The blog post template that you can download above provides you with 10 areas that you should consider before, during and after you’ve written your blog post. It’s simple to use, just full in the details under each heading, and then transfer each section onto your blog. You can make one for to plan every blog post you write, not just to ensure you don’t forget to add these essential details that will improve SEO and readability, but you can also use it as a method to outsource your blog posts.
We use a version of this template for our SOP Template blog posts, and you can easily customize this template to fit your own blog post requirements.
Do Some Keyword Research
Before you start writing your blog content, do some keyword research. Although keyword research is becoming more difficult, you can still get a good idea of a keyword or phrase by simply searching for it using google.com/ncr and the Moz Chrome plugin. You will be able to see how your competitors are ranked for that specific keyword and decide whether you are able to write something that is quality enough to rank higher.
If you have a search bar on your site, you can use a plugin or service such as Swiftype to see what people are searching your site for. This may give you clues as to what to write about in future blog posts. You should also consider that certain content will be searched for in Google at different times of the year, so you may want to write content associated with a specific holiday or event.
Write a Compelling Headline
In order to persuade people to read your article, you want to craft a headline that will captivate your audience enough to click through and read more. To improve your SEO, try and use your chosen keyword or a variation in your headline.
It can sometimes be difficult to know if your headline is catchy enough, and there are tools and resources that can help you write a headline that your potential readers will be interested in. Coschedule have a great tool, called the Headline Analyzer. It breaks down your headline and gives you a score out of 100 based on a variety of elements, including how ‘wordy’ your headline is and the emotional and unusual words you have included.
Check that your headline does not exceed the limit for Google results, as the title will be truncated once you hit a certain amount of characters. You may do this on purpose to create suspense and add further interest to your content. Also take into consideration if you want to include your site’s name at the end of your title.
If you’re using the YoastSEO plugin for WordPress, you can see a preview of your headline before you publish your blog post. You can also see a basic preview if you use Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer, but Yoast also allows you to edit your SEO title, post URL and metadata.
Include Optimized Images
Having an eye catching feature graphic will help attract your potential readers attention, whilst also promoting and increasing the chances of shares on social media. Images help break up your text, and hold the reader’s attention as well as providing a relevant visual aid to your content.
When choosing images either for your blog post’s featured image, or images that appear in your post, make sure to use royalty-free images, or include a citation if you have taken the image from another source. There are plenty of resources for royalty-free images, including Pixabay, Shutterstock and GraphicStock. Some of these resources offer free images, but many provide a yearly subscription of high quality, unlimited downloads on vectors, photos and video content, or a package of X amount of downloads for a one off payment.
Alternatively, you can create your own images using a graphic design platform, such as Canva and BeFunky or you could outsource image design to a freelancer, if you want something different and customized.
If you optimize your images, which is explained in the SOP, your images may also help your SEO and drive traffic to your site if they’re found in a search engine. Don’t forget to resize and compress your images as big files will slow down your site and affect your SEO.
Categorize and Tag It
Your blog post categories should be decided before creating your content and all of the posts that you write should fit into one of these categories. There are some ways in which you can decide which categories to choose for your blog
Consider the ‘tone’ of your category names, and try and make sure all the categories have a similar level of specificity (the category shouldn’t be too broad a topic, or too narrow). You should also try and have as few categories as possible.
If you’ve already got your blog up and running, you may want to do a ‘cull’ of your existing categories, if you only have 1 or 2 blog posts under one category or rename those that aren’t self explanatory or too broad a subject.
Tags are a way of narrowing down content that may overlap across several categories. They should be more specific than categories, and are also a great way to help your visitors navigate your site more easily. If you’re using WordPress, you can keep track of your existing tags from the Posts area in the menubar. When you’re adding tags to your blog post, you can choose from ‘Most Used Tags’. The larger the text, the more posts include the tag. You can also hover over the tag to see how many blog posts contain that particular keyword.
External Links to Other Blogs
Although you might think that linking to external sites will take your audience away from your site, this is a great way to improve your SEO, as it shows that you content has been researched and therefore more valuable. Linking to other sites that may be related to your content may also promote positive engagement between the sites and lead to further cooperation down the line.
When you link to another site, you can have the page open in a new tab, instead of replacing your site with someone else’s. You can do this simply in WordPress by ticking the ‘Open link in a new tab’ box when adding a link.
Your blog’s meta description provides the reader with a brief overview of what the blog post is about, or what they will get from reading your post. If you don’t edit this before publishing, Google, or other search engine will pull the first few lines from your blog post and use that as meta. It’s best to customize this to ensure click throughs to your site. If you’re using the YoastSEO plugin, this can easily be edited and you’ll see a preview of how it will appear in a search engine. The meta description should ideally include your keyword(s) or a variation of them.
Call Your Readers to Action
Your blog post’s call to action is probably one of the most important sections of your post after the actual written content. A call to action is meant to prompt the reader to take the next step or ‘action’ after reading your post. Your call to action might be a free PDF for your reader to download in exchange for their email address or a prompt to get a free trial of your product. Your call to action should combine an attractive image with text that is to the point and interesting.
Get ideas for your next blog post’s call to action from HubSpot’s article, 8 Types of CTAs You Should Absolutely Try on Your Blog.
As mentioned at the beginning, you can use this blog post template in a few different ways; fill it out yourself and use it to make sure elements of your blog aren’t forgotten about, outsource your content by handing the template to a freelancer for them to complete. You may even want to complete the template yourself and then pass it onto a colleague who put the content onto your blog.
You can also use this Blog Post Template in conjunction with our Content Calendar Template.
Download this Blog Post Template at the top of the page to start planning your blog posts today!