How to Write a Blog Post in 9 Steps (That People Actually Want to Read)

7th Nov 2020 | 4 minute read

Want to write a great blog post that tons of people will read not just now, but for months and months to come? This is the guide for you.

Writing a blog post sounds easy enough, right? Open any text editor, start typing, and there you have it.

Except…as a writer myself, I know how that story can end.

Deciding on a topic, organizing your thoughts, facing that dreaded blank page for days and pouring your heart and soul into your work…only to get a total readership of 20 views a year later.

It’s not a good feeling.

So how do you write something amazing?

Something that people actually want to read, and that gets thousands of visits each month?

Stay with me—I’m about to cover everything you need to know in this post, from the technical bits to the more subtle nuances of writing and editing.

Here we go!https://www.youtube.com/embed/-kOT39l0omU?autohide=1&iv_load_policy=3&modestbranding=1&rel=0&wmode=transparent&autoplay=0

How to get consistent readership

Let’s start off by defining “consistent readership”.

Consistent readership means that your blog post generates both ongoing and stable—maybe even increasing—interest over time.

When a post doesn’t get consistent readership, traffic coming to it might look like this:

06 SME traffic

That surge in traffic is commonly known as a “spike of hope”—which then rapidly degenerates into a “flatline of nope.”

What’s happening here is that you see a nice boost in traffic when the post is first published and promoted to your network…but this referral traffic fades away soon after.

The big question is: how do you keep that traffic coming?

Here’s a hint: 51% of all website traffic comes from organic search (which refers to traffic coming from search engines.)

Which means that where most sites are concerned, organic traffic is going to account for more traffic than all other sources combined.

Here’s what organic traffic to a blog post looks like when it’s optimized for search traffic:

ahrefs seo growth

That’s all thanks to SEO!

At Ahrefs, we have about 170 posts on our blog and get around 240k monthly visits from search engines.

ahrefs site explorer organic traffic

On average, that’s 1.4k/month for every single one of our blog posts. And you can achieve similar results too—it’s honestly not rocket science.

Here’s a simple 9‑step process to writing blog posts with tons of traffic potential that’s based on the way we do things at Ahrefs.

Step 1: Decide what you want to write about

Have lots of topics in mind? Fantastic—note them all down.

If you don’t, or if you’re struggling to come up with more good ideas, don’t worry. Try this: look at what’s working for your favorite blogs (or even competitors.)

Pop any domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and go to the Top Pages report. This shows you a list of the most popular content on that site when it comes to organic traffic.

top pages report

There’s your inspiration for topics—the keywords and phrases associated with these pages have already proven themselves to be popular, so they’re likely to be great topics to write about yourself.

Another shortcut to content ideas: enter your term into Keywords Explorer and use either the Phrase Match or Questions report (you can also use a free tool like Answer the Public.)

Both these reports will pull a big list of keyword ideas for you.

keywords explorer dungeons and dragons

Now, all you need to do is shop around a little and look for the topics that interest you. Make a list of topic ideas—5 to 10 should be enough to start with.

Ideally, these topics will fall in the middle of the Venn-diagram below:

what makes for a winning blog post topic

Step 2: Narrow down the topics with the most potential

Keep that list of ideas close, because we’re going to filter them so that only the contenders with the most potential remain.

Recap: you want to write about things that people are searching for month after month in order to drive long-term traffic to your website.

One way to do this is by using a combination of guesswork and free tools like Google Trends which shows you the relative popularity of any search queries you enter.

Let’s say you have three topics from the previous step: OvercookedOvercooked 2 and Mario Kart. Enter all three terms in Google Trends and it’ll show you which topic is the most popular.

googletrends

Mario Kart wins!

One drawback, though: while it’s great for tracking trends, what Google Trends doesn’t do is show the search volume of search queries.

So while “Mario Kart” is clearly the winner here, it could, in reality, get four searches a month while the other terms get one. In which case, none of them would be considered to be popular at all.

That’s where Ahrefs comes in.

Paste your topic or keyword into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and scroll down to look at the SERP overview. From here, just check the column that tells you how much estimated monthly organic traffic the top-ranking pages have.

keywords explorer mario kart

This is important to do because some topics may not be worth your time and effort.

For reference’s sake, it can take us more than 20 hours to write a blog post at Ahrefs. If we’re only getting a handful of visits per month to that post, then it’s really not worth the effort involved.

So: weed out the topics with low traffic potential to save yourself the hassle and eventual disappointment. In this case, Mario Kart clearly has high traffic potential.PRO TIP

If you’re blogging for a brand or business, make sure to check for business potential.

This means only selecting ideas that are related to your niche and that might convert a reader into a customer somewhere down the line.

For example, if you’re selling graphic design software, a blog post about “how to make an infographic” makes perfect sense. Conversely, a post about “how to change a car tire”, no matter how much traffic potential it has, is unlikely to bring about results for your business.

Step 3: Check if you can rank

Now that we’re left with a handful of ideal topics, it’s time to check for two crucial things that can hold your blog post back from ranking: competition & intent.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amit is based in India and works on various projects in addition to running his own digital marketing and product consulting firms. You can read his latest article on his blog or explore the various projects he is currently working on here.