Tips for Starting a Blog That Won’t Overwhelm You

This blog, HookedtoBooks.com, earned  $5,400+ in December 2018

The Two Most Important Tips for Bloggers

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and High-Value Content.

I can almost guarantee you that if you’re already a blogger and you aren’t seeing the results that you want, it has to do with one of these two things.

Haven’t even started? Check out  How (and Why) to start a book blog. 

What is High-Value Content?

It almost sounds judgmental, doesn’t it? I can just hear the argument… “My content is more valuable than yours!

But the kind of valuable content I’m talking about is easily defined. It’s content that people are (A) searching for and (B) delivers on expectations.

*Note this post contains affiliate links.  

You may be writing content that is worth its weight in gold, but if people aren’t out there looking for that content, it’s going to be very hard to get their eyes on your material.

Sure, you can gain social traction. If you are a top-tier writer, it’s entirely possible that you will write something that breaks open the heart of the reader and moves them so passionately that they become your John-The-Baptist.

Ready to get serious about on-page SEO?  Check out Debbie’s (132 page) book.  This book covers everything you need to know on the subject, and gives practical, easy to understand examples. Buy the book

In that case, your readers and audience will go make sure your message is heard. But your writing has to be really, really, really good for that to happen.

If you write content that people are already searching for, and you deliver on their expectations, you can be sure that you are maximizing the odds that they will (1) love the content, (2) share it, (3) come back for more.

As these three things happen, your search engine rankings will improve, and each new reader will continue adding positioning value to your post.

Let’s look at some examples of high value content.

In a few minutes, we’ll move on to search engine optimization, where we’ll look at the above referenced (A) content people are searching for.

But for now let’s look at content that (B) delivers on expectations.

Content that delivers is written with specific intent to solve a problem, provide a solution, or give a tangible value that a reader walks away with.

  • Example #1: Answers to explicit questions.
  • Example #2: Answers to implicit questions.

Answers to explicit questions.

This is the simple one. People visit a search engine and type in, “How many ounces are in a cup?

Your blog post pops up in page one, a user clicks on it, and if they don’t find their answer (and probably if they don’t find it quickly), you have failed.

The failure is that you didn’t provide the content they were looking for. That’s not valuable. That’s a waste of their time.

This kind of value is a transaction. You’re literally providing free information in the open marketplace of the internet.

This post contains affiliate links. Every product and every service we recommend we personally use, and really, really like!

Want to try this out? Type in “how many ounces are in a cup” below.

(You must be using a computer for this, not a phone)

 

On the backside, you’d see something like this:

SEMRush Search Query

You can see in the above image some very important and valuable information.

  • Volume is the number of USA searchers per month. (590)
  • Keyword is the search query

This helps you understand the potential reach of your blog post, from search engine traffic.

Answers to implicit questions.

When an internet user jumps on their phone or computer and visits google, they type in an inquiry. Even if they don’t put a question mark on the inquiry, that’s what it is.

Begin trying to reframe these search-queries in your mind like this: someone searches for “nba game today” –> “what nba games are showing on cable television today?

These are your implicit queries. If your blog solves problems, answers questions, and brings solutions, you can be sure that the content your providing is “valuable” as we are defining it in this post.

What is search engine optimization?

SEO is talking to robots. Or speaking in a language they understand.

Look, no one wants to spend their blogging hours writing to robots– we’re here to talk to humans. But the robots are the gatekeepers to the humans.

The “robots” create and control the transportation of information.

Think of your blog as a book that’s sitting out in the middle of the Sahara Desert, and no one knows it’s there. No one can get there unless they have a road.

SEO, or search engine optimization, paves roads to your blog.

How can I improve my SEO, and what does that do?

If you are aiming to grow a Rolls-Royce blog, you are well suited for a premium choice SEO software like SEMRush. (note: this is an affiliate link, that provides a 7-day free trial for you).

We use SEMRush. I check on our rankings (obsessively) for our target keywords, perform keyword research, and analyze competitors. I’m not throwing an affiliate link in here that I don’t care about.

If you aren’t ready to take on that kind of financial commitment, we totally understand! There are lower choice options out there, and we’ll share a few down below. It’s just that we’re personally familiar with SEMRush.

Free Tip: You can also use Google’s Keyword Planner for free.

You can dramatically improve your SEO with just a few basics.

  1. Target keywords that are within reach, but not unambitious.
  2. Use your keywords in the appropriate places in your blog posts.
  3. Focus on user-intent (see explicit and implicit questions above).

1. Targeting the right keywords for you

It’s not an effective strategy to target keywords like, “NBA Basketball” on your first blog post if you’re looking for short-term results. (Can anyone tell that I’m a basketball fan, yet?)

That kind of keyword is going to be very competitive.

Rather than going too deep on this topic, let’s keep it simple. Very competitive keywords (oversimplification) are frequently called short-tail keywords, and less competitive keywords are long-tail keywords.

No, long and short don’t have to do with the length of the keyword (2 words vs. 8 words). They have to do with search volume.

A prudent keyword strategy can be visualized like the spokes of a wheel.

Your blog posts should point to cornerstone content (in the middle of the wheel), and those blog posts should be long-tail, less competitive keywords.

This provides an entry point for your readers, and reinforces canonical linking (woah.. don’t go crazy tech on me Forrest).

Let’s look at the progression.

  1. Your less competitive, long-tail keyword post (that ranks higher on google) gets them in the door.
  2. Your valuable content and helpful voice begins winning their loyalty.
  3. Your internal linking structure then points them to short-tail (more competitive) keyword articles.

Making sense now? This is a roadmap to victory for blogging. Yes, it’s going to take time to build authority on a topic, grow your content base, and build income.

But now you get the basics of choosing target keywords as you start your blogging journey.

2. Use your keywords appropriately.

If you haven’t heard of “keyword stuffing”, let me tell you what that is, because it helps paint the picture of what we’re doing to first say what we’re not doing.

Keyword stuffing is what it sounds like: it’s filling your blog posts to the brim with your target keywords.

Blatant embellished example…

You want to rank for “cute kitty cats”… so you write your opening paragraph like this: “Look at these cute kitty cats! These are such amazingly cute kittens. If you’re searching for cute kitty cats, you’ve found the best place ever for cute kitty cats!”

Make sense? Stupid, right?

Well, not exactly. The remarkable things about keyword stuffing are that it (A) sometimes works and (B) understands user intent.

But it’s still not what we’re doing, or aiming to do.

What you DO want to do is utilize the exact key phrase that the audience you are aiming to attract is using to “google” for their answer.

 Use the keywords in your headlines, first paragraph, and at least once or twice through your article. 

3. Focus on user-intent

As we near the end of this post, remember that the ultimate goal is to be providing value to an audience.

You need to understand that audience. The reader has needs, pain points, and problems they are looking to solve.

That’s where you come in.

But to show up in their world, you must understand the keywords (implicit and explicit questions) they are using on search engines. And you must deliver on their expectations.

User-intent defines the expectation that your reader has in mind.

Focus on how to deliver on that expectation as you write your blog posts.

Bonus Round! Pinterest is a visual search engine, not a social media channel.

It’s tempting to exclusively think of Google when you hear the term search engine.

But did you know that Pinterest is a search engine too?

Yep. And we highly recommend that beginners tap into the power of this search engine.

Why? Because while social media channels thrive on audience size (which beginners don’t have), search engines recognize value. So if you’re providing high-value content, targeting keywords (yes, you need to use all of the above keyword instructions on Pinterest!), then you can get fast traction on Pinterest!

We recommend these two ways to boost your Pinterest game

  1. Tailwind (+Tribes)
  2. The Pinterest Traffic Avalanche Course

Tailwind is a scheduling platform (and so much more).

We use Tailwind for everything Pinterest.

  • Analytics (better than Pinterest’s native)
  • Scheduling (better than Buffer and others)
  • Tribes (this is the coolest part)
  • SmartLooping (automation)

I’ll address the two coolest parts here in this post, but you really should check out the Pinterest Avalanche course for more instruction, inspiration, and general help. More on that below.

Tailwind Tribes is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. You are able to (quickly, efficiently) share your Pin with likeminded bloggers and gain quick traction for your Pins.

It’s like joining a community group. Your network instantly grows, even if you’re not a celebrity blogger (yet).

SmartLooping is an automation tool that lets you set your best pins to autopilot. You can create custom schedules that are evergreen or seasonal depending on your content, and you can assign which boards you want the Pins to go to.

Pinterest Traffic Avalanche is an e-course

The important thing to know about blogging, along with all of the tips in this article, is that these things go deep.

Anyone can get started. But going deep will take effort, education, and time.

That’s why e-courses are so helpful.  I know that it’s hard to justify spending anything more than the price of a cup of coffee at the beginning of your blogging days… but if you were going to school, you’d be paying a lot more for your education .

Included in the purchase price, you get access to the private Facebook group of two enormously successful bloggers (former CPA and fitness instructor), and you’ll be walked through Pinterest strategy from a beginner’s day one to advanced Pinterest Strategy.

At the start of this course, I thought I knew a good bit about Pinterest, but I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. So I turned to two people I discovered who had a proven track record of success.

Admittedly, I was concerned with the price. But when I realized that all of my content assets will benefit from this, the potential return on investment seemed worth the risk.  And it was worth it.

After watching 2-3 slides, I immediately felt energy surge through my body.  I had clarity.  I had knowledge.  I had direction.

I told other people about it. I had one of my VA’s complete the course.

Now, I know I can grow my Pinterest traffic and I feel like every penny I spent was worth it.

Click the image above, or down below to buy the course.  You won’t regret it.

The creators of this Pinterest course primarily used Pinterest to get their blog to where it is today… and in  January of 2019 alone , they earned over  $100,000 

Conclusion

If you feel overwhelmed at the idea of starting a blog, or if you’re already blogging and wondering how to focus your effort, this post should help.

Remember to focus on your reader and how you can get to them. That’s the essence of this whole blog post.

If you need a recap of the resources we suggest, here are our Favorite Programs:

(This post contains affiliate links)

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2 Comments

  • I appreciate the clarity in this post! I’ve read so much about SEO and content creation that sometimes my head starts to spin. It really helps to have a post like this that cuts to the meat and highlights the priorities. I will check out the Avalanche course you mentioned. I’m not really a course-buying person (like, ever!), but going forward I think I need a more guided strategy. My blogging time is just too valuable and limited at this point to waste it spinning my wheels! – Elsie

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