This post was originally published May 12, 2017, and has been updated with new information, facts, and advice. Enjoy!
You’re ready to blog. You have a topic you’re passionate about. Your laptop is fully charged. Ready, set… wait a minute.
There’s one more thing you need: an SOP. Huh? No, not an SOB. A Standard Operating Procedure.
To produce the best results, it’s always important to have guidelines, especially if you plan on repeating this action. The best blogs are routinely published, so if you’re going to be churning out a new blog post every month or even every week, a handy SOP can really help you out.
The Big Ideas of a Standard Operating Procedure
Before you put pen to paper, or more likely, fingers to keypad, be sure what you’re writing about is actually meaningful. While some people don’t mind if their blog enters the dark corner of the internet that nobody finds, most people want their hard work to be seen and read. Click To Tweet
Think about these questions:
- Is this content/topic useful to my target reader?
- Is the post well-written and formatted for easy reading?
- Is the post actionable and easy to follow?
The answer to all three question needs to be YES. If not, go back to the drawing board. Don’t despair, however, as you can probably just tweak your brilliant topic. Here are a few examples.
How to use twitter —– 5 ways Twitter can create traffic to your website
Cats are better than dogs —– How cats have evolved to make you think you’re their owner
Extra ways to make income —- Learn how to make more money so you can afford a trip to Hawaii
Make it SEO friendly
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, basically means when a person tries to google a topic, your blog will have a chance of coming up in the search engine results. The more optimized your SEO is, the higher the ranking of your blog post.
Think carefully. When was the last time you went to page three of search results? Exactly. If your blog post is buried deep on page 10, then casual readers won’t be able to find it.
The most important part of SEO is to come up with a target keyword. For example, this post’s target keyword is standard operating procedure.
Once you have a target keyword, be sure to include it in the following places:
- The title
- At least one header
- A few times throughout the content
- At least one image alt text
Now, you’re probably wondering if we’ve followed our own instructions. Go ahead, check.
See, we do know what we’re talking about.
Proper Image Formatting
Great blog posts use lots of high-quality, relevant images (at least one). We’ve quickly moved to an image-based society, so know your audience.
If you’re writing more serious, business blog posts, be sure to include graphs and other analytics.
If you’re writing a social blog, it never hurts to include fun memes.
Be aware of these criteria when selecting an image for your blog post:
- Size – too large of a file and your blog page can take too long to load
- File type (jpg, png, etc.) – jpg is the most common, but png will work as well
- Positioning – make sure the picture doesn’t cut into text or interupt the flow
- Branding elements – if you have a logo, use it so that your readers have another point of reference to remember you by
- Length guidelines – too short and your readers will wonder why they bothered to click; too long and readers will lose focus.
In general, your posts should adhere to a rough length guideline. Your posts should never be less than 300 words if you hope to rank for a keyword, but you have a better chance around 1500. See this post on the ideal length of a blog post for more info.
We are all creatures of habit. If my cat isn’t sitting on my head at 7AM, then there must be something terribly wrong. Pick a time to publish your blog and stick to it. This time should make sense for both you and your readers. Weekday mornings are usually the best.
If you do the bulk of your writing on the weekend, you can always publish at a later date through WordPress.
Think you’re starting to understand what an SOP is? Here’s a recap.
- Answer “yes” to three questions above
- Target a keyword
- Have proper on-page SEO
- Use proper imagery and branding
- Hit your minimum post length
- Publish on time
It’s even a good idea to print out this list and keep it next to your computer. Especially for your first few blog posts, it will be nice to get into a rhythm. Keep writing, and remember to follow your SOP!
Liked this post? Here are more posts about keeping organized while you write.