When it comes to blogging best practices, there are several areas to cover. If you simply search “blogging best practices” on Google, you’ll get a plethora of mixed results.
Searching for this term brings up things, such as blogging SEO best practices, blog writing best practices, business blog best practices, and so much more. I know some of you are probably looking for something specific, such as the best practices for SEO when blogging, which I will cover.
However, I wouldn’t label this as my ultimate guide to the best practices for blogging, if I didn’t mean it. In this guide, I will cover all of the following (and more):
- Basic Blogging Best Practices
- Blog Design Best Practices
- Blogging SEO Best Practices
- Blog Writing Best Practices
There is so much to cover, and I don’t like to leave you in the dark. I will do my very best to give you all the information you need. If you’re only looking for one specific type of best practices for blogging, just use the table of contents to skip to the information you need.
Basic Blogging Best Practices
When it comes to blogging, there are some things you need to make sure you do regularly. These are known as the best practices for blogging. I am labeling these as my basic blogging best practices because these are the things you need to start with.
Choose the Right Blog Platform
I covered this pretty well in my blog post titled, “Free Blog Hosting Sites vs. Paid Blog Hosting Sites.” You can read the full post to see my thoughts on free vs. paid.
Choosing the right blog platform makes a difference now and in the future. You don’t want to regret your choice, and you don’t want to quit blogging because you made a bad choice.
My #1 blog platform is WordPress. It’s the best you will find when it comes to flexibility, user-friendliness, SEO, and all the other important things. I am not referring to the free version of WordPress, however.
You need a self-hosted WordPress blog if you truly want to find success with blogging. Yes, there are other platforms you can use, but WordPress is by far the best choice.
I chose SiteGround Hosting for my self-hosted WordPress blog because I believe they have the best WordPress hosting for the price I am willing to pay right now. My goal is to upgrade to Kinsta WordPress Hosting, however, because I know their WordPress hosting is by far the best you will find from anybody.
Define Your Audience
In order to run a successful blog, you need to define your audience. At first, this doesn’t need to be super specific. However, you still need to have an audience in mind.
When it comes to defining your audience, it can be done simply. Just consider who you’re writing for and who you want to help.
For example, I write about blogging, but my audience isn’t just any bloggers. I tailor my content more specifically to new bloggers or those thinking about starting a blog.
This is all you need for right now. Later, after you’ve seen some traffic and you’ve got your feet wet with blogging, you can get deeper with the demographics of your target audience.
Create a Blogging Plan
This may be the most important of all the basic blog best practices because you have to know where you are taking your blog. Your plan should include:
- Content Schedule
- Marketing Strategy
- Blogging Goals
All of these things are vital to your overall success. If you want to run a successful blog, you need to create a blogging plan. Without a plan, you won’t have any direction.
Use Social Media
This best practice for blogging fits under multiple categories, so I am sticking it under the “basic” category. Every blogger needs to use social media.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to create profiles with dozens of social media sites. In fact, as a beginner, I recommend you choose two. Once you’ve mastered those two, add in a third and even a fourth.
Most successful bloggers don’t use more than a couple of social media avenues. Personally, I prefer Instagram and Pinterest because I think they provide the best opportunity for traffic from my target audience.
Know How Often You Will Post
The frequency of your posting matters, and you should know how often you will post. According to Moz.com, “the only thing worse than never blogging at all is starting to and not maintaining the effort.”
You need to be consistent with your blogging, even if it’s just once per week. Of course, the more you post, the more opportunity you will have to gain traffic, and the faster you will grow.
While posting more is great, you still have to focus on providing quality content. Quality always trumps quantity, and finding the best of both worlds will catapult you to success much faster.
Your situation may dictate the frequency of your posting. Maybe you work a full-time job, and you have a family. You may only be able to post once or twice a week, which is fine.
Figure out the frequency that works for you and focus on providing high-quality posts.
Narrow Your Niche
Many new bloggers miss this one of the blogging best practices. They never narrow down their niche, which makes it hard to find success.
You want to start with a basic niche (maybe one of my Top 17 Blog Niches that Make Money). Then, narrow your niche down to a few specific categories.
For example, if you want to enter the Personal Finance blogging niche, you may choose the following categories as your focus:
- Getting out of Debt
- Building a Better Credit Score
- Family Budgeting
After you’ve created a good amount of content on these subjects, you might expand by adding more categories to your blog.
Too often, new bloggers want to tackle everything, and they end up doing very little. Narrow down your niche, and you’ll be better off in the long run.
An article found on Forbes.com featured a tip from Vinny La Barbera from imForza, which states, “I recommend starting with no more than five so that you can effectively manage and optimize each one of those individually.”
Understand the Blogging Marathon
One of the most important best practices for blogging is understanding the blogging marathon. Too many new bloggers start, write a few posts, and quit.
They expect to put in a little bit of time and make a ton of money fast. If you start blogging only for the money, you’ll likely fail.
You have to understand; blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. You win by blogging often and for more than just a few weeks or a few months.
I always recommend new bloggers commit to blogging for at least six months or at least 100 posts before they expect even the smallest amount of traffic or income. Set your expectations correctly, and you’ll be well on your way to blogging success.
Write Long-Form Blog Posts
While this blogging best practice may belong under the blog writing best practices section, I put it here because it’s something every beginner need. Besides, the writing section details more of the format and style than long-form vs. short-form.
I will also touch on word count under the SEO section for blogging best practices.
As a basic rule, I don’t publish blog posts under 600 words in length. My goal is always to provide comprehensive, easy to read, skimmable blog posts for my readers.
The average blog post, for me, will easily top the 1,000-word mark. Many of my posts are longer than 2,000 words.
I don’t think you need to aim for a specific word count, but set a minimum. Then, write until you’ve covered your topic, in depth. I will get into the formatting under the blog writing best practices section so that you can create easy-to-read and skimmable content.
Blogging Best Practices: Design
Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to make sure you understand the blog design best practices. I will be assuming you chose to start your blog with WordPress, and you chose the self-hosted option with either SiteGround or Kinsta.
Many of these design best practices will fit with other platforms, as well. However, I won’t be referencing any blogging platform outside of self-hosted WordPress.
Use a Clean Theme
When you choose a WordPress Theme, you want to use a very clean theme. Divi from Elegant Themes is one of my favorite choices because it’s so clean.
With a clean look to your blog, readers won’t be confused. They will know exactly what you have to offer and how to find it.
The WordPress theme you choose will go a long way in the design of your website. One of the reasons I recommend Divi from Elegant Themes is the Divi Builder. It makes creating the look and functionality you desire for your blog super easy.
Use Plenty of Large, High-Quality Images
An image is worth 1,000 words, but a bad image isn’t worth a single word. A huge trend in blogging right now is to use large featured images.
I recommend taking this further and using large, high-quality images wherever they fit. This is especially true if you’re in a very image-driven niche, such as travel or photography.
Images make your posts easier to share, as well. Many readers might share the images or Pin them on Pinterest because they think they are just that beautiful.
Use a Larger Font Size
According to a blog post found on Impact written by Christine Austin. “When it comes to body font, my experience leads me to say somewhere in between 17px – 21px depending on what font you are using (some are naturally larger than others).”
The reason for a larger font is simple; not all your blog readers will have perfect vision. You shouldn’t force them to make the adjustment on their screen by zooming in to read your content.
Not only will a larger font help with the design of your blog, but it can also help with the SEO. Your bounce rate may go down if you switch to a larger font that’s easier to read.
Make Social Sharing Easy
WordPress offers several plugins to make social sharing very easy. You want to make sure the buttons for sharing your content are easy for readers to find and you provide every major platform they might want to use.
Some themes, such as the Divi theme from Elegant Themes, offer built-in features to make it easy to add social buttons to your blog. You can also find settings within the Jetpack plugin that make it very easy to add social sharing buttons.
Consistent Branding Matters
Whether you’re running a blog for a business or starting your own blog to make money online, consistent branding within your design matters. This boils down to using your logo throughout, using a distinct color template, and providing consistency on all levels of the design.
An article found on The Daily Egg states, “Before you embark upon a web design project, decide what story you want to tell. Base it on your brand values, beliefs, and target audience.”
While this applies more to businesses than personal blogs, it’s an important blogging design best practice for both.
Use White Space Well
Also known as negative space, you want to provide plenty of white space between the elements of your design. It’s like offering your visitors a chance to take a breath as they discover what’s next.
You don’t want to design a blog that’s overwhelming to the eye. Instead, use white space to keep things from looking so cluttered.
There are several more blogging design best practices I can get into, but they are a bit more advanced. If you choose the right WordPress theme, such as Divi from Elegant Themes, you won’t have much to worry about. A good theme will already incorporate many of the most important best practices for blog design.
Best Practices for Blogging: SEO
If you’re like me, and you want to use SEO as part of your blog marketing strategy, you need to know the blogging SEO best practices. I am about to introduce you to a list of SEO best practices I use, and it helps me gain traffic from the search engines.
Install the Right SEO Plugin
There are two WordPress plugins I recommend for SEO: Yoast SEO and SEOPressor. If you can’t invest any money in a plugin, the free Yoast SEO plugin will cover the basics for you.
Those with a little bit of money to spend will do better with SEOPressor. In fact, I prefer it over the premium version of Yoast SEO, which I have used in the past.
A good SEO plugin will help to ensure you hit all the necessary elements and will act much like an SEO checklist. Get SEOPressor or Yoast SEO, and you will be well on your way to better blog optimization.
Use Long-Tail Keywords
Some websites, such as BluLeadz will recommend you use keywords. In fact, a blog post from this site, states, “To start off, brainstorm one long-tail keyword that you are trying to rank for that directly relates to your blog topic.”
I agree completely! Using long-tail keywords has helped me build my traffic over time. I rank better and easier for my keyword phrases, and I get very targeted traffic.
A long-tail keyword is any keyword phrase with at least three words in the phrase. I like to aim for four words in the phrase, just to take it a bit further.
There are several tools out there to help you find keywords, but I like the Ubersuggest tool from Neil Patel. This tool gives you very helpful data when it comes to choosing long-tail keywords
I don’t always pay attention to how hard or easy it might be to rank, however.
Write Incredible Headlines
The headline is everything when it comes to blog SEO. You need a strong headline and you can test the strength by using the Headline Analyzer tool from CoSchedule.
In addition to making sure you have a strong headline, you want to include your main keyword in the headline, as well. By doing this, you’ll gain better overall SEO.
Get the Word Count Right
The word count will make a difference with your SEO, as long as you’re not just writing filler content. Some SEO sites will recommend you write blog posts between 600 and 1,200 words.
While this is a good starting point, longer blog posts tend to rank better, when you cut out the fluff. The top results on Google tend to range from about 1,800 to 3,500 words in length, and that number keeps going up.
Use ALT Tags
Image ALT tags are very important to your overall SEO. As one of the blogging best practices for SEO, this one is vital to your overall optimization.
You want to include your main keyword in at least one of the ALT tags, more if it makes sense. If you use SEOPressor, you’ll know whether you’ve done this correctly or not.
It’s best if you use the title of the image as the ALT tag and each image includes either your main keyword or a similar keyword phrase.
Link to Other Blog Posts/Pages
Internal linking is great for SEO. You don’t want to link your main keyword, but you do want to link out to pages and other blog posts.
You can find examples of how I do this all over my blog. I may mention the title of a blog post if I am using it as a reference or directing readers to it for more information. I also link contextually without mentioning the blog post when it makes sense.
Aim for at least three internal links per 1,000 words.
Link to Other Blogs
External links are also very powerful for SEO. You will see me link to many external sites as sources when it makes sense.
Adding in source links is a great way to build up your ranking and make your content more powerful. It also helps to establish your credibility.
Aim for at least two external links per 1,000 words and always link to sources you quote, no matter what!
Use Your Main Keyword in Sub-Headings
Sub-headings are a powerful tool for blog SEO. Using your main keyword in at least one sub-heading should be a given, but more is better.
In addition to using your main keyword phrase, you should use similar keyword phrases in other sub-headings.
Sign Up for Google Search Console and Google Analytics
Google is the main search engine you’ll be optimizing your content for, so you want to use their tools. Google Search Console and Google Analytics are free and easy to install with WordPress plugins.
Use these tools, and you’ll be in good shape.
Use HTTPS not HTTP
Adding an SSL to your website does wonders for your SEO and your overall blogging success. You want to make sure you set this up properly with your hosting company. It’s very simple with Kinsta WordPress Hosting and SiteGround Hosting.
Once it’s set up with your hosting company, you need to change your main URL in WordPress to the https version. This is done under “general” settings.
Share Your Posts on Social Media
You should be the one starting the sharing. Every blog post should be shared on all your social media profiles, even if you post daily.
Sharing your posts sends social signals to your blog, which is powerful for SEO. In addition, it may help you gain more traffic.
Create Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is content that has value today, tomorrow, and ten years from now. It provides better SEO because it doesn’t become outdated.
When you write about an event or news story, you’ll only get so much traction. It might go viral or become trending, but it will die off fast, too.
Evergreen content will rank well and stay ranked well because the information is useful to readers today, tomorrow, and ten years from now.
Terry Ibele talks about evergreen content in a blog post found on the Guidestar blog and states, “Outdated content is not helpful, and if Google realizes something is outdated, it pushes it down in search results so people don’t see it.”
There are probably more advanced blogging SEO best practices I can include, but these are the best practices I use for blogging SEO. Follow these and use the SEOPressor plugin to gain excellent SEO for your blog.
Blog Best Practices: Writing
Writing is the area where I truly shine. After more than ten years of freelance blogging for other people, I am here to share my knowledge with you.
I have worked for SEO firms, private companies, small businesses, personal bloggers, and just about any type of client you can dream up. Over the years, I have seen what works and what doesn’t when it comes to writing.
Below are my blog writing best practices, and if you follow them, you’ll have the proper format for your blog posts.
Online reading strains the eyes, especially if you try to read long paragraphs. Keep your paragraphs short, even if you don’t complete the idea.
I added this one in before I completely covered the “short paragraphs” blogging best practice because they go together.
Instead of thinking the way a college student does when writing a paper, think like a blogger. Each sub-heading is an idea, not each paragraph.
Use sub-headings to split up your content and keep the paragraphs to three or four lines on a computer screen maximum. Most of my paragraphs are two normal length sentences or three shorter sentences.
By using sub-headings and shorter paragraphs, you’ll create skimmable, easy-to-read content for your blog.
Word Count Matters, but Not That Much
If you spend too much time focusing on word count, you’ll drive yourself crazy. Simply set a minimum and let the topic dictate the word count.
You’ll find a range of post lengths on my blog from about 700 words to more than 4,000 words. My minimum is 600 words, and I don’t publish anything less than 600 words.
I am always trying to write at least 1,000 words, but I let the topic dictate the length.
Use Images Often
Images not only help for social sharing and SEO, but they also help to split up your content. I recommend using about one image per 500 words, at the very least.
Quality Matters Most
Posting a blog post every day just to achieve some goal isn’t going to help you unless you create quality content daily.
Quality always comes before quantity. A blog with ten high-quality, well-written blog posts will outperform a blog with 50 low-quality posts in the same niche.
The best definition of high-quality content comes from Neil Patel in his post called The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content.
Quantity is Still Important
As I stated earlier, the more you post, the faster you will grow. Blogging is a numbers game, and the more high-quality blog posts you create, the faster you reach blogging success.
When it comes to the blogging best practices, getting quality and quantity right is probably the most important on the list for writing best practices. If you nail this, many other best practices will be included.
I recommend posting as often as possible, as long as it’s quality content. Posting frequency depends on the time you have and your niche. You will find plenty of differing opinions out there, including:
- Dries Cronje from SmartBlogger believes daily posting isn’t a good strategy.
- Matt Sunshine from LeadG2 recommends posting three times per week.
- David Santistevan blogged every day and believed it helped instill good habits within him. https://goinswriter.com/blog-every-day/
- I believe blogging daily is a great way to go as I have already seen my traffic more than double just 17 days into my 100-day blogging challenge.
You can search on Google, and you’ll find another 25 opinions on the matter.
Market Insider Group did a study, and they found the following:
- “The more frequently you blog, the more traffic you tend to get, as a rule of thumb.”
- Creating 11 or more posts per month gave B2B and B2C businesses the most noticeable results
- The more blog posts you already have published, the more leads and traffic you will receive.
Common sense tells us, if you write more high-quality posts, you’ll gain more traffic and more readers.
Write Naturally and Conversationally
Blogging isn’t about writing a college research paper. It’s about talking to people. You are more of a communicator than a writer.
When you write naturally how you speak, you’ll be able to communicate better with your audience. You want to focus on your keywords for SEO, but make sure it’s natural, not forced.
Your blog posts don’t need to be perfect. Most readers will forgive the occasional typo and even a misspelled word here and there.
Read any publication online long enough, and you’ll start spotting their mistakes. Don’t edit to make your blog posts perfect, but edit properly.
I use a three-phase editing process for most of my blog posts.
- Microsoft Word Spelling/Grammar Check
- Grammarly (Free or Paid)
- Read over the post myself
I must admit, sometimes, reading the post myself happens as I am turning it into content for social media. It’s time-consuming, and I don’t always have the time to read over my posts, but I try to do it as often as I can.
Use these blog writing best practices, and you’re sure to create more high-quality content regularly. You can also check out my 3 Quick Hacks to Get You Writing (Blogging) Fast.
Blogging Best Practices: Conclusion
When it comes to blogging, there are some basic things you should always do. My basic blogging best practices provide a foundation you can build upon with the blog design best practices, blog SEO best practices, and blog writing best practices.