dashboard hover over Pages and click Add New.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Type the title of the page, such as Home or Start Here or About Us.

Over on the right side of the blog, click on the blue Publish button.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Now you want to continue creating the pages that you intend to link to your menu bar.

Once you are done, go to your WordPress dashboard, hover on Appearance and click on Menus.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Create a name for your menu, such as Primary Menu, and click on the blue Save Menu button.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Watch over my shoulder as I customize our new menu.

Using Plugins

Plugins help enhance our site, give the blog better performance, a better interface as well as help with our SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Plugins are also used to increase functionality to our blog.  They help direct our visitors to certain areas of our blog.  We get to control where we want our visitors to go within our blog.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Just like WordPress themes, there are millions of plugins created by third party developers.  We must be careful which plugins we install onto our blog.

As we discussed earlier, some themes come with suggested plugins.  However, there are a few I make sure to install as well.  These are my favorites.  As you figure out exactly how you want the blog to look and feel as well as different actions on your blog, you will develop a list of favorites as well.

Let's say you want to add columns in your blog post but your theme does not provide an option.  There's a plugin for that.

Maybe you want to provide a list of locations that are searchable by zip codes.  There's a plugin for that as well.

If you have not already installed theme recommended plugins, you can go ahead and do that now.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Our Favorite Must-Have Plugins

These plugins are the free versions.  Most of them have an option for premium, but I haven't found it necessary to upgrade any of them.

Jetpack - Increases security, stops spam comments with Akismet, and gives us site stats.  Basically Jetpack is 40 plugins in one - a definite must have!

Yoast SEO - Optimizes our blog for SEO

Facebook Like Box - If you have a Facebook business/fan page, you can add a plugin that links directly to your Facebook page and allows your visitors to like your Facebook page from your blog.

(Side note: If you purchased a hosting plan with SSL certificate and your URL protocol is https://, it is hard to find a plugin that will allow you to do that at the present time.  Feed Them Social is currently the only one that works with SSL sites.  I'm sure developers will start creating plugins for SSL sites very soon.)

Better Click to Tweet - Allows you to create tweetable links that will tweet your blog post out to your visitor's followers on Twitter.  It is just another call to action I like to use in every post.

Google Analytics - Helps with SEO as well as gives in-depth site stats and demographics

Optimize Database After Deleting Revisions - Deletes all except the last three revisions on any page or post.  Each time you create a page or post and hit Draft to save, it creates a revision.  I've had up to 180 revisions on one page.  This will also slow your site down.  The plugin will delete all but the last three revisions after 48 hours and optimize your database.

PixelYourSite - Enables you to place a Facebook pixel on your site

Having a lot of plugins on your blog will slow your site down.  We want to keep our site running as fast as we can, so keep that in mind when you are downloading plugins.  I keep my active plugins to around 20 just to be safe.

Installing Plugins

Again, because there are millions of plugins out there, I only stick with plugins I can find on WordPress.org.

When searching for plugins, I keep with the three things I look for when looking for a theme:

  • Over 100,000 active installs preferably
  • 4.5 or 5 star rated - I usually look at the two that are top rated with the most reviews and decide from there.
  • Last updated within the last 90 days
start a blog, #mnminsights

The procedure for finding and installing a plugin is very similar to finding and installing a theme.

Go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Plugins.

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Click on Add New.

start a blog, #mnminsights

If you know the name of the plugin you want, or if you have a general idea, type it into the Search Bar and hit enter.

Let's say we wanted to add columns into our blog post.

We would search Add Columns and hit enter.

From the applicable plugins, we would look at the three criteria.

start a blog, #mnminsights

With the above example, we would choose Column Shortcodes.

  • We might not have the theme compatible for Elementor or Genesis
  • It has the next highest active installs and ratings
  • It was last updated 2 months ago

At this point we would click on the Install button.

Activating Plugins

Now that we have all the initial plugins installed, we need to go through and activate them.

In the WordPress dashboard underneath plugins (you may need to hover over plugins), click on Installed Plugins.

start a blog, #mnminsights

You should now see the list of installed plugins with check boxes next to each of them.

Instead of the tedious task of activating each one separately, click on the check box right underneath the Bulk Actions and next to the word Plugin.  This should select all of the plugins.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Click on the Bulk Actions and select Activate and click Apply.

Once the plugins are activated, they turn blue.

start a blog, #mnminsights

Your plugins are ready to go.

Some of the plugins may require you to set them up, most do not.  This can take a little time to complete depending on how many settings you need to complete.

Watch over my shoulder as I set up settings for my plugins.

Fun with Widgets

I love widgets!  Widgets help you further customize your blog to look exactly the way you want it to look.

Depending on your theme, you can place widgets in your header, sidebar, and footer areas.

Most of the widgets you will use come with WordPress.  These are widgets such as search, categories, archives, recent posts, and calendar.  Sometimes if you are searching for a plugin, what you're looking for is actually a widget.  If that is the case, you would download and install that widget just as you did with plugins.

Some widgets also come with your theme.  When your theme recommends downloading theme-specific plugins, they may also prompt you to download theme-specific widgets.

Working with widgets would be difficult to express with text and screenshots, so I've included a video.

Watch over my shoulder as I utilize widgets on my blog.

(The FB Page widget does not work because of the SSL certification https:// site.  I mentioned in the plugins section that so far only one widget currently works with the SSL certification and that is Feed Them social.)

Customizing Your Sidebar with Congruent Offers

Have you ever been on someone's blog reading a post, for example, about Facebook marketing, and on the side of the article there's a free giveaway for learning how to meditate in the morning?

If you offer free giveaways in order to entice people to give you their contact information, you want to make sure that the offer is congruent with the article your visitors are currently reading.

Congruency = Good thing!

It is quick and easy to customize our sidebar so our offers are congruent using the Visibility feature of the widget.

Side note: The Visibility feature is not only limited to your offers.  This feature is included on almost every widget available.  Think of the possibilities!

Watch over my shoulder as I show you how to customize your sidebar with congruent offers.

Staying Legal with Advertising Guidelines

The next thing we need to add to our blog are the legal notices, things such as:

  • Affiliate Disclosure
  • Antispam
  • External Links Policy
  • Disclaimer
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use

These legal notices also help you become compliant with advertising guidelines should you decide to run ads to your blog in the future.

Even if you never plan on running ads to your blog, it's still a good idea to have these policies in place.

A lot of people, me included, go to websites and before we decide to do business with them, we check to make sure they have these legal notices.  It helps to ensure they are a legitimate, compliant business before we do any kind of business with them.

Plus, if you are an affiliate of any kind, you will stay compliant with the law regarding compensation disclosures.

New as of May 2018 - if you do business with any European company/person/entity, your blog must have a Privacy Policy.  There are specific guidelines outlined for what must be included.

For your convenience, you can click on the button below to download the legal templates as well as the instructions for GDPR compliance.

All you would need to do is fill in your company name and site URL.  Feel free to change some of the aspects of the notices, but do not change any of the legalese.  We all know attorneys have them in there for a reason.

 

After you have downloaded and revised the templates, we need to create a menu for the footer (if you have the 2-menu option in your theme) or use a widget in the footer and create links to these legal notices.

No matter which way we do it, we need to create the legal pages.  Just like we did with our primary menu at the top of our blog, we need to create the pages that will link to the notices.

Watch over my shoulder as we go through creating the legal pages and adding them to our footer with two different alternatives.

Because I am using the Vantage theme, I have the widget option of Layout Builder.  Your theme may not have access to that widget.

Instead, you can drag and drop the Text widget, add the text such as Antispam, and hyperlink it to the appropriate Antispam page.

You can either use one Text widget and hyperlink all six notices in one OR drag and drop six Text widgets into the footer, one for each notice.  You can decide which way works best for you.

3 of the Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When You Start a Blog

There are three mistakes that most people make when they start a blog.  These mistakes are:

(1)  Not Defining Your Target Audience

(2)  Not Figuring Out Your Site Structure

(3)  Not Doing Basic Keyword Research

(1) You Must Define Your Target Audience

Why do you need to define your audience first?

You have to know who you’re talking to.

Ex:  If you sell skin care products, your target audience is NOT everyone with skin!

start a blog, #mnminsights

I hear it all the time.  "I sell skin care products.  My target audience is everyone with skin."

First of all, there are so many different skin types.  You can’t possibly address all of them.

Second—and the most important—people need to feel like your talking only to them when you're speaking or writing.  It makes them feel special.  It makes them feel like you understand them.  Then, and only then, will they listen!

If you can speak to their problems, their questions, their pain, you've hooked them.  You just may have a customer for life.

You cannot do that if you're talking to everyone with skin.

The best way to provide value to your customers/potential customers and sell your products is to pick a specific group of people and speak only to them.

There will always be fringes of people who are still listening even if they are not in that specific audience.

So what do you do instead?

Figure out who you want to serve – and then figure out how you can serve them.

Let me give you two examples.

Example 1:  

Let’s say your niche is skin care.  You can speak specifically to:

  • Middle-aged women
  • Women over 60
  • Pregnancy – during/after
  • Certain skin problems
  • Certain diseases that cause skin issues
  • Younger men
  • Middle-aged men

Trust me, if you are talking to a middle-aged man in your posts, the younger men are listening.  If you're talking about certain diseases that cause skin issues, people with skin problems are listening.

Example 2:

Let’s say you’re in the travel business.  You can talk about:

  • Traveling the U.S.
  • Traveling the World
  • Beaches of the World
  • Mountain Escapes
  • Cruises
  • Excursions
  • Camping
  • Traveling with a motor home

Even if you're talking to people who like cruises, the people who like traveling with a motor home will be listening too.

So how do you nail down your target audience?

4 Important Questions to Answer

Who am I?

What do I stand for?

Who do I serve?

How do I serve them?

Who am I?  What are you passionate about?  What do you love to talk about?  What is it that you would spend all your time doing if you could?  (Camping, boating, gardening, traveling, etc.)

What do I stand for?  What are your values?  What’s important to you?

You must create a business and a blog around something you’re passionate about.  If not, then you will lose interest quickly.  It will become just another chore instead of a means to create the life you want.

Who do I serve?  What are their challenges, problems, struggles, pains, concerns, dreams, goals, aspirations?  What do they really want?  Who needs what you have to offer?

How do I serve them?  How can you help?  What resources do you have access to?  What resources can you gain access to?  How does your product/service help?  How can you answer their questions?  How can you solve their pain?

These last 4 questions are not meant to be easy.  In fact, if you rattled off the answers pretty quickly, you need to sit on them a little longer.

And don’t worry if your answers to these questions change.  They will change.  They should change because you are changing, growing, learning, and having new experiences.

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THE MOST Important Question

These questions will help you gain clarity as to who you are talking to, who your target audience is.

But I know some of you have difficulty even starting to think about who it is you want to speak to.  So there is one more question that I’m going to ask that will kickstart your clarification process.

When I heard Jeff Walker (creator of the Product Launch Formula) ask us this question, it was a hit-my-palm-on-my-forehead moment.

Who Do You Want To Be A Hero To?

Is it a woman with a skin problem so embarrassing she refuses to leave her home?

Is it a family who desperately need a vacation but cannot afford to take one?

Is it a network marketer who is older and technically challenged but needs to make this business work for retirement income?

So now you should have some idea who you want to help.  You can go back and answer those last 4 questions.

How Do I Know What Their Problems Are?

You are going to have to do some digging around to find out what problems and questions your target audience is struggling with.

Initially you're going to want to spend a good half of the day on searching the following places.  Once you come up with a nice size list of problems and questions your products/services solves, you will have no problem coming up with blog posts.

This is still something you are going to want to devote an hour or two on every week to be informed if a new problem or question pops up among your target audience.

Social Media

Utilizing social media to search for questions and problems of your target audience is fairly easy.  I'm going to focus on Facebook, but you can use these techniques across social media platforms, from Twitter to Instagram to Pinterest and LinkedIn.

There are always leaders in a niche.  What is your niche?  Who are the leaders?  Go to their Facebook pages/groups.

Does your company have a Facebook page or group?

Check out a competitor's Facebook page or group.

Search by hashtags.

  • What kinds of comments are people making?
  • What are the questions people are asking?

You can get a ton of information just by reading the comments.

  • What words or phrases do they use?
  • Is there a pattern to the words and phrases?
  • Is there something you can address with your blog posts?
  • What are the leaders in your niche posting?
  • What kinds of problems are they addressing?

Quora/Reddit

These are question and answer sites that millions of people still utilize to this day.  They are a goldmine of information.

Search the threads relevant to your product or service.

What questions are they asking?  How are people responding?

Join in on the discussion.

Forums

Yes, forums are still relevant.  Google "{your niche} forums".  This will bring up a bunch of forums related to your niche.

Check out the threads.

Again, what questions are people asking?  What problems are they having?  How are people answering?

The most important thing to remember regarding forums is to keep it timely.  Look at questions/threads that are recent, within a year or two max.  Most forums you will find on Google are not very active.  Seeing that people have a problem with X 9 years ago does not help you today.

Magazines

If you're not sure which magazine is relevant to your niche, Google "{your niche} magazines".

Check out the covers.  Look at the headlines.

These publishers spend a great deal of money to ensure they know what problems and questions the market has.

Remember, their ultimate goal is to sell the magazine.  They must be relevant and extremely helpful to make money.

(2) Your Site Structure

Your site structure is the way in which you organize the content on your blog.

Your site is only as good as the experience it gives your users.

Site organization can be done through categories, tags, posts, and pages.  Everything should be organized with Value and Purpose in mind.

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Why?

(A)  It helps Google know what your site is about, what is the most important content, and how to find it.

(B)  It helps your readers.  It makes it easy for people to find the information they want.  With a great user experience PLUS content that addresses their problems and questions (i.e. Value), you will quickly build a raving fan base.

(C)  It helps with congruency.  It helps you keep focused on your target audience and their needs.  It prevents you from all of a sudden finding out you have 15-20 categories which broadens your readership, and soon you are talking to no one specific at all.

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Your site organization should look like a tree or a pyramid.

  • Home Page
  • Categories/Pages
  • Sub-Categories/Pillar Posts (very long blog posts, like this one!)
  • Blog Posts

To add additional value and guide your readers through the content they want to read, internally link from one blog post to another relevant blog post.

This not only keeps them on your blog longer, but it gives them additional information.

If they are reading a blog post talking about Facebook groups and you have more blog posts that talk about Facebook groups, link to them within your post.

As your blog matures, you should be increasing your skills and knowledge about the topics you have chosen to write about.  You are going to want to start writing longer and longer posts which will eventually become Pillar Posts.

Pillar Posts

Pillar Posts traditionally are posts with over 5,000 words.  But don't fret.  When you are starting your blogging journey, a Pillar Post can be any post that is 2,000 words or more.

Pillar Posts are posts that go deep in depth on a particular subject.

These are also the posts you are going to keep updating, adding more information as often as possible.  Maybe you've learned a new technique related to the Pillar Post.  Go ahead and add it!

Eventually, each blog post you write will link up to a Pillar Post.  These smaller blog posts are going to get shared and syndicated out onto social media and elsewhere across the internet.  All this traffic back to the blog post and eventually to the Pillar Posts will create one powerful blog.

Here is an example of a Pillar Post.  This post is on the topic of Facebook Marketing, and it is a very large post.  Then you have all the different types of regular-size posts you can create all linking back to that larger Pillar Post.

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Categories and Tags

Some of the most common questions we receive with regards to starting a blog are:

  • How many categories should I have? (5-8 max)
  • How many tags should I include? (3-5 per article)
  • What is the difference between categories and tags?

Categories and tags exist to help you organize your content for User Experience and for Google.

Here is an easy analogy to understand and remember the difference between categories and tags:

Think of a book.

Categories

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Tags

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Categories are like the Table of Contents that break down the different chapters of a book.

Tags are like the index at the back of the book.  If you wanted to read about acne, all you need to do is flip to the index, and it will list all the different pages that talk about acne.

Categories

Categories allow you to create large groups of content within your site.  They are used to bundle together similar content.

Sub-Categories bundle smaller, more exact content so it’s easier for your readers to find the content they are the most interested in. 

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In this example:

  • Training, Social Media and Skin Care are the categories
  • Free Resources and Products are sub-categories of Training
  • Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are sub-categories of Social Media
  • Aging, Problem Areas, and Skin Health are sub-categories of Skin Care

Not every theme allows for sub-categories.  If your theme does not allow for sub-categories, we can say:

  • Training, Social Media, and Skin Care are the categories
  • Free Resources and Products are the pages of Training
  • Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, and LinkedIn Marketing are Pillar Posts of Social Media
  • Aging, Problem Areas, and Skin Health are Pillar Posts of Skin Care

Tags

Tags are micro categories.  Tags group together content on ONE specific topic.

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Let’s say you have a category called Social Media Marketing.  You have a few blog posts on Facebook marketing, a few on Twitter marketing, a few on Instagram marketing.

Then you have another category called Paid Advertising.  In this category you have several blog posts related to all different types of paid advertising avenues.

You’ve just written a blog post on Facebook Advertising.  The most relevant category would be Paid Advertising – but your TAG is going to be Facebook marketing.

That tag can be used on any post related to Facebook marketing, regardless of the category.  There will now be a group of content that has to do with Facebook marketing that your readers can easily find.

Tags are going to be the phrases (keywords) that your audience will search for within your blog.

So if John sees a link to your most recent blog post on Facebook advertising and he clicks it, he will be taken to that blog post.

John loves the value you’ve given, so he searches your site for more blogs related to Facebook advertising.

Correct usage of tags will allow John to see a list of all of your blog posts related to Facebook advertising, regardless of what category they are grouped in.

Tags are NOT Meta Keywords

That is a BIG misconception that a lot of people have….including me.  I’ve made that mistake before.  I thought that the tags were the keywords I was using in my blog post.  So I would vary the tags so that my posts would be found in the search engines no matter what variation it was in.

Ex:  MLM, multilevelmarketing, multilevel marketing, multi-level marketing.

Sure, tags are very similar to keywords in that they may show up in the search engines as keywords, so we still need to do basic keyword research before coming up with the most relevant, searched for tags to use in our content.

But they are not the focus keywords we are specifically trying to rank for in the search engines.

So in the example I gave regarding the various ways to state MLM, just pick one and stay consistent.

(3) Basic Keyword Research

Listen, I hear you.  I dislike it as much as the next person, but after you’ve done some basic keyword research, you will have a set of keyword phrases you are going to use regularly.

These are going to be your categories and tags.

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(You will still have to do some keyword research on the specific keyword phrases you would like to rank for in the search engines for each blog post.  You cannot use the same ones over and over again, i.e., skin care on legs, skin care on face, skin care after pregnancy, skin care red rashes, etc.)

Listen, even if you have no desire to ever be found in the search engines, you still need to do keyword research.  Why?

Keywords are the words and phrases your target audience uses to describe their problem or question in Google.

Because you want to provide your audience with the information they are seeking (i.e. answers to their questions, solutions to their problems), keyword research is necessary.

Example:

A company we are affiliated with had a blog category called “Get Leads”.  They had hundreds of blog posts in this category.

THEN they decided to do a little keyword research.

“Get Leads” has a monthly search volume of 484 (meaning 484 searches were conducted in Google each month with the phrase “get leads”)

However…

“Lead Generation” has a monthly search volume of 27,115.

They learned that all those blog posts in the category “Get Leads” wasn’t doing much for their blog because nobody was searching for that phrase.  Performing basic keyword research in the beginning would have saved them a lot of trouble.

Why Do Keyword Research?

(A)  Your goal is to identify topics that matter most to your audience and discover the exact language they use to describe their biggest desires and challenges when they are searching for answers and solutions.

(B)  Keyword research gives you the ability to write headlines and topics you KNOW your target audience will click on when they see it.

(C)  You have the chance to end up on the first page of the search engines.  When your customer is searching using the long tail keyword phrases we'll talk about next, they have their credit card in hand ready to buy.  You WANT to be on the first page of Google where your customer can find you.

In a later chapter we will discuss how to correctly use these keywords.  But for now, let's learn about the long tail keyword phrases.

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Buyer's Journey

Buyers are on a journey.

There are some who are just browsing (Dr Pepper).  But Google doesn’t know if by searching “Dr Pepper”, do they want to know about Dr Pepper the cola, Dr. Pepper the doctor or did they mistake Sgt. Pepper (Lonely Hearts Club Band) for Dr Pepper.

There are some who slightly more specific.  (Dr Pepper cola).  Google knows they want to know about the “Dr Pepper cola”.  But what do they want to know about Dr Pepper cola?

And then there are some who are ready to buy and know exactly what they want (case of cherry Dr Pepper).  Google will give them search results for exactly what they wanted, “case of cherry Dr Pepper”.

Long Tail Keyword Phrases are much more specific and much more valuable to you because you are getting higher quality traffic, people who are actually searching for your information -- and much more valuable to your visitor because they are much further along the buyer's journey and are ready to buy when their search results come up.

Long Tail Keyword Phrases

Striving to find the Long Tail Keyword Phrases is the goal.  These phrases can be used as Tags; but most likely they will be the phrases you use in your headline and sprinkle throughout your content.

Sprinkle!  Not stuff!  Do not stuff your content with keywords.  You will essentially be blackballed by Google.  No one will ever find your content.

Utilizing the Yoast SEO plugin on your site will help you know if you have an adequate amount of keywords.

To find the long tail keyword phrases, you are going to want to start with the more generic phrase "skin care".  Keyword research tools will give you a bunch of options related to "skin care".

 

Below is an image from KWFinder.com.  I searched "skin care".

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We want to look at the first and third columns.

Skim the results to find four or more words.  If there are not any phrases with four or more words, search another term like "skin care red".

Next, we want to look at the Monthly Searches column to see what the monthly search results are for that long tail keyword phrase.

In this example, "best anti aging cream" has a monthly search volume of 22,159.  This means that there were 22,159 searches done in one month with the phrase "best anti aging cream".

What you learn from this information is that this is a very popular, long tail keyword phrase.  The customers who are searching using this phrase are highly interested to know and purchase the best anti aging cream.

The next example, "best skin care products" has a monthly search volume of 18,067.

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This search result was taken from the bottom of the Google search for "skin care red".  I have the Keywords Everywhere plugin.  (We will talk about keyword research tools next.)

When I searched for "skin care red" and scrolled to the bottom of the page, it tells me the related searches for "skin care red", of which most are long tail keyword phrases.  The plugin Keywords Everywhere gives us the monthly search volume.

Can you see from just this 2-minute keyword research we found 8 long tail keyword phrases for blog posts we could write.

Another of my favorite uses for keyword research is finding endless content ideas.

If I was selling a skin care product that helps reduce redness and sensitive skin but had no idea what to write about, the long tail keyword phrase found at the bottom of the Google search "best skin care for redness sensitive skin" would be a great idea for a new blog post.

Free Keyword Research Tools

There are some pretty great keyword research tools that will allow you to do your basic keyword research quickly and easily.

I just found out about this one particular tool, and I LOVE IT!

It’s a Chrome and Firefox extension called Keywords Everywhere.  This extension shows you monthly search volume on keywords while browsing Google or searching other sites.  You can even download a master list through this extension!

Search for the extension Keywords Everywhere.  Download it.  Then sign up for the free API key which will be emailed to you.  Just follow the simple instructions.

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KWFinder.com is another awesome tool.

It not only gives you the monthly search volume for a keyword phrase (returns up to 25 results with the free account), but it also gives you the top 5+ Google results for the keyword and an analysis of their domain strength, number of backlinks, FB likes, etcetera.  This way you have an idea who is ranking for these specific keywords and whether you can compete with them.

KWFinder.com is free with limited daily searches.  There is a paid version as well.

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Another keyword research tool (which is great for finding content ideas), is KeywordShitter.com.  Yup, that’s the name.

Just type in a general keyword phrase, and it will pop out hundreds (or thousands) of keyword phrases based on the general keyword.  Most of these new phrases are Long Tail Keyword Phrases.

You can also indicate whether you want to have a specific word included in the results or remove specific phrases with words that are absolutely not relevant.

PLUS – Now Keyword Shitter works with the Keywords Everywhere extension, so it even shows you the monthly search volume for each phrase.  I’m so excited!

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This last one I’m going to mention is new to me.  I’ve just started experimenting with it in the last couple of days, but so far I love it.

It doesn’t have every keyword phrase I enter, but the information it does give will blow you away.

AnswerThePublic.com is a great resource for content ideas as well.  They pull together questions that people have searched for related to the topic you enter.

AnswerThePublic.com also works with the Keywords Everywhere extension, so it will give you the monthly search volume for those phrases.

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How to Write a Blog Post for SEO

As I mentioned in the previous chapter, you want to do keyword research.  You want to rank your blog post on the first page of the search engines.

Learning SEO is a rabbit hole.  There's a lot to learn, and it's forever changing.  But at the very least, you can utilize those keyword phrases in the best possible way to have a chance of ending up on Google.

There are very strategic places where you will place your keyword phrases.  For the following example, our keyword phrase is "promote your blog" for the blog post How to Promote Your Blog for Free.

The main thing you want to keep in mind as you're sprinkling your keywords throughout your post is to use them in as natural a way as possible.  If Google even gets the hint you are keyword stuffing your blog posts, they will NOT rank your blog posts and even penalize your site.

We are also going to utilize our tags.  Remember, our tags are keyword phrases that we will use to group together highly related blog posts on a particular subject.

For this blog post, our tags were:

  • promote your blog
  • how to promote your blog
  • syndicate your blog
  • get traffic to your site for free

Any time someone conducts a search on my blog with one of these tags, this blog post will come up.

(A)  Your keyword phrase should be somewhere in the headline

SEO experts say the keyword phrase should be at the beginning of the headline, but I say to do it only when it makes sense.

We want to make the headline as enticing as we can so people will click on it.  Therefore, if your keyword phrase does not fit at all into your headline, you can use it as an afterthought like the post What a "No" Truly Means | Network Marketing Business.

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(B)  The slug

The blog post URL will automatically generate right underneath the headline.

The URL for our example blog post is https://markandmichelleinsights.com/how-promote-your-blog

how-promote-your-blog is the slug for the URL.

When the slug automatically generates, it typically includes the entire headline.  If your headline is too long, it's going to look like this:

https://markandmichelleinsights.com/how-to-promote-your...free

You do not want your blog URL to look like that.  It will show up in the search engines like that, and your keyword phrase is cut out of the slug.

You can click on the Edit button next to the URL and change the slug.  You want to ensure you have your entire keyword phrase in the slug.

If you've downloaded the Yoast SEO plugin, it will generate a list of things to look for in your blog post related to SEO.  One of those things are called "stop words".  Stop words are words such as... and, of, to, for, the, etcetera.

Basically a stop word means that the search engines will bypass those words, so they add no meaning to your keyword phrase.  I try to pick keyword phrases that do not include a stop word.  However, sometimes this is not possible.

In that case, I do not include the stop word in the URL.  Yoast SEO will tell me my keyword phrase is not in the slug, but that is because I removed the stop word.  I don't worry about it.  You can choose to leave it in or remove it.

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(C)  First Line/First Paragraph

Next we're going to make sure our keyword phrase is in the first paragraph, if not the first line of our blog post.

This helps to inform Google what our blog post is about.

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(D)  Alt Text

Your blog post should include at least two images.

When uploading your images to your blog, the title of the image doesn't matter as much; however, it is what people see when they hover over your image.

You want to pay particularly close attention to the Alternative Text section.

You want to ensure your keyword phrase is in the Alt Text section, as well as any hashtags you might have for you and your business - not anyone else's hashtag.

In this example, we have also included our hashtag #MnMInsights.  Mark and I have spent years building this hashtag up so that any search you do with this hashtag will bring up our content.

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(E) Headings

You want to include your keyword phrase in at least one of the headings of your post.

This heading should also be H2 (Heading 2) size.  It will not count as heavily towards your SEO if it is not in H2.

Sometimes this is very hard to do.  With most of the things I write about, using the keyword phrase as a heading is just not possible.

You want to ensure that if you can include it as a heading, make it natural.

In this example, I really wanted to see if I could get the keyword phrase in the heading.  It is a little easier when it is a list post.

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(F)  Sprinkle

Your keyword phrase should be sprinkled throughout your blog post as often as you can but keeping it natural as well.

You can also try to sprinkle your tags throughout your blog post.

The Yoast SEO plugin will alert you if you have not used your keyword phrase enough.  I believe it likes to see it 1% of your content - no more and no less.  But again, sometimes this is just not possible.

In this example, I used "promote your blog" 11 times throughout the content, including once in the first line and 6 times in the headings.

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(G)  Link to Your Other Blog Posts - Particularly Pillar Posts

The next thing you want to do is link to your other blog posts that are related to the topic of the words you link it to.

For example:  I have a blog post talking about What A No Truly Means in network marketing.  Inside the post I talk about finding the problems or struggles of your prospects or customers.  I linked the words "problems or struggles" to a pillar post about How to Build Rapport.

In another part of the same post I talk about belief in themselves.  I linked the words "belief in themselves" to another pillar post I have 12 Qualities of Highly Successful People.

These pillar posts (or you can link to other blog posts as well) were not really related to the blog post What A No Truly Means, but they were chances for me to link within my blog to other posts.

You want to take the opportunity to link within your own blog at least four times, if possible, throughout your post.

Please do not be too aggressive with this.  I've been to numerous articles where people have linked to another article on every other line.  It really gets annoying for the reader!

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(H)  Link to Authority Sites

Authority sites are sites that industry leaders and experts go to for their information.  They are very trusted and powerful sites.

These sites include Amazon, Slideshare.net, Google, WebMD, Wikipedia, Entrepreneur Magazine, Quora, Medium, etcetera.

You usually find these sites on the first page of Google within the top ten search results.

You want to take a moment and link to at least one authority site in each blog post.

It tells Google that you are giving more valuable information to your reader, and it gives a little boost in your SEO.

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(I)  Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is one of the free plugins we downloaded.  Of course they have a premium version, but it's not necessary to upgrade.  The free version does everything we need it to do.

Yoast SEO helps us with our keyword optimization for every blog post we create.

Typically Yoast SEO is found underneath the blog post we are writing.  So once you think your blog post is complete, scroll down.

The first thing we need to do is add our focus keyword.

In this example, our focus keyword is "promote your blog".

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Next we need to update the snippet.  The snippet shows us what our link will look like on Google.

Yoast SEO automatically generates the title and meta description (snippet) for us.  Unfortunately, the meta description is typically the first line or two of our blog post.

First for our title.  If your title is too short, it will add the name of your blog to the end.  (See image above and below.)  If I think my title is long enough, I remove the name of my blog.

We also want to edit the meta description so that it entices the click.  We want people to see our post on Google, read our meta description, and be compelled to click it.

So let's edit our snippet.  Click on Edit Snippet.

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We want to pay attention to the orange/green lines under our title and description.

If the line is orange, it means the title/description is not long enough.

If the line is green, it means it's the right length.

If the line is red, it means the title/description is too long.  You need to shorten it.

We want to make sure both lines are green.

In this case, our title is too short.  That is why Yoast SEO generated the title to include the name of our blog.

For the meta description, we want to make sure we include our focus keyword phrase.  When you do, it will bold the phrase in the URL and meta description snippet both on your Yoast SEO plugin as well as in Google.

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Understanding the Yoast SEO Analysis

This section is going to deal with the various analyses that the plugin does on your post.

Yoast SEO breaks this analysis down into four categories:  Problems, improvements, considerations, and good results.

It is not necessary for you to make everything green and in the good results category, but you do want to ensure that at the top of the plugin the tab for Keyword is green.

If your post is not finished and you scroll down to the plugin at the bottom of the page, most of the items are going to be under the Problems or Improvements categories.  As you go through and make the necessary changes, it will move the item from one category down to Good Results.

Sometimes to see the change you need to save the post as a draft and refresh.  This may be a glitch of the WordPress updated version versus the plugin.

As I go through and explain what each component means, I will indicate which ones you absolutely need to strive to include in your blog post.

 

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You're linking to another page with the focus keyword you want to rank for....

When I link to an authority site, I type my focus keyword into Google.  The first and second relevant authority sites I see on the page I typically link to in my blog post.  Obviously if I found them with my focus keyword, they will be using the same keyword.

To change this, search for a related keyword phrase.

In this example, "promote your blog" was the focus keyword.  I could search instead for authority sites using the related keyword phrase "syndicate your blog", which is one of my tags.

The SEO title contains the focus keyword but it's not at the beginning.

If it makes sense to the title to have the focus keyword at the beginning, you can change it.  If not, don't worry about it.  As long as your focus keyword is in the title, you're good.

The slug for this page contains a stop word {as well as the next one} Your focus keyword contains a stop word.

As I mentioned above, a stop word are words that are bypassed by the search engines.  Some stop words are: and, of, the, are, to, in, on, your, etcetera.

You can decide whether to remove the stop word or leave it in there.

If I have selected a focus keyword phrase with a stop word--"promote your blog"--and I decide to remove the stop word "your", Yoast SEO will send me all kinds of red flags and tell me the focus keyword is not in the title, meta description, slug, or inside the post.

I tend to leave them in there unless I can find a keyword phrase that I can create a headline around that does not include a stop word.

The focus keyword appears in the first paragraph of the copy. **

It is important to ensure the focus keyword is in the first paragraph at least.  I like to see the focus keyword in the first line of my posts; however, sometimes that's not possible.

The keyword density is 1%, which is great; the focus keyword was found 11 times.**

This is one that you should strive to hit, if at all possible.  1% of your total word count should be your keyword phrase.  In this example, this post has 1056 words.  11 times the focus keyword was found which is 1%.

For a 300-word blog post, you want your focus keyword to be found 3 times; for 500 words, 5 times.

But again, remember -- keep the placement of your focus keywords IN A NATURAL WAY.

A few years back people were keyword stuffing their blog posts, which means they would throw their keyword phrase and variations of the keyword phrase into the post as many times as possible.  They didn't really care if the blog post was able to be read easily or not.

Google's main goal is to provide VALUE to their customers, i.e. you and me.  They only want valuable content.  If their algorithm thinks you're stuffing your blog post, they will penalize you.

Example of the wrong way:  Facebook marketing promote your blog is a good way to promote your blog.  You can promote your blog on other social media promote your blog channels as well in a variety of ways promote your blog.

Example of the right way:  Facebook marketing is a great way to promote your blog.  You can also promote your blog on the other social media channels in a variety of ways.

Notice how the second example flowed more naturally as opposed to the first one.  Even if you didn't go as extreme as the first example, it still would not read naturally and smoothly as the second example.

The meta description contains the focus keyword.**

We discussed earlier that we should strive to include our focus keyword when we are writing our meta description to entice people to click on our link.  Sometimes it is difficult, but this is something that is very important.

The meta description has a nice length.

We want to ensure we have enough words in our meta description for it to turn green.

Your focus keyword appears in 6 (out of 8) subheadings in your copy.

This is one of those things you want to try to include if you can, but it isn't as important as some of the other components listed in this section.

Yoast SEO will read your focus keyword as a subheading if you use the font size H2 (Heading 2).  If you just increase the font size instead of selecting H2, it will not read it as a subheading.

The images on this page contain alt attributes with the focus keyword.**

This is something I easily forget when I'm uploading the images, but it is very important that you go back and add them when you see this alert.

The text contains 1056 words.  This is more than or equal to the recommended 300 words.

I have mixed feelings about the minimum being 300 words.

As I said, Google wants to provide value to their customers.  They are not going to rank in the Google search results any blog post less than at least 1,000 words.

However, I do understand -- because I was there at one point too -- that new bloggers or people who have never written publicly before have a difficult time either coming up with 1,000 words or get anxiety thinking about writing a post of 1,000 words.

I remember in April of 2015, the beginning of my blogging journey, I was an a live event with Neil Patel.  Neil was talking about optimum blog post length.  He said a great blog post should be at least 10,000 words.  10,000 words!!!

I about fell off my chair.  I thought it was impossible for me to E V E R write a 10,000 word blog post.

Well guess what.  3 years later this blog post is currently nearly 10,500 words, and I'm still going!  Woohoo!

Getting back to the topic at hand, I do have difficulty reaching 300 words if I upload a video as a blog post.  However, what I do to reach over 300 words is I either transcribe my video or summarize everything I said in the video.

This page has 0 nofollowed outbound link(s) and 20 normal outbound link(s).**

A nofollow outbound link means that you have linked to a page that Google is not allowed to follow from your post to the nofollow link.  It could hurt your SEO if you link to an outbound link that is a nofollow.

There is a way to tell if the link is nofollow, but it's too difficult to explain it in this post.  Just know when you see this alert, go back and choose a different page to link to.

We have 20 normal outbound links.  These links include the outbound authority links, the social media links, any links I include in my signature, essentially any link on my blog post linking off my blog.

This page has 0 nofollowed internal link(s) and 2 normal internal link(s).**

Similar to the nofollow outbound links, a nofollow internal link is a nofollow link somewhere in your blog.

You don't want a nofollow link on your blog, so you should do some research to see how to change that.  In the meantime, when you see this alert, change the link to a different page.

In this blog post I have linked to 2 of my other blog posts, hence the 2 normal internal links.  I typically try to link four or more times to my other blog posts if I can.

The SEO title has a nice length.

We want to ensure our title has enough words for it to be green.  Typically if it does not, Yoast SEO will include our blog name at the end of our title.

The focus keyword appears in the URL for this page.

As stated above, we want to include the focus keyword in the URL for our page.

You've never used this focus keyword before, very good.**

It is a good idea to use a focus keyword only one time.  If you've used it before, you could try using a related keyword phrase.  Instead of "promote your blog", I could have used "syndicate your blog" or "traffic to blog", etcetera.

** These are the important components.  Ensure you've met each requirement.

Next Steps...

This blog post was an ultimate guide to help you start a blog and grow your authority.  I hope it was of great value to you.

If you are more of a visual person and you want to watch over my shoulder as I start a blog from scratch and complete these steps, check out our course Light Up Your Business with a Blog.  (You'll  also get additional training not mentioned in this post AND access to our bonuses!)  Because you have reached the end of this post, I'm going to give you a 50% discount on this course.  At checkout, use the code Thx18.

You will need to fill out the pages you created for your menu.  Don't leave any pages blank that you are linking to from elsewhere on your blog.

Create your home page.  You want your home page to be a reflection of you and your business.

  • Highlight some of your products
  • Offer something of value for free to entice them to join your email list
  • Tell a short story about you and how your business got started, and then link that story to your About Me section where you will include your whole story.

By now you should be well on your way to having a great looking blog with one or two blog posts.

At this point, when all of the above Next Steps are completed, DO NOT FORGET to go back and uncheck the box so that Google and the other search engines will be able to find and index your new blog.

Go to Settings - Reading - scroll down - UNCHECK the box and then save your change.

start a blog, #mnminsights
start a blog, #mnminsights

The next things you need to learn are generating traffic to your blog and creating compelling content.

It just so happens we have a course that will cover both of those topics.

You can check this course out at Ignite Your Blog.  Again, for reaching the end of this post, I'm going to give you a 20% discount off this course.  At checkout, use the code Blog4u.

You can also check out some of our other blog posts on traffic and content:

The Ultimate Guide to Build Your Authority Through Content Marketing

21 Super Quick Types of Blog Posts

How to Promote Your Blog for Free

The 8 Greatest Content Idea Hacks of All Time

 

We appreciate you taking the time to read our post.  Don't forget to grab one of our Free Resources before you go.

Was this post valuable?  If YES, I’d love for you to comment and let me know and be sure to share it with your friends!

start a blog, #mnminsights

Mark ‘n Michelle Eaves, 
Online Marketing Business Coaches
and Blogging Expert Divi Diva (Michelle, not Mark, LOL)
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P.S.  If your upline does not have a step-by-step blueprint for ONLINE marketing success, check this out (unless you already have too may leads).  Click HERE For Instant Access

 

 

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